Continuing in our series of meeting Irish wedding suppliers, today we meet True Romance Weddings, a wedding planning and bespoke wedding stationery design service. Caitriona told us all about her business and some great insider wedding planning and stationery tips.
My name is Caitriona Foley. I am originally from Killarney, Co. Kerry but am now based in East Galway. I studied Fine Art and then Event Management in college, always striving to find a good balance between my creative side and my love for organising things! I worked in hotels for many years, in Killarney, Cork, Tullamore and Galway, as a wedding co-ordinator and events manager, before deciding in early 2014 to take a leap and start my own business. True Romance Weddings was a wedding blog I had been writing since 2012 in my spare time, discussing all different aspects of weddings and marriage, and I had also been doing some freelance wedding stationery design. Thus in 2014, True Romance Weddings, the business, was born. With the never-ending range of experience I had gained from working with wedding couples through hotels and the vast array of amazing wedding suppliers I had met through the years, I decided to put all of this knowledge to good use and offer a wedding planning service.
There is still quite a fixed opinion in Ireland about wedding planners; people assume we are all like what they have seen on television or in movies and that they are only suitable for couples with limitless budgets. We are, for the most part, the opposite. We work with couples to help them get the absolute most for their money, whether that’s a couple of thousand or a couple of million. Most of the couples I work with are on very average budgets (which is Ireland is between €24-25,000, including honeymoon). They are often the kind of couple that feel a bit clueless when it comes to actually starting to plan the wedding; or that feel they will end up spending a lot more than they need to because they lack negotiation skills. I also work with Irish couples who have emigrated abroad, but wish to come home to get married. When you are living thousands of miles away, it can be very frustrating to try to research everything online or rely on your mammy or sister to visit venues and trust them to make a good decision in your place. I skype regularly with couples abroad to determine their style, their requirements and budget, and come back with a comprehensive range of suppliers that meet their needs the best. I then liaise with suppliers on their behalf to negotiate the best price and service, which can be really useful when the couple are living in a completely different time zone. It helps the whole process run a lot more smoothly and quickly.
I also create bespoke, handmade wedding stationery. I understand that wedding stationery is one of the items that couples really try to save money on, so my range is priced from just €2.00-4.50 per invite. I have a range of samples that many couples will adapt slightly to suit their colour scheme or theme, but also create bespoke custom designs. I highly recommend that couples begin planning their invitations at least 4 months, but preferably 6 months before the wedding. You will be sending your invitations out 6-8 weeks before the wedding, and I always deliver the finished product at least 3 weeks before that to give the couple plenty of time to address the invites. It also gives them a bit of breathing room in case they find that they need extras. Orders can take anywhere between 4-8 weeks depending on the size or the nature of the order.
I wouldn’t say I have dealt with many ‘bridezillas’; in fact sometimes the grooms are more difficult! I am an extremely patient person and my attitude to problems is ‘ok, now how can we resolve this?’ rather than ranting and raving about it. I have had some clients, especially on the stationery side, who expect miracles when they have left it far too late to organise their invitations. I try to accommodate everyone, but I do encourage all couples to set out a timeline for their wedding planning and stick to it as best they can. This will avoid disappointment all around.
My top tip for wedding planning is to be positive about it. It can become very stressful, even when you have lots of people helping you, and sometimes even the tiniest issue can seem like a huge set-back. I keep reminding couples to look at the good things, and to look beyond all the planning to the wedding itself. If, at the end of the day, you have married the love of your life, then it has been an amazing day and a great success.
True Romance Weddings writes a weekly award-winning blog which you can follow here; they are also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest or you can visit the website here. True Romance Weddings are delighted to offer a special 10% discount on services when you quote ‘WeddingCandles.ie’ (very limited availability between now and December 2015).