A Passion For Planning

A Passion For Planning

Your wedding day should be the most memorable day of your life, and hiring a wedding planner can ensure your day goes as smoothly as possible. Jacqueline Maya speaks with the founder of Celebratzio Events, Rebecca Castano- Mander, about what couples can expect when working with a planner.

Rebecca Castano-Mander from Celebratzio Events always thought she wanted to own a restaurant, but she later discovered becoming a wedding planner was her true calling.

“Our restaurant was setting up a wedding, [so] I asked to help, and I absolutely loved it!” she says. “[Being able to create] something from nothing [is truly rewarding]. You can’t get a better feeling than that.”

The perception of hiring a wedding planner has changed dramatically since the 2001 film The Wedding Planner hit screens, but Castano- Mander says it’s now more popular than ever.

“Hiring a professionally trained planner and stylist is an investment,” she says.

When Couple Meets Planner

According to Castano-Mander, meeting your planner is the most important step of the entire wedding planning process. It’s extremely important that you develop a connection with your planner from the beginning. You should feel confident that your planner knows the industry and can replicate your vision.

“As a planner, it’s vital that you’re honest,” she says. “I believe the most important thing, initially, is to feel a connection. Your planner [should] understand [what] you want, and be capable of achieving [this].”

The next step is to meet with your planner. They might ask you for a list of suppliers that you have already booked/been in touch with, so they can begin dealing with them on your behalf. Castano-Mander recommends having a to-do list to help manage this task.

Your planner will then have a discussion with you about what you have in mind for the big day. They will incorporate your likes, personalities, families, cultures and stories, and often introduce you to other vendors they feel are suitable.

“Fast forward to when all the suppliers are booked, cake tastings are done [and] dress fittings [are] finalised, [and] the couple should be theoretically relaxed,” says Castano-Mander.

For some, inspecting a potential venue can be physically impossible, so a planner can take some of the pressure off.

“Many of our clients are mums from high- pressured jobs, or they fly in and out from interstate or overseas, [which can make it difficult to attend appointments],” says Castano-Mander.

Once everything has been booked and finalised, your planner will be responsible for managing the wedding plans, fielding calls from suppliers and dealing with issues, should any arise.

Getting To Know You

As the saying goes, “building a relationship is like building a garden” – it needs to be tended to with the utmost love and care if you want your garden to grow, and building a relationship with a wedding planner isn’t any different.

Castano-Mander’s philosophy for achieving this is to keep things informal. By having a relaxed chat and asking plenty of questions, your planner will be able to find out about any sentimental anecdotes you and your partner share, as well as your style and personality.

“Building a rapport is also really important,” says Castano-Mander. “Wedding planning is a long process; you will work closely with each other for a majority of the project, [so] you get to know each other quite well.”

Castano-Mander also advises couples to take samples, images or ideas with them when meeting with their planner.

“Our primary role, from start to finish, is [to] be there for the couple; to guide them and help them create their wedding day,” she says. “Sometimes you need to hand them inspiration for that to be a reality.”

Getting Personal

While asking questions will certainly help with building a rapport, it will also help your planner to discover your personality, which will help them to plan the wedding accordingly.

Your planner may ask what makes you and your partner happy, as well as your music tastes and favourite colour combinations, which will allow them to start creating your dream day.

“Every element should be covered [by incorporating] small touches of their personality,” says Castano-Mander.

Castano-Mander believes being able to create a wedding is a privilege. Her favourite part of the job is being able to create amazing weddings.

“We’re chosen to be at one of the most important events of a person’s life,” she says. “They [put their] trust in us, [and] that’s an amazing thing to have.”

Tips And Tricks

The wedding industry, much like the fashion industry, is constantly evolving. Castano-Mander has noticed that couples are very well-prepared and are booking venues much earlier, particularly because “the Gold Coast is currently going through a wedding boom”.

Castano-Mander has also noticed that interstate and international couples are making enquiries as early as two years in advance, and then booking shortly after, which shows just how in demand wedding planners are.

Castano-Mander advises couples to consider their guests throughout the planning process. Make sure your guests have comfortable and sheltered places to sit if you have a large gap between the ceremony and the reception.

“Think about your wedding as if you were the guest,” says Castano-Mander. “Imagine [what it would be like to] stand in uncomfy shoes for three hours while waiting for the couple to return from photos on an empty stomach.”

Most importantly, Castano-Mander strongly advises couples “not to stress the small stuff”.

“We like to consider ourselves wedding ninjas,” she says. “You don’t see us because we’re busy in the background making sure the wedding is going perfectly.”

Your wedding day should be as individual as you are, so no matter what trends come to surface, make sure that every aspect of your special day is tailored to suit you and your partner.