HIRING A UK WEDDING PLANNER
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
I'm as surprised as you are that hadn't got round to writing a blog post about working with a wedding planner . It's peak wedding season in the UK , despite being deep in both executing and planning some really lovely celebrations. I figure it is exactly the right time to share these little gems. It's also important because I'm increasingly receiving enquiries from couples abroad who want to get married in the UK , with celebrations ranging from intimate elopements to 3 day weekend wedding extravaganzas. I'v already given some advice on the legalities and practicalities of getting married in the UK on the blog , so do give that a read also.
Who are we and what do we do ?
Wedding planning services in the UK range from event companies who specialise in production and mainly work with businesses and large budgets , event agencies who primarily design events for other businesses but sometimes take on private clients to luxury wedding planners like ByChenai who specialise in working with wedding couples and on private events and celebrations. The wedding planning profession in the UK does have professional bodies such as the UK Association of Wedding Planners /UKAWP ( from which I have received training) who exist to promote professionalism in the industry and are a great resource of information.
What does a wedding planner do?
A wedding planner's job is to help their clients deliver the wedding they want. They are your personal wedding manager, saving you time by undertaking tasks such as researching venues , suppliers, arranging appointments and keeping things to schedule and in budget. They interpret what you envision for your day and help you achieve it. A great wedding planner remains objective , where sometimes on the opinions of family and friends can cloud decision making or add unnecessary noise. I always act as an advocate for my couples, be it in negotiations with suppliers, venues or tricky conversations with family members. They are there to ensure schedules are adhered to , details are considered but personally - I just want to ensure my couples have a truly lovely day. I am a friendly ear and a source of support throughout the wedding journey. For couples based abroad intending to marry in the UK, I am on hand to make recommendations for additional services such as accommodation and travel as well as all the above.
What should you look for when choosing a wedding planner?
Always ask questions about experience and ways of working. I always offer references from past clients and venues that I've worked with. Transparency is important. Couples should also look at the style of weddings the planner has worked on. If you are a bride who is very creative or fashion forward, you might want to get a planner who demonstrates that in their work. Conversely, if the aesthetics aren't your priority but you are having a huge marquee wedding and want logistics taken care of then consider a planner with that specific expertise. Personally my supply chain background combined with love of the creative allows me to be best placed to help both . The one thing that is not often talked about is the fact that you have to like each other. True story. I spend alot of time with my couples and it's important we have a more than just a business understanding from the beginning, we should also have a natural rapport .
How much does a wedding planner cost?
This depends on the service being provided, for example, the industry average for a full plan wedding(i.e helping you from start to finish) will be about 12%-15% of your total budget spend. My services are completely bespoke so I give 12% as an indicator and I have a minimum fee of £5000 for full planning. I can arrange a fixed fee for large budgets. If you consider that a wedding takes anywhere from 200 -300 hours to plan, planners rates are normally reflective of this time and volume of work required up to and including the day. We are on call more than just 5 days a week 9-5 whether it's with our couples or our suppliers and if you add destination weddings into the mix, unsociable hours as a result of different time zones, all of this is considered in the pricing.
On The day Management services (which really begin a month before) are usually charged at a fixed rate and my Wedding day management services start at £950. This includes a planning meeting 4 weeks prior to review what the couple have put together , give any advice, recommend suppliers and plug any gaps that I identify. Thereafter I am there on the wedding day to be the manager, people wrangler, bouquet holder, wedding schedule keeper and provider of supportive hugs where required,
When should you book a wedding planner?
If you have a sense that the process might overwhelm you from the beginning, book a call with a planner. I'd advise to have already had the conversation about budget and prospective dates, this is a good starting point. You must know how much you are able to spend, this will eliminate disappointment or emergency calls to the banks of Mum and dad further down the line. However, I'm happy to help you at any point in the journey, I've even styled a wedding in under 6 weeks so I have previous experience!
What is ByChenai Weddings' style?
Creative and Luxe without ostentation. Luxury isn't about gilded gold and just MORE for the sake of it. It's in the attention to detail, the real care taken to listen to your ideas, translate them into something that meets and exceeds your expectations. I started my business as I knew there was an opportunity for me to offer a service that helps couples have a beautiful wedding that is meticulously planned but has the flair and creativity that speaks to their personality and style. Ultimately I'm a wedding planning professional who cares deeply that you get the wedding or party that you have always wanted.