FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Planning a wedding is a uniquely exciting, emotional and somewhat daunting time of your lives as you plan to make a lifelong commitment to the one you love,
followed by quite possibly the largest party you've ever organised for all your friends and family.
It is therefore entirely natural if you feel that for something this big, you would benefit from with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have an expert eye and experienced hand by your side.
By engaging us as your wedding planner, you'll not only benefit from our knowledge, skills and service standards but also Susannah Parker's personal dedication and commitment to giving you a luxurious and reassuring experience during this most exciting, but understandably nerve-wracking, time of your lives.
With that in mind, it is natural that you'll have a number of questions prior to embarking on the journey with us so we summarise below the answers to the ones we are most frequently asked; no doubt you'll have a number of other questions
which we'd be delighted to answer during our discovery call or preliminary meeting.
"A CONSUMMATE PROFESSIONAL"
"She is extremely knowledgeable and thorough with her clients, guiding them through the planning process with a compassionate yet firm hand."
My venue offers me a complimentary wedding co-ordinator so surely we don't need a wedding planner as well?
A very common misconception!
Planners work very closely with venue co-ordinators every day of the week so we know first hand how very different our two roles are.
Yes, your in house wedding co-ordinator will show you around the spaces, they may have a recommended suppliers list to pass on, they may manage the catering if it is in house and they will have an overall working knowledge of the schedule of your day - summary of timings and who your suppliers are - but they are ultimately working for the venue at all times.
They need to ensure the rooms are clean and set up as promised, that they are functioning properly and staffed as required - facilities, cloakroom, reception etc. You need to provide them with all the information they need, thereby bouncing back into your court all the detailed administration and communication requirements with every single supplier, they don't do the thinking for you for you, as planners do.
They don't liaise back and forth with your suppliers until your exact brief is met, they don't brief each and every supplier on your exact requirements and preferences and ensure that it is delivered, and they don't micromanage every moment of your wedding day to ensure smooth transitions throughout and a seamless guest experience and when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we are working for you throughout, and we painstakingly think through and plan every aspect - we take responsibility for all the details such as managing your stationery proofs and spotting the typos before printing, arranging parking for the florist outside your church, liaising with the registrars about your music and vows, providing the photographer and videographer with a minute by minute schedule carefully timed to coincide with your make up and hair team and the special mention during a speech of a particular person whose face just HAS to be captured at that moment and we discuss and agree the tracks you want played by your band or DJ - both favourite tracks and songs to be included and other songs or singers to be avoided at all costs!!
I could go on .... suffice to say that venue co-ordinators and wedding planners are all on the same team, your team, working together to achieve the goal of a perfectly seamless and stress free day for you, but ultimately our responsibilities are very different.
I have also written a blog about the specific differences between the two roles and what you can expect from each of us, you can read it here.
How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost?
As an accredited member of the UKAWP (UK Association of Wedding Planners), fees for full wedding planning
follow the standard industry rate of 10% –15% of the total budget, according to the complexity of the requirements
and how many days the wedding celebrations last –a single day or spread over a destination weekend.
A minimum fee applies.
Alternatively, we are happy to negotiate a fixed fee based on a minimum number of chargeable days, which can then be added to if necessary.
We can also arrange a payment plan for scheduled regular payments if desired.
We have written a blog all about why a wedding planner is the one thing you cannot afford to be without which you can read here.
Contact us to arrange and initial consultation over the phone or in person to discuss your particular requirements and we can then prepare a detailed quotation specific to your needs.
What are your qualifications?
The team is led by Susannah Parker, who has a background in the events industry stretching back for over 15 years, starting off in a training consultancy organising conferences, then as an events manager at a major City of London venue. From there, she moved into corporate hospitality, working for a top agency in Battersea, managing all the exclusiv, luxury hospitality facilities for clients (FTSE 100 companies) at major sporting and cultural events such as Ascot, Twickenham, Wimbledon, Queen's, the Grand Prix, the Open Golf, Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Music Festival etc. A personal highlight for Susannah during this time was exclusively managing all the hospitality boxes and private areas at the Royal Albert Hall for a 6 week run of Cirque du Soleil. Her role then changed to marketing and managing all the corporate parties at Shakespeare's Globe UnderGlobe as at that time, it was contracted out to the hospitality agency.
She then spent 12 years at one of London's foremost bespoke entertainment and party planning companies creating and delivering a number of spectacular events and weddings at venues including The V&A, Kensington Palace, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Banqueting House, The Wallace Collection, Westminster Abbey, Two Temple Place and The Serpentine Gallery before moving on and founding Couture Events in 2018.
Planning and organising complex events and parties is in our blood
and that the team has spent many years working for high end, demanding clients whose events require complex logistical expertise
alongside trusted and established supplier relationships and first class budget management;
naturally our clients' expectations of service standards are very high and our goal is always to exceed expectations and go the extra mile.
Neither a degree in event management nor a cheap and unregulated Wedding Planning Diploma
can come close to hands on experience, expertise, contacts and confidence.
You want someone on your side who can give you the best ideas and advice, who has experience of juggling the myriad of arrangements and ensuring no clashes or oversights, who can steer you away from any pitfalls and who is calm and under control throughout - and who knows how to quietly and discreetly problem solve on your wedding day when something inevitably does not go according to the best laid plan.
We are members of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners which is an accredited body promoting professionalism, ethics and excellence;
membership is awarded via a strict vetting process and cannot be simply bought, unlike listings in popular blogs.
Can you save us money on our wedding?
Weddings are naturally a very expensive undertaking and planners fees are naturally a consideration.
We never state that we will save you money or that you can offset our fees against cost savings as we believe that asking for discounts devalues our creative partners - their fees are commensurate with their hard earned reputation and for the excellent products and services they deliver.
We can however offer value in a number of ways:
Our years of experience means that we know the fair cost of elements so we can tell if you have been given a quote, or terms and conditions, which could be more favourable, and if necessary we will negotiate terms on your behalf.
Some suppliers offer commission to planners - one of the conditions of membership of the UKAWP is that we do not accept commissions, so if ever this is the case, these savings can be passed straight back to the client.
In terms of the value of your our own time - leave the paperwork, emails and phone calls to us while you get on with enjoying your engagement, and spending your leisure time doing the things you really want to be doing, whilst feeling calm and confident that everything is all under control.
Will it be just you on the day or do you have a team?
As the founder and Creative Director of Couture Events Ltd, Susannah Parker will be your primary point of contact throughout the design, planning and organising process. She will attend all of your site visits and consultations and she prepares all the paperwork - briefs, schedules and budgets. On the day of your wedding, for signature full wedding planning clients, additional team members are also in attendance.
For couples working with us on a partial planning or on the day management basis, additional colleagues from Couture Events is an optional extra.