It has been a week of royal wedding with Prince Albert of Monaco finally tying the knot, rockchick royalty and model Kate Moss getting hitched and football royalty Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy getting married. With these spectacular nuptials and of course the wedding of Prince William and Kate just three months ago, brides-to-be planning their wedding now have a lot to live up to! Luckily there are people out there who will help you plan your perfect do. Most people have seen The Wedding Planner, and the episode of Friends where Phoebe marries Mike while Monica spends all day time screaming into her headset, but what does a wedding planner actually do? Leanne Forshaw-Jones, proprietress of The Greatest Day Weddings, talks about the role of a planner and shares a few tricks of the trade.
We’ve all seen the films but can you clarify what a wedding planner does?
A planner takes the stress away. Organising a wedding is a minefield, it’s easy to lose direction and your route keeps changing. While it’s good to explore different ideas, it can help to have someone assist you with the initial planning, looking at how the day will pan out, and helping you weave your theme into the day. A planner can also really help manage the family politics that often comes with organising a wedding.
How will a bride know that she has picked the planner that’s right for her?
With something as personal as a wedding what really matters is the relationship you have with your planner. A bride should feel comfortable talking to her planner about anything she might want, and she should feel she has the authority to pull her planner up if something’s not going the way she wants. I work for the bride, not the other way around. If the bride’s comfortable with her planner, and the planner is able to befriend the bride then the partnership’s off to a good start.
In your experience, what are the most common mistakes a bride can make?
The biggest mistake is trying to copy a wedding that they’ve read about, instead of just taking inspiration from it.
Many brides want carbon copies of weddings they’ve seen in OK! Rather than creating an identikit of a celebrity wedding you’ve seen, take inspiration from it. It’s someone else’s wedding, there will be bits that are right for your day, there will be elements that really won’t suit you as a couple. OK! has a lot to answer for! Brides get blinded by the glamour of a celebrity wedding shoot and incorporate things into their wedding for the wrong reasons.
You need to remember to bring in personal elements that mean something to you and your fiancé. You’ll remember this day for the rest of your lives, and you’ll want to remember it for the right reasons.
Not everyone can afford the luxury of a wedding planner. What tricks of the trade would can you share to brides organising their day themselves?
Always start with a mood board. Cut out pictures you like from magazines, any articles you’ve read, but also bring in pictures of places that you’ve both been, things that remind you of events in your relationship, and create a board that represents the things you love as a couple; the places and colours you love, and create you world visually. Then draw the most prominent things out – particular colours or places. Then you can begin to pull out a theme that’s going to best represent you as a couple. Once you’ve got the theme you can assess different venues, meals, and entertainments and judge whether they will compliment each other, and, more importantly, whether they will compliment you.
Most weddings are about what the bride, so how do you get the groom involved? What are the best things to spark his interest?
Food! Involve him in designing the menu, and shaping the buffet or wedding breakfast. The way to a man’s heart really can be through his stomach! I’ve found that grooms are also often really interested in helping to design the entertainment. You’ll already know the type of music your fiancé loves, but ask him anyway, help him bring the social life he has with his friends this into the plan for the evening.
I had a client whose fiancé really was set on a wedding with neutral colours, while she’d become fixated on the idea of a pink theme; we managed to keep the groom happy by showing him how we could use pink uplighters to create a nightclub feel for the reception. When he pictured him and his mates dancing in an R&B club setting he forgot all about the neutral tones!
Has anything ever gone wrong?
Last year I organised a wedding where the venue had awful curtains! The bride had already enlisted a venue dresser, and he became increasingly difficult to contact as the wedding approached. On the day he didn’t show up in the morning; no one could get hold of him. I enlisted every spare member of staff to help dress the chairs and tables, and when the dresser eventually turned up he hadn’t brought the material to drape the curtains!
It can be difficult for a planner to avoid situations like this when they’re brought in after the bridal couple have agreed contracts with suppliers. A good planner will have a list of reliable suppliers who appreciate how important the service they’re supplying is to a bride, and it’s vital that couples who organise their own day really research their supplier and be as sure as possible that they’re professional and reliable. I put up scathing, yet truthful reviews of this man on every website I could find.
And what was the best ceremony you’ve ever organised?
You can never take away from that moment when you see a bride holding her bouquet, getting ready to walk down the aisle with her dad, that moment always gets you.
Is there anything you’ve not done yet?
Next year I’m working on my first civil partnership. I’ll be interested to see if the dynamic is the same between two guys or whether the power will be held by one of them, in the same way that most brides hold most of the power. I’m also really interested in seeing what the balance would be like between two girls getting married, I’m hoping that one day I’ll find out!
To contact Leanne, call 07763 614987.
by Andrew Gonsalves