Educating and enriching people with valuable information is extremely important as it widens one’s perspective on certain matters! On top of that, the library sitting on your brain will grow bigger as more knowledge is added. This means you will sound a lot wiser (and credible) when you rattle on about something that most people don’t know of!
This is essentially the reason behind the newest section, Meet The Experts. In this section, experts from the wedding industry will be interviewed to dish out the latest trends, tips and even answering the queries that have not been provided with concrete answers!
Today’s interview will be discussing about wedding planning! There is different meaning to the term ‘wedding planner’ across the Western and Eastern cultures and somehow there are many conflicted views!
And just FYI, wedding planning is NOT just about floral decorations!
Our Fairytale Wedding, a premium boutique wedding planner, is here to educate you on wedding planning. They specialise in creating bespoke weddings that are unique, exquisite and a perfect reflection o f each couple.
Get prepared to debunk common misunderstood terms, jargons and how wedding planning is truly like!
1. First of all, what made you girls start Our Fairytale Wedding?
Vivian and I actually came from banking backgrounds and we met while working in the same foreign bank a couple of years back. We both graduated with Business degrees, Vivian from NUS and I from SMU and started our careers in private banking. Wedding planning came into the picture when I started planning for my wedding back in 2011. At that time, Vivian offered to help me plan my wedding as she had the interest and experience in helping her relatives and friends to plan their weddings as well. Growing up, I also enjoyed planning and organising parties and got my inspiration from the many events that I attended.
While working, I decided to attend a 9 months wedding planning course by the Institute of Certified Wedding Planners to deepen my knowledge and skills about the wedding planning industry. Vivian also moved on to do corporate and ministerial events. After conceptualising and planning a successful Paris-themed wedding (Olivia’s wedding) together, we got a boost of confidence when we received great reviews and feedback from the guests. That was when we knew it was time to finally come together to form Our Fairytale Wedding. Coming from a private banking backgound where we cater to the high and ultra-high net worth segment has also exposed us to working with people in this segment, their needs and level of attention they require.
2. So tell us , what is the definition of ‘Wedding Planning’ ?
Wedding planning is a combination of different components of a wedding. It encompasses things like theme conceptualisation, budget management, vendor sourcing and liasion, programme and entertainment line up and actual day execution, among other things.
3. It seems that many couples out there have a misconception about what Wedding Planning is really about! Can you share with us why?
In the last couple of years, social media, online blogs and and decor sites like Pinterest have really gained popularity among brides-to-be. And no surprise since it’s free, convenient to access and full of interesting ideas and pictures. As a result of this abundance of information available online, people tend to have many ideas for their wedding décor and some would want to find someone who is able to put together their dream look.
At this point, they might start to research for wedding planners and think that wedding planning is only about putting together the props and decoration for the day. Wedding planning actually encompasses more than just putting the décor together. We handle other aspects like budget management, vendor sourcing and liason with various vendors that are non-décor related as well, and actual day coordination from start of the day to the end, among other things. If they only require someone to put the décor together, then a décor or a props company would be more suitable.
5. State the most common misconception people have about Wedding Planning?
The most common misconception is that wedding planners are prop decorators and our main focus is on decorating up the place on the wedding day. In actual fact, we take care of more than just the decorations. Theme conceptualisation and décor is just one of the components of our job scope.
6. We hear that people often mix up hotel wedding planners with external wedding planners. Can you tell us the main differences between both of them?
Hotel wedding planners take care of the things relating to the wedding banquet like the menu, selection of the hotel’s standard table linen, napkin fold, show plates, etc. On the actual day, they will be there before the wedding and can handle any hotel/venue-related requests. If a client needs advice or referrals on any external vendors like photo booth or photography, they might refer them to some partner vendors but all liaising will be done by the client.
Wedding planners on the other hand, handle all the aspects of the wedding from start to end. We don’t just refer our clients to the vendors, but also liaise with the vendors and handle all paperwork and documentation on their behalf. Besides the hotel related items like helping our clients to summarise their guestlist and tabulating a dietary requirements summary to the hotel, we will also be in charge of the whole day’s activities from the gate crash to the church wedding to the wedding banquet. The hotel wedding planner will not oversee or be involved with any other parts of the wedding not relating to the hotel venue itself.
