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5 minutes with… | Jessie Thomson, Wedding Planner

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lanning a wedding for many brides-to-be can be an enjoyable experience however some find the process to stressful and with so many choices to make before the big day, an extra pair of hands can be invaluable. This week Wedding and Events planner, Jessie Thomson reveals the role of a wedding planner, current trends and her individual approach to the wedding market.

What is your philosophy for wedding planning?

Fully understand my clients in order to create a vision for their big day which reflects the couple’s own personality and style, develop a realistic budget that reflects the couple’s own priorities, and ensure that everything and anything is done to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible right up until the guests are dancing the night away.

Which themes/colours/style of weddings seem to be popular?

I’m seeing a lot more weddings with very simple yet pretty decor, with lots of white paired with subtle green and beige. It’s timeless and can look stunning at pretty much any venue. On the flip side, I’m also seeing weddings with more bold colour schemes… rather than sticking to say, purple or pink, couples want a mix of bright wildflowers and multi-coloured bunting. While vintage is still proving to be popular, I think we’re going to be seeing less of the teacups and afternoon tea style weddings. Think more upcycled and flea market chic!

What does your role as wedding planner entail before the wedding and on the big day?

It very much depends on what services I have been booked for – a common misconception is that planners are only suitable for big-budget brides and that they take over the whole planning experience. In reality, there is usually a service that suits everyone, from styling tables to venue search and selection and on the day coordination. Some of my couples I am doing full planning for are on extremely tight budgets – I’m here to help them create a beautiful and memorable day without spending more than they can afford. From finding the right supplier, negotiating prices, advising on DIY projects, seasonality of produce etc. Even if I do full planning, unless asked otherwise, I always work with couples so that they feel involved and have a personal input into their own day/ On the day of a wedding I am there first thing in the morning until after the first dance, making sure that all the decorations look perfect, co-ordinating suppliers, helping ushers with buttonholes, managing timings, looking after noisy babies…. you name it I do it!

What are the benefits of hiring a wedding planner?

In short – we save you time, money and stress! We liaise with suppliers (yes, there are a LOT!), we create schedules and budgets, we offer professional advice and stay aware of current trends, we’ve got a bigger black book of suppliers than you can ever imagine, we’re calm in a crisis, we have an eye for detail, we negotiate prices…. we trek through the mud holding umbrella’s and touching up hair/ makeup so that your photographer can get an amazing shot of you outside even though it’s raining…. get the picture?! A good wedding planner will go beyond the call of duty to make sure you have the perfect day.

Are you known for a particular style? i.e. vintage, modern etc

I’m not known for only working on weddings with a particular style, I love a modern chic wedding just as much as a laid-back country barn affair, but I suppose I do attract couples with a similar style preference to my own – I’m a big fan of ethereal and bohemian themes, but also the very simple and personal weddings with unique touches.

What types of venue are popular among brides and grooms for Spring/summer and Autumn /winter?

I’m seeing a massive shift where couples are moving away from big hotels and the hefty price tag that often comes with them. Many more brides are looking for unusual locations that stand out or lower budget venues where they intend to spend more on decorations and styling. Perhaps influenced by bloggers from the US, I’m also seeing more couples looking for venues with an outdoor ceremony licence – but they should remember the great British Summer isn’t always reliable and have a backup place in the plan. Marquee’s and Manor Houses will always be popular though, especially in the Cotswolds where we have a huge selection of fabulous venues.

What is your advice for brides looking for good vendors i.e. florists, cake, dresses?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, check their portfolio and testimonials, meet in person before booking, ask for friends recommendations, and always see if they can come down in price! Just because a supplier has been in the business a long time, does not mean they are necessarily the right match for you. There are always fabulous new wedding vendors starting up in the UK, and whilst they might not have a massive portfolio to show off they may well be able to provide samples and stay within your budget. A lot of large venues give out their own supplier recommendations – whilst you’d hope that this is based on experience and in good faith, unfortunately, some do operate on commission and kickbacks. So do look around before you book. As a wedding planner I never accept commission from suppliers, I always pass any discounts back to my clients and recommend the best person for the job.

What top tips would you give to a bride planning her wedding herself?

Book a wedding planner! I’m joking (sort of), but in all seriousness, if you’re taking on the bulk of planning then my advice is to create a detailed budget, book your main suppliers and venue as far in advance as possible, spend some time adding your own personal touches… and try to enjoy it! A lot of my couples are highly organised and creative, so have only booked me to be there on the day and make sure everything runs smoothly so they can relax completely.

My top tips for the day itself? Ladies, avoid fake tan and too much bronzer (not good rubbed off on a white dress and natural is way prettier) and Gents, never use a new razor (you will be guaranteed to cut yourself)!

To view Jessie’s work visit www.jessiethomson.co.uk

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