Back in June I had the pleasure of working with Sarah Clifford Weddings at Charlotte and Steve’s wedding. Sarah is a wedding planner and an absolutely lovely person. Today I wanted to give you a little insight to what she does. I met up with Sarah last week at Kalm Kitchen Cafe in Guildford and we had a long old chat about weddings and life.
Here are some of the questions I had for Sarah to find out more about her business.
What is it you do?
We work with couples to help them bring their perfect wedding to life. Whether that’s to be there from the beginning of their planning or just to step in and help in the last few weeks, the aim is to make their planning as stress free and enjoyable as possible. We work closely with them and all their suppliers to make sure that everything runs smoothly. As well as being on hand throughout the whole planning process to offer advice, help, coffee and anything that is needed!
We specialise in on the day co-ordination, so looking after the couple’s final weeks of planning so they can enjoy the run up to their big day. We offer two different options, one where we get involved around 8 weeks before and help with finishing touches as well as prepping everything for the wedding day. Another is where we start working with the couple around 2-3 weeks before the big day, contact all the suppliers and make sure everything is ready to go as well as being there on the day to ensure all the couple’s plans run exactly as they imagined. For couple’s that want something a little more comprehensive we offer a full planning service where we take care of everything from beginning to end, including budgeting and timings. For others that would like a one off helping hand, we offer supplier searches and our increasingly popular hourly consultation, where brides can book an hour or a few at a time for help with anything from styling, stuffing invitation envelopes or general wedmin advice.
The main aim of hiring a planner is to make everything easier for you as a couple. It takes an average of 300 hours to plan a wedding (that’s a lot when you consider you have full time jobs, family, friends and life to deal with too!) With our experience, contacts and industry knowledge we can help you in all areas of your planning, but our main aim is for couples to really feel like they have someone there for them when they need it. It’s all about making sure our couples feel relaxed and in safe hands, so they can really enjoy the planning process and then really relax and take everything in on their wedding day.
What is the planning process?
We offer a totally free consultation for couples to get to know us before booking, it gives us a chance to meet so we can advise how we can best help you as well as giving you the opportunity to ask as many questions as you need to before making a final decision. Depending on what level of planning you go for, we then create timings and help you work through your budget. We have a hands on approach with our couples and like to make sure they are involved every step of the way, so whilst we do the ground work putting in the time for meetings and getting everything together, we will always leave final decisions to the couple.
What does your year look like as a wedding planner?
It very much depends on our couples and when they are getting married as everything works around their timings. Wedding season is still very much from May- September, but Christmas weddings are very popular now too, so these are always busier times. For full plan weddings we often start planning a year – 18 months in advance, especially if the couple has a dream venue in mind.
When is the best stage to book you?
It really is up to you when to book. Some couples need a planner from the beginning in which case it’s best to get in touch to chat through options when you first get engaged. Other couples love planning their wedding and want to do it by themselves, but often just need someone to make sure everything comes together on the day. There are so many different ways we can help it’s never too late to get in touch.
What are your best tips you can offer to couples planning a wedding?
Really think about who you are as a couple and what makes you tick. Your wedding day is all about the two of you and making a commitment to each other so do it your way. Also, set a budget up front, add a small contingency just in case (around 5% of your overall budget), and then stick to it.
Have you noticed any trends for 2016 weddings?
Brides are becoming a little bolder and there are some fab trends coming out of the woodwork, we particularly love a hint of tropical, think pineapples, bold patterns and colour. Dresses with detail are big, top to toe lace, feathers and ruffles, interesting backs are still very much in as well as the two piece dress. Finally anything hanging! From lighting to florals, couples are starting to use light a lot more (which I love!) in the form of candles, fairy lights and festoon lighting.
What do you love most about your job?
That’s the hardest question because it’s a bit of a dream job! Being invited to share in someone’s wedding is a real honour. It’s lovely getting to know couples and then see them walk down the aisle and commit to each other, it’s a really special moment to witness.