In the past, I have been in the fortunate position to have worked with some of the most amazing wedding suppliers in Suffolk and across the UK, with many of which becoming great friends. I know that many of my prospective and current clients check out my blog from time to time to see what I’ve been up to, which got me thinking. What better way to introduce some of my trusted vendor friends to my clients than to give them the spotlight for 5 minutes here on my blog where they could tell us about their business, their inspirations and what makes them tick. So here you have it, a new series of interviews has been born, I hope you enjoy them.
Today I had the chance to sit down with Val Mattinson, an award-winning wedding and event planner, who is based in Nottingham, UK. I had the real pleasure of working alongside Val last year at a styled shoot hosted by the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners at the gorgeous Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket, Suffolk.
For those readers who may not have come across your work before, please can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into wedding planning?
I began my professional and business career as a solicitor in the public sector before moving into external and corporate affairs where I gained my event planning and organisational experience organising corporate, ministerial and special events.
I enjoyed organising many special occasion events over the years but I think the one which helped me to realise that it was time to put my energy, passion, organisation (and list making!) skills into business was my brother and sister in law’s wedding in Barbados back in 2008. My initial curiosity and interest in the detail of their plans turned into the need to literally roll up my sleeves (kick off my rather stylish flip-flops!) and assist with the on the day co-ordination to ensure their dream wedding ran smoothly and in accordance with their plans. I loved every minute of it!
In 2010 decided to leave the world of corporate affairs to set up Benessamy Weddings & Events – The name ‘Benessamy’ is a combination of the names of my two children and daily inspiration, Ben and Jessamy. Having trained with the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) I launched Benessamy in 2011 and am now a Level 2 Member of the UKAWP and have been appointed as their Regional Ambassador for the Midlands.
I love being part of the UK wedding industry and was thrilled to be awarded the Best Wedding Planner in the East Midlands in The Wedding Industry Awards 2015 and 2016 following client nominations and voting and Highly Commended in the Nationals in 2015.
In three words how would you describe your brand/business?
Personal, creative and inspired!
Who or what inspires the creativity in your work?
I find inspiration in so many places and am driven to do my best in whatever I do. I have read (and re-read) so much of Maya Angelou’s work and love this quote from her,
What trends are you currently seeing and how do you predict the future looks for wedding planning here in the UK?
The future looks very bright indeed! I’m seeing more clients selecting bold colours for their flowers and décor and flowers in abundance is definitely popular – large bouquets and gorgeous splashes of colour. Having said that, metallic and stunning greenery are definitely a favourite with some of our clients this year too!
How far in advance do you suggest couples come talk to you about their wedding?
It really depends on the level of assistance most suitable to their lifestyle and day to day schedule. Many of our clients who choose the full wedding planning service have busy working lives. With our full wedding planning service I’m on hand at the earliest stage of our clients’ wedding planning journey to reduce the stress they may feel by managing all the details from start to finish. This service provides clients with the satisfaction of knowing they have help with finding the right venue, reliable suppliers and ensuring they get the most for their wedding budget. I work closely with our clients to ensure they make all the decisions and maintain absolute control with support to ensure they have a day that truly reflects them.
For couples who maybe feeling overwhelmed by their wedding planning, are running out of time or steam and just need a little extra help we have the Rescue Service. As the name suggests, this service is designed to help clients complete their plans. I can look closely at the plans they have made so far, make recommendations on anything that is outstanding and tie up any loose ends to ensure everything runs smoothly.
For couples who have planned everything themselves and want to ‘hand over the reins’ in the final 2-3 weeks leading up to their wedding we have our Wedding day Management service. Following a detailed meeting with our clients to discuss all the logistical details, schedule, seating plan, etc. we contact the venue and all suppliers to introduce ourselves and finalise the set up and wedding day plan. We attend on the wedding day for the whole set up usually right through to the start of the evening reception (the exact hours are tailored to suit our clients requirements). This is a great option particularly for marquee weddings where there may not be an overall manager of the day, multi venue weddings or weddings with lots of design details to be incorporated.
Which wedding blogs or magazines do you recommend that couples check out, in order to gain inspiration?
There are so many sources of wedding inspiration available for today’s brides and grooms – magazines, books, wedding blogs, Pinterest and other online sites, the list goes on. Two of my favourite blogs, just for the sheer volume of absolute pretty and great advice pieces, Love My Dress and Style Me Pretty.
What advice would you give couples when choosing their wedding planner?
A professional wedding planner should offer you a complimentary consultation providing you with a good opportunity to discuss your wedding in detail and what they can do to help with your planning. The planner you choose should make you feel confident and at ease when you meet them and by the way to translate the discussion from your first meeting to the proposal they prepare for you.
Look closely at the range of services being offered by the wedding planners you are considering. Be sure to ask them to explain how their fees work, what is and what is not included and whether they accept commission from venues or suppliers they work with. At Benessamy we do not accept commission and I believe this provides our clients with the assurance that any recommendations we make are made on an independent basis.
Ask to see examples of their work including client testimonials and ensure they have appropriate business insurance.
Finally, what's the best thing about being a wedding planner?
Having the absolute privilege of being part of such a special day.