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Monthly Archives: Apr 2018

Weddings & Celebrations Venue, Stationers Hall, London / Photo By Douglas Fry Photography
On the Day Co-Ordination, Stationers Hall, City of London

On the Day Co-ordination is perfect for those couples who want to plan their wedding but need assistance, and more importantly assurance on the big day that everything will run smoothly.  After many months, sometimes even years, all your hard work and planning is about to come to fruition and you want to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

This was the decision the lovely Elizabeth & Pinak made for their multi-cultural wedding in September 2017 at Stationers Hall, Central London.

Birds of Prey / Photo By Douglas Fry PhotographyAfter an initial discovery call to discuss their specific needs, Weddings By Mary was booked. We met approximately six weeks prior to the wedding to have a full planning meeting to run through all the arrangements that they had put in place.  Elizabeth was the main point of contact and although we had exchanged several emails this was our first face to face meeting and the three of us got on very well from the outset.  I then went on to put together a detailed time plan of the big day, enabling us to see any potential conflicts or issues. I introduced myself to all their suppliers as well as confirmed the final arrangements. Elizabeth kept me updated and informed of all the plans as they evolved from this point forward and we then met a couple of weeks later for a site visit, which I always do. A nicely chilled glass of wine may have been enjoyed afterwards too ……

As the big day dawned I headed into London to meet up with the happy couple at their hotel (separately I hasten to add) which was located just around the corner from the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral, to ensure they were calm and stress free.  We discussed last minute plans and the bride hand over items for me to take to the venue.

Access to Stationers Hall, was not permitted until 11am so on the dot I arrived to oversee and assist with the preparation; making sure suppliers set up correctly, liaised with the venues caterer, Chester Boyd www.chesterboyd.com , organised the tables with place cards, favours, menu cards,  and various items, including the stunning floral arrangements by Kenza of Peppermint Poppy www.peppermintpoppy.com most of which had been lovingly handmade by the bride,  but most importantly ensured everything was running to plan.  Chester Boyd Catering / Photo by Douglas Fry Photography

This wedding was all about love, fun and friendship and entertaining guests was key. A calming music duo, Flower Duet Classic, serenaded the happy couple throughout the ceremony and in the charming hidden courtyard whilst the champagne flowed, and canapes served. A surprise photo opportunity was organised as guests were joined by two beautiful owls www.birds4alloccasions.co.uk and an amazing kneeling elephant ice sculpture vodka luge took pride of place in the bar for the evening provided by www.passionforice.co.uk The bride also arranged a henna artist as well as caricaturist and to keep the grooms sweet tooth happy not only a sweet table but also a very impressive Ferrero Rocher pyramid www.lechocolatfondue.com  Guests were certainly kept fed, watered and entertained from beginning to end.

The evening entertainment was provided by The Beat Union Band www.entertainment-nation.co.uk who kept the floor filled all night, but the bride and several female friends surprised the groom with a beautiful Indian dance and one guest even performed in true Bollywood style.

The whole day was captured by Douglas Fry of www.douglasfry.com

Throughout the day I ensured guests were looked after but most importantly Elizabeth & Pinak’s meticulously planned wedding flowed effortlessly, which enabled them, their families and friends free to relax and enjoy their very special day.

The Beat Union Band / Photo By Douglas Fry Photography

As the evening drew to a close Elizabeth & Pinak didn’t have to even consider, think or worry about what happened next, I took care of this. I helped pack away, sort out, and safely stored all their belongings ready for collection the following day.

I was virtually the last to leave and my feet and legs didn’t forgive me for a few days, but it was worth every moment when I received this lovely testimonial –

Mary had an amazing “can-do” attitude”. On top of that, she remained professional and cheery throughout. We had an amazing day, relaxed in the knowledge that Mary had it covered. We can’t recommend her highly enough and would use her again in a heartbeat! If you’re thinking of booking her, just to it – you won’t regret it!”

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parkling Fun / Stationers Hall, London / Photo: Douglas Fry Photography
What is the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Co-ordinator?

A very good question and one that I often get asked. There is a huge difference between the service I provide as a Wedding Planner and that of a Venue Co-Ordinator.

Having been a Venue Manager myself for over 10 years, I have the experience and understanding to be able to see things from both perspectives.  Part of my job now as a Wedding Planner is to build a strong working relationship with every venue and their co-ordinators so that you can have a beautiful, bespoke and stress-free wedding day.

