DO I NEED A PLANNER? WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR MY SPECIAL DAY?
Planning a wedding or an event is a fascinating job. Especially when it is your special moment. But imagine spending hours on putting things together, especially for a wedding it takes approximately 200 hours, at the same time try to enjoy or organise other parts of your daily life or business. It’s like being at two or more places at the same time.
A planner is there to assist and support, from the initial consultation, to the final day when everything needs to be assembled. A planner can make the whole experience way more pleasant and enjoyable for you or your business, can be resourceful, having a wide range of connections to match perfectly with every single aspect of your special event, reassuring that the couples or businesses do not come across with any questioning situations, and enlightening, as there are things that can occur or slip one’s mind.
Especially If you wish to plan your wedding abroad, there are so many variables that you cannot foresee, plus the local barriers. These are only few of the things that a skilful planner can do for that special day of yours, because this is the planner’s job; to be there and do all those things for you, effortlessly.
And that is exactly what I am here for. In addition to the above, I will help you with all the administrative and logistic parts of the process. I will listen to your wishes, visualise your ideas and incorporate them into that special day of yours, in order to create an unforgettable experience, using all my attributes, professional suppliers, and resources to design a flawless event.
PLANNER, STYLIST, DESIGNER OR VENUE COORDINATOR?
A planner is a professional, hired by a couple or a business to work with for the special day of the event. A planner is someone, who is there from day one, guiding you, doing research, overseeing every detail and dealing with all the logistics and administrative aspects. A planner builds a team with individuals or businesses to create a unique and memorable day filled with love, happiness and joy when it comes to a wedding or filled with feelings of success and growth for any business.
A stylist is doing exactly the same job as the planner with all the extra touches to make the day more “YOU”. A stylist is paying more attention to the details and the aesthetics of the wedding, from linen and furniture, to music or even the type of the venue itself, in order to create more cohesive artistic visuals.
A designer covers everything, they pay attention to all the small details. A designer consults with the client, and takes into account the desired elements and the theme that has been decided for the special occasion. A designer is a must when you want to customize an event, add all the extras and turn your event into an experience!
A venue coordinator, often but not always, is offered by the venue of hire, who can help on the logistics and the set up on the day. In such cases, they get in touch with the client on the day of the booking, and then again, a few weeks to a couple of months before the day. A venue coordinator is great assistance if there is already a planner/stylist in advance, because it is a good exchange of information and assistance regarding the day, as the coordinators tend to know better the functionality of their own venue. Hiring just a venue coordinator is a good choice, if the couple or the business chooses to do everything on their own, and need some assistance just on the day, while they need to provide every detail regarding suppliers and guests and take chances on any unexpected incidents as the venue doesn’t provide alternatives or solutions regarding external sources, and still maintain calmness to make it through the day. Hiring a venue coordinator is a good option if the venue of choice will provide all services. While the options may be limited, the process would definitely be less stressful.
That kind of choice is ideal for couples who would like to do a destination wedding and have their ceremony within the venue, or any business that has only a few simple requests. In this case certain limitations apply and it must be taken into consideration that a venue coordinator is not contractually bound to the client, but is an employee of a business. In other words, it is very likely that the clients might build their vision of their day with one person, but by the time the event occurs, someone else might have taken over. The connection between a client and the person that organizes their special day is essential, and having to deal with an unfamiliar person at that time might lead to undesirable outcomes. You probably wouldn’t want that to happen on your big day.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO HIRE A PLANNER?
Depending on the services that you need, a full service planning takes 9-18 months. Ideally, from the moment that you decide on the date, it is best to start looking for your ideal planner, as it is necessary to build a good relationship. The planner will be there to help you every step of the way and create an unforgettable experience specifically for you.
If you have more than 18 months leading up to your wedding day, it is still wise to book your planner as they will make sure that the important and necessary arrangements are done ahead of time. But you should be aware that many venues and vendors may not be able to give you available dates or rates that far in advance. Now, if you are thinking of having a destination wedding, there are many things that should be taken care of sooner rather than later.
For other services, like an on-the-daycoordination, depending on the services you request, a month or two should suffice. For partial planning, depending on the nature and number of your requests, you should allow 6-8 months.
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
I live in London, but my place of residence does not limit where I operate. Any location is a chance to explore, discover and create. At the moment, it is easier for me to source my suppliers and venues in the places I call “home”, which are central London and multiple locations in Greece.
WE ARE THINKING OF A DESTINATION WEDDING. WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO HELP AND WHICH COUNTRIES DO YOU HAVE AS A DESTINATION?
My home is a destination, but any destination can be my home! Literally! My current location, London, is a very popular wedding destination for couples from all over the world and my homeland, Greece, is another beloved destination.
