An interview with Stephanie – Rockbeare Manor Wedding Planner

Here at Rockbeare Manor, we absolutely love helping our clients to plan their wedding day. After all, our beautiful manor house near Exeter, set in its own parkland, offers the perfect backdrop for your day, no matter what your taste and budget.

Stephanie Primarolo is an Event Manager at Rockbeare Manor and responsible for planning many of the weddings that take place in our unique Devon venue.  Carry on reading for an insight into her wonderful world of weddings!

What do you love most about being a Wedding Planner?

The intricacy of the role. There are so many little details that come together in order to make a wedding day really special.  It’s so important that you get to know the couple and what makes them happy in order to take what they envisage to be the most amazing day of their lives and make it happen. As a Wedding Planner you play a very important part in one of the most memorable days of a couple’s life – and that is a real privilege.

At what stage do you tend to get involved with couples in the planning of their big day?

When couples visit Rockbeare Manor for the first time we walk them through every element of the day and listen to their plans and ideas which is a great opportunity to learn about how they imagine their wedding day will be.  If they go on to book with us, we then build on this relationship, creating trust so that they feel comfortable to call us if they ever need any advice, so we get involved from quite an early stage.

What has been your most challenging wedding and why?

All weddings come with their challenges, which makes my job all the more exciting. Quite often, what you assume is going to be a really challenging wedding, perhaps where there are more guests, more props or decor to set up and more timings to coordinate, often tend to run really smoothly.  We are very focussed on the detail at Rockbeare Manor, and are very organised in the planning process and so that ensures everything runs seamlessly on the day itself.

Back in the summer we held a wedding where we were relying on a coach full of guests to arrive in time for the ceremony. This can often be a benefit as it means that all of the guests arrive at once, however, on this occasion the coach driver got stuck in traffic for over 40 minutes, delaying the ceremony. The biggest challenge to overcome was ensuring that everyone remained calm and reassuring them that things were under control. Luckily the Registrars didn’t have another wedding to get to, so I tried to keep everyone occupied by giving the bridesmaids the task to stall the bride until the coach arrived so that she didn’t have to worry. It certainly lifted spirits as they acted out lacing up the bride’s dress wrong, asking for “just a few more pictures” and a bridesmaid having a last minute heart-to-heart with the bride.

Which wedding is your most memorable?

It has to be the first wedding I ever ran at Rockbeare Manor back in May. I remember the landscape was a myriad of bright colours; the spring flower bed was in full bloom, the bluebells framed the parkland and the wisteria offered a charming backdrop to the Ballroom! The nervous excitement builds from the moment you meet the couple up until the big day, and there’s no better moment than seeing the bride in her wedding dress for the first time and watching everything you have spent months planning, come together! I think as a Wedding Planner, you never forget your first wedding!

When do you think is the best time to get married?

I always thought that I would go for a summer wedding, but seeing winter ceremonies here at Rockbeare Manor I’ve had a change of heart! As you weave down the grand driveway and catch a glimpse of the frosted parklands through the bare branches, the landscape is purely mystical. Greeted by cosy lit fires and the smell of mulled wine, Rockbeare Manor is the perfect place to reminisce with family friends, and what’s more romantic than the twinkling of the chandelier crystals on a winters evening?

How much should people budget for their wedding?

When budgeting for a Wedding it really does depend on the couple and what it is that they want for their day. The benefit when getting married at Rockbeare Manor is that you can actually be as minimal or as extravagant as you like. The manor has been really sensitively refurbished, and whilst it is Grade I listed with a regency feel, it’s light and airy and there aren’t any garish colours for you to try to match your wedding colour scheme to. The venue is beautiful alone, which means all it needs is that simple touch that reflects you for your big day. It’s important to remember that your day is about you and not how extravagant your wedding is.

How long do you think should I leave to plan my wedding?

Many couples book a year or two in advance, to give them time to save perhaps, or reduce the pressure on them if they have a busy lifestyle or job.  However it’s not unusual for us to take bookings for weddings with only 6 – 12 months’ notice.  It just comes down to the personalities of the couple, and what they feel most comfortable with.  A lot of venues and suppliers do get booked up really early though, so there is an advantage to booking further in advance if you want to get your preferred date or preferred supplier.

What are the little things that people often forget?

Quite often it’s the thoughtful touches that make your day stand out, and this can be as simple as offering a non-alcoholic beverage or gluten free canapés. Suppliers like your photographer and band often request a meal and so that needs to be arranged, as well as making sure that your guests have a means of getting home at the end of the evening! Booking taxi’s is always a good thing to do in advance. And don’t forget about the pen for your guest book!

What are the things that couples always focus on but that actually don’t matter?

A lot of couples focus on trying to please everyone else and forget that the day is about them and what they want. It’s so true that if the Bride and Groom are happy, everyone else will be happy too.

Which one piece of advice would you give to a couple getting married at Rockbeare Manor?

To remember that the day is a celebration of your relationship, so listen to one another and compromise. Before making any decisions, write down individually what your ideal choices would be and then share these with each other and from there, the rest will fall in to place. And if you are ever in doubt, your Wedding Planner is just a phone call away!

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