A Venue Co-ordinator is there first and foremost to ensure that everything specific to their venue is dealt with. You are their client for the day and they offer guidance as to what you can and can’t do at their venue, advise on table layouts, and some venues will be very specific about which suppliers you use. If you are having your civil wedding ceremony at the venue it is their duty to ensure that the venue is licensed correctly and that everything the registrar requires from the venues perspective is in place. If your venue is also providing the catering they will work closely with you, and your planner, on the food and drink that your guests will enjoy.

If you have a venue which is a ‘dry hire’, i.e. a venue where you purely hire the space without any extra features – no caterer, bar, possibly no tables or chairs, or entertainment, then the venue co-ordinators duties are usually more limited, and they are often just there to open up, ensure you have what you need then leave you to it!

Venue co-ordinators may not necessarily know a couple or their specific requirements inside out and back to front.

A Wedding Planner is all about the couple and their special day.  I personally love logistics and work with couples from the very start of the planning process, often having found that perfect venue, sourced suppliers, dealt with all the requirements from negotiating contracts, ensuring couples understand any restrictions, put together time plans and budgets as well as providing guest & RSVP management. I, like most wedding planners, attend site visits and supplier meetings. We brainstorm ideas together, I excel at playing devil’s advocate when needed and professionally handle any hiccups along the way, leaving you calm, reassured and free to enjoy the time leading up to your special day!

I have seen weddings from almost every angle possible during my working life from catering, being a venue manager, registrar and a bride myself once! My experience helps me to ensure couples understand that every supplier they hire are doing their part to make their wedding day memorable.

Planning a wedding is a complex undertaking and it’s easy to under-estimate the time it takes. On average a wedding can take over 250 hours to plan and with such an important occasion you don’t want to look back and wish you’d done things differently.

The number one priority is to make sure that every wedding day runs smoothly, and every couple are confident, relaxed and stress free to ensure they have the most joyous, special day.Sunset / Photo by: Leah Van Zyl

With a wealth of experience that a Wedding Planner can bring, they will alleviate a lot of stress, transform your dreams into reality and ensure that your wedding really does exceed all expectations from the initial planning through to the last dance of the evening.

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Wedding Guests at Stationers Hall, London / Photo; Douglas Fry
How to compile that all important wedding guest list

It can certainly be a bit of a catch 22 situation – the number of guests that you would like to invite to your wedding either determines your choice of wedding venue or your choice of venue dictates how many guests you will be able to invite.

You therefore need to think carefully about who you wish to invite to your wedding.

There are so many options to consider and it will certainly have an impact on the overall feel for your wedding. In a previous blog post Setting Your Wedding Budget I suggested that you thought about one word that you would use to describe your wedding, it could be anything and show your personalities; classic, elegant, traditional, rustic, vintage, fun, etc., this should now help you with this next but equally important task.

One factor to decide fairly early on is whether you are going to have two guest lists; those who you wish to invite for the entire day and those who you are happy to invite for the evening celebrations.  Guest lists are hugely personal, but you may have to be ruthless.

Invitation Writing / Photo by Weddings By MaryThe simplest way to start is by both of you sitting down and writing your own separate guest lists. Don’t look and be honest with yourselves too, do you really want to invite Great Aunt Flo who you haven’t seen for over 10 years? However, do be conscious that certain family members may also wish to add a few additional guests of their own so you will need to be diplomatic about this, especially if they are making a financial contribution.

Once you have both compiled your separate lists you can then begin to combine and formalise your guest list. If you have both chosen the same person then they are on the A list, the definitely invited list. Next you will need to chat through those who don’t appear on both of your lists. Talk through how important it is to you for them to attend. You may have decided to have additional evening guests; you could therefore agree to add those that don’t appear on both lists to create the evening list.

Your guest numbers will have the greatest impact on your wedding budget as everyone comes with a price tag. If you decide to invite for example another 10 guests to the entire day, that’s not just the food and drink you will need to provide and pay for but also an additional table which then requires chairs, table linen, crockery, china, glassware, a centre piece, name place cards, favours as well as additional invitations.

When it comes to plus ones, generally anyone who’s married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship gets a plus one. However, this may not be the case if you’re inviting a group of friends, say your work colleagues, who would possibly enjoy themselves more without their partners, some of whom you may have possibly not even met!Little Guests / Photo by: Leah Van Zyl

Whether or not to invite children to your wedding is another tricky area but remember having lots of children present may significantly alter the feel of the day, so be sure to think about it carefully. Either way ensure to give the parents plenty of notice if their little ones aren’t invited so they can organise child care. Some may love the prospect of having a child free, grown up day! Alternatively, you may wish to invite children in which case you will need to consider keeping them entertained.

The only rule that you should follow is that all the people you want there, are there. Remember, it’s your wedding so invite who you want, who you connect with and who will bring warmth, love and happiness to your special day.

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