Lottie Kay talks to Darlington wedding planner Samantha Whitehead-Young, who is bringing her business to the North-East.

ANYBODY who is planning to get married knows that the reality of creating this perfect day is far from stress-free. It is all too easy to become bogged down with place cards, bouquets and where to seat boozy auntie Mildred. The solution is simple; hire a wedding planner.

After all, you would never do your own hair for a wedding: you would hire a hairdresser.

You wouldn’t pick your own flowers to decorate the church: you would hire a florist. So in order to have someone who will oversee every tiny detail to create your perfect day, you need to hire a wedding planner.

Samantha Whitehead-Young Wedding Designs has recently expanded to the North-East after the success of the business in the South.

“Wedding planning down there is prolific and we want it to be just as popular up North as well,” says owner Samantha, who is originally from Darlington. She has more than 20 years of experience and a wide knowledge of the industry, so owning her own company was a natural step. “I have worked in all areas of the trade, from a waitress to a venue manager, so I know this business inside out,” she says.

With television programmes such as The Wedding House increasing in popularity, Samantha explains why she thinks there is a need for the service she provides. “It can be such a struggle for the bride and groom to find time to do everything and that’s where we come in. We do all the leg-work.

“There is a free initial consultation where the couple will tell us what vision they have for their day. We work out the budget and, because we have insider knowledge of the industry, established relationships with venues and can source things from the suppliers, it makes things so much easier for the couple,” she says.

Samantha is a self-confessed perfectionist and passionate about her work. “It is so important that the couple can trust us. After all, we are responsible for making their dream come true. I have a 24-hour hotline that they can call in an emergency and all my focus is on the bride and groom,” she says.

It is sad when tlogistics overshadow the romance of the day or when the bride and groom are too stressed to enjoy themselves. That is why Samantha is on hand, she says, to make sure everything is running on time and every detail accounted for.

“We once had an incident where there was an accident on the motorway which delayed the caterer and the florist. We managed to solve the problem and thankfully the bride did not even have to be told. It is all about reacting to what happens and finding a solution. If we hadn’t been on hand, the bride would have had to deal with that,” she says.

The company is a member of the Association Of Bridal Consultants and must maintain a standard of excellence. As well as this, Samantha is training to be a master wedding planner which will see her take a gruelling nine exams in order to reach the top of her profession. “It is hard work; there are a lot of logistics, budget controls and figures that sit behind the glamorous aspects,” she explains.

Forget your pre-judgements of being bossed around by a woman with a walkie-talkie: Samantha knows how important it is to listen to what the couple wants and says she will give it her all to make sure they get it. Establishing a trusting relationship with her clients is really important to her. In fact, after we meet she is going to meet the newborn baby of a woman whose wedding she planned two years ago.

Samantha aims to act as a safety net, helping couples create their dream wedding, using her insider knowledge. She is also present to oversee everything on the big day, so the bride and groom can relax and know they are in safe hands.

“We never forget that it is all about the couple and their day,” she says. “We don’t simply plan your wedding, we nurture your dream. I always compare a wedding to a book. If every chapter is well planned, then the book becomes a fantastic story of your wedding day.”

* Samantha Whitehead-Young Wedding Design, Crabtree Hall Business Centre, Little Holtby, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9LN, by appointment only.

Tel: 0845-519-2879 info@theperfectplan.co.uk