Should you use a Wedding Planner?


Hi everyone, today’s post has been one that has been simmering in the background for a little while, but yesterday I heard a wedding story via another supplier that made me scrunch my eyes up, hold my breath, feel anxious and encourage me to post it.  It may not be everyone’s opinion and of course that is absolutely ok, but here goes…..

The main focus of the story was that a friend of the bride had organised her own wedding a couple of years ago, did a fantastic job and she absolutely loved doing it.  She offered her services to her newly engaged friend, and, as a wedding present to the couple, undertook to take the role of a wedding planner.  Everyone was thrilled with the arrangement – it was a very generous gift, the engaged couple were happy that they would save a substantial amount of money in hiring a qualified wedding planner and the friend was over the moon that she could help, share her personal experiences from her own wedding and could be so involved.



Sadly the agreement didn’t work out as everyone hoped and the wedding planning became increasingly stressful –  the budget wasn’t managed as it should have been, suppliers let them down very close to the wedding weekend, the day did not run smoothly and with hindsight, the couple hugely regretted their decision to use a friend to plan and manage their wedding.

So this post is about the use of a wedding planner  / co-ordinator .  If you are thinking of hiring one for your wedding, why you absolutely should employ an individual who has previous clients you can speak with, genuine testimonials from couples that you get confidence from, a website with their previous weddings shown and finally, someone who doesn’t just have experience but also has the relevant insurances (so important) and is a member of a wedding body in a largely unregulated market.

It is one thing to have organised your own wedding, or managed and co-ordinated the wedding of a family member or friend, but is entirely another to work for clients – a couple who are paying for a service.



I am not saying at all that you absolutely must hire a wedding planner (it is really ok not to!) but I sincerely believe in the value of researching your professional wedding planner.   This can be said of any wedding supplier really.

Ok, so with my personal opinion out of the way (!) here are a few reasons why you may consider hiring a professional wedding planner.

– First things first, every supplier you use for your wedding has to be the right one, whether this is your caterer, dress maker or florist.  You should feel at ease with them, like them and feel confident in their understanding of what it is you are looking to achieve.    You should want them at your wedding and have the moment of ‘you are the one’.  Most wedding planners will offer a free first consultation so it is worth while speaking to more than one.

– You need help focusing your vision.   Geez we all know that Pinterest is the fountain of inspiration but this can have it’s own problems when you are trying to focus on the style, colour, theme or feel for your day.  Too many ideas can be overwhelming and it can be really useful to have help with piecing together the wedding puzzle.

–  You don’t have time to plan your wedding.    I have read more than once that it can amount to a part time job to plan a wedding – which is around 15-20 hour per week!  An average wedding can take around 200 hours of planning to pull it all together.  A dedicated wedding planner can take a sizeable amount of this time off your shoulders.  This can be particularly useful if your own job is a standard 9   – 5  as many wedding suppliers and venues will work around these hours too.    So let your lunch hour be free for wedding shoe shopping and let your wedding planner take some of the stress from you.

–  You are lost with your money , what you have spent and what you have left to spend, have a dislike of spreadsheets and balancing the books.  A professional wedding planner will have vast experience of managing a budget, negotiating the best prices with suppliers and most are a strange breed who are friends with their calculator and Excel.

–  You want to enjoy your day and not be worried about the schedule, ensuring suppliers are there when they should be, dealing with minor emergencies and the little details of the day.  Your wedding planner is there to take all of this away from you and your families, leaving you to really relax and have fun, which is what it is all about.  This is the bit that really cannot be overestimated and is difficult for a bride and groom to plan for as they really don’t know how the day will run and what will happen – this is when I think a ‘go-to’ person is invaluable.  The calm that you need.


There are many super talented and experienced wedding suppliers out there who are truly passionate about their work and, most importantly, have the confidence and experience to back up their offerings of wedding planning.

Over the last four years I have worked with, spoken to and spent time with a handful of pretty amazing ladies who are worth speaking to if you decide you would like to find out more about what they can offer you.  There are many more of course, and a good place to start is by checking their background and their accreditations.    The main body is The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.

Bennessamy Weddings and Events

Unique Wedding Planning

Carmen Weddings

Pure White Wedding Company

Pretti Gracy Weddings and Events 


Happy planning.


Karen xx


Featured image – Matt Brown Photography

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17:47 25 November 2014

WedFest Part 1: Outdoor Ceremonies, Yummy Food & Drink & Styling Inspiration

Styling a Festival themed Wedding

Hello and a very happy Monday to you all.

Spring is here and we are planning our next Tipi Open Weekend with some super talented suppliers.  We are looking towards Summer and hoping that the sun shines as much as it did in 2014.  Being outside till the early hours, music, friends, families, BBQs and the festival season.

