Interviewing Luxury Wedding Planner Rachel Dalton
In a brand new blog segment I will be interviewing who I consider to be the very finest Wedding Suppliers in Dorset and the south about all aspects of their business.
This gives you a great chance to get to know the person behind the business as I firmly believe that having a great connection with your wedding suppliers is vital.
My guest for this blog is the wonderful Rachel Dalton who is a luxury wedding planner, her business is Rachel Dalton Weddings.
If you’re looking help planning your wedding and have designs for it to be flawless, elegant and memorable then get in touch with her.
She’s passionate, dedicated and incredibly hard working.
This is how we got on!
Interview with Rachel Dalton – Luxury Wedding Planner
For anyone reading who doesn’t know you could you explain who you are and what you do?
Of course! I’m Rachel and I’m a luxury wedding planner based near The New Forest. Rachel Dalton Weddings produces weddings and events all over the UK and I work closely with my couples to plan weddings that are bespoke, memorable and flawlessly executed.
What’s led you to working in the wedding industry?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in the wedding industry, I’ve always been completely obsessed with weddings!
I started my career working in events and hospitality, which gave me a lot of experience working on a range of events, but I always knew that it was weddings I wanted to do – you just can’t beat the feeling that you are making a positive influence to the most important day of someone’s life.
I then moved on to work in luxury bridal retail, where I had the opportunity to work with some of the finest bridal wear designers in the world. As much as I love the world of bridal, I always wanted to put my organisational abilities to better use (I’m a total spreadsheet nerd!) and I launched Rachel Dalton Weddings at the end of 2018. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some truly incredible couples on some spectacular weddings – I absolutely love my job!
I can tell just by reading how much enthusiasm you have for your work – it’s such a lovely industry to work in because in my experience, particularly at the higher end of the market it feels like a team pulling together trying to create something perfect not just for the couple but for the guests as well.
Obviously a lot of couples put together a wedding all by themselves, and I’m sure you get asked this a lot but why do couples need a wedding planner?
Absolutely – weddings are such a team effort and, as you mentioned, it’s about making an experience that’s as special for the guests as it is for the couple.
I certainly get asked that question a lot, which I completely understand!
The average wedding takes 200-300 hours to plan, which is a HUGE amount of time to factor in when you’re also working full time, maintaining a busy social life and handling whatever else life is throwing your way.
A wedding planner can completely streamline the wedding planning process, eliminate the hours spent sourcing suppliers, juggling emails and collating RSVP’s and free up time for you to get on with the fun stuff (cake tasting, anyone?).
What’s more, having the continuous support of someone with experience in the wedding industry can be invaluable when you’re planning a wedding.
They can suggest suppliers that they KNOW will deliver the quality you are looking for on the day and save you from making potentially costly mistakes down the line.
Do you think most couples appreciate how much of an undertaking planning a wedding is?
I think it certainly surprises a lot of couples.
The thing about wedding planning is, it’s an industry that most people don’t have any experience with until they get engaged, so it’s easy to understand why it could become quite overwhelming.
So as a luxury wedding planner you’ll presumably have your list of go to suppliers but how can you personally tell whether a particular wedding supplier is of a good enough quality for a ‘luxury wedding’?
Exactly – not many people have experience sourcing a magician!
When it comes to suppliers, I don’t have a recommended ‘list’ as such, for me it really is about sourcing quality suppliers who emulate the style and atmosphere that each individual couple are looking to create.
On saying that, once you’ve worked in the industry for several years you do get to know a network of suppliers that you can consistently trust to deliver the quality and expertise that is expected of a luxury wedding.
Experience in that sector is wonderful, but more than anything I look for professionalism, enthusiasm and suppliers who will go the extra mile for my couples.
That’s good because otherwise every wedding would be the same which is the last thing you’d want a luxury wedding to be like.
In my experience it isn’t just a thing it’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” about the higher quality suppliers.
Do you have any advice for couples who are looking for the better quality suppliers? In terms how they can separate the great from the good and the exceptional from the very good.
I completely agree!
For a while the term ‘luxury wedding’ became synonymous with over the top, super-glam weddings (think dripping pearls and tight balls of roses!) but in the last few years we’ve seen ‘luxury’ take an understated turn – which is what I’m all about.
To me, ‘luxury’ means producing a bespoke wedding which doesn’t just look beautiful, but also evokes a certain atmosphere.
The best tip I could give for sourcing your suppliers is to not be afraid to ask lots of questions and get a feel for the person!
If you’re meeting a photographer, ask to see a full gallery, if you’re meeting a production team, ask whether there will be a technician on site on the day, if you’re meeting a magician – ask to see a magic trick!
It’s all about going for the people that instil confidence in you that they can meet (and exceed!) your expectations for your wedding.
