Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Planner's Guide: Commission

I don't normally have enough time to blog on a regular basis these days, as much as I would like to, meaning that what gets posted has to be worth reading and worth my time to write. I've been meaning to start a series about the world of wedding planning for some time now and I hope it will help future clients and planners to better understand how employing or becoming one works.

My first piece focuses on commission, both charging and receiving it...

What Is Commission?

In simple terms, commission is a fee that is passed on when a booking is made via a personal recommendation. In the case of a wedding planner, certain suppliers will pass on a percentage of their booking fee when a client books with them. Generally this is around 10% of the overall fee.
In some cases a planner may have a specific list of suppliers on their books with which they have a contract of recommendation, guaranteeing them a "kick back" if their client chooses any one from their list.

Why Do Planners Charge Commission?

As with many jobs-from sales people to bankers, commission provides the planner with the incentive to work regularly with certain suppliers. It's the cherry on top as it were.

What Happens With This Fee?

I can't speak for all planners, but in my case I always pass this back to my clients as a discount if I'm offered anything. Of course, providing the fee isn't added on top of the client's bill, the planner is well within their rights to keep this fee, although it's not something I feel comfortable in doing. If it is added on top then it must be made clear. If you're looking for other planners who don't accept or charge commission the UKAWP has an extensive list and be sure to ask your planner when you first meet with them to make sure everything is completely transparent before you start.

Why Don't I Pocket This Fee?

I once sat through a Q&A session with a well established planner who claimed "how do you expect your business to make a profit if you don't charge commission"? It got my back up. In my opinion, if you feel the need to charge suppliers to work with you then perhaps you should re-evaluate what you charge your clients in the first place. The team you put forward to your brides should always be about what's best for her wedding, her style, her budget, and who is trustworthy not whether or not you can make a little extra profit on top. Perhaps I'm being controversial and I'm sure there'll be plenty of professionals who will disagree with me.

Finally, commission is not a bad thing and I don't condemn other professionals who choose to operate in this way. It is, however, important to ensure that if this is something you want to do that you make sure to make this very clear to your clients. If you're choosing to work with a planner don't be afraid to ask questions.

Eye Candy #23: Maisie Fantaisie Cupcake Wrappers

I'm a sucker for gorgeous packaging-that much is evident from this blog! So you can imagine how excited I was to see this cutesy and fun range of Cupcake Wrappers by cake designer May Clee-Cadman of Maisie Fantaisie. Yes, I know we're hardly short of choice with this sort of thing these days and you can find them anywhere, but these are DIFFERENT. Not only are the designs themselves utterly gorgeous, but they're also reusable. Yes-that's right, reusable! No more spending a fortune only to use them once and throw them away. These babies are wipe clean and providing you store them flat and dry you can reuse them again and again. Once you're done with them they're also easy to recycle, perfect for the eco-conscious bride.

All wrappers come in packs of 12 for £7.95. For that price, I'm stocking up. Go on-give 'em a go!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

WIN! A Styled 'Couple In Love' Shoot on Love My Dress...

I've teamed up with the lovely Lisa Jane Photography to offer one lucky couple the chance to win a shoot styled by moi (you can view the Grant-Riley Styling page for an example of some of my more stylised work) because...well, we're feeling generous, ain't love grand?

You can be newly engaged, almost married, just married or celebrating your first anniversary. There's just one small thing we need you to do to enter and that's to get creative! Create a mood board that speaks volumes about you both as a couple, tell us how you'd style your own shoot, it could be based on your favourite song, the place you met, a movie you love watching together. Check out all the information over on Love My Dress and GOOD LUCK!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I Love Lucy...and Greg

A couple of weeks back the uber glamorous Trafalgar Hotel became the location for Lucy and Greg's pre-wedding shoot and with their wedding just three days away I wanted to share with you some of the beautiful shots captured by wedding photographer of the year Lisa Devlin. Lucy wore a Jenny Packham number which she decided not to wear on the big day, so we thought it'd be special to surprise Greg with a First Look. He wasn't disappointed I can tell you. I LOVED styling this cool Britannia-esque affair, complete with Union Jacks, London taxis, red phone boxes and (of course) Trafalgar Square. It's the perfect reflection of their wedding style which is all about their love of London. We were also joined by the fantabulous Rich of FX Films who made this sweet little promo for Lisa's website, you can see what we got up to and enjoy a sweet selection of shots afterwards. Ahhhhhhh...

Can't wait for Saturday's wedding and to see such a brilliant couple celebrating with their family and friends. I'm there with bells on!

All images © Lisa Devlin