In-depth: Ready, set & go!

June 18, 2011

Getting started on your wedding planning is a big first step!

When should we get started? What can a planner do for me? How does it all work? What are the charges? These are the most common questions that are asked at almost every consultation at The Wedding Company so we will endeavor to de-mystify the whole process.

Our clients are often but not always ‘Type A’ personalities. They know what they want (sometimes down to the smaller details, sometimes not) and need someone to execute their vision. They are highly accomplished, organized and want to be involved with the whole process with an unbiased third party to help them brainstorm and execute. Trouble is, they may be working in China or have a highly stressful job as a stockbroker, lawyer or a banker and don’t have enough hours in the day. On top of that, they are likely to be in the middle of an IPO or renovating their marital nest. They are looking for someone who understands their taste and efficiently gets things done so they can get the most out of the financial investment they have put into their wedding and enjoy it without stress. Actually, most of our clients fall into this category!

Couples who come to The Wedding Company for an initial consultation typically fall into the following phases of the planning cycle:

The Pre-Planning Stage: They may have just started planning their wedding in Hong Kong and have no idea where to start, when to get married, how many guests to invite and where to get married. These clients approach us up to two years in advance. We usually advise them to draw up a guest list first then book their venue and come back to us a year before their wedding date. Booking a venue is easier said than done, we completely understand. Good venues in Hong Kong on auspicious days are like gold dust in this town but that’s another topic altogether!

Getting Organized Stage: These clients may have already set a date/venue (a year ago) but its now six months before their wedding and they have been putting off the planning due to work commitments or mere procrastination. Now, their parents are breathing down their neck and their friends want details so they had better get started one way or another. In an ideal world, once you have locked in your venue and set your budget, couples should plan for a six to nine months lead time.

Panic Stage: Couples may or may not have gone through the above two stages but suddenly for whatever reasons, plans changed or they never actually committed to any vendors. Now, they need to get married urgently in the next 2-3 months and all their best-laid plans (if they had any to begin with) have gone out the window!

Throw in a mother-in-law or two (who has a completely different viewpoint), a stressful 15 hour day at work (or cramming for law exams..you fill in the blank) and a well-meaning group of married girlfriends or aunties with a ‘wealth’ of contradicting advice, its no surprise that each and every week we have a steady stream of potential clients who, no matter what their story is, simply needs help!

A competent wedding planner should be able to clearly identify the couple’s needs and offer them a well-thought out solution. Don’t be swayed by a company’s pretty website (a new planner in town simply uploaded all their favourite images from Style Me Pretty, not of their own work!), its a planner’s experience that matters.

At the initial consultation, we ask lots of relevant questions to get to know the couple and to determine the type of wedding and budget they have in mind so that we can propose the right fee and a sensible plan of action. We show our portfolios and outline the way we work and what we can and cannot do for a client (their seating chart for one!). We expect clients to ask us questions about the services we offer, our working method and how we add value. At the end of the day, it comes down to the right fit between planner and couple. Both parties need to feel that they are working with someone they can trust and communicate with effectively.


 

 

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