I almost went with the title "Intergalactic PLANNERtary" but I'm toning it down, just for you guys.
Jenna Hewitt is hands down the most organised person I know. Last year we worked together on an amazing styled shoot at The Copse (you can see the full shoot here and it has been featured on Rock My Wedding and Coco Wedding Venues). I was drawn to Jenna's idea as she creates shoots with a story to tell, and what are photographers if not story-tellers?
It was incredible how passionate Jenna was and how much thought and effort she put in to every aspect of the shoot. Seeing how invested Jenna was in the shoot made us all want to work extra hard to achieve the vision. I call it "the Jenna effect" (feel free to use that Jenna). I'm currently communicating with Jenna via email, messenger and phone, discussing a some upcoming projects for this year. Somewhere between that, her weddings and being a rockstar mum, she still found the time to answer some questions, which just goes to show how organised she is.
What made you decided to be a Wedding Planner?
I spent over 15 fabulous years in the corporate world managing events and projects. I had some incredible experiences and it was a training ground like no other but, after having two children, I took some time to reassess. I wanted to continue using my skills but on a more personal basis for individual, rather than corporate clients. The decision to become a wedding planner was a really clear one for me. It’s such a unique profession and I always find it so special to be invited into the world of the couples whose weddings I plan. It also provides me with the perfect blend: the event and supplier management, where I get to use all my previous experience, but also an outlet for my creativity. Wedding styling is one of the favourite parts of my work!
Describe an average work day.
This is a tough one, it really depends where I am with each client in terms of their planning and what day of the week we are talking! Weekends are when most of my weddings take place so across the peak wedding period you will find me setting up, co-ordinating and running my weddings! As glamorous as that sounds, these are the longest and most full on of all my work days. You are typically on site at dawn and can expect to be on your feet for up to 18 hours but it is incredibly rewarding. I get to know my couples so well as part of the planning that each one becomes so special. If I’m not working weddings my days are a mixture of writing wedding schedules, liaising with suppliers, conducting site/venue visits, meeting with clients and holding consultations with prospective couples. There is also the other side of the business which is the marketing of yourself and your own professional development. Social media and blogging are super important to get your voice out there, to tell couples who you are and enable them to find you. I also take my own training very seriously, I trained with the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners and regularly attend industry networking and training events to continue to build my networks of suppliers and stay in touch with the industry trends and knowledge. Oh, and then there are styled shoots! Styled shoots are a key part of the wedding industry. They are a chance for a planner and stylist like me to get super creative and bring together some inspirational wedding ideas and images for brides to be via a feature on a wedding blog. They are also a great way to meet and vet new suppliers. That’s how I met Kitty in fact!
What do you love most about your job?
This is a really hard one. I think it has to be the diversity of it and the fact that I get to be involved and invited to join in such a special event, a couple’s wedding day! There is also never a moment when I feel bored, without hundreds of things to do. My friends always laugh at my inability to sit still and do nothing, I love to be busy and I love juggling multiple moving parts, which is fortunate - spinning plates is a key part of the work!
What is the benefit of a wedding planner and what are your tips for a couple looking for one?
As a wedding planner, and being passionate about the work I do, I find it really saddening when I hear stories of couples driven to near insanity with the pressure of trying to plan their perfect day or frazzled by the time their wedding arrives. An average wedding takes around 250 hours to plan. Typically my clients are smart, successful couples perfectly capable of planning their own wedding. They contact a planner not because they aren’t capable of planning their own wedding but because, on top of very busy lives, they don’t have the capacity to create the wedding of their dreams. This is why I also believe in the importance of finding the right planner to suit you both. On choosing a wedding planner, not only do you want someone with the experience and credentials, you want to find someone that you gel with, that you can get on with, that you get a good feel for. You will find yourselves forming quite a relationship with this person you entrust to help bring together a wedding day that still feels completely yours, so it is important.
What tips would you give to people just starting out in the wedding planning world?
Do a bit of research to start with, get in touch with a wedding planner whose work or website you connect with and ask them a few questions. Even better ask to shadow or assist them at a wedding. I would also really recommend contacting the UKAWP (UK Alliance of Wedding Planners). They run some fantastic training courses to get you started and put you on the right track.
What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration are my two children, Ruby and Harry. They inspire me everyday to be the best version of me that I can. To me that is being the best mummy I can be but also showing them the value of developing and growing yourself. I hope that by running my own business I can show them the value of having a profession and that it is possible to find something that you love to do for a living whilst balancing your personal life.
Shoot Director and Stylist – Weddings by Jenna Hewitt
Venue – The Copse
Floristry – W I L L O W G O L D
Model – Eva Dithdoll
Hair – Patricia Soper
Make-up – Mel Kinsman
Stationary - Merrie and Bright
Cake – Cakes by Yolk
Wedding Shoes – Harriet Wilde
Barefoot Sandals – Forever Soles
Ribbon – Kate Cullen
Rings – Zoe & Morgan
Crockery – Classic Crockery
Terracotta Tableware – Saudade