Everything can seem stressful when you're nearing the big day, every little detail requires focusing, attention, and double checking. However, there's always a solution, and in this case it comes in the form of a wedding planner. We talked to Shadden El Banna, co-founder of L'elite; a project she established along with her sister, Sherine, 3 years ago.
Shadden gave us an inside look at how it's like to be an event planner in Egypt, market trends, and some precious advice on how to plan your own day if you decide to do it on your own!
1. How did you get started and how did you know you wanted to be a wedding planner?
We started around 3 years ago with the mere idea of creating something beautiful from the ground up. My sister/co-founder, Sherine, is an architect with an eye for detail and a talent of creativity. By the time I was done with college, Sherine had already started working as an event planner and when I decided to start up a brand, we teamed up and initiated L’elite.
2. Your job sounds pretty fun, what do you like most about doing it?
Among the many things we love about our job is being able to help people create their big day. To be a successful wedding/event planner, one needs to have the ability to listen. Brides, grooms, and parents can get pretty emotional while planning their wedding day.
Being their planner means you are their confidant, psychologist, friend and most importantly, meditator. You need to be able to have the solution for everything; literally EVERYTHING and that is what we love most about the job.
That said, because we are part time planners and already have day jobs during the week, we work night shifts making schedules and meeting with clients, and also work on weekends where events mostly take place. For us, the reward of seeing all the hard work come together on the wedding day and hearing praise from clients easily make it all worth it.
3. Why should couples hire a wedding planner?
Apart from taking care of the emotional aspect, planning a wedding involves hard physical work. On that day, we expect to be on our feet from 10-15 hours, moving boxes, setting up wedding details and making sure everything falls perfectly into place.
That is why it is best to hire somebody to take that entire load off the couple’s shoulders. Here in Egypt, couples usually have more things to worry about, like the honeymoon and the house. That’s why we try to check one thing off their list!
4. How do you get a clear vision of what the bride has in mind?
More often than not, brides come with a vision in their heads, or at least a theme of what they want their big day to look like. We usually have an initial meeting to discuss what they might have in mind after which we take charge.
We start researching ideas and market trends then come back with clear ones along with alternatives to every single detail; from chairs and tables to centerpieces and ceiling décor.
5. What are the right questions to ask when hiring a wedding planner?
They should definitely ask about the availability of planners on the specified date; the services that the planners provide; the average cost for these services, and some background information about their services.
6. What are your favorite wedding trends this year?
Among my favorite trends this year are metallics, which are surprisingly versatile. They can be brought into the celebration in a number of ways; think glitzy golds to pop out room decor at a black-tie wedding, copper lanterns at an outdoor reception or on a rustic tablescape.
Another trend that I think is timeless is the lights that add a romantic ambiance and intimate environment. Wedding lighting is the best and simplest way to establish both. Adding pendant lights with bare Edison bulbs, chandeliers and candelabras can help you achieve this feel.
7. What tips do you have for a bride planning her own wedding?
Take your time; save for the things you really wanted. On the day, do not stress over little things. Live the moment as it is meant to be lived and don’t get caught up in perfection.
Prioritize all the way; choose the first things that are of essential importance to you like the DJ, photographer and decorators. Most importantly, accept that you cannot please everyone and remember, you only get to plan your wedding once, so make sure it is a fun time, not a stressful one.
8. Tell us about a difficult situation that you've faced, and how did you deal with it?
On one of our very first events, about two and a half years ago, we had made an order for some very-fragile glass items. We take pride in the services we offer and vow to our clients that we will provide them with the best service there is. During that specific wedding, some items got cracked in transportation. Naturally, we couldn’t accept them in that condition, luckily we had more time to replace them, but this was our very first lesson; always have back-up.
9. If you could choose anywhere in the world to be your dream destination wedding location, where would that be?
On a small scale, I have always wanted to arrange a wedding in Aswan. My dream destination; however, is Morocco. I love everything about its culture not to mention its beautiful scenery.
10. What would you say to a bride that doesn’t think a planner is important to fit into her budget?
Look, again, yes having a planner is extremely important and helps remove a whole lot of burden but as you said, some couples do not think having a planner is of crucial importance. I would say, that depends on the size of the ceremony and how they want it to be.
Some people prefer a simpler wedding with very little details and view the whole thing as a gathering for their loved ones rather than a big event. My thought is: there is no right way to do it as long as you are comfortable and content.
You can follow @lelite_events on Instagram for more!