Wedding planners are OK if you’re a celebrity couple with a six-figure budget, but what if your means are somewhat more modest? Is it really worth hiring a wedding planner? What are the advantages and the pitfalls? What, in fact, do wedding planners actually do?
I happen to be a big fan of wedding planners, and as wedding photographers and videographers, we’ve worked with some incredibly talented ones on both real weddings and styled shoots. So I asked four of my wedding industry sisters to give me the low-down on planning and how they help couples achieve their dream day.
So why should couples consider hiring a wedding planner?
One of the main reasons couples look for professional help with planning their wedding is that they simply don’t have enough time to do all the legwork themselves.
Pamella Dunn brings a touch of effortless style
Yorkshire-based Luxury Wedding Planner and Stylist, Pamella Dunn reflects:
“Most of us live in an era where we struggle to find extra hours as we rush from one demand on our precious time to another. Often just finding time to even think about what you might like for your significant celebration is tricky.”
Venue Styling by Pamella Dunn
Read on for some excellent advice from Pamella about finding the right wedding planner…
Couples who live far from their wedding venue often appreciate the peace of mind that a wedding planner can provide, as Sue White of Yorkshire’s The White Wedding Company explains:
Classic elegance from White Wedding and Event Company
Sue’s sense of fun helps your event go with a zing!
“Many of my clients live and work remotely from their chosen wedding venue and find it difficult to organise their wedding themselves from a distance – the perfect reason to hire a wedding planner who is on the ground and has the benefit of a network of local contacts and suppliers. I have planned wedding for clients from as far afield as Dubai. the US, Australia and even a bride from Mexico who I didn’t meet until the wedding day itself! However, most have a family ties with Yorkshire and have chosen this stunning area to hold their wedding celebrations but find they don’t have the time to get home on a regular basis and when they do they need to use their time efficiently and effectively.”
This is an issue for many of our Viva la Wedding Couples, whether they are planning destination weddings outside of the UK or are coming from abroad to enjoy the beautiful landscape and heritage venues a British wedding can offer.
A wedding planner takes the stress out of bringing all the different elements together to make your wedding special, as Lucy Wright of Yorkshire-based Lucy Wright Events explains:
Lucy Wright creates a modern look that oozes chic
“Being that ‘Go to ‘ person at the end of the phone to help with any questions or situations throughout the planning process and on the day being the person who looks after every detail ensuring that the band arrive at the right time, the guests know where to park, the cake knife is by the cake, the toilets are all clean, the catering staff are all smart and briefed on the days timings etc.”
That’s a great point, as photographers and videographers we can see the difference when there is a wedding planner to co-ordinate. Less stress, more fun!
The feel-good element is always there with Lucy Wright Events
4. Creative Input
Wedding planners are an incredible source of creative styling ideas, Lucy elucidates:
“With so many ideas and possibilities for weddings these days from Pinterest, Instagram, magazines etc.., I can assist couples with creating the right look or style of wedding by offering advice and being happy to say ‘that could work but have you thought about trying this…’ which sometimes families or friends are too scared to say as they may upset the couple. I am realistic and practical with my ideas and suggestions.”
It’s true some of our Viva couples are endlessly creative and have the time to spend making hand-made decorations and special touches to add a personal flavour, but if that’s not your strong suit, then why not hand over the reins to a creative wedding planner?
Fab bohemian woodland wedding by Lucy Wright Events
Sonal Kholia of Carriages Weddings and Events explains what a buzz it is to have that creative input:
“ We love putting together mood boards and bringing a whole new theme to life, we love seeing the couple get excited when they find the perfect cake or the perfect band and we just love the buzz and the chaos of it all on the day. However, the best part is when you see all the guests on the dance floor at the end of the night alongside the bride and groom having a brilliant time – it makes everything worthwhile.”
Sonal and her partner Meera talk mood boards
5. Saving Money
Yes, you read correctly! A good wedding planner can actually save you money. Here’s Sonal:
“Wedding planners work with a range of different clients who all have different budgets and different expectations. A wedding planner’s primary interest is to ensure that his or her client is happy. A good wedding planner will be able to organise a great wedding on any budget – the priorities will just be different. So, whether you’re looking to spend £10,000, £50,000 or £100,000 plus, a wedding planner will make it happen.”
“Experience in the industry means a wedding planner knows how much a supplier should be charging and if you are getting ripped off. They can negotiate discounts on your behalf, sometimes get you preferential rates or simply tell you when you’re over spending on something which isn’t a necessity and need reigning in.”
