Organising a wedding is super fun, yes, but it’s also super time consuming and can be a tad overwhelming, which is where the services of an expert planner are worth their weight in gold!
Talking of golden, today on the blog we’re chatting to the dazzling Ellen Davies of LND Events, an UNVEILED Network Member who has the skills, contacts and vision to help you deliver the wedding of your dreams without (barely) breaking a sweat.
As a much-celebrated planner, organising wedding and events both nationally and internationally, Ellen approaches each project with passion, personality and purpose.
Supporting couples with as much or as little assistance as required, this uber-organised pro offers everything from ‘pop the question’ consultancy sessions and styling and set-up services, through to partial and full planning packages.
So let’s dive into all the delectable details of how she can help inject both individuality and pizzaz into your day… while saving you a whole lot of time, and perhaps even a penny or two!
With images by Amy Faith Photography
Hi! I’m Ellen Davies. I live in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside with my husband and two girls. My business is LND Events which is a wedding, celebration and event planning business.
WHERE DID YOUR PASSION FOR PLANNING COME FROM?
I’ve never known what I wanted to do as a career. I’m not very academic, so after not doing great at A-Levels, I had no intention of going to university and instead went to work in retail. From there, I actually had dreams of running my own shop (still a long term dream but the shop content changes weekly!), and as my management chain didn’t ever seem to move, I naively thought university would teach me everything I needed to know to do this instead of hands-on experience. It didn’t. When I graduated, I had to start from scratch and through temping jobs, I ended up in a government based management role. I worked my way up to senior level but then fell out of love with the job and looked for things that excited me with my skill set.
As a manager of (at that time) seven years, I had great organisational skills, and through a series of voluntary roles on my spare weekends, I worked on trade fairs and festivals to gain experience in that area of work. Weddings came a few years later when I started helping a specific venue, and by the time I was ready to leave my full-time job behind. I had 11 years of management experience; dealing with people, projects, deadlines, budgets etc as well as experience in the wedding industry, so the two married together (pardon the pun) nicely.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HIRING A PLANNER?
People sadly often fail to see the benefits of a planner. Weddings are exciting things, and so they’d rather spend money on eye-catching styling details, or they’ve had traditions drilled into them as being necessary so the budget goes on catering (I’m not suggesting you don’t feed your guests!), music, cakes etc., and it’s rare that people proactively think to budget for a planner.
One of the main benefits of a planner is that once you’ve made the decision to invest in us, we can actually save you money elsewhere. We have the best connections to other suppliers and a huge range of them, so we know who will suit your individual taste and needs, which then saves you time and energy as well as directing you to ones that fit your personal budget. Weddings are fun and by booking us, we keep it that way and take away the stress.
IN WHAT WAYS CAN YOU ASSIST COUPLES?
I offer a variety of packages to suit couples. This can range from as little to as much help as they need, and that also helps individual budgets. You may not think you can afford a planner, but I do introductory packages which allow you to ask me absolutely anything you want for a whole two hours! I also offer bespoke packages depending on where you’re at with your wedding journey; styling concept packages if you like the practical side but can’t envisage what your day will look like, right through to being with you on the entire journey by fully planning your day.
HOW ARE COUPLES INCLUDED IN THE PROCESS?
There are no nasty surprises in my wedding planning. If you book me to plan it, you don’t book, then just turn up to your day at the time I tell you!
My aim is to do all the legwork for you and become the middleman between you and the people who will make your day happen. It cuts down on contact for you when you’re already busy and means you just have one point of call rather than trying to remember what stage you’re at with each different supplier. Each element of your day is run past you, and you have the final say, but with my input and experience to guide you.
I create your timeline at the very least, and if you go for bigger packages, such as my bespoke partial planning, styling concept or my full planning, then I will also be involved with your setup, but you are most welcome to come and get hands-on with that too. Some people like the freedom to get on with other important things on the day(s) before the wedding but others like getting stuck in. It’s your wedding, and I would never discourage you from being part of any of the experience.
DO YOU HAVE A SIGNATURE STYLE AS A PLANNER?
I think my style is that I don’t have one! I like too many different things in life, and I don’t want to project that I am only one type of person. My tastes evolve in life, as do everyone else’s, but no one is off-limit if they want my guidance. I’ve done rock and roll style, rustic, fine art and everything in between. My connection is to you as a person, so if we gel when we meet, then I’ll say yes!
