Because every bridal couple has different wedding needs and ideas, I love that throughout the wedding world, creative people have taken up the cause and created businesses to suit the many different permutations of wedding wisdom and assistance. Sarah of The One Day Wedding Company is one such person. Seeing a need for an ‘on the wedding day manager extraordinaire’ Sarah has created an all encompassing service to allow to you to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy your wedding day, without having to worry about a thing. After all, it’s the one day of your life that you want to be the centre of attention – and not because you’re frazzled about wedding details!
What is the business idea behind The One Day Wedding Company?
The One Day Wedding Company is a unique wedding events company, where couples are provided with an experienced events manager on their wedding day to ensure that everything they have spent months (sometimes years) planning happens – and happens smoothly. The premise behind the business is simple, yet essential. We ensure all your ideas and plans are implemented on your behalf.
These days – with lots of inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram – brides and grooms don’t need creative help or ideas when it comes their wedding, so there is less of a need for a wedding planner or the full wedding planning service. But, the trend towards DIY weddings also means DIY on the wedding day itself. Rather than relying on family and friends – who want to enjoy the day with you too – we become your proxy or representative on the day.
By engaging The One Day Wedding Company, couples (and their friends and family) can relax knowing there is someone experienced overseeing the day, ensuring all suppliers have one point of contact and everything is being rolled out, just as you planned.
While we are called The One Day Wedding Company and do event manage on the day of your wedding, we are across your plans and suppliers in the lead up to the wedding, resulting in an affordable, effective and efficient service.
Image by Fiona Frawley
How did you come up with the concept of one day planning?
The concept of The One Day Wedding Company evolved naturally. I have been in the events industry, including event managing weddings in Australia, the UK and Thailand, for many years – almost 15 years. So I naturally became the ‘go-to’ person for friends getting married who were after just ‘a little bit of wedding help’.
On their wedding days, I would find myself at their venues – ceremonies and receptions – coordinating the many suppliers, making sure everything was running to schedule (and suppliers had arrived!), ensuring all items were positioned where they were meant to be and just alleviating any stress for the bride and groom – and their family members, who are often called on to do it.
I soon realised there was a real gap in the wedding planning market – not everyone has that events experience they can tap into and call on to make sure all their wedding day plans are being rolled out. I started to talk to my friends about my idea – upcoming brides, past brides and more friends. Word of mouth was our initial source of work, but it has evolved into a successful business as more and more brides and grooms are looking for someone to, ultimately, represent them and project manage their big day.
I also think there is often a misconception that all wedding venues have wedding planners, who can meet your suppliers, and ‘event manage’ your reception. The reality is that most venues are focused on your catering and drinks – not the little details you have been planning, from cake and photo tables, to the speeches’ timings and when the DJ is supposed to play your chosen wedding songs.
What are the special traits/talents do you and your team bring to the wedding planning process?
We all genuinely love what we do. I love meeting with different couples to discuss their day, hearing their amazing ideas and learning about new venues and suppliers.
From our many years experience, we are able to add a valuable insight into the wedding industry – what works, what doesn’t, and the ability to take a long term view of the complete day to ensure nothing is forgotten or can be done better. Undoubtedly, weddings are an expensive experience, so we are skilled at spotting opportunities to save money, or avoiding common pitfalls which often add to the expense of the day.
At the end of the day, we are in a very fortunate position as we are meeting our clients at such a fun and happy time. It’s really rewarding to be in a position to give helpful and practical advice which goes a long way to making their happiest days a stress-free and successful event.
Image by Courtney Horwood Photography
What particular services do you offer to the bridal couple?
The proposal – I always encourage that we start out with a coffee catch up. This is obligation-free and a good chance for couples to hear about our proposal and service offering. Here, we can discuss your wedding plans, and where we can help. It’s important for the couple to be sure they want to work with us, and I find this time really useful if they do end up engaging our services.
The engagement – If you do end up engaging The One Day Wedding Company, we will meet up again to discuss your suppliers and how you want the day to run. Ideally we would meet at your venue, so we can walk through the plan in the real setting and talk to the venue management to ensure everyone is on the same page. Equally, we will call your venue to discuss the plan if meeting at the venue is too difficult.
When you engage us can vary – some couples get us in from the very beginning, while others contact me in the last few weeks before the wedding. Both work, as we can quickly come up to speed on your plans, and roll them out on the day.
Your suppliers – Your suppliers are key to making your wedding a success. As part of our meeting, we will discuss all the suppliers you have engaged – like your florist, catering, cake-makers, DJs and so on. I have a long list of suppliers I can recommend, so will happily share these with you if needed.
The schedule – We also spend a significant amount of time working on your wedding day schedule and the timings you need to keep to throughout the day. From the very start – for instance, when your hair and makeup has to be done, when and where the florist needs to do their flower drops, and the arrival times and locations required of your photographer – all the way through to when your guests will depart, and everything in between – like your aisle song, breaks between the ceremony and reception, to where you need the cake set up!
Having your planned timings and supplier information in a detailed run sheet is essential for everyone – it keeps the wedding running like a well-oiled machine.
Back and forth – As the wedding gets closer, we will be in touch and you can contact us over the phone or by email. We know plans change, so we are there to adjust anything as required.
The big day – On your wedding day, you will have me, or another event manager, working for you for eight hours. How you use these eight hours is flexible.
It’s such a big job to call vendors prior to the wedding day, for final confirmation of details – is this part of your package?
Communicating with the vendors is essential before the wedding day, and we are happy to touch base with all of them. To have already made the introductions makes it easier for us to work together on the day too.
This is where the schedule comes in handy too – it can be a very quick job to do the ring-around as you have all the day’s proceedings in one spot.
