Intro by Daniella Petkoff
A while ago I met a passionate young woman, very enthusiastic for her business and full of ideas. We've had an inspiring conversation and I thought why not use the fum of social media and web presents and share her spirit with everyone....
Out meeting kicked off the start of a new friendship. Gilly is here today sharing her knowledge and expertise on how to choose your wedding planner. Gilly is truly a "professional" and you'll understand more about her as she takes you through each step to creating the perfect wedding. Enjoy.
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You might be the kind of person who has been dreaming of this moment your entire life...you walked around with a pillow case on your head humming The Wedding March, borrowed your Mum’s jewelry, shoes and lipstick and had your pet cat reluctantly sitting still as your groom. No? Just me? Ok....maybe you haven’t ever given it much thought, but knew at some point you might entertain the idea of saying, “YES. I WILL MARRY YOU Prince Harry!” – Hey, a girl can dream right?!
So, you’ve said yes. You are officially getting married. You’re excited to be marrying your partner...BUT, there’s something worrying you.... All of a sudden all those people who are congratulating you also start asking you questions, and endless decisions have to be made. Best men, bridesmaids, venues, caterers, florists, dresses, photographer, suits, cakes, decorations. How do I plan a wedding?! Where on earth do I start?!
Worry not my friends, because I am here to help. Along with a little help from some wonderful industry peeps, this is a little helping hand so that you and your partner can make an informed decision when choosing your wedding planner, or it may even help you decipher whether a planner is right for you and your big day.
First off, did you know that there are different types of wedding planners? Nope, neither did I until I developed a love for the industry.
A wedding planner will typically work with you to create your vision and make it become a reality. They will manage all the details of your entire wedding from the initial consultation and design process, all the way through to the ‘I do’ and post wedding clear down. They will make sure you have a fabulous team of suppliers and professionals on board (including a fabulous photographer like my host today) and will be the main point of contact for all those involved, leaving you free to enjoy your day. In the long run, a full service can save the most amount of time and money for a couple. Most wedding planners will also offer ‘on the day’ coordination.
A wedding coordinator is usually picked out when the couple want to be more involved in their big day but just need that extra helping hand to schedule the events of the day and ensure everything runs to time.
A wedding stylist is predominantly brought in to ensure the styling of the wedding is taken to another level, one that is perhaps even more beautiful than the bride could imagine or create herself.
You may well be thinking....I don’t need ALL that. My Aunts, Cousins and Uncle Bob from Timbuktu all want to help with my big day. And that’s great! But as Laura Guerrie points out on Offbeat Bride “No matter how well things are planned and confirmed, something will go wonky on the wedding day. An experienced professional will handle any hiccups in such a way that you and your guests will never know anything unusual happened.” http://offbeatbride.com/2010/06/do-you-need-a-wedding-planner
If you are under no illusion that you absolutely want and need a type of wedding planner, then your first stop should be The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) http://www.ukawp.com. Through membership, mentoring, training courses and specialised events, the UKAWP promote professionalism in wedding planning. All the members are wedding planners that have undergone training, and have been “vetted through their entrance requirements for their honesty, professionalism and experience”. They also abide by the UKAWP’s code of business practice which demonstrates just how seriously they take the industry. I underwent an intensive training course with the UKAWP and have been fortunate enough to work alongside some of their fabulous members.
Next step would be to check out some of these planners in your local area via search engines, social media, magazines, local press etc. This might throw up a few other alternatives who perhaps aren't members of the UKAWP. Regardless of how you find your planners, ensure that you read each of their websites first and check out any of their social media pages to fully understand how each planner works and their type of style. You should be able to see a portfolio of their previous work and experience and usually testimonials from their past clients too.
Once you have done a bit of research, and before you start interviewing planners, you and your partner should have a good idea of your budget, guest numbers, preferred date and your vision for your day.
As a planner myself I would love it if all the couples that came to see me, came knowing how much I adore the industry, how passionate I am about ensuring that each couple has their perfect wedding day that truly reflects their personality, and how hard I work to eradicate any stress and iron out any issues that arise on the day. It’s more than likely that my potential clients don’t know any of these facts about me, so it’s my job to deliver these messages to each and every person I meet in a way which resonates with them. I also need to really understand what it is that you’re looking for, how I can help you, and what your dream is to enable me to put together an amazing proposal that sets me apart from all the other wonderful planners out there competing for the same business.
After meeting your potential planners, ask yourself:
- Did my planner really understand what it is that I’m looking for, my dreams, my vision, my hopes for the big day and expand on those ideas?
- Will this planner help me stick to my budget?
- Did this planner make me feel relaxed, and safe in the knowledge that the biggest day of my life will go well under their control?
- Have I seen this planner’s contract, and do I agree with the terms and conditions?
- What exactly will my planner be dealing with, and what’s left for me to do?
- What is the payment policy? Are there any fees that I should be aware of?
- Was there a good rapport between us? Could we work well together?
- Does this planner have public liability insurance?
- Does this planner have some positive reviews or testimonials of previous work?
Once you have (hopefully) picked little old me, then the fun really starts. Depending on your needs and budget, you may just need me to help source a few suppliers (maybe a fabulous photographer like Daniella! Or perhaps organize or schedule and coordinate your day, or even take you step by step through your wedding day dream, designing and planning a day that you will remember for all the right reasons.
If you are the type of person that knows that no one can organize as well as you, you’re on a very tight budget, have an army of helpers willing to help but believe ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ then perhaps you are your own wedding planner. We don’t suit everybody’s needs, and there happens to be a huge wide world out there jam packed with wedding help. Google the word ‘wedding’. Go on, I dare ya! There are hundreds, upon thousands of articles, images and websites dedicated to helping YOU!
Apart from calling me....obviously...do make sure that you take a step back and record exactly what it is that you and your partner want. One bit of advice that I offer to every single couple I know and work with that gets engaged, is that your wedding day is exactly that. YOUR day. Nobody else. I see too many people having a wedding day perfect for their family, too concerned of what others may think, too concerned with having a ‘Pinterest-Perfect’ wedding day. You know what you want, and I can help, so let’s make it happen.
Company Information – Gilly Keat and Amore Star Events
My name is Gilly Keat and Amore Star Events is my little passion that is growing steadily. My background is predominantly media based but with a slight obsession for the wedding and event industry. Partnered with an (some might say) unhealthy addiction to organizing and attention to detail, turning my event planning hobby into a reality was the perfect choice.
I get the best of both worlds, I still work during the week within advertising, but spend my spare time in wedding and event heaven. I've been assisting other wedding planners since 2011 and have worked on a variety of events over the years. I have undergone intensive training with the UKAWP and abide by their Codes of Business Practice.
I offer a friendly and highly personalized, meticulous, quality service to all of the wonderful people that I've been lucky enough to work with. I am based in London and focus on planning events in London and the surrounding areas, however I have also planned events further afield.
I'm passionate about challenging the stereotypical event traditions and love including quirky and unusual elements in each celebration that truly reflect the personality of my clients.
You have a dream, ideas and a vision of what you would like your event to look and feel like. I'll strive to make those become your reality.
Guest blogging today for Daniella Petkoff Photograpy