When you meet the right suppliers you’ll just ‘click’ and it’s okay not to book someone if you feel that they aren’t the right fit for you.
I couldn’t agree with you more, the connection between supplier and couple is absolutely key in my mind.
When people get in contact with me I don’t just want to tell them a price I want to know about their day, their theme, their number of guests etc.
There’s so much more I can do that just card tricks so I want to make sure that I am offering my full range of services to them so that I can help move their day as close to perfect as possible.
I think that’s the difference between suppliers operating at different levels of the market.
Moving on, I’ve worked with loads of wedding planners in my time and in my experience they offer different levels of involvement in the process depending on the couple’s needs, is this something you offer yourself?
Yes absolutely, this is one of the things I feel most passionate about.
No two weddings are the same so I try as much as possible to tailor my services so that they are bespoke to each individual couple’s requirements.
Whilst you’ll find some examples of my services on my website, you certainly aren’t limited to a ‘package’ when you book me. I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions I hear about hiring a wedding planner – brides and grooms get worried that by hiring a planner they are giving away control of their day, which couldn’t be further from the truth!
Your wedding planner can have as much or as little involvement as you’d like in the preparations for your wedding.
They come with ideas and then you provide the opportunities and then potentially inspiration for further ideas too?
Particularly with things like Pinterest and Instagram now it’s so easy for couples to come across incredible ideas that seem unattainable.
I love taking those ideas and turning them into a reality that is practical and purposeful for their wedding day, not to mention appropriate for their budget.
Nothing is impossible nowadays if you have the right team of suppliers around you!
It’s amazing what people are putting together for weddings nowadays.
I’m going to hit you with a little controversy now because that’s always fun.
What do you say to those people who think it’s a waste of money potentially spending £50,000-100,000+ on just ONE day of their lives?
Haha, I love a bit of controversy!
Do you know what, I totally respect everybody’s opinions when it comes to how much you should spend on your wedding.
The great thing is there’s no right or wrong way to host a wedding these days! It’s a difficult one… it is just one day but it’s also THE day!
If I said that people are “investing in memories” does that just sound really flouncy?
What a romantic way of putting it!
The most important thing for me is managing people’s expectations when it comes to budget.
Sometimes I have to be really honest with couples who’s ideas for their day just aren’t doable on the budget they have set, but I would always rather be open about that at the start than risk disappointment further on in the planning process.
I always try to suggest an alternative that suits both their vision AND their budget.
I guess that must be hard sometimes if a couple has a dream wedding planned out in their head and their budget would need to double to achieve it.
You hear of couples going into debt to make their wedding happen, what’s your thoughts on that?
Don’t do it!
Your wedding should only cost as much as you’re comfortable with.
As I said before, there’s no right or wrong way to have a wedding and you can plan a beautiful, meaningful day on any budget – you may just have to adjust your expectations.
I couldn’t agree with you more.
What would you say makes a good wedding planner then?
More than anything else, I think that someone you can trust and relax around is SO important. I build such close relationships with my couples – by the time we get to the week of their wedding I often feel like I’m meeting two friends as oppose to clients.
I also think that a good wedding planner needs to be prepared to go the extra mile to make your couple’s day perfect.
There’s no ‘standard’ job description for a planner – I’ve been know to scrub the toilets at 2 o’clock in the morning before!
That’s certainly going above and beyond the call of duty.
Just a couple more questions and then I’ll let you go, I promise.
Firstly, if a couple are unsure whether they need a wedding planner or not what are the most important factors for them to consider.
It’s all part of the glamorous life of a wedding planner, haha!
If a couple is considering hiring a wedding planner I would definitely recommend getting in touch to have a chat about how it may help you.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your plans, a wedding planner can save you valuable time and money – not to mention your sanity!
Having a wedding planner on board can be particularly beneficial if you’re having your wedding at a dry hire venue or family home, if you’re planning your wedding from overseas or if you’re having a large-scale event with lots of logistics to consider.
Perfect and finally – if you could give one universally helpful tip to any couple planning their wedding what would it be?
This might surprise people, but one tip I give to every engaged couple is not to get so swept up in planning the wedding that you lose sight of the marriage, since that is ultimately the reason for it all.Make time for date nights, get excited about life once you’re married and remember to take the time to ENJOY being engaged!It’s easy to get swept up in a sea of flowers, seating plans and linen colours (which, don’t get me wrong, are all exciting parts of a wedding!) but if, at the end of your wedding day, you are married to the love of your life… you’ve done everything perfectly.
I couldn’t think of a better way to finish this off, thank you so much for your time.
If people want to find out about you and what you do where’s the best place for them to do so.
Thank you so much for having me!
You can find out more about Rachel Dalton Weddings and get in touch via my website racheldaltonweddings.co.uk or on Instagram @racheldaltonweddings.