Who could resist those stunning beach spots in Athens, Mykonos, Santorini and Sifnos or the hidden winter gems, such as the mythic mount Olympus. All of the above locations are places where I have a great network already in place but I would love to conquer some new locations in Europe, especially Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome and the Amalfi Coast, which I have fallen in love with deeply during my travels.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A DISTANCE BETWEEN THE DESIRED LOCATION OF THE EVENT BUT ALSO BETWEEN US FOR THE NECESSARY MEETINGS.
Whether your desired location is London, Greece or any other spot on the map, I will be your field agent, I will do the research and use all necessary resources to make bring your vision to life. If, for some reason my experience and resources are not sufficient, I would not hesitate to let you know from the get go and I would try to find a fellow planner who could help you in my stead. In this digital age, distance is no issue. We can keep the communication going via emails, messages, phone and video calls.
DO YOU PLAN INTIMATE WEDDINGS/ELOPEMENTS?
Absolutely! Bear in mind that an intimate wedding (less than 20 guests) or an elopement have a specific planning process and require different services than a classic wedding. For elopements, the planning would ideally start 5-6 months before the wedding day and the fees would depend on the final number of people attending and the location of the event, especially if it is a destination wedding.
WOULD THERE BE ANY LIMITATIONS ON PLANNING AN ELOPEMENT WITH YOUR OWN SUPPLIERS?
Yes there are limitations for elopements! Currently I am only planning elopements in the UK from Monday to Thursday. If the location of the elopement is outside the UK, I will treat it as a full planning service, which means that I require a minimum of 8 months for the planning process. The day of your elopement will depend on the services you have opted for and the number of guests joining you. It may not always be possible to arrange elopements on the Weekend (Friday to Sunday) as is may conflict with local businesses and their events, so some elopements might take place Monday to Thursday.
Should you want to source your own suppliers within the UK, then that is absolutely fine. I am always looking to expand my circle of collaborators. All I will need, is a link that will allow me to view their work, so I can assess their aesthetics and think about how I could incorporate their work into mine.
Now, if you want to elope outside the borders of your country of residence and have connected with some suppliers then I will need to examine their services thoroughly before I can agree to collaborate, as I have a certain quality and
aesthetic I adhere to.
HOW DOES A PLANNER HELP REGARDING THE SUPPLIERS? AND HOW THAT DOESN’T PUT LIMITATIONS ON OUR OPTIONS?
Suppliers are one of the first and last things that a planner is dealing with throughout the entire process. The planner is resourcing a vast list of ideal suppliers, revises the list and gets in touch with the ones that match your style, your requirements and your budget. The planner is the one who makes sure that this list is firstly approved by the client, and then brings in touch the couple with the suppliers, each and every one individually, to present their work if the couple requests it, and if the circumstances allow it. Keep in mind that this may not be possible when it comes to destination weddings. Then, it’s the planner’s job to revise the contracts and detect any irregularities or omissions regarding the day and to ensure the safety of all the attendees. Finally, it is the planner who makes sure that every supplier has all the necessary details and schedules of the event and on the day makes sure everything is set up properly, eventually taken down correctly and then safely returned to each supplier.
Having worked with a specific supplier previously is extremely reassuring, that is why planners prefer to work with certain suppliers. There is no limitation on choices. After all, the final word goes to the couple, but it could be at their own risk for their wedding day. Besides, most of the time planners present a list of suppliers which is more than enough, and if there is a limitation there, it usually comes from the budget, but that doesn’t mean that further research is not possible for a more suitable supplier.
WHAT SORT OF STYLE YOU USE ON YOUR WEDDINGS / EVENTS?
I don’t have a specific style, I find something beautiful in everything, so I pick elements that speak to me and create my own unique style. Besides, I find having one particular style quite boring, it doesn’t allow me to expand my mind and stifles my creativity. Whatever style you want to go for, classic, romantic or contemporary, elegant or glamorous, fashionable or theatrical, large or intimate, I will work with you and carefully design a bespoke concept that matches your personality and expectations.
When it comes to corporate events or private parties, the final presentation depends on your request. I always deliver a very professional and elegant style, that suits the attitude of the event and the business or I create a stunning party for people to have an absolute blast.
WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF MOODBOARDS, PINTEREST AND IDEAS DRAWN FROM THEM? COULD WE RECREATE AND INCORPORATE THE STYLE INTO OUR DAY?
Absolutely YES! Having visuals always helps to narrow down the ideas which will allow me to create the concept you want. It gives me a guideline that helps me to better understand your vision.
I believe that there is nothing better than drawing inspiration from all the things that surround us and bringing these elements together into a cohesive idea of what you would like to recreate. At this moment it is very important not to get carried away and to keep your budget in mind so that there are no disappointments down the road.
