Picking the right dress

Another guest post this time from Selene, English isn’t Selenes first language, so please be patient with her. This article has some thoughts about things to consider, when selecting the right wedding outfit.


A bride is the face of a wedding. Literally, very little attention goes to the groom. (Sorry honey!) So, if whether your picking a dress for a model for a photo shoot or a woman that is actually getting married, there are a few things that should be put in mind.

Consider some of these tips when looking for a wedding dress and picking an outfit.

Detailing

Instead of the usual nets and laces, some brides may opt for colors and prints that exude more life and lean more to their traditional preferences. This may include a gown with some custom made embroidery or pattern.  Talk to your designer in case of such an adjustment – then they will know how best to fix it.

Hair

Hair is another part of the outfit. Decide whether you want to go neat and sophisticated or outgoing but beautiful.  Take the messy bun for example. It involves the bride doing a neat messy bun and l have a lock or two on the front hanging out. It is enough to make the groom and the ladies envious .

Have a trial about half a month away from the event. If it is for photography, a week or a couple of days before is acceptable. This helps to clear any doubts that may be there on what to color or type of metal or stone to use. Decisions like these have to be made earlier to avoid wasting time on the scheduled day.

Headwear

Decide on what will be on your head, whether it will be a tiara or just a comb to hold the veil. This way, your search will be narrowed down to just what you require and you will not have to spend hours flipping pages on something you will probably not wear.

Colours

Shun colors that are too light or too dark if you are aiming for elegance too much color makes the bride look unbalanced. The colors should not be drab but with just enough life to bring out sophistication or the look the bride wants without making them look like clowns at an amusement park.

Get creative

You do not have to buy the dress if you can make it. Create or borrow a creative design and create a masterpiece that you do not have to return to the shop after getting married. You can find a famous design a give it a twist here and a redesign it into something new There are a lot of DIY videos and articles online to help you spice up the décor, the design, the shape and the material of the dress. Most are easy to comprehend and who knows, you might get a client or two who require gowns at your wedding. This will save on money and will create something unique just for you.

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Wedding planning thoughts and ideas.

This is a guest post from Ana. Ana has been my assistant for 8 years and is a hugely important part of the business. In 2019 she has started planning her own wedding. There’s very little she doesn’t know about weddings and it will be an interesting journey, so having her provide her thoughts on the process will be useful. Ana is aiming for a smaller, intimate wedding on a small budget.


Thanks for the introduction Rebecca, this is a little guide on the first things to think about when you start planning a wedding – it’s not something taught in schools and often newly engaged people can struggle to know what the first step is.

1. Make the announcement

Some couples just don’t feel right if anyone knows their big news before their parents and other close family members do. If possible, tell both sets of folks in person. If your parents don’t live nearby, put in a special phone call.

2. Delve into dreams

Sit down with your fiancé and discuss ideas. Think about the style you’d like, whether it’s a beach bash, a sit-down dinner in a ballroom or a ceremony on a mountaintop. Do not talk about money yet.

3. Rough out the timing

While you don’t have to set a firm date at the moment, it’s smart to have an idea of what month or season you want to marry in. Then you’ll know how long you have to get things organized. Because your wedding’s size determines where you’ll hold the party, how much it will cost (prices usually rise per guest) and whether travel will be involved, creating a guest list is one of the most important things to do. So make your list; your fiancé and both families should do the same. You can, and likely will, cut later, but this first number will be your base.

4. Now talk money

 It’s rare these days that the bride’s parents pick up the whole bill, so decide on your bottom line. Find out from both sets of parents if or how much they can contribute.

5. Get organized

 Buy a notebook and separate it into sections for each budget category. This way you can write down the amount you want to spend on the item and then note your expenditures. As you near your limits, you can start to figure out ways to cut costs.

6. Ceremony who and where

 Finding an officiant and a ceremony site can be simple — if, say, you wish to marry in your hometown house of worship. Even if you’re no longer living in the area, you may have family who still are and can help out. Sometimes for the sake of convenience, couples choose a place that’s in between their homes and their parents’. And then there’s the destination of the wedding; just make sure that everyone you really want to join you and your groom can afford to travel and is able to make it.

7. The reception venue

Think again about those wedding dreams, and see how they mesh with reality. Perhaps you envision an outdoor garden. Fine, but what if you can’t find just the right place or the weather is an issue? Maybe there’s a quaint hotel with a pretty courtyard that would suit. Some couples find historic homes in their area to rent. Use local resources to narrow down options: a wedding planner or a recently married friend. Check wedding websites and bridal magazines. Then start scheduling visits.

Where are weddings going?

