Interview with: Louise Perry
Company Name: Louise Perry Weddings
Location / Coverage: Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and London
What does Louise Perry Weddings do?
I plan exquisite weddings and parties, giving my clients as much or as little help as they need. No two clients are the same and their requirements are all different. I spend time getting to know them and then help them create the wedding they always dreamed of, whatever the budget they have to spend.
How did Louise Perry Weddings come about and how long has the business been going?
This is only the second year of trading, so it’s a very new business, although I have been working in the wedding industry with my wedding band, One Foot in the Groove for over ten years. Through the band I spend a lot of time planning the music for clients’ weddings, and from this I ended up recommending other suppliers and advising on timings, so the wedding planning grew from that. I then decided that I would train with UKAWP who aim to bring professionalism to the industry, and that was the best thing I could have done.
Have you always been interested in weddings and wanted to be a wedding planner?
No to both questions, but I absolutely love weddings now. I never set out to be a wedding planner as my background is as an actress in musical theatre. My love of weddings grew from singing at literally hundreds of weddings over a ten-year period. Even when I get asked to sing at someone’s wedding ceremony I still struggle to hold back the emotions.
What services can Louise Perry Weddings offer to couples planning their wedding? How much are your packages and what is included?
I don’t offer packages to my clients as they are individuals with different requirements and needs, but we do offer the usual things that all wedding planners offer, full planning and co ordination, partial planning and on the day co ordination. I can be hired at any point of the wedding planning process, and a client may only need help with a few things, or it may be close to the wedding and they are getting worried and just need some help in the run up to their big day. It’s all about the client and what they need, and my prices reflect how much time and help they need. A ballpark figure for full planning is usually 12-15% of the total budget, and on the day co ordination starts at £500
Why should a couple choose you to help them plan their big day?
My couples tell me I am very organised and unflappable. I also like to think I am one step ahead of them in seeing a problem and helping them avoid it before they have even thought about it. I genuinely care about each one of my clients, and I feel it’s really important that they trust and know I am helping them plan their wedding. The decisions though are always made by the clients.
Which part of helping to plan a wedding do you enjoy the most and why?
I love the initial consultation before I’m hired, when we discuss their initial ideas and plans. It’s lovely to be able to give them some other ideas and to see the excitement when you suggest something they love that they haven’t thought about. Then on the day you see how it’s all come together and the bride walks down the aisle; I have to have my tissues at the ready.
Do you have a specific style of wedding that you like to help create?
No, not really. It’s all about the wedding reflecting the couple getting married and that’s what I love to do. I’m just the practical one helping them create a wedding that says something about the two of them.
What are the best and worst things about being a wedding planner?
Without a doubt the best thing about being a wedding planner is being so involved with one of the most important days of someone’s life; I never take that lightly and I feel very privileged doing my job. There aren’t any bad bits, but it can be hard sometimes dealing with a clients anxieties. You spend a lot of time building trust and assuring clients that they can relax and enjoy the whole planning process.
What is your most memorable experience of planning one of your clients’ weddings?
This year one of my couples flew into their reception on an airfield. The groom was a pilot and it was a brilliant moment.
What’s your top tip for planning the perfect wedding?
Set a budget, be realistic about it and stick to it. Also write down the three things that you absolutely must have at your wedding. Whether it’s lots of guests, a band, or it must be a religious ceremony. Whatever they are, sit down together and agree on the things you absolutely must have and then fit the rest in around them. That way you don’t get distracted booking things you really don’t need and you are less likely to waste money.
What have the top wedding trends been in 2013 so far?
The majority of my clients seem to have opted for a summer village fete theme to their weddings – Lots of colour, bunting, hay bales, wild flowers; all very relaxed and informal. They also all seem to want hog roasts as opposed to the traditional sit down plated meal.
Random question… What was the last restaurant you ate in?
The Black Horse, which is my local pub and I can walk to it from my house, so it’s perfect.
Where can I find out more about Louise Perry Weddings?
The website www.louiseperryweddings.com has lots of information, and it’s always worth reading the Louise Perry Weddings blog to see what’s happening, what I am up to and lots of wedding planning advice. I also offer no obligation consultations to all prospective clients; that way we get to find out about each other to see if we can work together as that’s what it’s all about. It’s a no obligation meeting so I always say to a client “you have nothing to lose”.