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So most of our lovely blog readers will know by now that we were at the Wedding Fair, Bluewater a few weeks ago and were awestruck by just how many of you have a secret desire to be a wedding planner. Now we know what a fabulous job it is but we also know just how hard it is to establish yourself in a very competitive industry. So whilst we can’t profess to know the best route to achieving your dream job, to help those of you out there who want to get into the wonderful world of weddings, here are our top tips.

1. Get some experience

Easier said than done I know. Between myself and Joanne we have nearly 20 years experience working at and managing events (god that makes us sound ancient) but experience is what counts. You’ll always learn with every event you do but the basics will give you a good idea as to what it takes. We would love to be able to give work experience to everyone that asks, but as a small business our time is spent directly with clients or doing really boring admin stuff. See tip 4!

We have two wedding assistants that work with us when we need an extra pair of hands, and we have spent time and lots of energy training them for exactly what we need. Most small companies will be the same but it doesn’t mean you can’t get good experience elsewhere. See tip 2!

 

Joanne at Hever Castle

2.Look for alternatives

From jobs in catering, to floristry and window dressing we both had Saturday jobs that filled our passion for creativity and fuelled our desire to work in marketing and events. Going straight in as a wedding planner might not be an option but waitressing or working behind a bar can give you a basic insight into customer behaviour, what makes a good party and how to deal with the demands of a busy crowd.

3. Paid Experience Counts

Lots of you have the wedding planning bug from organising your own wedding and its a great start on the experience ladder. However paying clients will tell you exactly where you’ve gone wrong, one of your own wedding guests is unlikely too.

4. You’ll have to learn how to run your own business

This means delving the murky depths of excel spreadsheets, invoicing, the dreaded HMRC and managing sales projections and expenses claims. You’ll also need basic marketing, SEO and PR skills, lots of creativity and live in the knowledge that you won’t be earning enough to buy a Mulberry handbag each payslip for the foreseeable future.

 

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5. Start talking

You will need the major desire to tell everyone about your business at every opportunity you get. Bar staff, the gym instructor, your hairdresser (very important) the sales assistant in Topshop, Mrs Goggins at the Post Office and the delivery blokes from Ocado are just the tip of the iceberg. So when I say everyone I really do mean everyone. You’ll need to spread the word far and wide.

6. Try before you buy

You won’t be able to afford to hire in services to begin with so until you earn enough to be able to pay a professional to do the bits you can’t, you’ll have to do it yourself, learn as you go and die trying. Quick it isn’t.

All we can say really is don’t give up. There are so many brilliant suppliers who we work with who have struggled to establish their businesses and like any other industry there really is no quick route or substitute to experience and good old fashioned hard work.

If you want more info about being a wedding planner than read Joannes interview here.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!

Emma x

 

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Wedding Planning

It’s nearly here!!

We are back at The Wedding Fair, Bluewater from the 7th to 9th February, where we’ll be offering our wedding advice completely free of charge to all that come and visit our stand.

You can either book a slot with us prior to the fair by calling Joanne direct or look out for our wedding planning wall on Stand L18, simply turn up and we’ll do our very best to answer any wedding worries or queries you have there and then! 

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Design by Pretty Wild Wed

At the fair you’ll find so many ideas for wedding inspiration as well as lots of fabulous suppliers – many of whom we have worked with before. A brilliant new addition to the fair are our fabulous friends over at Creative Brides, who are running a Vintage Village so you can get your fix of all things DIY.

If you wasn’t lucky enough to win a pair of tickets in our Facebook competition last week don’t forget you can still save 25% by quoting WB28 when buying your tickets online.

We’ll see you there!

Emma & Joanne x

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Wedding Shows

tis the season to be dolly

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Wedding Theme

Well it’s the last day of our Christmas Countdown and what a way to finish.

During the summer it was my absolute pleasure to get to know Janice, who was Mother of the Bride to Jemima. Janice contacted me to help in the run up to Jemima’s big day. I had not been booked by the Mother of the Bride before and so had not totally appreciated just how much our services benefit the whole of the bridal party, not just the Bride and Groom.