Image by Goldsmith & Co
Do you offer advice to couples to help them with their planning e.g. advice on the ‘flow’ of the day, positioning of furniture etc?
Absolutely. We all want the day to be as successful as possible. This is where our experience from working at more than 50 weddings comes into use. We know what works, what doesn’t, and can spot gaps in your plan. We have event managed weddings of all shapes and sizes – so we know the little things that are often overlooked but can make a big difference. For instance, suggesting the groomsmen place their corsages on the side that will be facing the audience so they can be seen in the photos, proposing where a bar should be set up so that it doesn’t cause a bottleneck, or helping with the seating plan so the parents of the bride and groom are seated facing their children.
Who does your service most appeal to?
We have worked with all styles of weddings – low key parties at home, big celebrations at holiday houses, rustic fares at farms, and basically any venue that doesn’t come with an event manager. These types of weddings most definitely benefit from our service.
If your venue does come with an event manager, this service is still useful as we cover the whole spectrum of the day – from coordinating your pre-wedding plans and the ceremony logistics, to the extras you have planned at the venue.
Though you are based in Melbourne – are you able to offer your service throughout Australia?
The company started in Melbourne and many of our supplier contacts and referrals have come out of the city or around Victoria. We do, however, have event managers working in other major cities – so it is worth getting in touch, even if you’re from outside Victoria.
What happens on the actual wedding day – please give us a run down of what happens?
On your wedding day, your event manager will arrive at the venue/s a few hours prior to guests arriving.
Before the wedding – We set up everything the couple has prepared and has been discussed in the lead up. This will change from wedding to wedding, but can include: distributing wedding booklets, arranging place cards and seating plans, displaying guest books, menus and blackboards, dispersing wedding favours, setting up the wishing well, gift tables and cake stand, arranging bathroom accessories and so on. Importantly, we are the point of contact for your suppliers and vendors, and ensure they are arriving and setting up as agreed.
The ceremony – Our events managers are always well presented and, in an understated way, will be at your wedding venue to greet the groom and groomsmen, coordinate the bride’s arrival and manage the music. We will assist the bridal party with timing as they walk down the aisle, and fade the music as the bride meets the groom at the end of the aisle. We know when you need the music played again throughout the ceremony and as you leave the venue as a married couple.
We also help with coordinating your guests post-ceremony, like getting everyone together for a photo.
The reception – Our main role at your reception is to coordinate timings. We ensure the MC knows the proceedings and when and where to speak – as well as all speakers over the evening. Again, we can coordinate the music required throughout the night, for instance, as you enter the reception or have your first dance.
We ensure all the little (but important) things happen – like reminding the catering team to check for top-ups, spotting areas where guests are not getting served, or reminding the MC to ask everyone to sign the guest book.
Image by Courtney Horwood Photography
For how many hours on the wedding day, are you available? Is this able to be extended by prior negotiation?
The standard One Day Wedding Company package includes an event manager for eight hours on your wedding day – plus the meetings and conversations in the lead up to the day.
We also offer tailored packages, which can include additional hours if required, or an extra pair of hands. These additions are at a very reasonable rate, so I encourage anyone to give me a call if they have specific requirements in mind.
Are you able to facilitate the pack up of the venue if needed?
Yes, definitely. Once the wedding day is over, packing up the venue and returning goods is probably the last thing a newly married couple feels like doing – or their friends and family! We are happy to do any next day jobs as well if required and, again, this comes at a reasonable rate.
Having said that, the eight-hour package is flexible and couples can use it how they like. While most prefer us to be there before the ceremony starts and during the bulk of the reception, some like us to be there at the other end, so we can pack up after everyone has gone home.
Where do you find your inspiration to keep working the long hours?
I have been working in the events industry for close to 15 years, so I am very used to the long hours, weekend work and backing it up the next day. It also helps when you love what you do.
Any situations you’ve ‘saved’ on the day?
Fortunately, there haven’t been many wedding disasters to report – but sometimes unexpected situations do arise that you can’t control. Two recent examples spring to mind.
One couple I was working with found out, just two weeks before their wedding, that the venue was being shut down. Disaster! The couple were fortunate that a family friend offered to host the wedding at their farm house instead. As we had already put together a detailed run sheet, all the suppliers’ contact details – and timings – were in one place ready to go. It took no longer than one hour to speak with the suppliers, advise of the changes, and readjust their timings to suit the new venue. This took a lot of pressure off the couple and I was thrilled to be able to step in and manage this unexpected change for them.
Another example was at a venue where the couple had to arrange their own catering and alcohol. They were in a small town, about two hours from a main city. Our event manager noticed that guests were drinking a lot of the champagne – far more than the bride and groom had planned for. As there was an upcoming champagne toast in the schedule following the dinner, our event manager quickly and quietly asked the bride if she could send a catering staff member off to a local shop before they closed and buy a few more bottles of champagne. Fortunately, this all went to plan, guests were none the wiser and everyone was able to have a glass of champagne for the toast – and not sparkling water!
Image by Fiona Frawley
How do you and your team celebrate the end of the working week?
The end of the working week is typically a Sunday. So that being said, after a very busy week, we are usually looking forward to a well earned rest – and a few wines!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love all things social media, so forever scan Pinterest and Instagram for new and fun wedding and events ideas and trends from around the world. People can follow me at @theonedayweddingcompany on Instagram.
I also have a seven-month old Cavoodle called Bear. So at the moment, I spend a lot of time claiming back chewed shoes and toilet training. Other than that, trying new cafes, drinking wine with friends and travelling.
Thank you Sarah for sharing your story. To find out more about The One Day Wedding Company visit the website.
Headshot courtesy of Sarah at The One Day Wedding Company.