SPLASH’S GUIDE TO HIRING THE PERFECT WEDDING PLANNER

Splash’s guide to hiring the perfect wedding planner, An interview with Linen & Silk Weddings

Preparing for your wedding is one if not the most exciting times you will share as a couple. Also, one of the most stressful between the excitement of moving to a new home, choosing the white dress, and the tux. Planning the ceremony choosing the best man and bride maids, it certainly looks like an endless list.

Hiring a professional wedding planner can eliminate most of the stress accompanied with planning for the best day in your lives.

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Having a beautiful location in & out will make you feel even more special!

It’s just like hiring the best photography team to document that day the best for you.

But how do you know which wedding planner to choose and how to work together to make this indeed the best day ever?

 

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It is your special day and there is no room for error.

We paired up with the amazing Elisabetta from Linen & Silk Weddings.

elisabetta portraitElisabetta is an Italian wedding planner and blogger based in London, Linen & Silk Weddings offers wedding planning services in London and exclusive destinations in Italy and Sharm el Sheikh. With a view to help couples make the wedding planning process as smooth as possible, I provide advice and practical assistance on the best solutions for your needs, ensuring your ideal wedding day becomes a reality.

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Sharm El Sheikh – Choosing a beautiful landscape/view is as important as anything else.

Also, Linen & Silk is a UKAWP (ukawp.com) Associate Member and currently the only UKAWP member offering services in Italy.

Elisabetta will tell us what do, how to choose and what is right for you and what is not.

But first, here are some general rules to set for yourself when choosing your wedding planner. Always have a long meeting to understand what the planner really do, and how they do it.

If they have any special locations or venues, they prefer working at and with, and if they will take care of the whole wedding for you and how much they outsource from their service and who they outsource too to maintain the quality you wish.

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Elisabetta will get asked some questions to try to give you a crash course on how to hire the best wedding planner there is.

  • First of all, who are you and your team at Linen & Silk?

5I am an Italian wedding planner based primarily in London (UK), helping clients all over the world plan their bijou wedding or event in beautiful destinations such as Italy or Egypt. The size of a wedding doesn’t matter to me; what does matter, however, is the feel – I like working with stylish couples who are looking for an intimate, personal day, relaxed and real more than anything. I do put a lot of emphasis on style, but I always encourage my couples not to get overwhelmed by the details. The focus is on the meaning of that day, celebrate love, not on impressing your guests, pleasing family or colour coordinating the whole day.

Having said that, don’t ask me for chair covers… It’s not happening on any of my weddings! :) The other half of Linen and Silk is my husband, Floyd, who generally supports with operations and logistics, particularly on destination weddings. Rather than working always with the same team, depending on the size of the wedding, I then bring on board experienced colleagues to support with on the day coordination – this gives me the flexibility to choose fellow planners with complementary skills to the kind of wedding or couple I’m working with.

  • Tell us more about Linen & Silk, how did it start and what makes you do this day in and day out?

In 2009 I trained with the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners. I knew I always wanted to become a wedding planner, but at the time I had a thriving job at an international media agency and I couldn’t see how to make the two things work. However, when I was at university I studied journalism, so for a while I decided to merge the two passions (weddings and writing) and start my own wedding blog. This allowed me to get a foot into the wedding industry and meet some incredibly creative suppliers. I spent 2011/12 assisting established wedding planners, as well as doing partial planning and on the day coordination for couples getting married in both the UK and Italy. Finally in 2013 I took the plunge – I went solo and joined the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners as one of their members. The association promotes professionalism in the industry; being a member led to more and more enquiries and bookings, particularly for destination weddings. Travelling is my passion, and making my clients’ dreams come true is what makes me the happiest. I absolutely love it when clients tell me I’m “magic”.

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When things fall into place beautifully and clients see their plans becoming reality, you honestly feel like you’re making the difference to someone’s lives. That’s a pretty special feeling!

  • What are the types of wedding planners and what do they all really do? And what is Linen & Silk’s specialty?

7There are so many types of planners it’s impossible to break down the difference between all of us. But in short, the role of a wedding planner isn’t to take over the wedding plans, but to accompany couples through the journey of planning for the most important day of their life, so as to take the stress away. We help brides and grooms prioritise the things that matter, source, negotiate, book and coordinate suppliers, define a cohesive wedding theme or style, and of course, coordinate the day itself. Some couples prefer to do some of the planning themselves – in those cases we may come in for ad hoc tasks or partial planning only. As a destination wedding planner, my specialty is full wedding planning. It means I generally help couples with the entire wedding planning process. It’s the most cost effective option for them and one that really helps couples that don’t even know where to start.

