Introduce yourself and your company!

My name is Hazel and I’m a wedding planner. I set up my business, Love to Marry 3 years ago and enjoy helping couples plan their weddings. I cover Leeds and Yorkshire areas.

Kirkstall Abbey Ceremony
Kirkstall Abbey Ceremony

What made you start your company?

I enjoyed planning my own wedding 7 years ago and spent the following 4 years thinking about setting up my business. While on maternity leave I decided to do an online wedding planning course with the Institute of Wedding Planners and then went for it!

What do you enjoy most or what is your favourite part of your job?
I love the actual wedding day itself. It’s such a long and hard day but being there after all the organising and seeing my couple relaxed and happy is wonderful to see and yes, I do get a bit emotional too!

How do you come up with your ideas?
My ideas usually arise from speaking to the couples and finding out what they want. Discussions will then lead to theme ideas and then I do lots of research and keep up to date with new trends on the internet and from wedding fairs and bridal magazines.

How do you manage to mix your busy schedule with home and family life?
I used to work on a PC in the home office and there were complaints that my family never saw me! So I invested in a laptop and now have a mobile office and means I can do work while still being in the company of my family – everyone is happy!

Do you manage to ever switch off the phone or laptop, or always sneakily checking emails and calls 24/7?
I’ll be sending emails any time of day or night! I did have a nice break from the laptop and emails over Christmas but clients and suppliers can call me evenings and weekends and a lot of the suppliers I use are often emailing me late at night too!

What top tip would you give couples that are getting married?
Don’t worry too much about what the venue looks like inside. If the location and price are perfect the inside can be transformed and ugly wallpaper, features etc can be covered and disguised till it looks like a marquee, Bedouin tent, Las Vegas casino or whatever you want it to look like.

You’re married, is there one thing you wish you’d done differently?
Nothing – it was perfect. Oh well, maybe allowed all my relatives and the children to stay into the evening. It was a cost thing.

Kirkstall Abbey Love to Marry
Kirkstall Abbey Love to Marry

What has been your most unusual request and did you manage to fulfil it?
One set of clients wanted their entrances co-ordinated to music, lighting and dry ice in a theatrical style. And yes I fulfilled it. That was another emotional moment seeing it all come together like a stage production and they were thrilled. You can see the results of the wedding on my blog and the Rock n’ Roll Bride Blog. There’s a link from my website and my blog to it.

How long do you usually take from start to finish to plan a wedding?
I usually like to meet the couple at their home or the wedding venue (if it’s wedding day co-ordination only). The first consultation takes 1-2 hours and I take time to get to know the couple and find out what type of wedding they want and their budget and then start putting a plan of action together. I then put a quote together for the couple based on their requirements.

Then I am at the couples disposal when it comes to wedding matters – like their very own PA! I’ll be chasing up suppliers, letting them know when payments are due and basically keep the process running smoothly for them.

Just before the wedding day I prepare a bound document with all the wedding details, timelines, contact details etc. in that they can keep. It’s also very handy for all the wedding party so they know what should be happening and when. I also confirm all details with the suppliers and will be their point of contact on the day.

On the wedding day I’m there early to help with and oversee the setting up at the venue(s) to make sure the couple have a relaxed and perfect day. I also make sure any special guests are taken care of and will be around during the wedding breakfast to make sure the guests are happy too. I usually stay till the start of the evening reception, once the party is in full swing and all the suppliers have arrived (i.e. the band in the evening).

How much notice do you need and how far should couples contact you in advance of the wedding?
For wedding day co-ordination only, if the date is free, anytime up to 2-3 weeks before the wedding. For all other services I can step in at any point of the planning process to help a couple out. So even if the couple has made a start and it’s all got too much they can give me a call and I can take away the stress for them. Other than that, once they’ve decided they’re getting married and need a wedding planner then its best to get me booked and the date in my diary as soon as possible.

What is your favourite Cards by Sophie stationery?
It’s hard to choose, but I really like Vintage and Botanica!

For any further information please visit the Love to Marry website, or have a read of their blog too!