Ever wondered what it is a wedding planner does and if it’s as magical a job as they portray in the films? I sit down with Rebecca Harwood, Events Manager at Tythe Barn in Tetbury as she tells me what brides shouldn’t worry about, where you can save money and which family members will get the most drunk!
What’s it really like to be a wedding planner? People have visions of you swanning around, sampling cakes and trying champagne is it really like this, what’s a typical day for you?
I tend to deal more with the logistical side of weddings as I am the Events Manager here at Tythe Barn. My role involves showing couples around the Barn as a potential venue and then if they book I will be their main point of contact up until, and on, the big day. I work 6 days a week as I feel it is important to be there on the day so couples get the same service beginning to end.
There is a little bit of cake eating and wine sampling however my usual day will consist of a lot of emails, liaising with caterers, musicians and all other suppliers to ensure everything on the day runs smoothly and the Bride and Groom have nothing to worry about.
We are all familiar with bride-zillas but have you had any groom-zillas?
Not really, there have been a couple of Grooms who have had a much larger involvement in their wedding here than most, however I actually think it is really lovely when they have a large say on everything not just the bar. We had one groom who organised a 40 piece male voice choir as a surprise for his Welsh Bride, a lot of planning and secrecy went into it but the look on her face made it completely worth every second.
How do you deal with pressure when brides take frustrations out on you? Do you get many stressy brides or is this more of a myth?
Working in weddings is a very stressful job, emotions run high and the smallest thing can seem like the world is ending to a Bride. I had a new general manger start here that had a lot of business experience but I still had to have a word one day and explain that you have to treat brides very carefully and everything has to be a little more ‘fluffy’ than usual.
I find it quite easy to judge very early on how I can talk to a couple and I have really good relationships with all of my couples, Brides especially. It isn’t uncommon to get friend requests on facebook or people just popping back to say hello a year on. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job.
What’s the coolest wedding ‘theme’ you have seen?
I love the vintage theme which is obviously very on trend and also works perfectly in a venue like ours; lots of mismatched tea cups and saucers with bunting and retro sweet tables are such fun. My personal favorite here is when people play on this being an old farm, just subtly, for example having little animals as name card holders, and homemade rustic favours such as jams and chutneys, hay bales with rugs on dotted around outside for relaxed seating. We often have pheasant feathers incorporated into the center pieces and it just all works brilliantly.
What things do brides worry about that they shouldn’t?
Guests dropping out; if they can’t come there is nothing you can do about it – just enjoy the day with your friends and family who will be there.
What things do brides overlook which are worth thinking about?
Music – we sometimes have people who hire their own equipment and just run a playlist off of a laptop, although this is a great way to save money there is nothing quite like a live band to get the party started. Having a DJ or a band who are upbeat will have everyone up dancing for the whole evening and for myself this is one of the most entertaining parts of the day – everyone loves a good Dad dance after all!
A good photographer is also worth their weight in gold, the photos will be with you for the rest of your life so it is vitally important they get every shot you want.
What areas do brides over spend on that if they were more careful they could spend less money on?
Like I said earlier, homemade favours are so cute and although it may take some time it is lovely to have a personal touch. This can also be said for table plans and place cards – and if the Bride and Groom are creative, rope in some friends and family. I had a couple who asked everyone to make a triangle of bunting for their RSVP and the bride stitched them altogether to use on the day and then had a lovely keepsake for years to come.
Has planning weddings made you more or less excited about your own wedding?
I often get asked this. I would say that I am a girl therefore I have always dreamed about my wedding, I have some lovely ideas that I would use, however for me I don’t want it to overtake why I am getting married and that is because of who I am marring and why.
I see it so often where the show takes over and I think people need to sometimes take a step back and remember why they are getting married and is it really the end of the world that it’s raining, or that their Aunty Gloria forgot to mention she had turned veggie and little cousin Archie has been sneaking drinks and vomited on the carpet…..as ultimately none of this matters.
As a rule of thumb which family member do you think tends to get the most drunk at the wedding?
Usually siblings or family Ushers!
What song have you heard played over and over again for the first dance?
One Day Like This by Elbow is a big one. Beautiful song though does get me most times!
What do you know now about weddings that you didn’t know before you started in the events industry?
Before I worked in the industry I had no idea that the ‘Wedding Breakfast’ was not in fact for breakfast but the main part of the day – got a few laughs when the penny dropped.