When so much effort and money goes into planning a big family event naturally those close to the couple also want to be able to enjoy the experience too. Taking the pressure away from them makes it easier for everyone to really savour the atmosphere and spend time with their guests.

Janice runs her own very successful business and so when she found herself becoming the main wedding planner for her daughter Jemima’s big day she needed some help. She called us towards the end of the planning when she simply had run out of time. Booking some Dolly Hours with us meant we could source the last few suppliers for Janice. She then also hired us for our Dolly on the Day service so we could look after all the little details, keep an eye on timings and manage suppliers. This meant she could really enjoy her efforts to give her only daughter the special day she dreamed of and what a dream this wedding was.

This picture was taken during the drinks reception at the fabulous Hever Castle, by the very amazing Danni Beach.  Janice and Jemima both look so relaxed and happy. Their smiles say it all….

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We first met Carol when she attended one of our creative wedding workshops with her mum. Carol was really into her DIY details and we knew that giving her guests a fun filled time was a very important factor in her wedding plans.

Wanting a relaxed atmosphere the couple booked the very gorgeous Goudhurst Village Hall.  With no on-site manager and lots of elements to pull together Carol needed us to make sure all the set up was done perfectly and all the things she had planned happened at the right time. She booked our Dolly on the Day co-ordination service and together we became a great team.

As with many village halls Carol found herself with a blank canvas to work with and her creativity was just brilliant. Paper pompoms, garlands and bunting made the hall look fantastic, whilst friends and family brought along homemade cakes, a Mexican band serenaded guests on arrival,  Czech fizz was served, garden games kept everyone giggling and the fun of their singing bridesmaids made this wedding a dream to work on.

The Bride and Groom beamed from ear to ear all day and their guests loved every minute. The dancing didn’t just start in the evening at this wedding, oh no, there were guests up on their feet during the wedding breakfast thoroughly enjoying the music and the fun filled atmosphere. Carol loved every minute of her planning and her stunning DIY details were testimony to the loving care she put into making sure her guests enjoyed her day just as much as she did.

With yet another team of great suppliers from Martin Briggs Photography, DJ Lucci, Dine Thyme, The Charcoal Pig, Paladins Classic Car hire, Juliets Catering and Jubilee Hire this wedding was a joy to be a part of.

 

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After meeting so many of you at the Wedding Fair at Bluewater this weekend who have still yet to find their perfect venue you’ll be pleased to know that the stunning St Clere Estate are opening their doors for viewings. Over the next few weeks you can take a look at this gorgeous new and exclusive venue at two invitation only events on Sunday 29th September and Thursday 3rd October.

For an invitation and full timings of the events drop an email to Sarah@stclere.co.uk

We’ll be there with lots of planning advice so look we’ll forward to seeing some of you then!

Happy Planning

Emma x

Jackson & Co Image 11 StClere (9) StClere (4) StClere (8) StClere (5) StClere (7) (1) StClere (22) M43A8261

Photography by Jackson & Co Photography

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Venues, Wedding Planning

With a busy wedding season now in full swing, we’ve been working on very different types of weddings. From village halls to golf and country clubs, followed by barns and a castle, they all have one thing in common. These couples have decided that they want to have fun on their big day knowing that their plans are in place and they can relax and enjoy the whole experience with friends and family.

We often get asked what exactly it is that we do as an on-the-day wedding co-ordinator and here’s what we say!

With our Dolly on the Day package we’re there throughout the wedding day to do all those things that need to get done, from overseeing deliveries to setting up tables, styling the venue, being a general timekeeper and keeping the day running smoothly. We assist the bridal party so no-one forgets what they need to say or do and are generally on hand to deal with any problems that may possibly arise. From early morning until usually just after the first dance we’ll be keeping everything flowing as it should.

Many couples choose Dolly-on-the-Day if they have lots of DIY elements to come together or have multiples venues to organise. Dry-hire venues are also perfect for this service as we can set up and clear away, deal with deliveries and help others suppliers on arrival. Even if your venue has an on-site co-ordinator many couples still like to know that they have someone there the morning of the wedding to make sure the Bridal Party are all ready on time and relaxed plus assist the photographer with getting pre-wedding shots of the Bridal party.

