Weddings around the world: Wedding planning in the UK and abroad

30 Nov 2016

In her final entry for 2016, photographer Anete Lusina contemplates wedding planning with UK and overseas couples

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Wedding planning as a profession and as a service is becoming increasingly more popular in the UK. For those couples who become overwhelmed with all the possibilities available in the wedding market, as well as for those who simply do not have the time to plan a wedding or require someone to organise their special day abroad for them, wedding planners are the little fairies who pull it all together and create a magical day for everyone to enjoy.

From visiting different venues to constantly researching and networking with the most suitable suppliers for their clients, wedding planners do all the hard work for you behind the scenes. Some of them are also fulfilling their dreams and working with clients from all around the globe, planning weddings both abroad as well as locally. To find out more about working with couples from abroad, I spoke to Amy, the owner of Amaranthyne Weddings and a multi award-winning wedding planner based in Lincoln, UK.

With the tagline of ‘Exquisite, Elegant, Exclusive’, Amy attracts clients who value the personal service she provides. Not just that, as with any social profession, the clients also buy into Amy and her personality. Beautiful inside and out, Amy’s smile is contagious as she tells me what she loves about her job the most and how she began her journey into the business.

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During our conversation, we took two different directions: in one we discussed what it’s like working with couples from abroad, and the other one looked into Amy’s experiences working with couples residing in the UK.

Curious to find out how does one even begin their professional journey in reaching international couples and obtaining wedding bookings from them, not forgetting that Amy may be unable to meet them until the day of the wedding, I enquired about her very first experience dealing with clients from overseas.

“My first couple from abroad lived in Canada wanting to get married in the UK. It was a two and a half-year plan, so something to really get my teeth into. Straight away I loved the distance planning: regular Skype chats and meeting them when they visited. I remember taking them (and the groom’s mum) on venue visits and having just the best day, full of laughs and really getting to know them as a couple. The relationship with an overseas couple is a strong bond as I am their eyes and ears over here and at the same time, being that independent wedding professional who knows what they are doing. I have since worked with couples in the States, Australia, New Zealand, China and Cambodia.”

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Are there any differences in how Amy approaches a wedding for a couple from abroad in comparison to working with local ones?

"Absolutely," says Amy. “A couple from abroad need that extra reassurance. They are overseas and still need to feel very much involved with their wedding.  Regular updates and Skype chats are a must, as well as lots of flexibility especially with the time zone differences. I may only meet the couple (in the flesh) once or twice before their wedding so that connection, understanding of their vision and having a ‘can-do’ attitude is so important.”

As a UK wedding planner, is it important for the business to work with overseas couples?

Amy explains, “I realise that working with overseas couples is how I want my business to move forward; I just absolutely love it. I am my own worst critic when it comes to my business, but the feedback and recognition I get is just amazing and I think that after five years in the wedding industry, I’m actually pretty good at what I do. I am all the things a wedding planner should be (organised, professional, focussed), albeit not pushy or bossy. At the end of the day, people are investing in me to ensure their wedding day is as it should be. I am so passionate about my job and also very genuine, calm and excellent with people.”

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So, what about any advice for any overseas couples wishing to get married in the UK?

Amy has plenty of useful tips and hints she can offer. “I would definitely suggest using the assistance of an experienced wedding planner (either one who knows the geographical area you are looking at getting married in or one that has been recommended to you, so you know they are excellent at what they do and are very established in their business). This could just be to find a venue for you or to pull everything together."

"The time zone difference can make it quite difficult in contacting people. I work long hours and appreciate that a lot of my couples are seven hours ahead or behind the UK. Some wedding coordinators in venues only work 9am to 5pm (Monday to Friday), which isn’t always ideal for some clients (especially overseas ones)."

"I also recommend venues where I possibly won’t be needed on the day itself. Some privately-owned venues have great teams of wedding professionals in place and I recommend venues that I feel are the ‘right fit’ for my clients. Whether I’m needed after that initial wedding venue search or not, my job is done as they have the wedding venue that works for them. Some overseas couples have built up such a bond though that they want me there throughout their whole journey, such as the Canadian couple.”

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So, after having worked with such an array of different people from various parts of the world, what about local UK couples? Has the experience in dealing with international enquiries and jobs changed or impacted the way Amy plans her local UK weddings?

“Not really. All of my packages are very bespoke to each individual couple. I love my job and work closely with them to achieve their dream wedding day. Every couple’s expectations are different, whether they are in the UK or overseas. After almost 100 weddings I am still learning, you can never know everything. I think, with me, having that attitude is what makes me successful and I strive to do the best for my clients.”

The advice for UK couples looking to tie the knot overseas differs slightly. In this situation Amy suggests the couple to be understanding and cautious of problems they may run into. “Just think who you would like to be at the wedding, will all of those people be able to make it? Can grandma and grandad travel? Will you still need an after-party in the UK? While getting married abroad sounds idyllic, it is not for everyone. Just think what you want as a couple out of your wedding day and who you want in your wedding pictures/memories.” Planning such a wedding is something that is still on Amy’s bucket list.

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Wedding planning as a profession, or as your very own business, is something that is not as commonly considered as a career as it may be overseas, however, Amy has certainly found her spot in this industry.

With her dedication, enthusiasm and signature style she’s made her name and is not going anywhere! Dreaming about the future, we discussed her vision for her business in the next few years. “My business has gone from strength to strength over the past five years. Not only do I work independently for lots of lovely couples, I am also the Director of Romance at a beautiful country house wedding venue in Lincolnshire. I couldn’t really have wished for more with my business, I’ve won awards, got a beautiful office in the cathedral/cultural quarter of Lincoln, just purchased the car I’ve always wanted."

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"Believe me, it hasn’t been easy; I work long hours and miss out on lots of get-togethers with family and friends, but I love what I do so much and wouldn’t want to do anything else. A recent bride wrote to me and said: "I will miss the laughs we’ve had, but you’re a bit like Mary Poppins, and have other brides you must look after". This really made me smile. I suppose my vision for the future is to just keep planning beautiful weddings, receiving lovely feedback and hopefully having a wedding assistant/coordinator in the near future, so that I can take a step-back on certain occasions for more family and 'me time'. My little girl is three-and-a-half now and not only do I want her to be proud of mummy, I also want to be able to spend quality time with her as she gets older. It would be lovely to have somebody who thinks and works like I do and who cares about the business and its reputation. At the end of the day, you are only always as good as your last wedding.”

If you want to find out more about Amy and her wedding planning service, visit her website.

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www.europeanweddings.co