Personally, I get inspired by nature, music, films, art, architecture and of course every day life. And sometimes it is easier to bring it all together with the help of a mood-board, simply by collecting some pictures. The point is to find a style that you love and that inspires you and then I can find the best resources to create a unique experience that caters to your personality. It is your wedding and it needs to be about you, details of your life and the things you cherish. And trust me even the smallest detail can have a massive impact on the overall look. After all, why be a copycat when you can be unique?
WHAT TAKES PLACE ON THE WEDDING DAY?
The absolute enjoyment! The guests have arrived, the big moment is finally here and everything is revolving around the couple. And that’s what you should be there for. Living every second, cherishing every moment with your loved one, your friends, your family and all the guests who came to honour you. The wedding planner is there to make sure that everything has fallen into place and runs smoothly, coordinating the suppliers and dealing with any concerns they have regarding the process, while helping out the guests with everything they need. I will be there overseeing everything in the background, without any interference, you won’t even notice I am there.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE ON THE WEDDING DAY?
Our partnership is an agreement. The date I am booking for you is exclusively yours. If it was shared, it would definitely reflect badly upon my job quality and my professionalism. As it will be mentioned in our contract, I will be there on the day to provide the services that we agreed upon, and make sure everything runs smoothly. Only in cases of absolute emergency and unforeseen circumstances that would affect my physical condition and would not allow me to be present, would I provide an associate planner. The associate planner would be someone I trust 100% and who has the same level of expertise I bring to the table, they will help run the entire event with my full guidance and all the information regarding everything we discussed and decided to create for your wedding day, with an extra help of extra assistant(s).
DO YOU CHARGE FOR THE CONSULTATIONS? HOW DO YOU CONDUCT THEM AND HOW MANY MEETINGS SHOULD WE EXPECT TO HAVE WITH YOU?
I am not charging for my initial consultations regardless of the type of service you are potentially going to hire me for. The number of meetings and how they take place depends on the type of service you need.
After filling out the contact form with a few details regarding your event, we can schedule an appointment for an initial conversation which will take place over the phone and it will last approximately 45min – 1hr. This is more about getting to know each other a little bit better and discuss any relevant questions. The information that we both share in our initial conversation will be essential and helpful to see if we are a good fit, and for me to put together a quote/proposal of services that will suit you and your event best.
After the initial conversation, we will have a meeting in person for 1 hour, where I will present you the quote/proposal and run through some more details over a coffee and a general chat. I don’t charge anything for those first meetings, so I ask you to inform me about delays or cancellations at least 24 hours before our scheduled meeting. If you miss our appointment more than two times, I am afraid it will be a deal breaker for our collaboration.
If a face to face meeting is not possible, mainly due to distance, the meetings will take place via video calls on Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp or any other platform you would like to use. I do prefer in person meetings, as I like to deeply connect with my clients and understand their needs, but I understand that this is not always an option. If we come to an agreement and you book me as your wedding planner, I offer a Full Planning package, with a necessary amount of phone calls, emails and video chat communications on dates and hours that suits both sides; obviously if you live on the other side of the world, my “office hours” won’t be a good deal for you but I will always be available for
emergency calls. Weekend calls can be scheduled if necessary. You also get up to three 2hr face-to-face meetings in London (via video call if you live abroad) to run through wedding plans, discuss your options, talk about concerns you might have or even accompany you to local supplier meetings; and two full-day venue visits. Travel charges will apply for meetings outside London.
A PLANNER’S FEES. WHAT ARE THEY, (WHY FEES), HOW DO THEY WORK AND WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE WITH COMMISSIONS OR KICK BACKS?
It is very common to come across a planner’s fee on the “Full Plan” services, which is a percentage charged according to the overall wedding budget (varies between 10 – 15%), and includes a minimum fee as a starting point. That means that the planner’s services will cost 10 – 15% (based on planner’s disclaimed fee requests and upon agreement with the couple) of the overall wedding budget, until the budget meets the minimum fees requirements. The percentage reflects the value of the organisational cost spent for the wedding, excluding the apparel, the planner’s/stylist’s fee, or the honeymoon (if the couple decide to include it in their overall budget of the wedding). Together we will break down your budget to fit your ideal wedding day, as we will keep track of it, every step of the way, with full clarity. If you decide to go over your initially agreed upon budget, I will apply the discussed percentage to the updated overall amount of the budget spent and include the difference on the remaining balance.
The minimum fee is necessary to ensure the cost effectiveness of a planner’s business. Even when a wedding costs a percentage below the minimum fee, a planner still has to go through an approximate 250 – 400 hours of planning to make this event happen. The percentage reflects the transparency of our relationship, thus an evaluation of my work and the effort that I put into my business to make it effective. Although we create something beautiful, behind the magic there is still a business to run with all the expenses that come with it, in order to make it efficient, secure and up to date within this extremely competitive market and to provide excellent service!