  • What are the main questions that as a wedding planner you want or like the couples to ask?

As there are different approaches to wedding planning, I imagine that picking the right one must be really mind-boggling. What I always put emphasis on is not on checking how many weddings that planner has done in a particular destination, because let’s face it, as destination planners we can’t be experts of every single city, region, venue, country, and so on – our skill is in knowing how to source out and pull together the best suppliers both at local or international level regardless of location.

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What I think each client should ask, however, is whether the wedding planner offers a legally sound contract, whether she is insured at the very least for public liability, whether she takes commissions from the suppliers she recommends, and if the answer were yes, who takes responsibility for the performance of the suppliers. In my case, for instance, I follow the UKAWP code of business practice, which means I have vowed to give my clients a legal contract, I have public liability, and in the case of weddings in Egypt, professional indemnity insurance too, and I do not take commissions from my suppliers – when the suppliers offer it, I usually ask them to pass it onto my clients as a discount. Win win! Couples save money and are happy.

  • What role does the couple play in their wedding planning? And what do they have to do?

Every couple is different. Some like to be more involved than others. I like my couples to be actively involved, so I send them supplier proposals with my recommendation, and ask them to review and pick their favourite, often after having a Skype call with the suppliers they’ve shortlisted. 

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Ultimately the decision is with the couple – all I can do is recommend the best based on affinity with my couple’s style and personalities, and budget too.

  • Do you keep the photographers, videographers and other members of the wedding team on mind while planning?

Absolutely! They each play a huge part, so throughout the planning stages I often have to check in with them to make sure the decisions we are taking are not affecting them negatively, or that the timeline looks feasible from their point of view too. Planning and delivering a wedding is all about teamwork.

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If the suppliers feel like they are being taken care of, you can rest assured that they will give their best on the wedding day and they will bend backwards for you.

  • Does the team go to the weddings to handle emergencies and other things like coordination to keep the wedding at its best shape?

Coordination of the wedding day is the minimum service I offer all my couples. I would never plan a wedding and not be there to coordinate the day. The beauty of hiring a planner is knowing that on the lead-up to the wedding and on the day itself there is someone taking responsibility of finalising the plans and overseeing the day.

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Something most couples tell you after their wedding day is that they loved knowing we were there to take care of everything so much so that if there were a problem, they didn’t even notice. That kind of peace of mind on the most important day of your life is priceless!

  • How do you charge? Is there a flat rate? Are there add-ons? What exactly do the costs entail?

12As I don’t take commissions from the suppliers I recommend, I charge a fee that is adequate to cover for my consultancy service, time and physical expenses connected to planning their wedding. It’s usually a percentage of the clients’ total wedding budget (minimum fee applies) plus travel expenses if in Egypt, Italy or generally outside the UK.

As my services are bespoke, however, no one wedding is charged the same way as another – to price up my services I take into account all the requirements of the couple and create a bespoke fee for the standard service they have chosen plus any add-ons they may require, such as organisation of a pre- or post-event, handling of RSVPs or accommodation search for them and their guests.

  • What made you decide to work with Splash Wedding and what is a wedding planner looking for in their photographers or photography agencies?

There are four key qualities I expect from my suppliers: quality, professionalism, exceptional customer service and flexibility. Splash so far has shown me that they can deliver on all four, so choosing to work with them was a no-brained :)

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When I pick photographers for destination weddings in particular, I need to know that they can communicate fluently in English, they are up with contemporary wedding photography trends and they will never tell my clients: “Sorry we can’t do this, because over here we don’t do it like that.”

  • How can our readers reach you?

I’m a social butterfly so you can literally find me on all the major social media channels, but the easiest way to get my attention quickly is an email.

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Drop me a note telling me more about yourself, your wedding, and the first three words that come to your mind when you think about your wedding. My email is elisabetta@linenandsilk-weddings.com. I’d love to hear from you! Alternatively you can find me on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LinenAndSilkWeddings

Pinterest: pinterest.com/LinenAndSilk/

Instagram: instagram.com/linen_and_silk

Or: www.linenandsilk-weddings.com

15Wedding planning is always about how you want your wedding to come out like and who you feel comfortable working with, with your set budget and what are the types of services they offer for the base price your planner will be charging and if it includes all services or some or none for the logistics, supplies and any other services you will be asking them to supply or service you with.

We at Splash are sure that our good friends at Linen & Silk will make sure your wedding day is a blast and a memory that last forever. We also guarantee that our team at Splash will document it to become a memory that lasts forever.

*All Images Courtesy of Linen & Silk*

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