Wedding planner Q&A: Susanne Rodger, The Balmoral, Edinburgh

What do you do?

I co-ordinate all the weddings taking place in the hotel, from the very first meeting with the couple to the big day itself. We can cater for anything from two to 250 guests.

How many weddings does the hotel host each year?

Around 60, with a variety of budgets. Exclusive use is an option, though it is more expensive. 

What is your role on the wedding day?

I do a lot of double checking and confirming. I agree final details with the photographer, makeup artist, florist and any other supplier to keep everyone on track. I’ll also do a final run-through with our operations team, then work closely with our toastmaster to meet and greet the guests as they arrive. I’ll speak with the bride and groom, of course – I want them to know I’m there for any last-minute requests or to help with any unplanned changes. They are always my top priority.

How long do you work with the average couple?

Everybody has a different time-scale for their wedding. Some book three years ahead, others just a couple of months in advance. But I’d say I work with them for an average of 12 to 18 months.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Wedding planners work with a wide range of people from bands to florists and photographers to chefs. You have to be able to flex your style to work with different personalities. It takes a lot of people to create a really special day, so it’s important to build relationships and manage everyone in a friendly manner.

What’s your advice for future brides and grooms?

Start with your budget, then discuss which aspects of the day you’d like to prioritise and how you can make your day personal to you. Organising a wedding can be stressful, so it’s important to take a step back sometimes and remember why you’re actually getting married!

How much involvement should couples expect from you?

Everybody has their own approach to planning their day. I reassure my couples that I’m always just a phone call away and that no query is too small. On the day itself, I am always available to assist them and take any stress off their shoulders.

How can couples make the most of their wedding co-ordinator?

Use their expertise. They will have seen multiple weddings and solved many challenges. Your co-ordinator also knows the venue and how it can be used to its full potential, so don’t be afraid to ask for ideas or photos to help you build your day.

What should a couple ask at the first meeting?

Beforehand, I would recommend that you and your partner discuss roughly what you want your nuptials to look like, how many guests etc. That way, when you visit the venue, you can view it with these factors in mind – there’s no point in going to see a place that can’t accommodate your numbers. I would also suggest running through the packages and asking if there’s flexibility to tweak them if need be. Check how your guests would get to the venue and if there is accommodation nearby. We are very lucky to be in the heart of the city with lots of transport links. If your venue is more remote, you may need to look into pre-booking coaches or taxis for guests.