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT THE WEDDINGS YOU PLAN ARE UNIQUE TO EACH COUPLE?
Because each couple is unique! I would say that I am most often found in barn or marquee settings, and with that comes a certain element of similarity – especially when it comes to couples’ choices in styling barns. However, no couple’s story is the same, and so there will always be personality injected into each wedding. I love teasing out personal tales about the couple to see how we can bring an element of that to the day.
WHAT ARE THE KEY SKILLS YOU BRING TO THE ROLE?
You’ve got to be a people person to do this role. You need to control the situation but not be seen to be controlling, as it’s not your wedding or event, so you’ve got to bond with the people who book you and learn to adapt to the needs of everyone else involved. You’ll meet a lot of different personalities at each wedding, and you’ve got to be able to handle them all.
It goes without saying you need to be organised, but you also need a lot of foresight; the what if’s and but’s all have to be thought about in advance so you can put them easily into action if needed.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP PLANNING TIPS FOR COUPLES?
- Hire a planner, so you don’t need to think of two and three!
- Seriously, make sure you think of every element of your day and budget for it. It’s so easy to get carried away by fancy things, but if you spend thinking it’s all in control and then realise you’ve forgotten something crucial, you’ll come unstuck. I hate spreadsheets, but they do help. It’s silly things like stamps for invites that you’ll not think of initially, but they’re very important.
- Remember this wedding is for you. It’s hard when you get family input, but there is a lot of money going into the day, and it should be a day to remember forever, so you don’t want to waste time doing things you didn’t really like or want at the benefit of someone else.
AND YOUR NO-NOS?
- Don’t bankrupt yourself for a wedding. Think about the most important things to you. The good old Friends line between Monica and Chandler “I want a marriage, not a wedding”. It’s lovely to have fancy extras, but if you ask your guests in a year’s time what they remember, it’s never what colour napkins you had.
- Don’t get stressed out. This is meant to be fun. If it’s feeling wrong or upsetting, then walk away from it and come back to it when you’re feeling differently or change it.
- Do not hire family unless (although still cautionary) they’re experts. It’s sad as a planner when I’m told Uncle Bob is doing the photography for the day. It won’t be good. If they are experts and do it for a living, that’s better, but still be cautious about using them because a) surely you want them at your wedding as a guest to enjoy the day and b) if you don’t like what they produce, it’s going to leave some really bad feeling for a long while after.
WHAT TRENDS DO YOU SEE EMERGING IN WEDDINGS?
Wedding trends are led by general fashion trends. What colour is popular on the runway will also then start being used on wedding styled shoots to try and influence couples. I try not to think too much about trends, as a few months into the year, you will see them replicated in styled shoots again and again. It’s fine if you accidentally become on-trend (I have a love for all things celestial and have done for years. It became a big trend in 2019/20, but I’ll carry on loving it long after), but I wouldn’t purposefully try and set my entire wedding that way otherwise as quick as it’s in favour, it may become heavily dated. You’d be better focusing on classical elements that stand the test of time. It’s not to say I don’t dabble in it, but I’m not the leading authority on it.
WHAT AREAS WOULD YOU SUGGEST A COUPLE PLANNING A WEDDING TACKLE FIRST?
The first thing is to come up with an ideal date. It’s best to be flexible so you don’t get too disappointed if your dream venue can’t do your specific date. It is also good to think of your most important guest list straight away.
Some venues won’t be able to accommodate your ideal size list, so you then have a chance to think about what’s more important, or you can save time by only visiting places that can manage that size. It’s surprising how many people go visit venues when they’ve already been told it can’t achieve the number they want, but they magically hope it will have grown by the time they get there. If you want it desperately, then you’ll have to cull some guests, so it’s good to have a definite list and a ‘hope I can invite them’ list.
ANYTHIG ELSE TO TELL US?
In case you’d not guessed by the length of this interview, I love to talk. My packages all come with a one-hour no-obligation ‘get to know you’ session, so don’t ever feel like you’re wasting my time if you want to get in touch. I love my job, and I love talking about it, and I think it’s important that when you’re planning a wedding, you do get a feel for the people you’re working with, even if they’re not going to be there on the day, so you should arrange chats with all your suppliers.