Advice from a Wedding Co Ordinator – Carolyn

I first met Carolyn whilst shooting weddings at Netherwood. She reminds me of a ray of sunshine – always smiling, always warm! Carolyn has since gone on her own and this is most certainly a blessing for brides who want to work with a wedding co-ordinator who will be as excited about your wedding as you are! Thanks to Carolyn for taking the time to give us some of her expert advice.


Tell us a little bit about yourself ….

Born a farm girl, I have a deep love for wide open spaces, growing things and beautiful moments. I am an unashamed romantic and love what I do with all of my heart. It gives me incredible joy to be able to take a client’s vision and help it come to life. I adore all things pretty, romantic and eclectic, and have a deep love of growing things, especially beautiful flowers. If I wasn’t a Wedding Planner I would have a flower farm.

How did you land up in this profession?

With 6 years experience in Corporate Eventing and Client Services, I reached a point where I felt compelled to spread my wings in a more personal and creatively stretching way. Weddings were the perfect choice for me, a combination of all the elements and skills that make me, me.  Joining Netherwood Wedding Venue in Nottingham Road in 2010 was the beginning of my Wedding Planning journey. In 2013 I literally followed my heart to the North Coast to be with my other half, Chris, and launched ‘Adore’ in February of that year. I’m loving it!

What do you love most about working on a wedding?

Being witness to two people who truly love one another exchanging a covenant of love before God and all their most favorite people in the world. I still have tearful moments at every wedding I do, because it’s just so beautiful.

Who is your ideal client?

I love to partner with my clients in order to bring their vision for their special day to life. I love working with couples whose primary focus is on the fact that they get to marry their favorite person in the world, and who want to make their day one of celebration and love shared with friends and family. As a planner, it is always fun to work with a couple who are willing to try something new and out the box in terms of structure, venue, décor and flowers; but really I just love weddings, so any couple celebrating their special day with love brings me joy!

What is your role in the lead-up to the wedding and on the day itself?

I have a variety of package options, including Full Planning, Off-site Coordination and On-the-day Coordination. Each package is designed with different needs in mind, and is tailored accordingly.

Full Planning tends to be the most popular option, and is comprehensive in structure, allowing me to come alongside clients and assist from the very beginning of your planning stages to completion of your function. Full Planning includes full concept, styling and floral / décor consultation; assistance with budget planning; coordinate accompanied meet and greets with various reputable suppliers; full liaison with all selected suppliers and client from conception to completion on your wedding day; overseeing set up, break down and all formalities on the day

What is the difference between a wedding co-ordinator, a wedding planner and a venue co-ordinator?

A Wedding Planner is the most intensely involved option on offer. A Wedding Planner will partner with you in ensuring that your wedding is taken care of from the start of the planning process, throughout your wedding day, and will oversee break down the day after your wedding. Full Planning includes accompanied visits to meet with various suppliers, obtain quotes from reputable suppliers, budget assistance, full concept and implementation for styling, décor and flowers, and full management of the wedding planning and implementation process from start to finish. A Wedding Planner tends to be on site for the full set up and break down process, as well as the full day of your wedding.

A Wedding Coordinator assists with planning your weddings and sourcing suppliers to a degree, but most often tends to take over liaison and coordination one you have sourced and selected your own suppliers. A Wedding Coordinator will run the actual day of your wedding on your behalf.

A Venue Coordinator is exactly that – someone who coordinates all aspects involved in ensuring your venue is ready for your special day and that all venue related aspects run smoothly. They ensure that all infrastructure such as lights, electricity, water, roads and etc. are in good working order, and that venue staff are on site and informed of all requirements for your day from a venue point of view.

Any tips for couples that are about to go out there and choose a wedding venue?

There are venues to meet every style, every need, and every couple. Make sure that the venue you choose suits both the style of your wedding, and your budget. Keep in mind that venues that require guests to travel from far will mean that guests will need accommodation. Ensure that there is enough accommodation available either at or around the venue so guests do not have to drive long distances late at night. Read through your venue quote properly, ask questions if there is anything you do not understand about their rates, services and what is or is not included in their venue hire. Compare quotes from various venues and take into account your hiring cost for any items not included in your venue hire (tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, glasses, table cloths, serviettes, etc.) In some instances you may find that a venue with an initially high hire fee works out to be more cost effective than a cheaper option simply because everything is included in the initial quote. Don’t be afraid to shop around if you are not 100% certain about the venues you have seen so far. There is a venue for everyone. Like finding the right dress, you will know when you’ve found the right venue!

