Friday, 30 March 2012

BLOGGED: What Do Wedding Planners Do?

This week I was super kindly invited to contribute to the 'UK's Best Bridal Mini-Mag' -the Wedding Ideas blog.  An offer I couldn't refuse!  I LOVE the herd at Wedding ideas for their inspirational advice and real life weddings, so to be asked to share my insights into the wonderful world of wedding planning was a great honour.  Enjoy! bd x

What do wedding planners do?

What do wedding planners do? Newly engaged couples can often find the wonderful world of weddings a little daunting, so look to the guidance and creativity of a wedding planner. Busy couples with hectic family, work and social commitments use planners to save time, and savvy couples to save money! But what exactly do we do to help you get hitched without a hitch? Helen Burns from Bespoken Dreams gives us the ins and outs of what wedding planners actually do!

Helen Burns from Bespoken dreams
Helen Burns from Bespoken Dreams

Dial M for Marriage
Planners listen. To your ideas, dreams, aspirations, loves, hates, hobbies and interests to understand your unique style and flair, throughout the whole of the planning process. We’re your speed dial magic number…

Budget planning and admin is essential. We can crunch your numbers to ensure you stay in line with budget and get the very best deals for you.

Research Your Dream Venue
Your reception is your biggest splurge; we eliminate venues out of budget and investigate those that have facilities featuring most highly on your wanted list. Barn to Boutique, Castle to Country House, Historical to Heritage!

Friends in High Place
Planners aren’t just for celebs or blingy budgets. We each have our own ‘little white book’ of reputable, inspiring suppliers to negotiate prices on your behalf, saving you money in the process.

We’re En Vogue
Our job is to make sure we’re ahead of the style stakes in order to give you as many options as possible to create the dream day you’re both visualising.

We’re Niche
Planners have their own niche so we’ll never try to put a square (marquee) peg in a round hole! Like your betrothed, you’ll know if you’ve found the right planner.

We’re Impartial
Representing style-savvy couples staying true to their personal flair, we give honest, impartial and expert advice to guarantee complete Bridal Idol. We won’t let any friend, family or foe stress you out!

Designing a Theme
We create visual mood boards of inspiring colours, textures and even smells! Text, photographs, magazines, images, swatches and samples will bring your potential theme to life. Delicate, significant touches to the sublime!

It’s Your Choice
How involved we get with your planning is entirely up to you. Planners offer a full coordination or can also break this service down into amuse-bouche bites. Planning as smooth as the silk dress you’re possibly wearing!

Searching for the Cream of the Crop!
Planners have an extensive circle of vetted suppliers, big or small, from the award winning to the hidden gems, all sharing the same ethos of creating your oh-so special celebration.

Thank you Wedding Ideas for featuring me on your beautiful blog! x

Monday, 5 March 2012

Have the Time of Your Life Thinking Pink!

Cocktails & Dirty Dancing - Saturday 10th March at the Bubble Room/Woolton Picturehouse, Liverpool

And Help Put Breast Cancer in the Corner...

Dirty Dancing is THE ultimate chick flick.  As enthralled 80's spectators we worshiped every word, marvelled every move and LOVED the legendary line 'Nobody puts Baby in the corner'.  And we just don't tire of it!
So, grab your girlies this weekend and relive your favourite movie this Saturday 10th March at the the Woolton Picture House, Liverpool, all in the aid of the  Breast Cancer Campaign. 

Regional Volunteer Clare Worthington has put on a show stopping afternoon, starting at 2pm with arrival canapes and cocktails (Watermelon Martini and Sexy Swayze) at the Bubble Room, Woolton followed by a pink carpet arrival and a private screening from 4pm till 6pm at the cinema hidden gem, a traditional art deco auditorium, directly opposite the Bubble Room.  Tickets are priced at £15 pp, with all proceeds going to the charity.  You can also pay on the door on the day. 

How better to while away a Saturday afternoon with your chicks, sipping cocktails, thinking pink?

For more information contact Clare on 07590 619 331.

Be Part of the Cure, much love xxx

Top Tips on Selecting your Wedding Dream Venue

Last week I was asked to comment in the local press on handy tips for brides and grooms sourcing their dream venue.  And let me tell you, after jotting notes for some 5 minutes the pen was smoking - there's quite a bit to look into!  Now, my intention is not to scare you (far from it) but to simply emphasise the importance of reseaching your venue properly to ensure it creates the right ambience and memories for your oh-so-special day.

If you keep these tips in the back of your mind, you'll be ticking the top of your wedding to do list off, pronto.  