For other services, like “Partial Planning”, “On the Day” and so on, usually there are only fixed fees, as the services provided within are very specific, therefore the budget is also fixed. These types of services are an ideal fit for tighter budgets, where a planner can provide specific services. A general break-down of how planning fees work doesn’t mean that it is a rule that everyone follows. Every planner has his own set of rules and it’s up to the couple to decide what works for them.
Another aspect that requires special attention is the topic of commissions, also known as kickbacks. It is when a planner is charging too little for his services, while the venue or the supplier is charging too much. That creates an unfortunate situation of mistrust and stains the profession of all planners and the industry. As I have mentioned in my previous section regarding the list of suppliers, a planner is there to provide credibility for a supplier, and not to gain by greed and deception. Basically what happens is that the planner will present a specific list of suppliers that will not necessarily match your criteria, because they have negotiated a commission out of the services, which the planner will not disclose, therefore will make cuts from his percentage or minimum fees. At the same time the supplier will charge more, usually based on the planner’s percentage of charges, 10 – 15%, on top of the cost of the actual service. Having trained with and being a part of the UKAWP (UK Alliance of Wedding Planners), I have made a commitment to not accept commissions from my suppliers but to offer them as a discount to my clients, and that is something that I will disclose to every single client.
WHY DO YOU CHARGE THAT MUCH AND WHY IS THERE A PERCENTAGE ON TOP OF IT?
An average wedding can take 250 – 300 hours to be organised. A destination wedding can take up to 400 hours, including the hours of travelling that take you away from your base and your office. On your wedding day I am all yours, but I am still running a business and need to be available to my other clients while I plan yours. Running a business comes with costs including but not limited to business expenses, taxes, public liability insurance and investments to further my professional development. Considering my minimum fee and taking into account the minimum amount of hours needed to plan an average wedding, you’ll soon realise that my hourly rate is quite moderate. And as mentioned previously, I do not accept commissions from the suppliers, instead I offer transparency and I only charge what I deem appropriate for the services I provide.
The percentage on top of the fee is a pretty clear application. The minimum fee is based on the necessity of the standard services which are required to be provided, while the additional percentage is based on the extra services and work that needs to be done for an event. The more services you book, the more extravagant they are, the more time and effort will be needed to put everything together. At the end of the day, it is hard to quantify the extensive work, research and efforts a planner puts in to give you the perfect wedding but this fee system is followed by many planners/stylists and it is a good base to compare the services out there.
DO YOU CHARGE A PERCENTAGE FOR OTHER SERVICES LIKE PARTIAL PLANNING AND ELOPEMENTS?
For any other service, like partial planning, on-the-day coordination, elopements or intimate weddings, I do not charge on a percentage basis, as the services offered are specific. Bear in mind that additional charges will apply depending on the chosen location and for any additional services.
When it comes to elopements, the set of services offered by suppliers, such as hair and make-up, photography, videography and flowers, are so specific that one cannot ask for a percentage based charge. Should you be in need of a particular supplier or should there be a scheduling conflict on your big day, there is no need to worry as I do have a list of reliable suppliers that could alternatively provide their services. Venue hire and catering are two things I do not provide as these choices really depend on your personal preferences and they should be booked far in advance, preferably before you hire me as your planner/stylist.
REGARDING PERSONAL DATA, WHAT IS KEPT AND WHAT IS SHARED?
When you purchase any of my services, your personal data will be essential in order to process and fulfil my contract with you to the best of my abilities. Your data will be stored for the necessary amount of time that will be required based on the reason they were collected for.
I am a person that highly values privacy, especially when it comes to my own personal life. Therefore I will value your privacy and personal data as if they were my own. I will take all necessary measures and precautions to process all your information in a secure and encrypted way wherever possible.
PICTURES ARE PART OF OUR PERSONAL DATA. DO THEY (ALSO) STAY OFFLINE?
The short answer to that question is yes. Pictures can stay offline if that is what you wish, however this decision will come with additional charges. Bear with me. In this day and age, a planner’s/designer’s business is strongly tied to their online presence. Couples looking for inspiration turn to platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to find visuals that speak to them and the vision they have for their big day. A planner’s portfolio should reflect their style, skill set and previous accomplishments and that is why pictures of your wedding are essential when it comes to attracting new clients and growing my business.
All quotes are technically discounted by £1,500 based on the assumption that I get to use photos and videos from your magical day to expand my portfolio. I do understand that there are couples that want to keep their images private or at least the option to approve what images can be used online. In that case I need to take measures to counteract the loss of earnings that derives, which means that I will have to organise an independent style shoot to get footage once everything is set up but before you and your guests arrive. Hiring a photographer and a videographer for that purpose and organising their transport would entail considerable expenses. Should you still want to keep your pictures offline, then the quoted fee plus £1,500 will apply.