Elegant Asian Weddings by Carriages Weddings and Events
6. Expert Knowledge
Wedding planners have a wealth of experience behind them, as Sonal points out:
“When you hire a wedding planner you are hiring someone who knows the industry like the back of their hand. This means he or she can point out any flaws and potential problems before they even surface. Many brides and grooms have a certain vision of their big day and though it is the wedding planner’s job to try and bring this to life, sometimes things just aren’t practical from a logistical point of view and so it always helps to have an expert opinion on hand.”
This experience is invaluable. At Viva la Wedding, we occasionally have couples approach us who are disappointed with their video and want us to re-edit. There’s only so much we can do to save a video that’s been poorly shot. A wedding planner with good knowledge of suppliers can help you avoid this kind of disappointment.
Carriages Weddings and Events specialises in planning Asian weddings. Sonal explains that there are some considerations that are specific to planning Asian weddings:
“When it comes to Asian weddings the numbers are usually a lot higher. You’re generally looking at an average of around 300 guests, which means it’s important to take certain things into consideration. For example, if there is a large turnaround time between the Indian ceremony and the evening reception then you need to ensure there is an alternative holding area for your guests to relax in while the room is getting ready.
As with guest numbers, other aspects of the day tend to be on a larger scale sometimes, such as the décor and DJ set-ups, which means your floor plans and dimensions need to be accurate to ensure you’re utilising any space you have as effectively as possible.”
As Wedding Photographers and videographers we are very experienced in covering Asian weddings, so we are used to dealing with the larger number of guests and making sure we cover all the important cultural and religious customs. When dealing with a large event like this, having a wedding planner to co-ordinate can take a weight off the couple’s mind.
Carriages Weddings and Events Destination Weddings
7. Wedding Planners aspire to be the best
“The Asian wedding scene is constantly evolving and so rather than just one, we have a range of different heroes who we take inspiration from. Whether it’s Mark Niemierko, Mindy Weiss or Neeta Raheja, their work, which spans across different continents, is a great guide for us to be constantly learning and evolving from.”
OK I’m sold! How do I find the right wedding Planner?
Here’s some great advice from Pamella Dunn to help you step into the magical world of wedding planning, confident you are heading in the right direction:
- Have you chosen a date, place and venue?
- Have you a budget you will work to?
- Are you a creative looking to DIY your wedding, with support from family & friends?
- Do you need help with the design and styling?
- Do you need help with the administration, the coordination and on the day management?
- Have you identified key suppliers who you can work with?
Fab styling details by Pamella Dunn
“These considerations will help you highlight where you will want additional support, advice and guidance. The answers will be quite different for every couple but using the services of experienced professional planners for all or part of the above will allow you those moments to reflect and take in the whole experience, confident in the knowledge you are in safe hands.”
“The next step is to shortlist planners who fit your brief and arrange a consultation. These are invariably complimentary and will give you a good idea if you are a good fit. Personality, compatibility and a good close working relationship will be vital. An experienced planner will have all the answers, and more that arise during this exciting time, and will often not only be the planner, but your designer and stylist too. They will save you hours of research and add value to your budget. Their advice and support will be invaluable, they will be the calming confidant, fully understanding how you are feeling at each stage. They will be inspiring and thought provoking, discussing ideas with you that have meaning to you both as you celebrate your love for each other.”
And to conclude, I leave you with the wise words of Lucy Wright:
“I always tell my couples “If an orchestra needs a conductor to make all the instruments create a beautiful sound together, a wedding needs a wedding planner to bring all the suppliers together to deliver an unforgettable event”
A lovely analogy, Lucy!
When I first start the wedding video editing process the actual day is already over: the vows said, the celebrations finished and the party most certainly had. Yet one of the main reasons for having a wedding video is to keep the day alive in some way: to give the ability to see yourself walk down the aisle, to hear your vows again or to watch your loved ones party the night away in your honour over and over again.
To invite us at Viva La Wedding into your most inner circle and to put your faith and trust in us to produce a video that will forever put a smile on your face is both a great privilege and responsibility. As the wedding video editor I see my role as carrying on the work and care already put in by you in acknowledging the style and detail of the day you’ve created and enjoyed, and mixing this with our own unique wedding video editing style to create a video that perfectly reflects you and your big day.
One of the best aspects of being a wedding editor is that the wedding day always has a natural story-telling element to it. As I first watch the footage and listen to the couple and their family and friends, the story of the couple and their day naturally emerges. My job is to take these emerging story elements and present them in a way that will make you laugh, cry and want to dance like you were there all over again. No small task then!
