A wedding planner gets married: Selecting the ‘Big Four’

In March’s blog post, Emma shares her advice for making the most important supplier decisions

happy couple
Photo: Craig George

With a venue booked and a good idea of guest numbers and the associated costs, the next step is to select some of the most important vendors for the day (and those likely to book up far in advance).

By the power vested in me: It isn’t a wedding without a celebrant! Have a chat about your preferences and whether you would prefer a religious, civil, Humanist or Interfaith ceremony. If you are opting for a religious ceremony, the chances are you already have someone or a place of worship in mind which can mean a straightforward decision.  For a civil ceremony, usually your local registry office will appoint an officiant for you. But with Humanist and Interfaith options it becomes more of a selection process. Word of mouth is a good place to start, but you could also make contact with a few. You are looking for someone whose values or personality strikes a chord with you.

We opted for a Humanist ceremony within our venue, Drumtochty Castle, to be conducted by the lovely Brenda Reid at Humanist Society Scotland, who has been a favourite celebrant of mine for a long time. Her glowing smile and happy storytelling almost always have me in tears!

Better safe than sorry: With a long organisation lead-time and possible changes in circumstances, it’s important to consider wedding insurance. At Timeless White, we recommend a provider who will cover costs that include cancellation due to terminal or exceptional illnesses in close family and the bridal party – many policies will just cover the bride, groom and their parents.

Snap Happy: Choosing a photographer is a very personal decision because you will spend a lot of your social time on your wedding day with them. It’s very important that you ‘click’ (pardon the pun). I’d recommend sitting down with a Scottish wedding magazine, such as Tie the Knot Scotland, and shortlisting some you like with some social media research.  Some Insta-stalking will give you sense of the personality behind the camera too. I highly recommend you meet your top two or three in person or on video call before you make a final decision.  Don’t forget to ask questions about additional costs, for example for high-res images, albums or additional time requirements in capturing moments such as fireworks.

We decided to opt for a fine art film photographer, Craig George.  We have worked together on a number of weddings including one of my best friends’ in Venice. His personality, photographic style and pricing is a great fit for us.

Feel good on film: Much of the same considerations apply here.  Ask how many cameras or shooters they will have, discuss the possibility of drone footage and how long your final edit will be. We selected Brian Scott Wedding Films because of his fun and bright personality paired with the bonus of drone footage (subject to Scotland’s weather!)

Dance the night away: Your evening entertainment will prove very important to you and your guests. The most popular bands and DJs are booked up to two years in advance. Have you been to any weddings where you loved the music?  Many acts we were interested in weren’t available for our date, so we started to follow some of the entertainment agencies on social media to hear about showcase days. These are invaluable as they give you the opportunity to see the band live. It took us a while to decide on this one and we really wanted a band with a brass section, but due to availability we had a rethink and are really happy with the one we selected. A great, fun band called Franco.

Emma Douglas is the owner of a leading Scottish wedding planning business, Timeless White Wedding Planning, based in Aberdeen. Over the past seven years she has executed dream weddings for more than 400 brides across Scotland and the UK.