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Let someone else relieve stress and strain of big day

Published on Thursday, 28 Oct 2010
Wedding planners negotiate with service providers and make sure all rituals are carried out impeccably.
Photo: May Tse

Saying "I do" to a wedding planner may not exactly mean an anxiety-free march towards the big day. But it can help ease strains and stresses during the process.

Among other tasks, wedding professionals negotiate with service providers, such as caterers and florists, and make sure all rituals are carried out impeccably on the day. They are the ones stressed-out brides turn to for reassurance in the run-up to the occasion.

"I have to take care of many things, [including] the colour of the table cloth at the banquet," says Sally Chan Yuk-ching, who set up Star Wood Wedding in 2005.

Chan says a planner helps the couple decide on the theme for the occasion, finds out what they want to wear and how they would like to decorate the venues.

"Based on what they want and their budget, I will look for a venue and pick an 'auspicious' date," she says. The planner will also identify service suppliers and accompany the couple in meetings with them.

The big day, according to Chan, is the most hectic for the planner.

"I have to make sure everything is running according to plan, and that the couple and the guests are having a good time."

Chan adds that the local market is dominated by individual planners, while some hotels also hire professionals in the field.

David Cheung Chung-yu, project director for the Association of Certified Wedding Planner, the official body for wedding planners in Hong Kong, says some professionals derive their income by charging their clients a percentage of the cost of the wedding. There is no standard fee and the rate is typically set based on arrangements with the client.

Chan charges 7 to 12 per cent of the total wedding cost. "I handle four to five projects a year. Each wedding costs an average of HK$350,000 to HK$400,000."

She adds that experience in event management, a good relationship with vendors and knowledge of different wedding styles help attract clients .

There is no academic or professional qualification required, but interested individuals are encouraged to attend wedding management courses to acquire skills in, for instance, marketing and budgeting. Among the programme providers are the Association of Certified Wedding Planner, Open University of Hong Kong and St James' Settlement.

Key skills

  • Communication skills needed
  • Must be a very good listener
  • Sense of humour would help

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