Chris and his team produce weddings that are fun, creative, relaxed, and often very food orientated.
Chris recalls his journey into the wedding industry, his take on upcoming wedding trends, and his approach to vendor relationships with the help of an old wedding day tradition: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue...
A gradual awakening
I can't recall one particular moment that drew me to event planning. Instead, I experienced a gradual deepening of love for the hospitality industry.
It began with my first part-time job in a local pub, grew during my 10 years as a club promoter/DJ, and cemented itself during the 10 years that I ran my own restaurant and catering business.
When a flood brought my restaurant to a close, I felt I had reached a serious crossroads in my life. It was time to ask myself where my real passions were. The answer was obvious: food, music and booze! In my mind, that's what all the best parties are built from—so now throwing amazing parties is what I do.
I received some great advice regarding my line of work once: "Relax, have fun, it's just a party!" I relay that message to my staff at every single event we run.
Given the nature of our venues, we are often asked for very "rustic" inspired decor. However, I am noticing a growing preference for more elegant set-ups contrasted with the industrial setting.
In terms of food, I'm seeing more couples opt for super casual street food options at their weddings. These couples are doing away with table plans and formal dining, in favour of food trucks and stalls with a variety of fun bites from around the world. Some are opting for a full market vibe with beer benches, festoons and mismatched antique furniture, while others are bringing in fresh-looking mid-century modern furnishings.
We work with the brilliant Chew That! to put together amazing food and bar options for our couples.
Budget before we begin
My first question is always about the budget. It's a constant surprise to me that couples have not set budgets for their weddings when they start planning.
Ultimately, as a planner, my job is to spend the couples' money. So whilst it's important to know my clients' priorities in terms of food, decor, entertainment etc. it's all pie in the sky if we don't know how much we have to spend. Weddings can cost a huge amount of money, but we have to keep things in perspective—it's never worth getting yourself into debt for the sake of a party.
I'm extremely picky when it comes to the key suppliers I recommend.
First of all, the food needs to be incredible. Once you tie in crockery hire and service, it will doubtless form the biggest part of the budget breakdown. If I haven't had first-hand experience of working with a caterer, we attend a rigorous tasting day and talk to them at length about their experience in dry hire venues—not every caterer can handle this environment!
We run our own in-house bar company, London Wedding Bars in association with the amazing cocktail team at Behind This Wall in Hackney. I take personal control of the wine programme and work with some incredible merchants to ensure our wines are always on point.
We love to bring amazing photographers and florists on board to really put the icing on the cake of our celebrations. I always advise couples to spend some time getting to know their photographers; they're going to be shooting some intimate and emotional moments and you won't be relaxed if you don't click personally with your photographer.
Simple, elegant, and sophisticated
That is how I would describe the colour palette for my most recent wedding.
Our last wedding took place in an incredible Victorian riverside warehouse called The Chainstore. Our couple chose beautiful bentwood chairs and clean white linen which contrasted beautifully with the muted silver napkins and natural stoneware crockery.
Extraordinary floral work by Still Life brought the whole thing to life—Phalaenopsis, Orchids, Hydrangea, Campanula flowers and Ilex trees.
See more of Chris' work on Instagram and find out how The Wedding Arrangers can bring your big day to life on their website.