But most importantly, go with your instincts. Just like your betrothed, you will know when you’ve found the right one....

What to Think About  

Number crunch
With the average wedding costing £21k, and of course a raging recession to think about, it’s important to sit down and discuss your budget as soon as possible.  It sounds obvious, but eliminate venues that are out of your budget immediately, venues very rarely move on price.  If a venue is reluctant to provide costs when you initially enquire, tell them of your budget before arranging a meeting.  This will save you time, effort and heartbreak!

The guest list
Decide on a first draft of numbers and draw up a list (perhaps with both sets of parents).  Of course this won’t be the final cut, but you will need a rough indication before you can research and confirm your venue.  Capacity at a particular venue will dictate whether you host dinner for 80 or an evening cocktail reception for 120.  Many venues insist on minimum numbers to guarantee profit; meaning you have to pay for the shortfall.

Again, it sounds obvious, but if your wedding ceremony is at a separate venue, take into account the logistics.  Is transport required for guests, will the route be busier on the day of your wedding, are there any local events on the day of your event that could obstruct traffic.  Check the signage on the roads is suitable too.  Also consider your evening guests; if your venue is a hidden gem tucked away then you should consider transport for them too.

If you have your heart set on a fashionable venue, book it yesterday!  Think about seasons.  If it’s more popular in summer then why not consider a winter wedding?  Also think about topical events; FA Cup finals, the forthcoming Olympics, they all have knock on effects on cost and availability.  If you don’t have a venue in mind, shortlist your own venue menu and visit 3-5 until you find your perfect location that reflects the day that you’re both visualising. 

Go For Sunday Lunch!
The best way to suss out a venue is to ‘mystery shop’ on a particularly busy day like Sunday lunchtime.  Here you can sample the food, service, cleanliness and toilets without any of the hard sell.


What to Look For

Note if the reception, bar, dance floor and toilet facilities are on the same level or same room.  Are there lifts available for elderly guests?

If the venue does not have on site accommodation, suss out local hotels as an alternative to guests.  Ask about a ‘bridal dressing area’ to allow the bride and groom to freshen up throughout the day.  If accommodation is available, enquire whether group bookings for guests can be discounted and ask about check in and out times.

Photographs are the keepsake memories of your day to treasure forever.  Does the venue have an attractive backdrop for photographs?  Whether it’s a sweeping staircase or magnificent grounds, bear this in mind when viewing.  Don’t bank on it being a dry, sunny day if your dream shots are outside.  Always have a Plan B! 

If you have a colour scheme or design in mind for the day, be mindful of the venue’s décor.  Clashing colours are a no-no!

Questions to Ask

Preferred Suppliers
Some venues have a list of preferred suppliers meaning you can’t use any you’ve sourced yourself.  Sometimes this is for safety or insurance purposes (fireworks, entertainment, catering), or because the venue receives commission from the supplier.

Enquire whether your wedding will be the only one on that day.  Some venues offer exclusivity at an additional cost, so be aware.

No Dancing!
Historic floors in country properties need protecting from dancing feet, especially in 4 inch heels!  Some venues may stipulate a no dancing rule which means you would have to hire a marquee for the evening reception.

And if you are planning on leading the Love Train into the wee hours, check beforehand what time the venue closes.  Venues in residential areas may have an early finish of 11pm, and if there is a wedding on the next day, the venue may wish to set up the night before.

Read the Small Print
You love the venue and have deemed it ‘the one’.  Before signing any contracts, read the small print to ensure you have any unwelcome surprises boxed off.  Hidden costs or quotes exclusive of VAT discovered after the ink is dry will alter your budget and could be the difference between champagne and cava!  

Much Love x

Golden Tans and Glossy Hands at Matt Cox, Liverpool

Liverpool's B2Bs and their elite entourages are getting Summer Savvy with the latest special offers on beauty treatments at Matt Cox Hairdressing and Beauty 

Matt Cox, based in the affluent Childwall area of South Liverpool, boasts a talented, creative and uber friendly team offering the ultimate hair, beauty and makeup experience.

Throughout the whole of March, Fake Bake full body applications are priced at a fabulous £15.00, and up until 17th March, Shellac nails are priced at £10.00! With an array of tempting colours that look good enough to eat, all the very latest Shellac colours will also be available very soon  - so watch this space!

To book an appointment at the exclusive South Liverpool salon, please call 0151 722 6686

Don't forget to mention Bespoken Dreams if you read the special offer here!

Much love x