In our quest to bring you useful information, keep our community upbeat and full of love for weddings we wanted to share all the wonderfully useful insights that Mercedes from Scarlett & Bell (wedding planner extraordinaire) shared on our Instagram stories earlier this week.
The ‘Q&A’ session was led by all you wonderful people – you asked and Mercedes answered. And because she’s super awesome and always goes the extra distance, she wrote all the answers out for us too. What a doll.
So grab a cuppa large glass of wine and delve into her expert advice. All images in this article are of Mercedes’ work, it’s BEAUT.
Ask a…. Wedding Planner with Scarlett & Bell
There were a number of questions relating to wedding postponements as a result of Covid-19 and we figured grouping them together would be helpful!
POSTPONEMENTS AND COVID 19
Qs – Where to start with wedding postponements due to Covid-19? Is it realistic to expect all suppliers to be free on the same day if you need to postpone? 1/2 of my suppliers are not available for the new date! Help!
A – It’s a little harsh, but rank your suppliers! So you need to decide which of your suppliers you can’t live without, and also how much money you are prepared to lose. Bare in mind there could be 70-80% of weddings being moved to 2021, and that all of your suppliers will already have been booking 2021 clients so there is already a limitation on availability.
Your venue will likely be number 1, so have a think about which months you would most like to marry in, and what day (please consider a weekday wedding, and read The Little White Cow’s article on why – I couldn’t agree with them more), and then get some date options from them. Ask to hold 2 dates if possible, and get in touch with the rest of your suppliers. What deposits will you loose if you can’t use each supplier? How difficult will it be to replace them – how long was your short list before you booked? Shameless plug – I will be launching a postponement service hopefully by the end of the week (I am just ironing out some details), to do all of this for you. I am doing it for many of my clients at the moment, and I know how stressful and upsetting it is. Drop me a line if you might be interested in this!
Q – How do we tell guests we’ve postponed our wedding due to Covid-19? I don’t want to re-print invites – the only change is the date!
A – You can get some gorgeous e-postponement cards, I would go that way. Nice to do something a little more official, and with a little more style, than just an email, but absolutely don’t print new invitations – what a waste of paper! A friend of mine, Paula, is setting up her stationary business, and is working on some designs for this. I’d highly recommend getting in touch with her at Aura Studio. Of course I am certain lots of stationers could do something for you.
Q – I was meant to be putting out our invites for our September 2020 wedding this month (April 2020), should I?
A – I certainly believe in the power of positive thinking, so hold on to your September date, but I would possibly hold off to 3-months before the wedding. If you haven’t already, I’d send out an e-save-the-date and include a line about invitations coming later. That way you can keep your date blocked out in your guests diary but not run the risk of having to pay more to send out a second round of invitations.
Q – Should we be postponing our August 2020 wedding due to Covid-19?
A – It is so hard to predict what is going to happen over the coming months. I would have a good think about your guests – how many are coming from oversees (travel restrictions could be an issue), how many fall in the at-risk category (it is unlikely there will be a vaccine or no virus by August), and how many people you are having (there could easily still be restrictions on numbers of people coming together). Could you reduce your numbers? Or have an elopement/intimate wedding on/around your original date, and have a full celebration with all your friends and family once this is over? Just bear in mind the number of people postponing to next year, which is on top of the number of wedding of any year. We (suppliers) are all anticipating a double-booked 2021, there’s only so many weddings we can do.
Q – Now that we have postponed our wedding, how on earth do we switch from a spring to winter wedding?
A – I am ALL ABOUT a winter wedding. Let’s be honest, in Scotland a Spring wedding can have the same, if not worse weather, than a lot of those in Winter so the outdoor drinks reception or photos are not a guarantee in either case. Plus it’s easier to add some cute-but-cosy winter accessories than spring (KEEN for a chunky jumper or anything sheepskin). Colour/decor-wise, you do not need to go full Christmas, nor do you need to throw out a bright palette. The trick for a wedding of any season, in my opinion, is to go seasonal wherever you can (I’m mostly thinking of your florals and food here). Adjust your soft Spring palette by bringing in more greenery and perhaps some dried pieces, or do the opposite and go for a deeper rich tone of your original palette. Use coloured glass and metallic elements to cosy up the venue. And candles. Candles everywhere.
Q – What are your favourite Scottish wedding venues?
A – Oooo! Good one. Off the top of my head… Cambo Estate, Barnbougle Castle, Guardswell Farm, Royal College of Physicians, theDell of Abernathy, any property run byWild Land, Fife Arms,Timberyard, there’s too many to name!
Q – Is it too early to start planning a 2022 wedding, with it being April 2020?
A – It’s never too early! But make a plan, you don’t want to book everything right away and then change your mind a million times. You have a luxury not too many people have if you give yourself 2 years to plan, and that is not having to jump at the first *insert supplier here* you would “be happy with”. Having said that, be aware that the best of the best are booked up at least 2 years in advance, so if you have your heart set on anyone, do it. You can always ask for a first refusal on your wedding date. And obviously, book the venue first.
Q – Should we hire umbrellas for our April 2021 wedding, and who should we hire them from?
A – Considering the April we are having I would love to say no! But it’s Scotland, and… well need I say more? So yes, if you are planning for parts of the day to be outdoors, or at least you want your guests to enjoy the outside of your beautiful venue, then it’s worth it. I use Brolly Bucket, and I would highly recommend that you do too.
Q- Why is it so hard to find a wedding planner for weddings with <£20k budget?
