Behind the Scenes With Wedding Planner Alana of Aisle & Style
We shared this beautiful feature last week of modern romantic wedding ideas created by Alana the wedding planner behind Aisle & Style. Today, we get to go behind the scenes with Alana with this beautiful shoot by Helen Warner Photography, and an exclusive interview about her work, and her top tips for you planning your wedding!
What wedding trends are you loving for 2018?
2018 is all about colour so I couldn’t start this off without a nod to the Colour of the year – Ultra Violet. Being such a bold, dramatic tone this may frighten a lot of couples who are opting for a more romantic, elegant feel to their day. But there is no reason why you can’t incorporate this into your design by allowing softer shades such as lavender and amethyst to take the lead. If you are a little more adventurous and are embracing the trend, allow the strong tones to blend through the day by accompanying them with transparent decor and accessories, using materials such as perspex and glass.
Gone are the days of harsh lines and fixed dimensions – this year it’s all about the curves. Everything from the dress, to the linen and even the table accessories are softer in design and really ooze romance in cutest way. I’m also loving the patterns and textures that are infiltrating table linens this year. Out with the old single colour table linen; bring in some texture by opting for patterned linen or a coloured table runner or two. Finally (and probably one of my favourites), 2018 wedding are going to have much more focus on the guests. Bringing interactive elements to the day with things like dessert tables, video guest books and new food experiences (some couples are opting for things like appetiser stations and roll your own sushi bars!) is a great way to keep your guests entertained and will leave them talking about your wedding for all the right reasons.
What would your 3 most important pieces of advice for couples be?
DON’T SKIP THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PLANNING PROCESS!
A lot of couples think the first thing you need to do after getting engaged is to start looking at venues and agree a date. However, there is a crucial step that comes first which will save so much time when developing your style and sourcing the perfect venue and suppliers. The very first thing I always advise my couples to do is to brain dump exactly what is important to them, not only for their wedding day but also how they want their planning journey to be. Get a piece of paper and just write down anything that comes to mind. Try to include things that are both practical (maximum travel times for example) and things that contribute towards the overall experience (must not have restrictions on noise levels etc). Doing this task before anything else means you can kick start your planning process by being really clear about what is most important to you both, and you can focus your venue and supplier searches in a much more targeted way.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR INSPIRATION BUT DON’T TRY AND RECREATE A PINTEREST WEDDING
In today’s online world, inspiration is everywhere and is accessible 24/7 leaving you at its mercy at any hour of the day (or night!). And if you are a social media enthusiast, it’s easy to fall into the trap of pinning everything that you like and then trying to recreate those images for your own wedding. There are two reasons why I would advise against doing this:
1. A lot of the images you see on social media are created from styled shoots and aren’t necessarily a true
reflection of a real wedding. They have been created under different circumstances, usually on a much smaller scale and within different timeframes and budgets, meaning you are unlikely to be able to recreate them in
the same way.
2. Just because you like what you see in the wide variety of images online, doesn’t mean they all form part of the same style. As a result, you start mixing up lots of different styles and tones and attempting to recreate each one means your day doesn’t end up being cohesive or personal to you.
So, take inspiration from social media but approach it with caution and only once you have already decided on your wedding style. And no matter how much you like an image, be sure to disregard anything that doesn’t fit with your design and budget.
IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT THE WEDDING DAY – ENJOY THE WEDDING PLANNING JOURNEY TOO
There is always so much focus on the day itself that when you look back on your engagement a lot of couples just have memories of planning stresses and evenings and weekends full of supplier meetings and budget spreadsheets. Yes, it sounds like fun at the beginning but it easy to become all consumed with creating this perfect day that you forget to enjoy the overall experience. Bring in the help of others and where budgets allow utilise the expertise of the professionals – they will most certainly end up saving you time and money (and a lot of stress). Also, be sure to take some time out of wedding planning so it
doesn’t become all consuming. Book a spa weekend with friends or have at least one evening a week where you and your other half ban any talk of cake fillings and colour swatches. It really does pay to be able to look back and say that you really enjoyed your time being engaged.
Tell us about Aisle + Style – what services do you offer and where do you cover?
