In a bid to start to getting to know the other vendors working for wedding clients in the Brighton area, recently I caught up with the lovely Nicola Jones of Brighton Wedding Planner who, despite being quite busy with the preparations for a new baby, took the time to have a chat with me about what she does.
PM: Tell me about how you got started as a wedding planner. What made you want to get into the business?
NJ: I worked in events and always wanted to start my own business and work for myself, weddings seemed like the perfect fit as being a ‘one-man band’ is perfect for the personal service brides expect on their wedding day. I also love weddings and the opportunities they give you to be creative and work with fantastic suppliers that you might not otherwise get to work with.
PM: What do you like best about what you do?
NJ: Well I am quite a planning geek so I like making sure that everything is running on schedule and coming in on budget. I also love finding great new suppliers for unusual requests from my clients and working on their creative ideas to make them a reality. But the best thing of all is seeing the wedding come together on the day and knowing that you achieved that and that the couple will remember it for the rest of their lives.
PM: Have you ever had any particularly unusual or unique requests? Do you have a favorite story from one of the weddings you’ve planned?
A couple I’m working with at the moment want a silhouette artist for their wedding which I’ve never done before, but it sounds really interesting and unique. Another couple I worked with last year had a van serving gourmet coffee outside in the evening which I thought was a lovely touch and provided a good talking point for guests. My favourite story from a wedding was from last year, the bride and groom were a bit unprepared for the state the venue was in and I, along with 2 assistants, worked flat out for three hours to turn it around into something special before they arrived for the reception. I ended up scrubbing mud off the walls and throwing stuff into random cupboards but it looked amazing when they walked in for the first time!
PM: Is there one particular piece of advice that you’d give to all bride and grooms thinking of planning a wedding?
NJ: Set a budget! I am always amazed by the number of people who just go into planning their wedding without a realistic idea of what things might cost. It’s really worth doing your research early on as to how much things are and what you can afford, as once you sign contracts there’s very little you can do to get out of them and your budget may end up spiralling out of control. For example, make sure you grill your venue on their food/ wine policy before you sign on the dotted line – the venue hire charge may seem reasonable but they may well tie you in to using their own menus and wine lists, or charge extortionate prices to bring your own wine and caterers. This doesn’t sound like much but it really adds up when you’re potentially catering for 100+ people all day and can easily run into the thousands.
PM: I only wish I would have known Nicola two years ago as not having had the help of a wedding planner for my and Mark’s second* wedding is my only regret. I really could have used the help of someone else who knew what she was doing and who could have been the go-to person for making the event run smoothly behind the scenes. If you don’t want to be a chicken running around with your head cut off, like I was, get in touch with Nicola at Brighton Wedding Planner and see how she can make sure your head remains securely fastened on your wedding day.
*Our first wedding was an elopement – just a private, sudden ceremony on the beach with no one but us, an officiant and a photographer.
**Since our chat, Nicola and her husband have welcomed a new daughter into the world. Congratulations, Nicole and Pete!