We will be working with the Sami Tipi crew again we’ve got outdoor weddings on the brain and today we’re turning our heads to all things festival inspired. Starting with the ceremony in this two-parter mini series, we’re going to be looking at all the elements to create a dream outdoor wedding and of course, as always we’ll be showing you a few ways to add our little vintage twist!

Last year’s was pretty marvellous – see images of our lovely crowd and tipis here – Tipi Open Weekend.


Hope you enjoy.

Mirlah xox


If you wanted to join us for the weekend we would love to see you and talk all things wedding and tipi, easy to pre-order your free tickets, the Event Brite link is on this lovely little flyer.


Darby & Joan and Sami Tipi

The Outdoor Ceremony

Well, for starters this mood board could have been tripled in size with all the beautiful imagery around. There are so many stunning ways to set the scene and create an altar to die for. Start with the backdrop for your I do’s by creating a large focul point. Depending on your location this could be as simple ad hanging bunting between two trees or really going for it an creating a tall structure using wood or old reclaimed ladders. Adding ribbons or hanging elements look particularly stunning as they’ll gently move in the breeze.

Of course though, as always in good old Blighty, do have a plan B! Whilst a shower or two can easily be dodged by handing out umbrellas to your guests, crazy winds and a sideways downpour (everything crossed that this isn’t the case) might mean you need a little more shelter from the elements. Perhaps consider a small Tipi (Kung) a gazebo, a marquee or perhaps your outdoor venue has some outbuildings that can be transformed just in case.


Styling an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony - Festival Wedding Inspiration

Image Credits: Moodboards: Best Day Ever

Hanging Mason Jars: Krystal Mann via Style Me Pretty Hanging Jar Alter: The Robertsons via Style Me Pretty

Tree Stump with Flowers: Spottswood Photography via Wedding Chicks Flag Aisle: Our Labor of Love

Heart Aisle: Camera Hannah via Rock My Wedding

So many beautiful ideas right? Loving the simplicity of the bottom image. Just punch out some paper hearts and secure onto some kebab sticks and you’ll be away, the perfect aisle style.  You can also change things up with the seating, if you are wanting to create a more relaxed feel, hay bales make great pews, just cover them with some vintage tablecloths or linens for a little twist and to stop any prickly bums! :)

Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies with the Ceremony Company | Festival Wedding Inspiration

Image: The Ceremony Company

Our friends over at The Ceremony Company offer a service which allows you the freedom to expand your imagination and have a truly unique Ceremony. Indoors, outdoors, or in the evening these guys are the ones who can make it happen. Of course, with everything there are legal formalities that need to be completed, but if you’ve dreamed of a festival inspired wedding outdoors on the ‘main stage’ surrounded by your friends and family, then these guys are the ones to call.

Food and Drink

Oh yes the food! When you think ‘festival food’ you’d be forgiven for thinking grey looking burgers, soggy serviettes and your 5 a day coming just from the
onions. But this is your Wedding Day so it’s time to create a wedding feast to end all feasts! I love a BBQ so by no means saying no to a good old burger and
a sausage, but these days Street Food and outdoor catering are fast becoming a new trend, so there are loads of ways to bring a little twist to your wedding
food. Think food stations, Hog roasts, Retro food vans, quirky salads and artisan breads and you’ll be on to a winner.

Wedding Festival Food Inspiration - Sharing Platters, Posh Ploughmans, BBQs and Homemade Chutneys.

Image Credits: Handmade Chutney Favours: The Little Caravan  via The Natural Wedding Company

Arrival Drinks in Dispensers: Ryan Ray Photo via Wed Society Buckets of Beer: Photographer Unknown via Pinterest

Plougman’s Platter: Louise Lister for Marie Claire Sizzling BBQ: Thomas The Caterer

Sharing platters are a great way of relaxing the mood and get people chatting and they always look so exciting when they arrive.
How about giving the festival theme a vintage twist by serving your food on vintage china plates. The poshest BBQ your guests will ever have.
I love how versatile vintage china can be, of course it’s perfect for a dainty afternoon tea, but it looks really fab amongst bright colours and streamers and giant tasseled balloons.
Darby & Joan’s Posh Plougman’s is a perfect way to combine tasty food with a relaxed feel.
We’re talking local meats, pork pies, a selections of cheeses, chutneys and pickles and a selection of breads and crackers.
Totally delicious and of course, served on gorgeous vintage china!
If you’re handy in the kitchen, I love the idea of making homemade chutneys and using them for place settings and favours. A lovely (tasty) personal touch!

Canapes by Darby & Joan Vintage

Image: Darby & Joan Canapes by Kate Henderson Photography

Styling & Decor

As with anything, there are lots of different types of festivals, some can be a bit more boho, some a little more rock n roll. So by all means you don’t have to stick to big bright colours, we just happen to be in love with them at the moment, so our focus is all making a big statement with colour.

