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Up close and personal with...

Wedding Planner...Rachel Overall

When did you start in this business and what did you do before?

I launched the wedding planning arm of my business in 2017, before adding in honeymoon planning last year (I love travel so this seemed a no-brainer to me!).

Before launching my wedding and honeymoon planning business I worked in London in advertising, as a digital media planner and strategist for some huge global brands. I loved my career and will forever be grateful for the experience and skillset it gave me as it was perfect for setting up as a wedding planner, but I have always wanted the freedom and flexibility of my own business and it just felt like the right time to go for it

Do you have a particular style or do you reflect the client’s desires?

Each wedding will always be different – I make a real effort to ensure each wedding reflects a couple’s personality and their own individual style as I think it’s so important to not be a carbon copy of every other wedding on Pinterest. My mantra is ‘soul, style and substance’ – yes it has to look good, but it also has to be FUN and unique to the couple.

That being said, I do definitely have a signature style – which I think is important, as it means couples with similar tastes know that’s my area of expertise and something I can comfortably deliver. For me, my style is very much laidback luxury. The highest quality suppliers and styling, delivered in a down-to-earth, understated way

What can a wedding planner do that a best friend or venue manager can’t?

A wedding planner can use not only their past experience but also offer impartial advice that perhaps a friend can’t. Whilst it’s great to have friends involved, it can put pressure on relationships and is a time-consuming ask. Absolutely involve your friends – but save both your and their time for the fun stuff (drinking bubbles and bouncing around ideas for your wedding and hen!) and leave the legwork to a wedding planner

I have worked with some amazing venue managers and definitely don’t underestimate their role. However, whilst they can offer a lot of value and are clearly experts in their field, both their role and priorities are different to that of a wedding planner. Venue managers know the intricate details and workings of their venue, and as a wedding planner I always make sure I use their insider knowledge of what works well at that particular venue – it should be a collaboration. But venue managers won’t necessarily have the same remit when it comes to planning each and every element of your wedding, nor will they have the same time to dedicate towards it, as most venues have hundreds of weddings a year

Aside from being stretched among a huge number of couples, venue coordinators work for the venue, and this can result in some bias – whether in the selection of ‘preferred’ suppliers, or timings on the day that work for them, not you

A wedding planner is on-hand throughout the process and is there purely for you – offering impartial advice to help you choose the best possible suppliers, assist with styling, handle all the admin and logistics and also be both a friend and sounding board throughout

Where do you get inspiration and would you say there is a current trend?

I get inspiration from pretty much anywhere – generally when I’m not looking for it! I LOVE to travel (hence why I also love planning honeymoons!) and have been to over 40 countries so far. Wherever I go on my travels, I tend to pick up some kind of inspiration, in terms of both look and feel. I also love interior design and find myself taking a lot of inspiration from the world of interiors, from colour schemes to styles

In terms of trends, whilst I agree with keeping weddings stylish and fresh, the problem with being too focused on trends is that weddings can quickly age. The wedding planning process can be 1-2 years, and by focusing too much on trends you risk something that was on trend at the beginning of your wedding planning process no longer being so by the time you actually get married. Aim for somewhere in the middle – sophisticated, timeless design combined with modern detailing to keep it up-to-date

(absolutely, I agree... go with what you like not the readers of a magazine or blog)

What is your favourite flower?

At the risk of sounding cliché, you can’t beat a good peony, but I do also love ranunculus as well as big café au lait dahlias. I’m also big on foliage – asparagus fern is one of my favourites, and I always have some eucalyptus at home. I love flowers and seeing floral displays come to life at weddings is always one of my favourite parts!

What sort of information do you need to know when meeting with a prospective client for the first time?

To get the wedding planning ball rolling and to confirm availability, I need key information like date, location and budget. But aside from the logistical details, I always love to hear some of the back story, so always love meeting for a coffee or a cocktail

For me, it’s always so important when meeting couples that we ‘click’. The wedding planning process can be a long one – it makes the whole process an awful lot easier and more enjoyable if everyone gets on! The initial consultation is a bit like dating – there are a lot of planners out there but when you find ‘the one’ who gets you and your vision, you just know

What sort of lead time do you need when taking on a project and can/would you do more than one wedding per weekend?

For me, when it comes to weddings it’s all about quality over quantity. Wedding planning is a time-consuming process and I would never want to over-promise and under-deliver. I know that by working with a select handful of clients each year, I can give the best service possible and ensure that each couple is made to feel important, not just part of a production line. Personally, I’ve never done more than one wedding per weekend. Weddings are hard work and I would rather give my full attention and energy to one at a time rather than risk compromising on quality

In terms of lead times, it completely depends. Typically it’s around 12-18 months, but I have done full wedding and honeymoon planning in as little as three months, and anywhere up to two years. As I only take on a limited number of weddings a year, I advise couples to book as early as possible, but at the same time for the right wedding I will always try to make something work, so it’s worth asking!

Do you have fixed prices or is each package tailored to the client?

I have fixed minimum prices, but the final cost is tailored to each client depending on their exact requirements, where they’re getting married (UK or abroad) and where they already are in their wedding planning process. Whilst I think it’s important to have fixed prices as a guide, I also know each and every couple is different and so will always work up a completely bespoke proposal to meet their requirements

What is the most fun part of your job?

The people! I’m very lucky in that I can say pretty much all of my couples have since become friends. That makes my job a LOT easier, and more enjoyable for everyone involved. I also get to work with some amazing suppliers who I know I can always have a good laugh with! For me, there is no better feeling than seeing everything all come together on a wedding day and knowing that you’ve played a role in creating memories that will last a lifetime

What is the most important part of your job?

The most important part of my job is to make the wedding planning process as enjoyable, easy and stress-free as possible. Having worked long hours in London whilst planning my own wedding I know just how hard that balance is, so I go above and beyond to make sure I have all the little things taken care of to take off that pressure and give total peace of mind. A key part of being a wedding planner is always being one step ahead – thinking of the things that would never normally cross anyone else’s minds. I love a good spreadsheet and organisation and detail are my forte!

What makes you laugh?

Ooh this is tough! I laugh a LOT (one of my fellow wedding industry friends said I am the smiliest person she knows?!) (true!) For a woman in her early 30s, I am slightly ashamed to say I also have a rather unhealthy love of cheesy dad jokes – generally the worse they are the more I laugh! Wedding planning can be a lot of fun but also stressful so it’s important to stay grounded and keep a cool head. My husband and friends do a very good job of keeping me stress-free and down to earth, which is why you will normally see me with a smile on my face

Thank you so much Rachel, I do love getting to know a little more about my fellow wedding suppliers and I hope you do too!

Rachel Overall / Mirabella Weddings

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