WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
I’m based in London (UK), but I have two bases in Italy: one in Milan and one in Ostuni (Puglia) and I travel quite a lot to Egypt too. So during the year you’re likely to find me in one of these places for days and sometimes weeks on end. I love the flexibility my job gives me – for as long as I have internet connection and my laptop, I can deal with work wherever I might be.
HOW DO YOU DO CONSULTATIONS IF YOU ARE ALWAYS TRAVELLING?
To be honest, most of my brides and grooms are either busy bees or gypsy souls like me, and the vast majority are based overseas. That’s why, most of my couples, even the London ones, prefer a video call to start with – something they can do from the comfort of their homes, from their office or at odd hours.
COMMISSIONS: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Commissions are something very common in the wedding and event industry where it is standard practice for an event organiser to receive compensation from vendors employed at one of her events. When it comes to weddings, however, there can be some issues associated with this practice: (1) lack of transparency & trust: some wedding planners take commissions covertly and hardly ever disclose this to their couples. This doesn’t sit right with us and we always explain to our couples right from the start how we handle commissions. This is then explained in more details throughout our proposal and contract. (2) What you pay a supplier can sometimes be inflated: a lot of suppliers need to increase their prices to you by 10-15% in order to pay a commission to the planner. So effectively, a planner that takes commissions unbeknown to you seems cost effective, but she does in effect cost you a lot more if the suppliers’ fees are inflated to accommodate her commission. Because of this, I only ever accept a commission from suppliers who do NOT inflate the price to the client.
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CAN YOU KEEP OUR PICTURES OFFLINE?
In short, yes, I can. However, I need you to bear something in mind: when you are looking for a wedding planner, you are not only checking prices and availability – you’re no doubt going through our portfolios to check our style, how versatile we are, or to see what locations and venues we have worked at. This is, essentially, how we book our clients. Being able to share those images, triggers that emotional connection that makes you want to find out more about our services. It’s part of what makes you say: “This is the person I want by my side throughout the whole planning process!” And when we get that reaction, that’s when we know that magic will happen, and on a more practical note, how we are able to continue running our business, pay ourselves a wage, cover all our expenses and continue having the privilege of working with more and more couples. We do appreciate that there are instances where a couple might want to keep their images private, or have the ability to approve what images will be going online. When that happens, we oblige, but we do also need to put measures in place to compensate for the loss of earning that derives. It might mean having to organise a independent styled shoot to make up for the lack of portfolio images, or hire a separate photographer and videographer to come to your wedding and take images or footage of the set up before you and your guests arrives. Either way, a considerable expense falls on us. For that reason, all our quoted prices are already discounted by £950 based on the assumption that you agree to allow us to use the images. Should you want us to keep your photos offline, the full fee plus £950 will apply. Thank you for understanding.
DO YOU CHARGE FOR CONSULTATIONS?
Currently I don’t. I give brides and grooms access to my diary via Calendly, an online tool that allows you to reserve a 45 minutes consultation with me. While there is no fee for this initial chat, I do ask to be given as much notice as possible if you can’t make the call. I’m always happy to give couples another appointment if for any reason they have forgotten (it happens even to the best of us!), but if you miss multiple appointments without giving me any notice, it is unlikely I will be able to book you in for another one.
HOW DO YOU CONDUCT CONSULTATIONS?
If in person isn’t an option, then my preferred method is usually a http://marionjensen.com/2007/09 video call. I can Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime with you, but if you prefer another app, just say the word and I’ll adapt.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CAN NO LONGER BE THERE FOR THE WEDDING DAY?
I would never double book my services, unless I have made it clear right from the start that the wedding will be handled by someone else in my team; so if you have my availability, it means that the only time I may not be able to be there is for reasons beyond my control, such as bereavement or illness. My contract clearly specifies what will happen if I can no longer fulfil my duty. It’s never happened that I’ve had to cancel a contract, but the reality is, unforeseen things happen, so it’s important that you feel reassured that I won’t let you down. In short, I always have an experienced planner with me on a wedding day. She is fully briefed on your wedding day’s logistics and requirements; should the need arise, she will have all the required information to step in in my absence with the cooperation of 1+ assistants (exact number to be determined according to the number of guests).
WHY DO YOU CHARGE A PERCENTAGE OF MY WEDDING BUDGET?
For several reasons. To start with, because it’s impossible to quantify the number of hours we work on a wedding. A set fee may be completely inadequate or in some cases excessive. Basing my fee of your budget means that you have complete transparency and that you won’t be paying more than needed (because lets be honest, if I had to charge a set fee, I would have to add a buffer just in case the scope of work changes). A lot of my colleagues also charge a percentage of your budget, which means it is a lot easier for you to compare our services on a like for like basis.
WHY DO YOU CHARGE SO MUCH?
The average destination wedding takes 300+ hours to charge. Now, if you took my minimum fee and divided it by 300, you’ll see that the hourly rate is considerably discounted from my actual hourly rate for ad hoc services. But here’s the thing – I run a business, not a hobby; which means I have to pay tax as well as cover my business expenses, such as public liability and worldwide professional indemnity insurance, running a physical office, updating our contracts with legal advisors, and so on. Suddenly you can see how my net hourly rate on my minimum fee is considerably smaller than what any other consultant in any industry charges.
DO YOU CHARGE ON A PERCENTAGE BASIS FOR ELOPEMENTS?
In short the answer is no. Elopements lend themselves better to packages that include a range of services, such as my planning and coordination time, hair & make up, photography, videography and flowers. I have a team of people I work with and alternative suppliers if some of them aren’t available on your elopement day. The venues and catering are not included in my package as they are searched according to your requirements.
WE ALREADY HAVE OUR PHOTOGRAPHER. CAN YOU STILL PLAN OUR ELOPEMENT?
Absolutely, I can! However I will kindly ask you to send me his/her name and website at the time of making the enquiry. I am very open as to whom I will work with, but unfortunately I don’t work with amateur photographers.
ARE THERE DAYS OF THE WEEK YOU DON'T DO ELOPEMENTS?
Yes, generally speaking, my elopement packages booked 5+ months in advance are for Monday-Thursday and Sunday only. Should you wish to elope on a Friday or Saturday and book more than 5 months in advance, a surcharge will apply. Please contact me to discuss in detail.
WHY DO YOU CHARGE FOR STYLED PHOTO-SHOOTS AT WEDDING VENUES?
There is a substantial difference between a collaborative shoot and a commercial one. A collaborative shoot is done with the intention of generating publicity for everyone involved, not to give a venue images for their website gallery. All images will be shot editorially and the styling will be focused on details rather than on enhancing your venue. When I style for a commercial shoot, however, the editorial side becomes secondary to ensuring you have images that showcase your venue’s suitability for a wedding or an event. My team and I will discuss beforehand your requirements, your marketing needs and the attribute of your ideal clients and will come up with a bespoke design concept that is focused entirely on helping couples visualise their wedding at your venue. This type of service is completely tailored to you and therefore is much more labour intensive than a collaborative shoot. It is, by all means, a commercial shoot and will therefore be charged as such.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE TO STYLE A COMMERCIAL SHOOT FOR OUR WEDDING VENUE?
Please head over to my consultancy services website at www.elisabettawhiteconsulting.com for information on my commercial styling and consulting services for destination wedding venues.