Having been a part of the wedding industry for such a long time I’ve seen trends. I’ve seen so many trends come and go, from bridal fashions to decor, photography styles to the rapid rise of social medias influence on how a couple perceives the value of their day.

We recently worked with a couple who found themselves feeling quite despondent about the fact their wedding hashtag had only received 74 subscribers. When they only had 120 guests, we thought that was quite good – but their intentions were to go viral and become internet sensations.

They completely forgot that a wedding is about getting married, that was secondary to internet stardom aspirations.

So where do I think weddings are going, what direction will weddings in 2020, 2021 and 2022 take.

UNPLUGGED WEDDINGS

Personally, I think and hope that we’ll see a removal of technology. Refocusing energies on the significance of the day and bringing back what a wedding is actually supposed to be about.

More and more of my clients are opting for unplugged weddings, and a few opting for just unplugged ceremonies. Its wonderful to experience days where by none of the guests have their phones. Now in some cases this is for privacy reasons, but often its just because phones take people away from the occasion, they open their phone to take a picture and are instantly drawn into a world of notifications, likes and shares.

The easiest way to achieve this is to add it to the invite, politely request phones be kept in bags, in the car or at home. You can even help enforce it by having your ceremony somewhere without mobile coverage! Cheeky, but effective.

ELOPEMENTS

I find the UK market trails a few years behind the US market, looking out West for inspiration and trends has served me well across my career, and a trend that is massively popular in the US is elopements. Getting away somewhere pretty, just the two of you (or with a small group of family and friends). This has been especially true of the pacific north west area, an area that has driven rustic wedding trends over the past few years – but we’re seeing the trend trickle throughout the rest of the United States and over the past 12 months, into the UK.

We recently helped organise a Sunset Snowdonia Elopement and are helping plan a perfect Lake District Elopement. We’re also seeing an increase in elopement requests for major cities – with London, Manchester Edinburgh and Brighton being super popular.

Elopements really bring the focus back to the couple, the emotions and the significance of the occasion. I’ve also been told by alot of our wedding photographer friends that elopements are lovely to photograph – often freeing up a photographers creativity and giving opportunity to create something truly special.

DETAILS ARE OUT – LOVE IS IN

A few years ago, it was all about the bunting and the tree trunk centrepieces. Before that it was hay bales, more bunting and tents. Before that, florals and pastel colours. Trends in the details come and go – a few years ago everyone had to have picture frames for ‘selfie stations’ prompting a rise in photo booths and selfie props.

Im glad to say people are moving away from details.

The average budget for our high end clients to spend on details was around 25% of their budget, over the past year this has reduced to 10%.

Details are essentially there to impress your guests, give them something to talk about and share on social media and make everyone love you just that little bit more.

With the increasing focus on the human element, the emotional connection and the actual emotions – the focus on details has shifted away. With couples spending more on clothes and food instead. I’m sure the trend for detail oriented days will be back in 5 years – so keep hold of those jam jars and buy extra shares in mason jars.

Wedding Planners

We’ve seen a big uptick in the amount of enquiries we’ve received – we’ve also seen a huge increase in the amount of wedding planners coming into the market. This can only mean one thing – increased demand.

Increased demand signals that more couples are prioritising a stress free day over other things, they are valuing the efforts a good wedding planner can bring to their day. Of course were super happy that wedding planners are becoming more popular – but objectively from a client stand point we’re excited to see people have a more hands off, relaxed day and thoroughly enjoying themselves rather than getting fixated on the small stuff and the logistics of the day.

My start in event and wedding planning aka. How to be a wedding planner.

My path to becoming a wedding planner wasn’t via the route so many planners and coordinators find themselves travelling.

A lot of people that get involved in wedding and events coordination do so because they have, or are planning – their own wedding. Its a great experience and one filled with so many emotional stages – after their own wedding has concluded they are left with a bit of a void, a void that had, for the past few years at least, been filled with the world weddings, all the talk of logistics, researching suppliers and picking the right details.

Its an all consuming process requiring years of mental dedication, and no small number of filofaxes.

Usually, they will find that their wedding went without a hitch, they had two hundred of their friends and families telling them it was the best event they had ever been to, and that they had never before seen such a beautiful, magnificent wedding.

So, of course, they must go into wedding planning professionally.

Some of these people have success in the early stages of their business, they are riding the high of their own wedding, they are brimming with enthusiasm and on top of the current trends.

Maybe they get involved in a few of their friends weddings, building a portfolio in the process and racking up a little experience.

Inevitably, there comes a moment when the enthusiasm for their own wedding runs out. Their knowledge of trends is getting a little dated and the new wedding enquiries aren’t flooding in as they expected.

