This weeks ‘interview with’ comes from the gorgeous Melanie Helen from the lovely Cranberry Blue Weddings & Events team. We want to make sure all our brides are as well equipped and informed as possible when it comes to their wedding day, so who better to ask than a lady who makes her living from creating the most spectacular ceremonies (and memories) for brides across the country.
In a nutshell, explain your role as an events planner…
We work alongside our clients to create beautiful bespoke weddings and events that reflect their personality and transform their ideas into reality. We can organise every conceivable aspect of planning the day, from the venue search through to negotiating contracts, creating the design concept, sourcing suppliers, advising on etiquette and tradition and being there on the day itself to ensure it runs like clockwork.
With our connections and experience in planning a diverse range of weddings and events we save our clients precious time and money, alleviate the stress and worry, and ensure that their day really does have the ‘wow factor’ they’re looking for.
Give us your most important event-planning tip for anyone organising a party or wedding right now…
Be super organised and create a realistic budget to work to before you do anything. Always include a contingency fund as there’s likely to be things you’ve forgotten or hadn’t anticipated.
Where do you gather your inspiration for current trends in decoration?
There are so many resources available we’re spoilt really, but the leading bridal publications of course and then the wealth of wedding blogs; some of my favourites include ‘Style Me Pretty’ (http://www.stylemepretty.com/) and ‘Rock My Wedding’ (http://www.rockmywedding.co.uk/). Pinterest is a relatively new source of inspiration but is fantastic as it contains literally thousands of images which you can collect to create inspiration boards, our page is here: http://pinterest.com/cranberrybwed/
Event you’d most like to organise in the world?
William & Kate’s wedding would have been incredible – huge budget but very elegant and regal.
If you weren’t an event planner, what would be your dream job?
Mmm tough one as I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else, however I would most likely be a Fashion Buyer as that’s what I originally started out doing many years ago. It was fantastic experience though as a lot of the skills and disciplines I developed are very similar to what I do now.
Tell us one of the most extravagant demands you’ve had from clients in the past…
I had a client insist on only serving Cristal Champagne once even when their budget wasn’t that big!
What’s your favourite type of event to organise and why
All events are superb as they’re so different but if I had to pick one type it would be weddings as they are so personal. Working with a couple to plan one of the most important days of their lives is such an honour and seeing them so happy on the day makes all the hard work worth it.
What’s the shortest and longest timeframes you have worked to when organising an event?
Shortest would be about 3 months for a company Christmas party and 4 months for a wedding, and the longest is 2 years for a wedding.
What makes your business unique?
Two things stand out – we have a very down to earth and personal approach, we like to really get to know our clients to ensure we create the perfect day for them; we often end up staying good friends long after the event has finished. Whether a wedding client is spending £20,000 or £200,000 we treat everyone the same which I feel is incredibly important as it’s their special day. In addition to this, as previously mentioned my background is originally in fashion so I have a keen eye for new trends, be it reception ideas or dresses and accessories etc. Although it’s important to be aware of trends I have a good understanding about how to adapt them to suit individuals.
What is your philosophy when working with wedding couples?
Everyone is different so we’re flexible and adaptable as to how they like to work. We’re also very open and honest from the start, and we encourage them to be as involved as much as they like. Some clients are happy to just make the final decisions whereas some like to help look into the stationery designs for example.
How do you help wedding couples customise their wedding to fit their style?
We find out what their likes and dislikes are, their hobbies and interests as well as getting to know their personalities and style. We always ask our clients to start collating images, either as jpegs or magazine tears and use buzz words such as ‘elegant’ or ‘quirky’ to start building a vision of the day. In addition to this we find out if there are any customs, cultures or personal touches they have in mind that they’d like to incorporate.
What is your favourite wedding and party decoration? And why?
I personally love a beautiful and elegant look overall but it needs to be unique and striking. At the moment I love hanging decorations (pom poms for example) as there are so many options possible and they create real impact to a room.
Have you at any time avoided a near disastrous situation?
Luckily I haven’t had a near disastrous situation but no matter how well planned a day is there are always some things that go wrong but that we rectify without the client knowing. A recent example includes the wrong chairs being delivered for a marquee wedding – the venue had ordered the wrong ones but we managed to source 130 of the correct ones from another company and had them delivered that afternoon.
What should couples not forget to ask the venue?
There are lots of things to ask but a few include – before a booking is made, always ask to see sample copies of the menus, as there will be supplements on dishes such as beef or lamb which won’t be advertised within the package prices and can end up costing a lot more. Also, ask what time the party can go on until and do they allow live bands (some venues don’t due to the noise), lastly I always ask if they permit live candles…
Top tips for those organising a party or a wedding with a tight budget?
Decide on the 3 most important things to you, whether it’s the food, flowers and photographer for example so you can allocate a good proportion of the budget for these items and then scale back on the rest.
Top tip for making the day run smoothly?
Always have a detailed timeline for the day and allow plenty of time for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready as it takes much longer than you think. Also have a shortened version of key timings for the groomsmen and ushers so they know exactly where they should be and when.
Top tip for sticking to the agenda?
Hire a wedding planner of course! Sorry, I had to say that but in all honesty we manage the whole day from start to finish ensuring everything runs as it should. If you don’t have a planner then the best man and chief bridesmaid can help with the timings, a good Toastmaster can also be helpful.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job role?
Seeing everything come together on the day and how excited the bride and groom are. Also, watching everyone enjoying themselves is always very rewarding, knowing that all our hard work was worth it.
Thank you so much to Melanie and the Cranberry Blue Wedding & Events team for the brilliantly insightful interview.
To get in touch and have your wedding organised by this lovely company simply contact: Melanie Helen at Cranberry Blue Weddings & Events
Web address: www.cranberryblueweddings.co.uk
Tel: 01732 463633/07974 157885