Ruth Hunter of Finesse Planning – An Interview with the National winner of the 2013 Wedding Industry Awards.
We have been huge fans of Ruth Hunter ever since we laid eyes on her Hunter styled table at a recent industry event. To us Ruth is the queen of styling, she uses every single space to create something wonderfully unique and personalised!
We are delighted to be able to share an interview with her today on how she feels about winning an award at the Wedding Industry Awards, what inspires her and advice for those who are considering taking their own journey into the world of wedding and events management.
Why did you decide to go into wedding and Events management?
I actually started in the wedding and events as a hotel conference and banqueting co-ordinator after leaving university and have been involved in events or hospitality ever since, but the decision to start Finesse Planning came from being unhappy in a position of an Events Manager at a hotel and realising that life is too short to be doing something you hate, so I took the decision to concentrate on something I loved and I have never looked back.
How long have you been in the industry?
It’s coming up to 13 years this March when I started my first position with a 4 star hotel in Cheltenham in the Conference and Banqueting department. It was Race Week so was ridiculously busy and I loved it from the very first instance. From there I have worked in corporate hospitality, exhibitions and hotels as well as running a pub and restaurant with my husband where we would run and coordinate weddings.
Congratulations on your award! How did it feel being crowned National Winner at the Wedding Industry Awards?
It really was a very surreal moment. I honestly did not think for a minute that I was going to win it. The competition I was up against was very high and there were other companies who I admire in the running so when they announced ‘and the winner is…Finesse Planning!’ my heart literally jumped out of my chest it was beating so hard! It was one of the best feelings ever to go on to the stage and to be presented with the award! I was so honoured, shocked, elated and very proud that as soon as I came off stage I burst into tears!
How would you describe your style?
I wouldn’t say I have a particular style. I don’t follow trends as such as each wedding is so personal to the couple. So with that in mind, if I had to label my style it would be ‘personal’. Albeit I keep a close eye on what is happening in the wedding world and will inject it if it fits, but on the whole we design weddings around the bride and bridegroom so guests leave thinking ‘yes! That was definitely their wedding!’ and not ‘Oh, I saw the same thing at a wedding last month’.
Taking a process that can be daunting and sometimes scary with a friend and confident who makes the whole thing fun, enjoyable and something to be treasured. It is also a journey of discovery, helping couples find a common ground whilst pulling out their own individual characters and displaying them in a unique and exciting way.
What Makes Finesse planning unique?
Our creativity and ability to think outside of the box plus our involvement with our clients. As we go through the planning process with our couples, not only do we help them design and produce a truly unique as well as impressive wedding but we become close friends. Each and every one of our couples has built a strong relationship with us which is key to the success of the day. We really take the time to get to know them and in return we help create a day that represents the two of them.
We featured your ‘Hunter Styled table’ here on Bespoke Bride a few months back which was incredibly unique. What would you say inspires you?
Thank you so much! I have to say, I loved designing and developing it and couldn’t have done it without Curtis & Co for making the blue ombre cake and the hunter cake as well as the skills and help from Sorori Designs, House of Bunting, Dottie Design and The Whitehouse Event Crockery. With regards to inspiration for styling or a photo shoot, it could be anything. For the Hunter table, it was after a discussion with my business partner Kim (I also run House of Bunting) saying that we would love to develop a range of bunting using tweed. Then when asked to produce a styled table, I knew that I wanted to be quite self indulgent and base it on my family name Hunter. The result was quite spectacular. With regards to inspiration for weddings, it really is the couple themselves, every idea comes from the information they have given to me and I just develop them into something bigger and better.
What trends do you see for 2013 in terms of styling?
Vintage is still out there but it is starting to take a new direction, one of which is a French Antique style. Lots of pale bluey greys, distressed wood, enamel, candelabras and patterned blue and white fabric. There is also a lean towards the American Barn style of wedding. This involves things such as wooden crates, hessian, lace, chalk boards, fairy lights, draping of ivory fabric mixed with wild flowers in jam jars. There is however I think a return to simple elegance. People are looking to muted tones of whites and creams and putting emphasis on beautiful arrangements and adding touches such as charger plates, cut glass wine glasses and traditional stationery. With regards to colours, I think that a lady I have a total girl crush on, The Duchess of Cambridge, wore this colour beautifully last year and that is emerald green, also named Pantone Colour of the Year, it will be making an appearance in different shades.
Do you have a personal favourite wedding that you have planned or styled, if so why…?
I have to say ‘no’ for this question I’m afraid…I really don’t have a favourite. Each wedding has had highs and lows and because not one wedding is the same, they are all very dear to me. There are elements from different weddings that I totally love, such as the invitation from a music themed wedding where I had CD’s printed to look like mini vinyls and guests had to tick on the RSVP which one of the four songs on the CD they liked, this was then their wedding song. Then there was the amazing lighting at Caerphilly Castle that transformed the entire venue including stars that were moving on the very high vaulted ceilings. A table full of Ferrero Rocher lined up with handmade escort cards attached which we used instead of a table plan or very simply that one of my brides named each table after her own Hindu goddesses for an Anglo Asian fusion wedding. In each and every wedding there are certain things that I totally adore and that’s what makes my job so exciting.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Quite simply…making dreams come true!
If you weren’t a wedding and events manager what would you be doing?
That’s a really good question. I haven’t really given it any thought as this is what I love to do, but I am actually a qualified Interior Architect, so I guess I would have pursued that area more or I really enjoy playing with hair, so possibly hairdressing? Anything that allows me to be creative. Otherwise I can dream and say that I would be a snowboarding champion!
Any big plans for the future?
I always have lots of plans/new ideas up my sleeve and there are almost too many sometimes which becomes frustrating, there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything! However, the biggest development for 2013 for Finesse Planning is that we are teaming up with an amazing exclusive use, country manor house property in Chepstow called Wyelands Estate and we will be responsible for the running of weddings and events there. We are very excited about that! It’s a stunning marquee venue with clear view across to the Severn Bridge, just spectacular.
And finally, any advice to those who are considering a journey into wedding and events management?
I receive emails from people on a daily basis asking me if I have any jobs, or if I can offer work experience as they really would love to get in to wedding planning. Firstly, my advice is to go and get a qualification. There are a number of courses you can choose from, but I am actually the tutor for The High End Wedding & Event Management Course run by The Wedding Planner School. They offer weekend courses or home learning too for other courses and provide a brilliant support service to graduates. Whilst you are gaining your qualification, take time on developing your brand, research your target market and start to develop relationships with suppliers. It really is all about who you know not what you know. Without contacts you will find it very hard. I could go on and on about the pitfalls of becoming a wedding planner but the main thing you need is determination. When it feels like you’re getting nowhere fast, keep believing in yourself and your skills and you will do it.
We hope you have enjoyed our interview with Ruth today. For more info on Ruth and Finesse Planning then visit the website here. We would love to hear from any Finesse brides out there.
Much Bespoke Love
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