Photo Credit: Mark Bothwell
Today’s wedding planner interview is with London based planner Bernadette of Dream Occasions! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I’m Bernadette and I launched Dream Occasions in 2003 as a boutique wedding planning business. Prior to this I spent 10 years working for TV companies as an executive assistant, much of my role was organising people, events and systems so the leap to wedding planning was in fact a small one.
I can offer clients honesty, professionalism and experience gained through my ten years (and counting) years in business. I am also one of two directors of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners which exists to inject and maintain professionalism in an otherwise unregulated industry, so you can be certain you are in safe hands.
I aim to offer clients the best value for their budget and recommend only our approved professional vendors. Clients are in essence hiring Dream Occasions for our experience and knowledge, so whether giving advice on design or solving family disagreements, we are there, always by their side.
Read the full interview after the cut!
Photo Credit: Jasmine Jade
How did you get into wedding planning?
When I worked for a blue chip American company many of my US counterparts were hiring wedding planners, yet when I researched it here in the UK there were literally only a handful. I did some research and couldn’t find any other planners locally, thus in 2003 I launched as Dream Occasions.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
For some wedding planners they enter the industry because they ‘love organising’ or are ‘brimming with creativity’, for me I realise ‘I love people’, they fascinate me. I always try to concentrate on the ‘wedding’ leaving couples to think about their forthcoming ‘marriage’ to each other. I get to know them as a couple and always inject their personality into the wedding, I want their guests to turn to them on the day and say wow, this wedding is just perfect for YOU. Forget what other bride and grooms do, they don’t matter, you are the one that is important.
Photo Credit: Kerry Morgan
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?
When I launched as a planner there was no-where to learn about the role, I literally had to learn as I went along, thinking on my feet. So the biggest advice I can give potential planners is to attend a course, preferably a face to face course where you can interact with other potential planners and speak to the tutors about real life scenarios.
The second biggest advice is to ensure your branding is spot on, you are in essence your brand so if you don’t get this right clients won’t hire you. Always put yourself in the mindset of a bride, where will she find you? What questions will she ask? What services is she looking for? By answering these questions you build up a picture of your ideal client and where to market yourself for such a client.
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I’m an avid reader, its rare to see me without my mini iPad reading the latest download. I also love helping my husband run the local beaver scout group. But mostly I adore the chance to spend time with my husband and our 3 children, exploring the countryside with our sprocker spaniel.
Photo Credit: Jasmine Jade
Any great stories from working with a client?
Many of my wedding planner rescues can be read on my blog and looking back lots seem to feature the great British weather! One such wedding was in 2012 where the tent was pitched next to a watermill in a beautiful countryside setting. The days leading up to the wedding were wet, the ground was waterlogged in places. I therefore had to put some contingency plans into action:
1. I instructed all vendors there was a particular route they needed to take to avoid the worse hit areas. Guests were ok as they were parking up a slight hill thus the ground was hard. But I knew suppliers needed to get close to the tent to unload. The land owner had a small tractor with a trailer so actually helped transport the rented chairs into the tent as we all decided the lorry shouldn’t go onto the field for fear it would sink!
2. The marquee company laid down a walkway from the gravel driveway into the marquee itself so shoes were safe.
On the day despite our well laid plans, the poor mobile bar van was so heavy it literally sunk. We tried towing it with a land rover but the van wasn’t moving, in the meantime the guest arrival time was fast approaching. The van contents were unloaded onto the land rover after a few shuttle runs meaning the van was now lighter. We again used the land owners mini tractor, he was able to tow the van out literally 10 minutes before the guests arrived. Yes the field was a total mess, but at least we didn’t have a van parked in front of the tent anymore! And the sun did come out for the drink reception and amazingly guests were able to walk on the lawn.
Photo Credit: Kerry Morgan
What is your current favorite color combination?
Towards the end of 2013 I used the combination of blush pink and antique gold which I adored. I also have a weak spot for shades of purple from lavender right up to plum.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I prefer more timeless classical designs, weddings that don’t date so when you look at the pictures in 10, 20, 30 years time they still look beautiful. I’m not a fan of “rustic vintage”, I feel there have been too many weddings featuring hay bales and jam jars. I guess at heart I prefer weddings to look stylish and exquisite.
Thanks Bernadette! For more about Dream Occasions, visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide Profile or head straight to her website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Bernadette? Add them to the comments below!