(Me at work editing a wedding video)
Whether you’re thinking of getting a wedding video made, or you have received your wedding video from us and are curious as to the making-of process, here is a little run down of our wedding video editing process here at Viva La Wedding.
The first thing I do is review what I consider to be the main story-telling cornerstones of your wedding day: the ceremony, the speeches and any interviews and guest messages. I find the key elements of the story are usually there already: the anticipation in getting ready, the joy of the ceremony, the fun of the reception, and sometimes a grimace from the groom and the best man reveals some long-forgotten jape!
(You can watch Anna and Ryan’s Wedding Highlights)
These moments allow me to hear about you from yourselves and the people dearest to you. If you’ve already seen some of our wedding videos you’ll no doubt know that we like to use these moments to drive your story. Stories about how you first met, how one of you proposed, part of the father of the bride’s speech, or a video message from one of your closest friends. These are the moments I really enjoy listening to, editing and using to build a story of you both, as well as your families and your friends from your wedding day.
Like any portrait of people or a moment, a wedding day also has a natural dynamism. Many times in the preparations before the ceremony I hear one of the couple say impatiently that they just can’t wait for the ceremony to happen, whilst conversely I hear them later say that the day is flying by and they wish that they could slow everything down! Well, as an editor dynamics are pivotal to what I do. A useful dynamic device is to mix the couple’s music choices with some carefully selected cinematic music of my own, varying the tone and pace of the music to match the moments I want to portray. This is another aspect of our wedding video editing that makes our wedding films unique, tailor made to you and your musical taste.
Before I start editing I look at the forms and notes we have from the couple from our pre-wedding meeting. Here we ask all our couples to tell us a little bit about their musical and cinematic tastes: their favourite music acts, favourite films and a selection of songs they’d like us to use in their wedding video. Whether you’re a pop fan, a metal head, or a vintage singer-songwriter fan, let us know what makes you move and I can use this to create a video uniquely for you. And don’t worry about picking music that you think should go in a wedding video, instead try to pick whatever music means the most to you both! I do love a challenge of sometimes editing part of the wedding video to a song not usually associated with weddings can be great fun and have a surprisingly good effect (editing to Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls springs to mind!).
Once I’ve woven a storyline into your video and chosen the shots and moments that really bring the day to life I then start the audio mixing and colour grading process. This is a mixture of technical and creative know-how with the aim of making your video look and sound as great as possible. We use professional editing and grading software and take great care to colour grade all of our footage which I think helps give our films a real cinematic quality. Our videographers do a great job in getting a real mixture of dynamic footage and I always have a brilliant choice of shots. They really make you shine with arty low-depth of field shots, roaming steadicam, high-rising crane shots and effortlessly smooth slow-motion shots that all help let me add a real variety and texture to the wedding videos.
(You can watch Kokil and Neil’s Wedding Video Highlights)
To be honest it is a strange feeling once I’ve finished wedding video editing process: I’ve listened to how they met and how they proposed; I’ve witnessed them say their vows to each other (often involving at least one of them being reduced to tears); I’ve seen them dance in reckless abandon with their friends and family; and I’ve often heard some strange stories regarding the groom from the best man’s speech! Yet for me the ending of the wedding video process for me isn’t the video rendering, disc-burning or posting them out.
It’s always a few weeks after all this – when I’m probably in the middle of editing a new wedding video and learning about a new story emerge – when we receive our customer feedback forms. It’s always a great pleasure to read these and hear what the couple thought of their video and realise that all the time spent watching, selecting and editing their footage has been completely worth it.
Anna and Ryan are such an adorable couple and we were delighted to be chosen as their Manchester wedding photographer and videographer! They wanted a very relaxed, candid style of wedding coverage and we were able to offer them a wraparound photography and videography service, with our team working unobtrusively to capture all the beauty, fun and emotion of their big day.
Childhood sweethearts since their schooldays, Anna and Ryan were always going to have a very special wedding day. Anna’s family were keen to mark the occasion with special touches, decorating the steps to the couple’s Didsbury apartment with a gorgeous display of flowers. Their ceremony at the beautiful St James’s church in Didsbury was a very moving celebration of their love and the twelve years they had already spent together.
