Planning advice from a Brighton wedding planner

Planning a wedding and looking do to things a bit different? This article is full of awesome insight from an alternative wedding planner in Brighton

If you want to bring your personality into your wedding so that your guests scream “That is soooooo like them!” read on. If you’re also looking for some support and advice, then an alternative wedding planner like Bev from QQW Weddings might be your best bet.

My initial goal was to get advice from several different alternative wedding planners to help inspire couples who want to do their day their way. This proved to be a challenge as I quickly realised there are not a lot of alternative wedding planners out there. Most wedding planners talk about your dreamy “perfect day” where pastel colours, flowers and sparklers are the highlights. What if you’re looking for leather jackets, a rock band and a kick ass party?

Since Bev was the only wedding planner I found in Brighton to be truly creative and alternative, I decided to focus on her insight and pick her brain on wedding planning tips and tricks. Passing the mic over to her now:

What is your top advice for couples just starting to plan their wedding?

“My advice would be to think about the “WHY?” and answer these questions:

Answering these questions will help figure out the main thing about wedding planning:  have an idea about how they want the day to look. If something about the day is stressing them out, maybe it’s worth going on a different route with it or remove the part that brings stress. It’s important to be aware of things like these and not let them become a issue on the day.”

What is your top advice for planning in the lead up to the wedding?

“Definitely do everything sooner rather than later. Some wedding venues might be available to book with three months notice while others might need eighteen months. Once they know their date(s) and roughly where they want to get married, they shouldn’t wait. 

If they want to make sure they get what they want, (from venue to caterers, wedding photographer and other suppliers) planning in advance offers more options.

Things always take longer than expected and some things might need alterations to fit what they want. Another advantage to planning in advance is spreading the payments and being able to save up. This will help them make sure they don’t compromise on anything important to them.”

What would your advice be to couples looking for an alternative wedding venue?

“Look at places that aren’t wedding focused as they can provide the perfect empty canvas for them to bring their ideas to life. I recommend venues that are not wedding factories and don’t rely on wedding income. This might need a bit more planning but it makes a huge difference to the outcome.

Some examples of alternative wedding venues in Brighton are The Spire, Duke of York’s PictureHouse Cinema, Pround Cabaret and for couples looking for a medieval venue Loxwood Joust is brilliant for that.”

What tips do you have for couples who want their personality to shine through their wedding day?

“My tag line is ‘tell your story’. I talk to couples about what hobbies they do, if any, and what brought them together. If they get stuck I recommend them to text their friends and ask them to describe them in three words. 
I also tell them that they don’t have to do things a certain way. We’re past that time and things have moved forward.

For example they don’t have to do things in order on the day: ceremony, dinner, party.  The can have dinner followed by ceremony and followed by something else – whatever they want. I had couples that had celebrant ceremonies during the dinner instead of speeches. It made it much more relaxing, as they incorporated the speeches into the readings.”

How can couples decide if they need a planner or not?

“If you have a clear vision of your wedding in mind and know how to bring it together you probably don’t need a planner. If however you’re struggling with your vision or with how to practically make it happen, then a planner might be a great option for you. On the day itself if you go a lot of moving parts and/ or have a lot of different suppliers that aren’t used to working together, then a planner on the day would be a good idea.”

[if you’re still undecided whether you need a planner, Bev has a great way to help you find out]

“A lot of what I do is one off consultations with couples. I sit down with them and we have a chat. I get to find out what their budget is, what are they looking to do, and help them decide whether they need a planner or not. It might be that they already have a lot of things sorted and that one off consultation is enough for them to go ahead. Or some people are just good at planning and don’t need a planner, but maybe just a bit of guidance. In that case I can support them with an initial consultation and online support. Or maybe they need some help on the day to see that things run smoothly and they don’t want to worry about anything.”

How can couples find the right type of planner for them?

“It’s really important to meet with the planner beforehand and get to know each other. This will give you a sense if you’re a good fit (eg do you get excited about the same things for your wedding). For example, a lot of the couples that I work with are creative, have hobbies and some are into history. They are open minded people and most of them like to plan weddings with DYI elements. This for me is a confirmation that we have things in common and I can bring good advice and value to them.

If I’m not the right person for them I’m happy to recommend them someone else. I’m very against planners charging thousands of pounds and doing a standard copy wedding. Finding the right planner for the couple is really important. It is all about communication, setting expectations and being on the same page.”

Bev, tell us a bit about yourself, for those maybe looking for an alternative wedding planner

“I started with teaching drama at a secondary school, and fell into wedding planning by accident. I had some friends getting married and they needed a coordinator and thought of me. Long story short, I just went on from there.
I’m first and for sure a vintage performer and this year I’ll also direct an amateur performance of Thoroughly Modern Millie.

I think what might differentiate me from other planners is that I have that creative background that allows me to envision what a couple might imagine for their wedding day.”

Final thoughts

I hope you will find this article on top wedding planning tips interesting and helpful. Maybe these insights from an alternative wedding planner will help generate ideas, inspire you and guide you on how to plan your day.