What advice would you give to a bride when choosing a theme for her wedding day?

Make sure both you and your fiance are comfortable with your theme, and make sure it suits who you truly are and fits your budget so you can enjoy your special day together worry free.

Any wedding no nos?

It is always a good idea to avoid any major “trends” with both your decor and dress as you will have these wedding images for the rest of your life. If you ensure your day is a reflection of the two of you, your images will always be rich with symbolism for both of you and will remain timeless.

A practical tip with regards to your beauty regime in the lead up to your wedding: have any spray tans or hair colour changes tended to by a trusted professional, and ensure you try both out well before your actual wedding date so that any disasters can be fixed with ample time to spare!

And my personal pet peeve, unless specifically stated by the bride on your invitation in order to create effect, please do not wear white, off white, cream or any shade thereof as a wedding guest! I’m a traditionalist that way, but unless otherwise specified by the couple, the only woman in white at a white wedding should be the bride!

What are the latest trends out there when it comes to weddings these days?

There is a strong return to an intimate, whimsical, bohemian style day, complete with flower crowns and touches of copper which I think is absolutely beautiful!

There is also a strong trend moving away from large bunches of flowers and towards the use of life sized trees as statement pieces for weddings. This has the added benefit of offsetting your carbon footprint at the same time as adding wow factor to your décor.

Any vital budget tips that you can share?

Start by prioritizing what you both feel is most important, and then divide your budget accordingly. If you love good food, focus on your food as priority number one, if you love good photography, make that priority number one. Give each aspect of your wedding (catering, décor, DJ, dress, flowers, photography, videography, venue and etc.) a priority number and allocate budget accordingly. This will help you to avoid getting caught up in the little things that neither of you feel are the most important, and avoid unnecessary spending and stress.

What advice would you give to a bride to ensure that her wedding is the wedding of her dreams.

Sit down and discuss with your fiance your vision for your special day, just the two of you to start with. This day is about celebrating your love story and the commitment you’ve made to each other. It’s a day to enjoy! Make sure that you are both on the same page with regards to the style, size and tone of the day so that you are both comfortable and enjoy every minute. Once you are both on the same page, discuss your vision with your families. It is inevitable that compromises need to be made during the initial discussion phase of your planning process, but you will be able to find a middle ground that suits you all. The most important thing to remember is that the entire point of your day is first and foremost to make a beautiful commitment to one another, and secondly to celebrate that commitment with all your favorite people in the world.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate if someone offers their assistance. This is a very special day, and family and friends who offer their help do so because they want to be a part of it. They can be a genuine blessing during both the planning process and on the day of your wedding … and delegating can be a great stress reliever!

Make sure you take time out together during your day to just take it all in and enjoy it. This is your day! You are married to the person you love most in the world, and all your closest family and friends are with you. It is an amazing experience, make sure you give yourself time to appreciate it.

And finally, this day is all about the two of you, so enjoy it! Have fun! Laugh, dance, celebrate, eat, drink and enjoy!

Carolyn can be contacted on her FB page here or on 083 644 658


  1. Kerry on June 21, 2013 at 8:38 am

    “A ray of sunshine” – talk about perfectly describing someone in a few words! INCREDIBLY talented. Im so proud – I cannot wait for my wedding day and all my Car’s advice and guidance! Wish you so much love and light xxx

  2. Kate on July 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Such a great article about a creative genius and a beautiful person inside and out! xx

  3. Roxy Ellis on July 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    So crazy proud of you Caro!

  4. Lara Mousley on July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Kerry is spot on, Carolyn is my “Sunshine Fairy”. We are so lucky to have her for the lead up and on our special day! She truly is a blessing, not only is she insanely talented but she is also a very special person with it. Xxx

  5. Carolyn McNeil on September 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Jax, thank you very much for your lovely words and for the feature. Simply adore working with you friend!

    Kerry, Kate, Rox and Lara – you are all just too lovely! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! It is a joy to know each and every one of you, and to get to work with you too!

    All my love xxx

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