What Would They Know? Sara Walsh of Chameleon Events

by | Wedding Planning Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

Chameleon Events - Sara Walsh

Organising a wedding on your own, when you don’t know where to start and are trying to hold down a full time job can be chaotic and fraught with tension. Enter Sara of Chameleon Events, whose expertise is organising weddings and events. She is there to smooth the way, organise and co-ordinate the myriad details, and ensure that your day runs so smoothly that you don’t even realise if there has been a crisis. Think of hiring Chameleon Events as one of the best investments you will ever make – for yourself and for your family – to ensure that everyone enjoys the wedding day for the relaxed and joyous occasion it should be.

What was the catalyst for getting into wedding and event planning?

I discovered on a working holiday in London that I had a passion for event management. I landed a job working on royal charity events (including with HRH, The Prince of Wales) and then went on to work for a variety of different companies organising spring racing carnival marquees, corporate balls and dinner dances. I then organized my own wedding and absolutely loved the experience! From there Chameleon Events was born. At the time there weren’t many wedding planners around so I created a niche for myself.

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Where are you based?

I have two locations – we service Melbourne (City and rural areas) and the Gold Coast.

How would you describe the job of a wedding planner? 

Chameleon Events’ services include full service wedding planning, partial planning and on the day coordination. We often come in the month before to pull the final touches together. Whether couples want full organisation or simply advice and tips, we will get involved as much or as little as they require. We can also help plan engagement parties, hens, bucks nights and kitchen teas. One of our recent brides employed us with a lead time of 2 years before her wedding day. Our shortest time span for pulling together a wedding was 4 weeks. One couple contacted us on their return from living in America, on Boxing Day, and they were married on 13th January. We pulled together the whole wedding in that time. It was beautiful!

We get in all aspects of planning a wedding, from sourcing suppliers to completely styling the wedding.

What are the advantages of engaging a wedding planner?

By far, the biggest value that a wedding planner brings is to alleviate the stress of planning a wedding.  Our goal is to put the “fun” back into planning a wedding.  Too many couples become stressed and frustrated when planning their weddings, and as experienced and professional event managers, we use our expertise to create well-organised, stylish weddings that are stress free for our clients.  Our clients can sit back and enjoy their engagement, lead up to their wedding and the wedding day itself.

We bring a vast knowledge of the products, services and suppliers available in Melbourne and can recommend those which are a perfect match for the couple’s “vision” and style, saving them hours of research time.

We can assist with drawing up budgets (and sticking to them) and with developing important time-lines and checklists, ensuring that no details are overlooked.  We act as an advocate for the bride and groom, ensuring that the couple’s best interests with suppliers are being protected so that all that they have agreed upon is delivered.  We know what is or is not expected of suppliers and what is not fair and standard practice.  We are also skilled in wedding etiquette.

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Are you able to recommend other wedding vendors to assist the couple? 

Certainly. We bring a wealth of connections. We keep abreast of the best suppliers in the industry and only recommend the best to our couples. We work with our suppliers to create the wedding of their dreams.

What do you love about assisting couples to plan their wedding?

It is such an exciting time in their lives and they are planning an event for the people they love. There is so much emotional investment in planning a wedding. It is so different to planning a public or corporate event because your clients are making decisions with the heart.

A bridal couple can have so many ideas from Pinterest, Instagram etc – how do you assist the couple to distill these ideas into a cohesive look?

We work out what is really the most important to the couple and flesh out these elements. We then create a story board that becomes something completely unique.

What if a couple has really no idea as to where to start with planning their wedding, how do you start the planning process with them?

We get to know the couple and how they live their lives. We find out what makes them tick and what they enjoy doing. We bring a wealth of creative ideas and connections with the best suppliers in Melbourne so we guide them through the planning. We are skilled in wedding etiquette so they are organised. We are people with a fetish for detail.

How do you find new inspiration to keep each wedding unique?

We keep on top of the latest trends, not only in weddings but in events. We follow blogs and wedding magazines. We keep in touch with suppliers so we always have something up our sleeves.

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Please explain the packages you offer.

We offer a wide variety of services and will get involved as much or as little as our clients require. Chameleon Events’ services include full service wedding planning, partial planning and on the day coordination. Whether couples want full organisation or simply advice and tips, we will get involved as much or as little as they require. We can also help plan engagement parties, hens bucks nights and kitchen teas.

What special qualities are you known for?

The special quality that I am personally known for is that I am incredibly calm and have the ability to make the bride and groom and those around them on the day feel relaxed and know that everything will be perfect.

My goal has always been to put the “fun” back into planning a wedding. Too many couples become stressed and frustrated when planning their weddings, and as an experienced and professional event manager, I use our expertise to create well-organised, stylish weddings that are stress free.

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Please describe a typical working day…

By the morning of a wedding everything  is already very much in place. I have been in touch with all the suppliers and confirmed all the details. I have circulated a final runsheet and confirmed that every supplier is comfortable with the timing.

My day will often involved popping into the bride’s house as she is getting ready to pick up items, such as a suitcase to be delivered to the hotel or additional special items for the reception such as a special guest book etc.

I will then often make my way to the ceremony location to greet any equipment suppliers, florists etc and coordinate set up. The celebrant or priest will then arrive, followed by any musicians. We will then do a test and ensure that everything is perfect……

I often start early in the morning at the bride’s house and don’t finish until the very end of a wedding.

What are some of the more unusual requests you’ve had to fulfill in the course of the wedding day?

Working in 46 degree heat on a rather unsafe day was probably one of the most unusual experiences:

On Black Saturday, Saturday 7th February 2009, Chameleon Events coordinated a wedding at De Bortoli Winery. A marquee was erected on the beautiful grounds. Suppliers and dedicated De Bortoli staff sweltered while setting up as the temperature reached 46 degrees. We thought the worst case scenario for the day would be that the ceremony be moved inside De Bortoli’s restaurant due to the high temperature. But in the end, the ceremony was the only thing that went as planned.

During the ceremony guests watched as flames created an amazing backdrop to a breathtaking location. This was put down to back burning and created a spectacular sight. It wasn’t until drinks were served and smoke was billowing that these were deemed uncontrolled fires.

We will never forget this wedding as long as we live!

Another unusual request:

Keeping a wedding secret. We organized a secret wedding last year and it was amazing!! The guests thought the couple were celebrating their engagement party but it was a wedding. By far the most relaxed, happy wedding we’ve organized.

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What is the best piece of advice you can give to a bride and a groom?

This is your wedding. Do what you love! Invite the people you want! Dance to the songs that bring you the most joy! Eat the best food you can serve!

How do you celebrate the end of the working week?

A glass of champagne with my girlfriends and a good chat! Sometimes at home or a relaxed funky new bar. There is nothing better then time with my friends and the therapy of a good chat.

Thank you Sara for sharing your story. Kudos to wedding planners – where would we be without them to smooth out all the wrinkles before and during our wedding day!! To find out more about Chameleon Events visit the website.

Images by Tania Savage Photography. Headshot courtesy of Chameleon Events.


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