7. What is most memorable experience as a wedding planner?
It was the recent wedding we did at Capella Hotel. The couple had a lot of faith and trust in us from the beginning. They knew what they wanted, communicated it to us, and pretty much let us coordinate and run the wedding.
From the Chanel themed dessert table that we created to the beautiful vibrant coloured décor in the ballroom, everything was what the client had wanted and envisioned. It was such a success because everything went according to plan and the guests, family and couple could really enjoy themselves and let loose on that day, with dancing and merrymaking.
The couple and friends had great reviews about our service as well and wrote us a good testimonial after that. We were also approached by some of the couple’s friends as they wanted to find out more about our services. That to us, is a sign that the wedding we had planned was a success.
8. What is the common worry couples face during their wedding planning?
Most couples worry about exceeding or not having enough budget for their wedding. Weddings can be quite a costly affair and to avoid any disappointment, we always do budget management with our clients from the start and manage their expectations.
We will start with asking for their overall budget, and then ask them to prioritise the items they want. We will then assign the budget based on their priority and also offer them vendors that fall within their price category. This ensures that the client is well aware of what they are able to achieve for their wedding and will not have any unwanted surprises towards the end.
9. Share with us, what is the most rewarding bit of planning a couple’s wedding?
When we see our couple and guests truly enjoying themselves on the wedding day and having a great time, we feel very happy that we were able to make their dream wedding come true.
Also, when the couple and their parents tell us that we have done a good job and they are very happy with the whole wedding, we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction in our job and that feeling is priceless.
10. As a wedding planner, you are in the position of collaborating with several vendors. Can it be very stressful and confusing for you?
The vendors that we work with are chosen for their quality products and services, good service and reliability. They can be from across different price ranges but regardless, we will only recommend them to our clients if they have met our service delivery standards. Hence, having good partners around is not a stressful or confusing thing for us.
In fact, when we can collaborate well together, things move very smoothly and you can count on them to also go above and beyond in times of need like when there any last minute requests.
11. Being a wedding planner, it must be so tedious to go through every step of the wedding journey! Is there a limit to how many couples you can take?
We only take on a limited number of weddings a year so that our dedicated team can ensure that our clients receive a highly personal and meticulous wedding planning service.
All our weddings are personally handled by Vivian or Olivia, who are also the company’s founders and directors. We do not let any assistants or junior planners handle any weddings, regardless of the size of the wedding.
We do not want to take on too many weddings for the sake of profit making to ensure that we are able to give our undivided attention to each of our clients and deliver a truly bespoke service to them.
12. Share with us any last words, advice and even educational tips!
When looking for a planner, you should look for one who has a good reputation/track record, is reliable and has good service. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell all these just by looking at their website and pictures. It will be helpful to ask around and speak to vendors in the same industry about their experiences with dealing with the planner. From there, you can learn things such as what’s their service and working style like and whether they can deliver what they promised. Word of mouth from friends, ex-clients and vendors are the best way to learn more about the company.
Also, don’t just look at the absolute service fee of the planner when making your decision. It’s not about the dollar value of the planner but the overall value of the planner. For example, even though planner A might be more expensive than planner B, planner A might have more tie ups with vendors and they will be able to get you more preferential rates with the vendors. This will allow you to have more cost savings for your wedding ultimately. Sometimes, these savings can translate to a couple of a thousand dollars!
It’s also good to meet up with the planner and see if you can click with the planner. Having a good rapport with your planner is a very important thing as you’ll be liaising with this person for the next few months to a year. You would want to work with someone you’re comfortable with and someone you can trust.
Questions to ask the planner would be:
- What’s the maximum number of weddings you’ll take on a year? – The more weddings, the less time they will have on you and your wedding.
- Which vendors do you tie up with and what are the preferential rates we can enjoy with them?
- How many times can we meet up with you?
- What’s your response turnaround time like? (e.g. when replying emails, messages)
Credits goes to Our Fairytale Wedding. All images belong to Our Fairytale Wedding.