Member Focus: Jenny Barnes
I’m delighted to introduce Jenny Barnes from Make Our Day Events as our first member focus of 2010. Jenny’s business is based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Over to you Jenny!
Why did you become a wedding planner?
In 2003 the company that I worked for had just merged with a similar business. At about the same time a close friend got married and I saw just how stressful she found all the preparations. With several years experience as a project manager in large corporations I realised that I had exactly the right skills to take the stress out of making wedding arrangements and decided to set up Make Our Day Events rather than apply for my own job following the merger.
What’s your USP?
I’m the USP! I work closely with my clients to build up a relationship of trust and then use my knowledge and contacts in the weddings market to help them to the wedding that they want, within their budget.
Do you have a favourite venue?
There are some lovely venues within the Bucks/Berks/Oxon area but I don’t really have one particular favourite. I co-ordinated a wedding at Keble College in Oxford just before Christmas. That was beautiful, but you can only marry there if you have a connection with the college.
How would your clients describe you?
Calm and organised. The recurring theme in the thank you letters and emails that I receive is “it was such a relief to know you were there”. One of my brides says I kept her sane!
Have you ever had a challenging client and how did you deal with it?
I’ve never really had a challenging client, but I learned very early on to be on good terms with the bride’s mother so that she doesn’t feel left out of the arrangements!
How do you unwind?
A long hot bath and a glass of red wine. As well as that, I enjoy knitting and origami. If you want a knitted wedding cake or a bouquet of paper flowers then I’m the person to ask!
If you could plan a celebrity wedding, whose would it be?
I think it would have been fun to organise Elton John’s wedding. A quiet, thoughtful ceremony followed by a party full of glitz and glamour.
Is the job as glamorous as you thought?
It isn’t a glamorous job and I didn’t expect it to be so. I get a real buzz when the day arrives and everything falls nicely into place but I spend most of my time in the office making phone calls. I think that handling the phone calls is one of the most important services that we provide!
Which wedding planners work do you admire / respect and why?
I’m always envious of planners who can look at a venue and come up with orginal ideas for theming and decoration at the drop of a hat. I always need to go away and think about it. But once the idea is there, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, I’m very good at making it all come together.
What themes are you working on for 2010?
Gold and black and elegant with balloons and giant martini glasses.
Dark brown and deep red with sparkle and lots of greenery.
What is your biggest achievement since launching?
I organised a marquee wedding with 220 guests in August 2007. The bride wanted an English country fair feel so we had very simple decorations and a lot of sideshows like Whack the Rat and Hoopla, and even some go-karts.
The venue was near Witney in Oxfordshire and was in the middle of an area badly affected by that summer’s floods. The bride was Welsh and the groom Italian so guests were booked into accommodation all round the area. As well as making all the usual arrangements for a marquee wedding, I checked to see which of our hotels and guesthouses were flooded. I then found alternative accommodation at the last minute for all the guests who were affected. We ended up with more than 100 people staying at The Four Spires Hotel in Witney. The upside was that I was able to arrange a coach shuttle to and from the wedding, which helped enormously with parking arrangements!
What is your vice?