Guest blog post – Helen Carter {wedding planner}

I am really pleased to put up this guest blog post from Helen Carter – as a wedding photographer, I have come across some wonderful planners who have really helped their couples, both before and on the day. I was interested to ask Helen a few questions, and here are her responses:

1. Why did you decide to become a wedding planner?

I first became interested in becoming a wedding planner after planning my own wedding, but it took a few years before I took the plunge and launched my own business. Organisation has always been one of my strongest skills (I’m obsessed with lists and spreadsheets!), and I love working through the logistics and finer details of wedding arrangements. I’m also quite design-oriented, so being a wedding planner seemed the perfect opportunity for combining my creativity and organisational talents.

Helen Carter Bouquet (Stephen Sutton Photography)

2. What services do you offer? Are there different levels of assistance that you can give?

Some couples want someone to take care of all the arrangements because they simply don’t have the time themselves or live in a completely different location to that of their wedding. However, there are lots of brides who need help with a specific aspect of their planning, or want someone to take the reins at a later stage so they can relax and enjoy the build up to their big day.

I probably have one of the widest ranges of wedding planning services in my area. In addition to full wedding planning, I also provide partial planning, venue and supplier sourcing, final weeks management, wedding day management, invitation and RSVP management and venue decoration. Every couple is different, so I can tailor the level of my involvement to their individual requirements to design a planning service that meets their exact needs. I also have a DIY wedding planning package that’s ideal for brides who want to plan their own wedding but aren’t sure where to start, which includes personally designed planning software and 5 hours of e-mail or telephone support.

3. How important do you think it is for couples to consider enlisting the services of a wedding planner?

I actually believe that a wedding planner is as essential as a photographer or caterer, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my job! Planning a wedding is fun and exciting, but it requires a lot of time, effort and organisation that mean it can often feel stressful and overwhelming. Hiring a wedding planner means that a couple can hand over all of the time consuming work, allowing them more time to enjoy their engagement whilst still making all the decisions.

Hiring a planner isn’t for everyone, and there are lots of brides that do a fantastic job of designing and organising their own wedding. However, I would definitely recommend that couples seriously consider hiring a planner for the wedding day if nothing else. They’ve spent so much time and money up to this point, the last thing the bride or her mum want is to be worrying about whether everything is going to go to plan. A wedding planner will create a schedule for the day, add the finishing touches to the venue, act as an emergency point of contact for all of your suppliers and deal with any little hiccups to make sure the day runs smoothly and on time without any fuss.

Helen Carter Bride and groom hands (Stephen Sutton Photography)

4. What geographical area do you cover?

I predominantly cover Essex, London and Hertfordshire, although I’ve also worked with couples in Kent, Cambridgeshire and Surrey. My fees cover travel within 50 miles of my base in Essex, but I’m quite happy to travel further afield if required.

5. What is the most unusual thing that you have been asked to provide?

I haven’t had any particularly unusual requests as yet. Every couple is different and every wedding is unique, so I’m always looking at ways in which the wedding design will reflect the bride and groom’s personalities, tastes and interests. Quite often the bride and groom have different backgrounds or cultures and want to incorporate elements of both into the day. Short of a bride wanting to arrive at the church on an elephant, I would say pretty much anything is possible and there isn’t much that would faze me!

Thanks so much to Helen for her informative responses and to Stephen Sutton Photography (www.stephensutton.co.uk) for kind permission to use images on Helen’s behalf. Helen’s website is www.helencarterweddings.co.uk and you can reach her by email at helen@helencarterweddings.co.uk. Helen also has a special offer of 20% off all services booked before 31st January 2010 – for full details click here, so it couldn’t be a better time to get in contact!

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