A – I suppose it comes down to how much of you budget you are happy to put towards a wedding planner? And then finding someone you click with best and so will understand your needs and therefor what service to recommend. It may be that you have something simple in mind, and so you could take a full planning service if you don’t have the time or inclination to take it all on yourself. Alternatively they might recommend a day-of coordination service potentially with a little extra assistance to guide you through the planning process, allocating more of your budget towards other suppliers.
Q – What’s the one piece of advice you give to all couples planning a wedding?
A – Well a) hire a planner, especially for the day-of coordination! But assuming they’ve already hired me, I tell them to try and slow down and enjoy it all. Planning doesn’t need to be stressful, take it easy and do it together. And slow down and enjoy the day itself. It’s a cliche that it passes in an instant, but it does – even for me! I like to sneak my couples off a couple of times completely on their own – no family, no photographer, to just absorb the fact it’s their wedding day and they just got married!
Q – Would you travel to the hairdresser on the day of your wedding or try and arrange for them to come to you?
A – If it is just you, or maybe with one other person, you could do either (as long as your make-up could be done in the same place). Personally I would quite like to get away for a couple of hours! But you have to plan your morning to the minute (which I would do for you 😉 ), it would add quite a bit on to your morning scheduling. If you have 3+ people having hair and/or make-up I’d do it wherever you’re getting ready, but try not to do it in your room so you can get some peace and quiet/escape for a moment should you want it.
And then came the personal questions about Mercedes, and life as a wedding planner!
Q – What were your biggest fears around starting your own wedding planning business and how did you overcome them?
A – I am a very practical person so it was a long time before I put all of my eggs in one basket. I was lucky in that I set up Scarlett & Bell with a very good friend of mine who have been a wedding planner in Texas, and I also grew up with many family members (my parents included) being self-employed. I knew the risks. But my biggest fear was, and probably still is, not being good enough. It’s that old cliched “imposter syndrome” we female entrepreneurs are so often riddled with.
Q – What does a day at work as a wedding planner look like for you?
A This is probably an annoying answer – every day is totally different! I am not a morning person (except on wedding days, I save them up), so I don’t start until mid-morning generally (though I might dip into my email briefly). Email is generally where I start, and address anything urgent, and then move onto my to-do list. I have a fairly short attention span and am easily distracted, so I need to move where I’m working every few hours (sofa, table/desk, cafe, bar (dangerous, rarely works), different cafe, park bench…) and what I’m focusing on. I try to spend about half my time on current weddings, and half my time on development stuff – be that working on my website, building new services, or education. I obsess over a few podcasts and will do whatever they tell me to do that day. A lot of my clients are international, so the late start balances with a late finish. I am generally in my email or on Skype calls until 9pm or later (obviously I break for dinner), and then it’s back to reading or binging something on TV!
Q – Did you have pets growing up?
A – I’ve always had family dogs! My first, Bessie (named after the blues singer), was basically my first sister. She died when I was 14 and it broke my heart. We’re on our 4th dog now, Zephyr, who’s a cross black lab/flat coat retriever, and she is a dream! Though she licks everything constantly which isn’t ideal. I’m desperate for a dog of my own, after all of this is over maybe….
Q – Dream car?
A – Trick question? I have to have a Merc! My absolute unachievable dream is a 300 SL Merc Roadster, either the 1957 or ’63, in a soft Miami-style retro pink. Or one of those open-sided Jeeps they ride around in in all the late ’90s early 00’s teen flicks (thinking She’s All That, Clueless, Never Been Kissed).
Q – Can you tell us about one wedding trend you hope moves on quickly?
A – Favours! Not really a trend, but in my opinion a waste of money. Easily 60% of favours get left behind, so if you’re going to do them make them something you can eat or drink, but ideally spend your money elsewhere.
Q – What’s your favourite era of wedding style?
A – Oh em…now? There are a lot of traditions we are FINALLY letting fall away, and I love it. Couples are allowed to be true to themselves and their beliefs, weddings are about them not their parents or what is the norm. I wouldn’t go back.
Q – Do you LOVE the Wedding Planner? Sunday afternoon film goals!
A – Erm yes. JLo for the win! However I would not condone going after one of your clients, even if they are Matthew McConoghuay. I think… I mean, it is Matthew McConoghey so I’m not sure we can really blame ol’ Jenny.
Film and Stationary: Story of Us Venue: Dovecot Studios Photography: Nikki Leadbetter Styling: Scarlett & Bell Props: Pad Lifestyle and Life Story Cake: Loren Brand Cakes Florist: Adelaide’s Secret Garden Drinks: Solid Liquids
Glue Factory Shoot:
Curation, Film and Stationary: Story of Us Venue: Eventful Spaces – The Glue Factory Photography: Nikki Leadbetter Bride and Groom: Amanda and Richard Styling: Scarlett & Bell Props: Pad Lifestyle and Life Story Signage: Neon Creations Cake: Happy Hills Cakes Bar: Solid Liquids Florist: A Curious Arrangement Dresses: Karen Willis Holmes at Olive Jones Bridal Hair and Makeup: Heather Robertson Hair and Makeup by Hannah Be Headpieces: Rene Walrus Star Tiara: Crown and Glory Suit: Twister Tailor
Path Less Travelled (Enchanted) Shoot:
Photographer: https://www.melodyjoy.co/ Videographer: https://www.cinematefilms.co.uk/ Florist: https://www.adelaidessecretgarden.com/ Stylist: https://www.scarlettandbell.com/ Hair: https://www.pamper-and-polish.co.uk/ Make-up: https://www.heathersnowie.com /Stationary: https://www.edinburghletters.com/ Nicola’s nails: https://www.sarahmurraybeauty.co.uk/ Jewellery: https://www.patiencejewellery.com/ Models: @nicolagiffin and @annamaytal