Interview with Emma Jane Christopher from Emma Jane Weddings & Events
I’m going to be doing a number of interviews over the next few months and today I’m starting with an Interview with A Wedding Planner. I’ve known Emma for a number of years and apart from being an amazing wedding and event planner, she’s also a really, really lovely lady 🙂 I had an idea of what she did but I was curious to find out exactly what makes her tick, and how she works. Enjoy!
Tell me a bit about yourself and your company.
My name is Emma Jane Christopher; I live in Stone, Staffordshire and have lived here since 2009. I moved to Staffordshire from Dorset with my parents – they love canal boats so we moved up here so they could spend more time on the inland waterways! I prefer a slighter faster mode of transport; my Victoria Pendleton initial road bike – I can often be seen whizzing around the country lanes of Stone preparing for the next Sportive event!
My company, Emma Jane Weddings & Events specialises in creating stunning celebrations for fun-loving couples. My favourite landscape is the rural outdoors and I love planning marquee and country house weddings in the beautiful UK countryside.
How did you get into wedding planning?
I followed in the footsteps of my mum, Lynn and studied Hospitality & Catering at college. Having never been particularly academic and preferring vocational studies, hospitality and fine dining became my forte and I went on to win several industry competitions including a Silver Medal at the UK Skills competition for Restaurant Service. Having worked both operationally in events, running them from start to finish and having worked in the sales team looking after the initial enquiry, I’ve gained a vast understanding of how events work including budgeting and logistics.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I love networking with suppliers and finding new and quirky businesses and concepts to introduce to my clients. I’m an organisational mad woman (as you’d expect) and without a doubt my highlighters, coloured pens and Sharpie markers are among my prized possessions..!! From meeting the client at the initial consultation, working with them through the planning stages to seeing everything executed on the day/s – it’s hard to pinpoint a favourite part of my job!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt?
Be realistic, have a clear vision and don’t over complicate things. I’ve worked many weddings and many corporate events (before owning my own business) and the successful outcomes are always those that have had a good brief, understood the capabilities and parameters of the venue and don’t over complicate things. Listen to your suppliers; they are the experts – a wedding is (often) a once in a life time occasion for couples but for your suppliers, this is their bread and butter. Take their advice, listen to their suggestions and enjoy the journey!
What do you do for fun if you set any spare time!?
I love going to the gym or being out on the road on my bike. I’m not very good at relaxing so if I do ever sit down, it’ll usually be with a good book (nothing too heavy – usually Danielle Steele) or I LOVE venturing around a farmer’s market. I’m a real foodie so artisan bread and cheese is my vice!
What is your current favourite colour combo?
Anything and green! Greenery is HUGE now and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. As soon as Pantone announced Greenery as their colour of the year for 2017, I was so excited. You can pair it with (almost) anything and it works. It’s a good mixer colour – bright and bold for a daring colour palette or sultry and muted for something altogether more elegant and understated.
Are there any trends that you love or any that you want to leave behind?
I love it when couples mix things up with different foodie combinations at their wedding. Gone are the days of having a wedding breakfast without some added flavour! I’m loving the different catering options such as pizza ovens, waffle carts, smokehouses and ‘live’ cooking stations – it’s a great talking point and makes for a wonderful wedding experience.
What tips can you give couples in the midst of their planning?
If you’ve not started your planning with a budget, sit down and look at how much you have to spend and what you want to prioritise. So many couples find the finances run away with them – yes, it’s boring and it’s not as interesting as looking at amazing venues or tasting great food but, it’ll make for a more enjoyable planning process if you know where you want to focus your planning!
Why should couples choose a planner?
Working with a wedding planner isn’t for everyone; many couples want to plan it themselves and have a huge array of friends and family around them to help. I often work with couples that are short on time and find it impossible to make arrangements on top of life’s commitments. They’re often living and working outside of the area they plan to get married and are usually dealing with large logistical elements such as the majority of the guests are flying in from abroad, the wedding is more of a holiday and is lasting two or three days or they’ve chosen to get married very quickly, leaving little time for planning. Couples that do choose to work with a wedding planner have commented they’ve found my services have enabled them to relax more, feel stress free and that the guidance and support was invaluable.
How do you extract your couples ideas and wishes from them?
When a couple expresses an interest in working with me, I invite them to a complimentary consultation either face to face or on Skype. I have several questions that I ask during this time in order to get a real understanding of the type of people they are, their interests, hobbies and lifestyle, how they met, what their shared interests are and if they have any particular desires or wishes for the day. We discuss the type of wedding they’d like to create, the atmosphere and the mood of the day – if it’s elegant or bohemian, contemporary or nostalgic. After the consultation, I’ll prepare a proposal, detailing all the information we’ve discussed and putting my ideas to them. I also have a question that I send couples prior to the consultation – 16 questions designed to get them thinking outside of the box!
Emma’s website can be found here :Emma Jane Weddings and Events