Member Focus: Rachel Brierley-Jones
Today I would like to introduce you to Rachel Brierley-Jones from The Cotswold Wedding Planner who is one of our associate members.
Why did you become a wedding planner?
I had been searching for a career that would combine my business, artistic and organisational skills for some time and had a eureka moment five years ago when planning a charity ball. I realized that wedding planning would enable me to combine a broad range of skills and I spent the next three years mapping out the business and thinking about the brand image I wanted to create, et viola, The Cotswold Wedding Planner was born. Last year was very exciting as I took the plunge and committed myself to it full time.
What’s your USP?
My local expertise: I only plan weddings and parties in the Cotswolds. The area offers so much to brides and by focusing on one area I can offer very specialist expertise. My network of contacts spans local suppliers as well as the best from further afield, such as London, who cover the area.
In addition, I have a background in Project Management and I also hold a diploma from The National Design Academy in Interior Design. This means that I can offer brides strong expertise in planning and styling in equal measure.
What’s your signature dish?
Helping couples to really achieve a wedding that reflects their own personalities and style as well as working with them to create the little details which make the day special and memorable for them and their guests.
On the culinary side of things, an inevitable part of the move from The City to the country was an AGA so I do a mean slow roast (Chinese duck and noodles or lemon and fennel shoulder of pork always seem to get a very good reception from guests!)
Do you have a favourite venue?
I must be very fickle as it always seems to be the latest one that I have visited. We have such a fabulous range here, from superb country house hotels to barns to castles.
How would your clients describe you?
Very reassuring and calming. Brides go through such an emotional journey that they always appreciate you being available to reassure them. Communication is hugely important so I adapt how I work with them to suit their timetable, lifestyle and preferences.
Have you ever had a challenging client and how did you deal with it?
Never challenging as in ‘unpleasant’ but I did have one bride who was lovely but couldn’t make a decision. I had to guide her through each decision and constantly reassure her that it would be ok, and it was!
If you could plan a celebrity wedding (alive or dead) whose would it be?
A tricky one…I think I would have to say Grace Kelly as she is absolutely the epitome of elegance.
Is the job as glamorous as you thought?
I didn’t for a moment think that it would be so I thankfully wasn’t disappointed. I understood the logistics of organising a wedding as well as the ‘stakeholder management’ element of guiding your bride through the process from the outset so went in with my eyes open!
Which wedding planner’s work do you respect/admire and why?
What’s your biggest achievement since launching?
Being asked to be the Expert Wedding Planner for www.getwed.com was hugely flattering and I love writing my weekly feature for them. It also allows me to interact with a broad range of brides and offer advice on lots of different areas.
What’s your vice?
Anything sweet. I try so hard to resist but never quite hard enough…!
Describe yourself in 3 words
Positive, creative and reliable