Interview with: Valerie Mattinson
Company Name: Benessamy Weddings and Events
Location / Coverage: Based in Nottinghamshire. Ideally placed to cover the East Midlands and further afield on request.
What does Benessamy Weddings and Events do?
Benessamy is a wedding and event planning company based in Nottinghamshire, creating stylish and unique weddings and events for clients across the East Midlands and further afield.
From proposal to I Do, first dance to honeymoon getaway, we work closely with couples to make their wedding day special and memorable for all the right reasons. Our clients usually have a demanding job or busy lifestyle, and the idea of spending every spare moment meeting wedding suppliers and visiting venues just does not appeal. We can help with all or as much of their wedding planning as they need.
Parties and Events
We provide design, planning and organisation support for the full range of party and celebratory occasions – Charity dinners and other fundraising events, birthday parties, anniversaries, baby showers, proms and other special occasions.
How did Benessamy Weddings and Events come about and how long has the business been going?
I launched Benessamy in 2011 after a career in the public sector in legal and corporate affairs. The name ‘Benessamy’ is a combination of the names of my two children and daily inspiration, Ben and Jessamy.
Have you always been interested in weddings and wanted to be a wedding planner?
I guess I got “the bug” for organising events when I worked in the Chief Executive’s Office at Nottingham City Council and then became the Head of External Affairs. In this role I was responsible for the planning and co-ordination of ministerial, royal and other special visits to Nottingham. I stayed in that role for three years before taking up the position of Director of Corporate and External Affairs at New College Nottingham, where my responsibilities included PR, communications and marketing.
I have enjoyed organising many special occasion events over the years, but I think the one which helped me to realise that it was time to put my energy, passion, organisation (and list making!) skills into the wedding business was my brother and sister in law’s wedding in Barbados a few years ago. My initial curiosity and interest in the detail of their plans turned into the need to literally roll my sleeves up (or kick off my rather stylish flip-flops!) and assisting in the on the day co-ordination to ensure that their dream wedding ran smoothly and in accordance with their plans. I loved every minute of it!
What services can Benessamy Weddings and Events offer to couples planning their wedding?
Benessamy offers a range of bespoke wedding services to suit all wedding styles, and all our services begin with a complimentary consultation.
Wedding services include:
- Full Wedding Planning
- Rescue Service
- Benessamy By The Hour
- Wedding Day Management
- Additional Wedding Services: including venue finding, supplier sourcing, RSVP handling and honeymoon arrangements.
Why should a couple choose to use you to help them plan their big day?
We love what we do, and as proud members of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners we work closely with our clients to ensure their events run smoothly and exceed expectations.
Some clients find negotiating a little difficult and leave it to me to lead these discussions with their wedding venue and suppliers on their behalf. With my legal and corporate affairs background I am a confident negotiator and also understand the difficulties that time pressed professionals can face when trying to juggle their demanding and hectic lifestyle with the complexities of planning their wedding day.
We have great contacts and can help our clients to save money or make their money go further by selecting the right suppliers to suit their wedding style. We offer an independent, professional service and do not accept commission from suppliers. Any discounts are always passed onto our clients which often means a saving for them and ensures that we provide advice, support and recommendations which are appropriate to our clients’ tastes, priorities and budget.
Which part of helping to plan a wedding do you enjoy the most and why?
I particularly enjoy problem solving for clients, whether that be helping them to find that elusive ‘perfect’ venue or finding interesting ways to wow their guests! I also enjoy taking the drawings, photos, scrapbooks, pin boards, magazine cuttings, or whatever format our clients have used to imagine the look and feel of their dream day, and shaping those ideas to deliver beyond their expectations.
Do you have a specific style of wedding that you like to help create?
I really love the ‘blank canvas’ venue weddings where there is space and a real opportunity to create a beautiful and truly bespoke wedding day for our clients. The obvious example would be a marquee wedding, or perhaps a venue that is not usually associated with weddings and can be completely transformed especially for our clients.
What are the best and worst things about being a wedding planner?
The best thing is the absolute privilege of being part of my clients’ special day, and working alongside many fabulous creative wedding suppliers.
The worst thing – I can’t think of anything!
What is your most memorable experience of planning one of your clients’ weddings?
One of our wedding couples who booked our wedding day management service had chosen a November wedding day because they loved everything about winter weddings. They got engaged the year before at the same time of year as their wedding day, when it was cold and snowy, and they chose the date with snow and wintry weather very much in mind. Their reception venue was Warmsworth Hall in Conisborough near Doncaster, and they had fallen in love with it’s gorgeous open fireplace and the fact that it would be adorned with Christmas decorations.
Despite their wedding being on the last Saturday of November, the weather was more akin to a mild summer’s day! However, it was fabulous to see the look on the bride’s face as she stepped into Warmsworth Hall to be greeted by the aroma of mulled wine and mulled cider, and the warmth of the beautiful open fire next to the Christmas tree!
What’s your top tip for planning the perfect wedding?
Remember who you are and choose a wedding style that suits you – if you’re comfortable with formality and formal is what you’re looking for, that’s fine, but don’t be pressured into opting for a style that just doesn’t reflect you.
What are the popular wedding trends for 2013?
Mint colour schemes are very popular for those wanting a fresh look and feel. A pop of strong bold colour is another growing trend. In terms of wedding gowns, statement sleeves (with gorgeous lace) and statement backs are definitely a favourite this year.
Random question… What is your favourite flower?
I absolutely love Peonies!