ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A WEDDING PLANNER OR NOT SURE IF TO HIRE ONE?
I’ve been a professional wedding photographer since 2015 and I had the opportunity to meet some lovely and talented professionals in the wedding sector: magicians, make-up artists, singers, DJs and wedding planners, who, in my opinion, cover a very important and delicate role.
Let’s have a chat with a real expert in the sector, Katie Goddard from Katie Goddard Weddings & Events (www.katiegoddard.com), a professional wedding planner based in Kent.
Some of these questions come directly from social networks, where I collected the valuable suggestions of my followers.
Being a wedding planner requires a great deal of analytical and organizational skills, a pinch of creativity and the ability to meet the needs of the couple in a unique way, event after event.
Let’s talk about it directly with Katie Goddard, and find out the behind the scenes of London and Kent weddings …
– Let’s start with some fun facts: how many weddings have you organized so far? And what pushed you to do this job?
Gosh, to be honest, I’ve lost count! I’ve worked in weddings, parties and events for my whole career, I started off working in Marketing for one of the leading Party Planners in London, The Admirable Crichton, there I saw the most unbelievable events you can imagine, they were pure magic. They always had the most unbelievable flowers, decorations, food, cakes, incredible lighting and entertainment. I was lucky that I got to work at so many of these events, each one was different and on a different scale but they were always filled with ‘wow moments’.
My friends at The Admirable Crichton helped me plan my own wedding, which I loved doing and from there on I decided that I wanted to help create ‘wow moments’ for other couples.
– Tell us about a last-minute incident and how did you deal with it.
Part of my role is to think of all the worst-case scenarios that could happen throughout the day and have a plan A, B and C for them! I’m lucky that I’ve never had any too many last-minute incidents, but the one that sticks in my mind was at a summer outdoor wedding. Whilst waiting for the bridal car to arrive, the page-boy decided to climb over a fence into the neighbouring field, in the process he managed to get his silk trousers covered with grass stains. Luckily he was the only page-boy so I managed to fold and pin the trousers and turn them into shorts and no-one was any the wiser!
– What are your three favourite venues in London/Kent?
Local to me, my top three venues have to be
1) Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in Sevenoaks (check the first 3 photos below which I took for an anniversary event) I actually worked here for a while and am still in love with the place. It has a lovely laid back charm to it but has just enough formality for a wedding. They have the most beautiful Walled Garden full of hydrangeas, peonies and roses where you can hold your ceremony, and then the Old Tennis Court Lawn where marquees go for your reception, in my opinion, has one of the best views of the Kent countryside.
2) The Mount Vineyard in Shoreham near Sevenoaks is a complete gem! I’m a self-confessed English wine lover, so this venue has it all for me! You can get married in the pretty little church in the village and then walk down through the vineyard to their fantastic walled courtyard which has a retractable roof – perfect for all weathers! And your guests can enjoy their award-winning wines in the most gorgeous setting.
3) Hoath House in Chiddingstone is the ultimate if you’re looking for a weekend (or even a week!) of celebrations! You can hire the whole house which sleeps up to 50 guests! So it’s ideal for pre-wedding get-togethers, the rooms in the historic house the beautiful garden are licenced for wedding ceremonies, it has space for the largest of marquees and what could be better the next day than brunch in the pretty garden followed by an afternoon lazing around the pool!
– Is it true that hiring a wedding planner costs a lot?
Many people think hiring a Wedding Planner will be expensive, however, I’ve worked with couples who have a complete range of budgets. Weddings Planners have got the know-how, the contacts, the time and the experience to make sure that your wedding is everything you want it to be. We save you time, stress and organisational headaches and we’ll rustle up ideas and suppliers that you’ll love. We’re also experienced at managing a budget and will have ideas to save you money, as well as having relationships with suppliers that might get you a better price too. Most Wedding Planners offer a range of services that can be tailored to what help you need, everything from the Full Planning Service through to simply being there on the day to coordinate everything for you, so you can choose what suits you and your budget. Couples have told me time and time again, that it was the best money they’ve spent!
– What is the attention you pay to the budget from 1 to 10?
The budget is always where I start when I meet a couple. Sometimes they have a figure in their head of what they’re looking to spend, other times they have no idea what the sort of wedding they’re after might cost. I can offer lots of advice on what venues, suppliers etc to use to suit their budget and I pull all this information together along with supplier quotes so that we have a realistic budget to work from. If there are parents involved in the wedding finances it’s also key to make sure that they’re happy with the budget too!
Also by getting the budget sorted it helps you decide what is important to you to spend your money on. Would you like amazing food and free-flowing wines, an awesome band and entertainment or stunning decorations, and what might you decide to compromise on, everyone is different on what their focus is.
It’s then very important to manage the budget throughout the planning. If the couple wants to add something to their day, or if I find something that I know they’ll love but is slightly over budget I always refer back to the budget and ensure they’re happy with the extra spend before we proceed.
– How do you choose the suppliers? Are they always the same?
I have a ‘little black book’ of suppliers. Having been in this business a long time, I’ve built relationships with lots of different suppliers in different areas and at different price points, so I can recommend ones that I think will suit the couple and what they are trying to achieve from their day! However I’m always meeting fantastic new suppliers and venues, so it’s a constantly evolving list!
– And what about the photographer? How do I choose a good wedding photographer?
When looking for a wedding photographer, you need to make sure that you find one that suits the style of photos the couple is looking for and also understand how much the photos are important for them, hence their budget. First I recommend looking at their website to see their work and their style, also their personality, which could transpire from the style of their website, the content and the photos you see published. If you like their style then arrange to meet them. On your wedding day, you’ll want to feel relaxed and at ease around them, so they can capture the best photos of you, You’ll only know this by meeting them or have a chat with them over skype.
If you like their style and they fit your budget, make sure that you’ve done your research – do they have back up equipment, do they have a network of photographers that they can call upon if they’re sick? Then make sure you sign a contract, this is to protect you just as much as them!
In my opinion, the best wedding photographers are the ones where you don’t even know they are there on the day, they just melt into the background!
I hope you found this interview interesting, and re, the last point you can also refer to one of my latest blog posts how to choose your perfect wedding photographer
In the meantime, to stay in a wedding mood, I’m posting some photos of my wedding portfolio and I hope you enjoy. If you are looking for a photographer with a reportage style, please visit my website and get in touch for a chat!