Aisle & Style is a luxury wedding planning service that brings together all the elements of a couples wedding day in a detailed, calm and enjoyable way. For me a couples wedding isn’t simply about the event itself, it’s also about the whole planning and engagement journey. So rather than follow a strict, pre-prepared planning process, we put a big focus on tailoring the Aisle & Style experience to the couple we are working with. I also offer a proposal planning service which is perfect for those who maybe aren’t as creative with their ideas and want to pop the question without all of the added stress of having to bring it all together on the day. This service was inspired by my husband who is rather unique, as he’s amazing at planning surprises and thinks of all the little details. He proposed in the most fabulous way by organising a flash mob in Holland Park in London. Everything from my point of view went perfectly well however his only comment was that he wished he had someone who was organised and trustworthy to help manage and execute the plans so he could have focused more on enjoying the moment itself. I am based in Hertfordshire, just outside of London and operate mainly across London and the Home Counties. However, having got married myself in France in 2015 I have a great deal of love for a destination wedding and so I also work across leading European destinations such as France, Spain and Italy.
What do your weddings look like and Who is the Aisle + Style couple?
The three words you will hear me use to describe the typical Aisle & Style wedding are ‘inspirational’, ‘timeless’ and ‘elegant’. Being so passionate about destination weddings I tend to take a lot of inspiration from the outdoors which brings in a natural and romantic feel to the day. I also love to add subtle touches of understated luxury with things like personalised scented candles or gold charger plates, so my clients and their guests feel indulged in their ambiance and surroundings. It sounds so obvious as a Wedding Planner but I’m a really detailed person and I focus quite heavily on the small details that truly make the whole experience unique to the couple AND their guests.
I’ve been to so many weddings in the past where little thought has gone into what the guests will enjoy, and whilst a wedding is, and should be about the couple, you’ve also taken the time and money to include your nearest and dearest in the celebrations. So, adding small touches which make your guest feel part of the experience will leave much more of a lasting memory. The perfect A&S couple would firstly be those that are time conscious; they are likely to have busy jobs or lifestyles and have an idea about how they would like their day to be but haven’t got the time to or possibly the desire to put in all of the hours to bring it all together. They don’t want any of the details to be overlooked and would like to remain in control of the decisions so they want to collaborate with a Planner rather than hand over the reins completely. Finally, they want to hire someone they can trust and is flexible to work around their busy lifestyles.
How did you fall in love with weddings?
My passion for events in general started when I was 16 and working at a restaurant and catering company which was situated in the middle of a nature reserve. It was such a beautiful place to eat, drink and relax and was perfectly placed for hosting all different types of parties, weddings and events. Being someone who is quite the romantic (and working in such beautiful surroundings) I quickly realised that weddings were the perfect type of event to specialise in.
How did you start your career and what have been dream come true moments for you so far?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to run my own business but as with a lot of cases of people with a dream, it didn’t happen straight away. I moved to London working in HR Project Management and quickly progressed my corporate career. The next thing I know its 15 years later, I’m 31 and running a team of people managing large scale projects. If I didn’t follow my dream soon then I knew I never would! This is when Aisle & Style was born. I launched in 2016 and the journey so far has been full of exciting and rewarding moments. The thrill of getting my first 4 page spread in a national wedding magazine was such a special moment for me and most definitely a highlight in my first few months of business. This year I also have the opportunity to work on a client’s wedding at the venue in France where I got married and this will be another amazing opportunity both personally and for Aisle & Style as a business.
What does your typical day look like? Or perhaps a kind of weekly routine with a typical routine.
I like to get to my desk as early as possible (by 9 at the latest) as there is always so much to get through in any one day. If I am not out visiting suppliers or venues I spend the first 30 minutes planning my time. A great tip that really works for me is to schedule your week up front and have themed days. So, Monday’s might be social media planning and business development (I like to focus on the business at the beginning of the week otherwise it tends to be the first thing that gets pushed aside in favour of client work), Tuesdays might be for supplier visits and meetings, Wednesday my client day etc. I always break for lunch as I think it’s important to take some time to check in on your progress but also switch off from business for a short while. If the weather is right outside I will often spend the early part of the afternoon making the most of the natural light and will set up a flat lay or photograph some of the various styling props laying around my studio. Otherwise the afternoons are usually a continuation of the mornings finishing off whatever I have been working on earlier that day. I find it difficult to stop work by a fixed time and I often have client calls/meetings in the evenings so I try to ensure I have at least three evenings a week where I am not working and instead spend time with my husband or head out to yoga.
What are your favourite parts of the job and being in business?
There are honestly so many positives to running your own business but I would have to say that the best thing about my job is having the opportunity to positively contribute to such an important and life changing event in people’s lives. Working in the wedding industry as a Planner isn’t just about finding the most ideal client or delivering ‘copy and paste’ weddings, it’s about bringing inspiring ideas to the table and being a supportive, trustworthy and reliable influencer in your clients planning journey. And the sense of achievement that comes with making someone’s wedding experience the best it could possibly be just can’t be mirrored when you work for someone else.