Darby & Joan loves a blank canvas, from Village Halls, to Tipis and Marquees, there’s something really fantastic and rewarding about starting from scratch to create the perfect look for creative couples.

For creating that festival vibe we love bright bold colours, mixing up patterns and teaming big ‘in your face’ decor with the finer details.

Big! Think hand painted signage directing your guests where to go, cascading streamers from the trees, pom pom or lantern installations and cool VIP chill out areas with a mix of colourful cushions.

Small! We’re talking bright coloured table runners and napkins, ribbons tied onto chairs, striped straws, and tables named after your favourite songs.


Styling and Decor Ideas - Festival Wedding Inspiration

Image Credits: Streamer Chandeliers: Anushe Low via Style Me Pretty 

Colourful Lanterns: Photo Glow via Love My Dress Striped Table Setting:  Matt Brown Photography via Darby & Joan 

Hand Painted Wedding Signage: Sarah Tamagni via Ruffled Blog  Balloon Decorated Marquee: Darby & Joan for Kate Halfpenny

So there we have it, part one of our WedFest! What do you think? Tempted to say I do outdoors Glastonbury style? Stay tuned for the second instalment where we’ll be talking entertainment, quirky outdoor ideas, and inspiration for when the sun goes down.

11:20 12 May 2014

Country Vintage Wedding Styling at Bawdon Lodge Farm


Hello! I think you’re going to need to stick the kettle on for this post today. We’ve got some gorgeous images from not one but TWO vintage styled wedding shoots that we worked on to share with you. If I said the words, rustic, country, vintage, hay bales, afternoon tea, roses and hydrangeas. Would your heart be set a flutter? Well, there is all that and more in the shoots today.

The props, china, linens, furniture and styling are all from us at Darby & Joan – get in touch if you are looking to create something similar for your day.

So grab that cuppa (maybe a cheeky biscuit) and indulge yourself in a little vintage country wedding inspiration.

Mirlah x

The shoots, organised by Val at Benessamy Weddings and Events was put together ahead of a brand new Wedding Venue opening in the wonderful East Midlands. Bawdon Lodge Farm is a family owned country farm in Nanpantan, Leicestershire, and is due to launch as a country wedding venue later this year and is available for weddings in 2014. The owners, Richard & Lynn Bailey were passionate about working with local suppliers to showcase the venue’s versatility and Darby and Joan had the pleasure of styling the shoots alongside a fabulous team of talented suppliers. Creativity was in full flow and a lot of fun was had by all down on the farm. A big thank you to Val at Benessamy for superb co-ordinating, Alix at Lumiere Photography for capturing the beautiful images and to Bawdon Lodge; we wish you all the success in the world, we just know your stunning venue will be a success.

A Vintage Country Wedding

The inspiration behind the first shoot was Vintage Country Wedding. Featuring a hay bale ‘theatre’ (pretty darn fabulous) and beautiful blooms this shoot oozes country sophistication. You’ll also spot a selection of our props and vintage china throughout the styling, all of which can of course be hired from us. Enjoy.





















The Dream Team

Photography: Lumiere Photography

Planning and Co-ordination: Benessamy Weddings & Events

Venue: Bawdon Lodge Farm

Styling: Darby & Joan Vintage and Fabric Theatre

Flowers: Tineke Floral Designs

Stationery: Paperknots

Dresses and Accessories: Giling & White Bridal

Menswear: Christopher Scotney

Hair Stylist: Alison Jenner

Make-up Artist: Cristina Lazzarotto

Cake: Dominic at David North

Props: Delightful LivingLove Umbrellas and Dominic at David North

Furniture: Shires Event Hire

Models: Jack Stovin, Nicola Marie Stokes and Catherine Bosworth


A Rustic, Afternoon Tea Styled Wedding

Next up, we have a slightly different feel for the second shoot. Inspired by Vintage Afternoon Tea this look is a little more rustic, with simple burlap table runners, mismatched china, and soft hues of blue and pinks. Capturing all of the charm of an English Afternoon Tea, this shoot is relaxed, subtle and oh so pretty.































The Dream Team

Photography: Lumiere Photography

Planning and Co-ordination: Benessamy Weddings & Events

Venue: Bawdon Lodge Farm

Styling: Darby & Joan Vintage and Fabric Theatre

Flowers: Tineke Floral Designs

Stationery: Paperknots

Dresses and Accessories: Giling & White Bridal

Menswear: Christopher Scotney

Hair Stylist: Alison Jenner

Make-up Artist: Cristina Lazzarotto

Cake: Dominic at David North

Wooden Signage and Table Numbers: Delightful Living

Furniture: The Country Home

Models: Jack Stovin and Charlotte Wood

So there we have it, what do you think? We’d love to hear from you. We’re delighted with the images and had a ball making it all come together. Thanks again to everyone involved, great work. High Five!

17:27 24 June 2013

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