This is the point most have-a-go planners, as we call them, pull the plug on their business.

Some people will push through this stage, they’ll keep immersed in weddings, stay abreast of the hottest trends and find a natural rhythm within the wedding planning industry. These are the people that become wedding planners.

My own Journey.

So, how did I get into the business. Well, I have only recently planned my own wedding and have been a planner for well over a decade. So clearly, not taking the above route.

I planned my first wedding for a private client (read. not a family member, or existing friend) in 2004. A beautiful couple – R and J. R and J were bankers, but we’ll get onto their story later. I had been planning and assisting with friends weddings and events for a few years before this – all the while researching and building a portfolio of contacts. I had contacts at Royal Estates and with media publications from a previous career, I established wedding specific contacts by networking, building trust and being an actie member in the wedding community. I made personal friends with many of the top venue managers, I was on first names with the finest wedding photographers, I got to know all the high end caterers and even had a few relationships with their chefs 😉

About this time bloggers started to show up to the party.

This was an amazing opportunity for anyone in the industry at this point – a sudden influx of highly sociable, highly connected individuals who were all immensely friendly and lovely people to know. Not only were they lovely people, they were gold for anyone running a wedding business. My relationships with Abby from Style me Pretty, Kat at Rock and Roll Bride, Charlotte and Rebecca at Rock My Wedding were some of the most beneficial relationships I’ve had throughout my life. From just two features we obtained on SMP, we booked weddings with total budgets of more that 3 million pounds.

This was in our second year of business.

Building media relationships was another path to huge success, by this point we had already established a name for ourselves within the wedding community around London and the sudden focus on weddings ended with us being invited to contribute to articles for the BBC, the Guardian amongst other publications. Combining this exposure, with our existing network enabled us to expand and take on three new planners – each of whom came with their own network and connections.

By the end of year four, we had 75 weddings under our belts with a combined wedding budget of upwards of 27 millions pounds. We usually work to around a 10-20% commission, so you can imagine the scale of our business.

By building our planning business via organic connections we were able to grow in a sustained way, not a rapid grow and fizzle. One of the defining moments was our involvement in planning the wedding for G and A, their wedding budget eclipsed anything we had worked on before, but our experience planning high net weddings gave us the knowledge and expertise to pull it together flawlessly. This wedding propelled us into new realms and resulted in us creating a second business to cater to the High Net Worth market, a market exclusively covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Our original business continues today working with around 30 clients worldwide, with budgets between £50,000 and £1Million, at a commission rate of around 10%.

Our second, more exclusive business caters for around 10 weddings a year, with budgets above £1 Million and operates a commission of around 15%.

Both businesses have different joys attached to them, but personally I love overseeing the smaller, lower budget weddings as I find working with NDAs to be somewhat unfulfilling, I also love the media opportunities afforded by the more relaxed privacy concerns of the lower budget market.

Today we have offices in London, Paris, New York – I personally oversee the London office, but travel between the others for events and consults with our clients.

and so the journey begins… (an introduction)

I’m Rebecca, I’ve been a luxury events planner for the past 16 years and have created over 900 weddings and bespoke events with budgets ranging from £200k to over £3 million. I’ve curated events and celebrations across 4 continents, from weddings in Lake Como to Product launches in Abu Dhabi, Rooftop parties in New York to elopements in Switzerland. I also manage a team of 7 wedding and events planners and we have 170 events scheduled over the coming 12 months. We are associated with most of the top venues in Europe and have access to hundreds of the finest events suppliers.

My work has taken me all around the world – but nothing prepared me for the difficulties in planning my own wedding. From caterers changing suppliers and thus, the menu at the three days before our wedding, to a venue losing its ceremony license 6 weeks before the big day – forcing a complete change of venue at the 9th hour.

All that before the mother-in-law tried to take charge and dictate the colour scheme. As you can imagine, that coup was short lived.

My base is a beautiful townhouse in London, with my (new) husband and our two dogs, a pair of Dachshunds called Mango and Chilli – whom we adopted shortly after returning from a 6 month tour of India. I spend my free time walking around Richmond and finding new foody hubs. I travel for 30 weeks of the year for work – not only does this mean I get to fuel my wanderlust, but also has the added benefit of plenty of time on planes writing blog posts and researching the latest wedding trends

Full disclosure. Rebecca isn’t my real name – The stories contained within these pages will be a combination of anecdotes and advice from my own wedding journey, combined with adapted stories from my wedding and events clients. My clients are often protected by non-disclosure agreements and my relationships with my suppliers are important – thus the truths I share on these pages are required to be anonymous.