Maria Dunne is a wedding planning consultant that takes a personal and bespoke approach to creating beautiful occasions and unforgettable events. As no two couples are the same, she believes in curating weddings that reflect your personality and in turning your ideas into reality. Maria would like every bride and groom to have the day of their dreams and every guest a day they'll never forget.
I recently had a chat with Maria and she kindly shared some top wedding planning tips with me!
How did you get started in the business? Did you always know you’d be an event planner?
I’ve always really enjoyed entertaining. Among my friends, I’ve always been the organiser of events and get togethers, so in a sense wedding and event planning came naturally to me. I know I’m really fortunate that I get to do what I love for a living, because for me there’s nothing better than seeing a night, event or celebration really come together.
And of course, being Irish I have the world’s most amazing, romantic and idyllic wedding location right on my doorstep too. From majestic castles and inviting country houses to epic scenery and warm hospitality, I’m really lucky to be able to offer my brides and grooms the venues that have everything.
|Weddings at Powerscourt House & Gardens|
Is it expensive to engage a wedding planner?
As a wedding planner that’s a tricky question. While it’s not necessarily expensive to hire a wedding planner, there is undoubtedly a cost. However I think it’s a good idea for couples to look at hiring a wedding planner from a value perspective.
Your wedding is a very special occasion and you only get one chance to get it right. So it’s extremely useful to have an experienced professional there to give you a little guidance, someone you can trust to help with every aspect of your big day from helping to choose the ideal location, negotiating with suppliers or just making sure everything runs smoothly on the day, so you and your guests can really enjoy yourselves.
A good wedding planner will also work around the couple’s budgets and where possible help stretch them a little further. If engaged early in the process not only will you be able to get their preferred suppliers, they should be able to negotiate preferential rates too.
|Italian Garden at Powerscourt House|
What is the best thing about being a wedding planner?
I’m lucky that there are lots of great things about the job I do. While there’s a lot of responsibility, it’s very rewarding when a couple, ask you to help them with the most important day of their lives. Specifically though the best moment is when the couple you’ve been working with, see their ideas and dreams come to reality on their wedding day. You can see it in their eyes and you know all your hard work has paid off.
|Late evening at Powerscourt House & Gardens|
What is the one detail of a wedding reception you wish more couples focused on?
Sometimes couples tend to underestimate the importance of flowers. As well as representing a couples personality, where they’re from they can really help create a really special atmosphere, a treat for the eyes and the nose that can lift every occasion and venue.
|Marble Hall - Powerscourt House|
Have you ever had a near disaster?
Despite coming close, luckily I haven’t had anything I couldn’t fix. Most recently at a country wedding, the DJ’s car broke down on the way to the venue. Thankfully, I was able to call in another DJ at the last minute and it all worked out without my couple knowing until the next day.
|Georgian Ballroom - Powerscourt House|
What is the one piece of advice you give couples early in the planning stage and why?
Everyone should set a budget at the beginning and be realistic about it, then allocate it to each area, for example flowers, catering, wedding band etc. It is important to include the cost of the dress, hire of suits and the honeymoon when creating a budget as you want a budget that encompasses all costs, so that you have a solid figure to work with. No matter what your budget is always allow an additional €1,000- €2,000 for contingency costs such as tailoring, extra guests etc. Choose a budget you are happy with and can stick with, and remember this is going to be the best day of your life.
|Maria Doherty - Wedding Consultant|
What is trending now for 2016/2017 weddings?
Trends come and go, so here are a few things I have noticed that are in vogue right now.
1. Craft bars: This summer I have a couple of weddings, one with a gin & tonic bar and the other has a whiskey lounge. With so many Irish companies specializing in Gin and Whiskey people love to taste different mixes and it also gives the wedding an exclusive edge, as not every wedding has a personalized alcohol bar.
2. Sparklers: are a must have for after dinner festivities. You see so many different images of sparklers and how you can spell out ‘I Love You’ in them for example. If you can’t afford fireworks for the night time reception, then sparklers will work just as good.