As one of our couples recently said “We knew we needed help and assistance on the day but didn’t really know where to turn. We didn’t think our budget would allow for a wedding planner but when my friend told me about The Wedding Dolls they sounded perfect. Joanne helped us pull a schedule together straight away and with her advice in the run up to the wedding everything was calm, considered and way more fun! Previously I had long to-do lists for my parents and friends and was worried about how they would manage it all. Handing it all over to Joanne instead was a huge relief. Come the wedding day we didn’t have to worry, we knew everything was in place and could enjoy ourselves, along with our families to the max!”.

So if you think you need some help but are not sure where to start give us a call!

Emma x

vijay and leanne wd's at work

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Wedding Planning

If you’re having a marquee wedding one of the biggest worries for couples is definitely how to decorate it. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you some style advice on some of the more popular themes.

Part 1 is bringing the party Island of Ibiza closer to home. Synonymous with sunshine and celebrations galore inject some of that laid-back Balearic fun into your big day with a fantastic Ibiza style wedding lounge.

We chatted with Jo Morris of Rio Lounge Boutique Furniture hire who gave us some of her expert advice on how to create a wedding theme that brings with it full on Mediterranean charm…….

1. Brilliant White Ibiza

Your choice of furniture will really add to any theme so go for modular rattan furniture in the classic colour of Ibiza, a stunning brilliant white. Dress with scatter cushions to add a pop of colour (why not use your wedding palette), creating comfort and softening the look.

2. Chilled Out Guests

Don’t forget the all important chill-out area where your guests can take a breather from the party and catch up with one another. You can do this in a quieter part of the marquee which is sectioned off from the main area, in an adjoining section or if it’s sunny you can always take it outside.

3. Bubbles & Buckets

Nothing says Ibiza like a chilled glass of Champagne so keep it nice and cool with classic champagne buckets dotted around your bar and lounge areas. Make sure you have a plentiful supply of ice for guests to add to those summer cocktails too!

4. A Wed Bed

Daybeds are an absolute must. They’re a really unique way for your guests to chill out and enjoy each others company. Chat and relax on a Miami day bed; soak up the sun on a Mykonos day bed; or get match-making with the Antibes double day bed!

5. Camera & Action

White director’s chairs are simply gorgeous for the dining area. They are just so evocative of summer days and you can almost hear the Med lapping on the shore! Comfortable and practical they really add a sense of sophisciation. Don’t forget the poser tables and bar stools as well, so your guests can mingle near the bar and dance floor adding to that fabulous party atmosphere.

6. When the Summer Sun Sets

Ibiza really comes to life after dark, so don’t forget the lighting for when the sun goes down. Lanterns create a great atmosphere outdoors and simple coloured lighting really makes the theme rock. Banish the British climate in the evening by adding some patio heaters to keep guests enjoying the outdoors as long as possible.

 

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Thanks to Jo for her help and advice in creating that very cool Ibiza vibe. I’m off to pop the Cafe del Mar remix on the iPod…..

Happy Planning!

Emma x

We promised you a giveaway on our Facebook page when we reached 500 likes and so here it is!

We are offering one lucky Facebook fan a free Dolly Hour all of their very own. Use the hour how you like from questions about styling to finding the right suppliers for you. The hour will be done over the phone or by Skype/FaceTime and you can ask us anything you like at a time that suits you.

To enter all you need to do is whizz over to our Facebook page – Like Us – and then comment on the Dolly Giveaway post with your wedding date. We’ll pick a winner at random next week.

Dolly Hours are a great way to get planning help when and where you need it most. Find out more here.

Good luck

Emma & Joanne x

PS Don’t forget to share with your friends, especially if you know a couple who would love a bit of help with their wedding planning!

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Last week we shared with you St Clere Estate, a simply gorgeous wedding venue in Sevenoaks. This beautiful house and gardens is now offering selected dates only as a fabulous setting for your wedding.

StClere-Home

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On Sunday 16th June from 2pm until 5pm the estate is holding an open garden day with the NGS so you can take a sneak peek around and see for yourself why we love it so much.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Emma x

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