Member Focus: Simone Butterfield
Hello and welcome to the first post in our regular series ‘Member Focus’ where you get to hear all about the UKAWP’s members. Today we welcome Simone Butterfield of Dimples Events in Kent.
Why did you become a wedding planner?
My ambition in life has always been to own a manor house that is suitable to hire out for functions and weddings. I have always dreamt of opening a courtyard of shops on the premises that covered every aspect of a wedding i.e a dress shop, a florist, a cake shop etc. I would love to have a little wedding village as such!
While looking for a potential venue or land to develop, I considered opening a shop to sell wedding dresses but there were so many constraints around location and which gowns I could stock, that I continued my search for a career within the wedding industry. Then I came across a website for wedding planners, the UKAWP. It was offering a course for those who wanted an insight wedding planning and it was lead by 2 successful wedding planners. I booked up to attend the next available course and have never looked back!
What’s your signature dish?
Planning weddings on a strict budget! I have had to plan a few weddings now on a minimal budget and they have been just as breathtaking as a wedding with no expense spared. In fact, it is harder to plan a wedding on a minimal budget and definitely worth hiring a wedding planner for.
Do you have a favourite venue?
I do – but I am biased. I can only chose the venue where I was married in 2002; Turkey Mill in Maidstone, Kent. What I love about this venue is that it is like a secret garden. When my husband and I first visited the venue, we had no idea what we were going to find behind a rag-stone wall. We were taken through a wrought iron gate and surprisingly faced with a secret garden. There was a water mill, 9 acres of lush grass, 2 ponds and an orangery. I can still remember the feelings we both shared when we first visited Turkey Mill.
How would your clients describe you?
All of my clients have commented on how easy they find it to talk to me about their ideas for their wedding day, which is a huge compliment. I find that I can easily interpret their characters and assess their likes and dislikes. It’s certainly not everyday that your client rings you and asks you to go bridesmaid dress shopping without any help (and trusts you to buy them with less than 12 weeks before the wedding). I have also been described to be attentive to detail, passionate, diplomatic, methodical and lively!
If you could plan a celebrity wedding, whose would it be?
The celebrity I would love the opportunity to plan a wedding for, is Kelly Brook. She has roots local to me and currently resides in a village where my husband owns his business – in fact she has dropped in a couple of times! I feel that because she is a similar age to me and has stayed local to her roots, she may wish to have her wedding in Kent – an area that I have a great knowledge of. I am also empathetic to Kelly’s loss of her father to cancer. Sadly I lost my mother to cancer at a young age and planning a wedding without a parent, is unbearable. I would love the opportunity to work with such a huge celebrity who seems so grounded and yet so successful.
Which wedding planners work do you admire / respect and why?
I must say that Bernadette has always been my mentor and I respect her profoundly. I had the pleasure of working alongside Bernadette at a wedding that was local to me and this gave me an insight into her professionalism. Bernadette has always freely shared her experiences of wedding planning and has always helped me with any questions that I have asked. I admire Bernadette for launching the UKAWP to promote professionalism within the industry, it certainly helps me to assure clients that I work to a code of ethics and that I am a dedicated professional.
What themes are you working on for 2009?
There seem to be some classic themes that have been around for a couple of years now and brides are not letting go! I have a claret wedding and a silvery green wedding. Both working with timeless pieces that are traditional – along the lines of butterflies and roses!
What is your biggest achievement since launching?
My biggest achievement since launching has still got to be a wedding that I planned in 2007. I was hired in May to help plan a wedding for the September. The only hitch was that the wedding venue had to built above the clients home! The finishing date was 6 weeks before the wedding! Luckily my clients and I developed a great relationship, they trusted me and respected my comments and advice. It was possibly one of the hardest weddings that I have planned, with so many ‘what if’ scenarios. Yet, it was one of my favourite weddings. I felt emotionally overwhelmed at what we had achieved on the big day.
A huge thank you to Simone for taking the time to complete our questions. If you’d like to find out more about Simone or Dimples Events please visit their website.