Anna’s mum Jill contacted us a couple of months before the wedding day with a special request. She’d had the family videos from Anna’s childhood put onto DVD and wondered if we could edit a montage of clips of Anna along with photos of the family and Anna and Ryan, set to one of the couple’s favourite songs “Could you be the one?” by The Stereophonics. We were more than happy to offer this service, and the resulting video was a huge hit at the reception. It was a lovely trip down memory lane, and a few tears were shed to see this vibrant, funny little girl and the amazing woman she had become.
Manchester’s Great John Street Hotel was a fabulous reception venue and the perfect fit for this cool, urban couple. The space was ideal for a relaxed summer wedding, with an elegant interior and the rooftop lounge providing a wonderful outdoor space with a fantastic view of the city.
The speeches were lovely, genuine and heartfelt and the evening festivities were a blast with the guests keen to hit the dancefloor and party the night away. Anna and Ryan and their families were a joy to work with and we wish them every happiness! Congratulations Mr and Mrs Woods!
We are really excited to announce that we are now a featured supplier in Love My Dress blog’s Little Book for Brides! The little book for brides is “a curated directory of splendid, hardworking and brilliant wedding suppliers,” handpicked by LMD’s Annabel and her fabulous team. We love the fact that we have our own special part of the directory that we can personalise with tons of our favourite images and wedding films. It’s also brilliant to have plenty of space to express what our business is all about. We’ve been really impressed from the outset by the personal service and attention to detail from the Little Book team. It’s a real pleasure to work with a directory that understands and cares about our business!
We are looking forward to getting plenty of enquiries through the Little book for Brides and also to connecting with other fantastic suppliers. Can’t wait to submit some of our beautiful weddings too!
Back in September, Denise and Yeoman asked us to produce a Midland Manchester wedding Video for them. It promised to be an unforgettable wedding experience full of fun, emotion…and hard rock! and it certainly delivered on all fronts!
What was it like planning your wedding?
The wedding planning was a far greater feat than I personally first imagined but it was made that much easier knowing my now wife, Denise, had such a specific vision on how she wanted the big day. We were incredibly lucky to have such support from both sides of the family, and this team effort made everything run like clockwork. Denise’s vision however was hindered by her very time consuming job of being a doctor, thus having me action and push everything was extremely important, and of course my attention to detail and opinions were needed. Anther point to consider was that every single person we hired and worked with towards this big day were/was so helpful and such great people that it really lightened the stress load which was very important.
What was the most memorable/special part of the day for you?
Yeoman: for me it was seeing Denise for the first time in her wedding gown entering the ceremony room in the Trafford suite of the Midland hotel and walking down the aisle. I was gobsmacked in awe of how gorgeous she looked… A very emotional point in the day.
Yeoman: I would consider myself someone with a huge amount of confidence due to being a lead guitarist in a local rock band, and to be honest 98% of the day I was completely fine…. The 2% where I wasn’t exactly fine was waiting for Denise to arrive and walk down the aisle, and just before I got on stage to sing for Denise, something which that i have never done before in my life is singing in front of an audience… that was extremely nerve wrecking for me.
Did everything go according to plan?
Most of the day went to plan, there were a few mishaps but these were considered minor in the grand scheme of things. If i was to give any advice to couples fro their big day is to just enjoy it and soak everything in… Do not let any mishaps spoil which is for certain you and your partners bigday.
Were there any funny/emotional moments that stand out for you?
One huge emotional moment was the mother of the bride speech which was also funny! My mother in law is a very well spoken, strong and generally serious person but her speech came out as funny and heart warming. Also my epic 4 hour speech which I wish someone would have thrown something at me to stop haha…
How did you prepare for your first dance?
I have always wanted to take some form of ballroom dancing, and for our wedding I really did not want to look silly and inadequate in front of so many people therefore we took professional dance lessons but only around 4, 2 hour lessons where we choreographed the entire dance. I found i was much better than i thought i would be. Denise found it difficult to remember the dance itself but I knew every step and was able to guide her. I think in the video you can even see me telling her what was coming next haha…..
It always comes around so fast but we’ve finally put together our ‘best of’ for 2015. It was an incredible year and we were lucky to be a part of twenty-seven weddings from a huge variety of cultures and religious traditions. We are Manchester wedding videographer and we were in the stunning Swedish archipelago, breath-taking French chateaux or rustic British venues, we enjoyed every minute!
We would like to say a massive thank you to all of our couples for allowing us to film and photograph their special days. We met some amazing people this year and made some unforgettable memories! If 2016 is half the year that 2015 was, then we’re in for a treat! Please take a look at our best of photos and wedding videography!
Thank you, The Viva team!