What are your background and experience?
Since 1997 I organized and hosted a range of events from Weddings, fashion shows, team building for corporate clients. Highlights range from MTV Music Awards and Live Aid to one of my favorite weddings in China for over 1000 guests. In 2004 I decided to develop a different skillset and worked for the travel agency in Shanghai, customizing high-end travel experiences for VIP clients, I couldn’t help but miss my involvement in the wedding and event planning industry. In 2012 I launched my event and wedding business and never looked back.
Coordination just came naturally to me and I was always creative and a perfectionist, so planning the most unique and beautiful weddings every little detail was something that brought me immense joy.
What makes Highlife Asia Weddings different from other wedding planning businesses?
The hardest part of planning a wedding is the fact that you’ve probably never done it before. All the prep work, decision-making, and managing can be very anxiety-inducing.
The very fine detail that goes into organizing all of our weddings including managing all of the guest hospitality from the moment they initially contact us is what makes us stand out from every other wedding planning agency.
We are not only a team of skilled wedding planners but also floral artisans. We’ve created floral installations across six continents for high-profile couples, New York Fashion Week, Tv shows "Married at first sight", and "Love Island". Provided flower walls for celebrity events for Paris Hilton, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, and Kevin Hart. We have been nominated top 20 trending wedding planners internationally.
We also never say no to our clients, no matter what the request, we will see it done.
What's your favorite part of wedding planning?
A wedding planner is an expert, confidant, mentor, friend (I’m still great friends with lots of my former couples), and trusted colleague. A good wedding planner listens, supports, has the skills and ability to take on the burden and stresses of planning a wedding (including all of the current Coronavirus hurdles), and works tirelessly to ensure that every detail is carefully considered and flawlessly executed.
At the end of the day, it’s the sheer joy that we get knowing that the client was incredibly happy and we were a part of making that day so special for them.
What's the most challenging part of planning a wedding?
Emotions run very high at weddings, especially when too many family members get involved. The wedding should be a very straightforward process and the couple should always have the final say.
Weddings are high-pressure situations, particularly when you are executing a couple's vision to perfection and it is my job to ensure that any hiccups go unnoticed by the couple and the guests, which means absorbing any challenges and the pressure that comes with them.
At what stage of the planning process should one hire a wedding planner?
Although we can jump on board at any stage of the planning process and can be drafted in as the wedding day fast approaches, by far the best time to engage a planner is right at the start of the planning journey, before the venue has been found and/or date has been set. That way the planner can assist you with every part of the process.
If you have a planner on board from the very beginning, they’ll pull together a realistic budget for you, and help you stick to it.
I also think it’s important to have someone steering the ship creatively from the get-go – we pull together a cohesive design proposal early on which is used to brief suppliers and ensures that the whole day feels consistent and pulled together.
Working with a wedding planner from the start means you can lean on their expertise to ensure you engage the very best and most suitable suppliers for all elements of the day, and let them do the hard work researching, sourcing, communicating, and negotiating.
Tell us a favorite Highlife Asia memory of yours:
There are so many it’s hard to choose from.
When I think back there are two special weddings that will always stay in my memory. We organized an engagement party for a great couple with over 500 guests invited. The couple was a dream to work with and chose us to plan their wedding with over 1000 guests. Their wedding was a magical fairytale production.
The second wedding was for two of the most caring people I've ever come across. They wanted to combine Chinese wedding traditions with a modern fusion take on luxury weddings. The day was similar to a movie set with no expense spared.
What parts of the wedding planning process are we as the bride & groom solely responsible for?
As your wedding planner, we cover 95% of the planning for you, however, there are certain aspects that we recommend doing yourselves without our direct input. We choose to exclude these from our packages as they are very personal and specialized to each bridal couple as individuals, and due to tastes and budgets that differ on a large scale.
What do you think the wedding budget should focus on?
This depends on what's important to you. Do you want the decor to be outstanding? Then find an amazing designer who can help identify the overall look and creative elements. Do you want a roaring party with a lively band? Put your money towards a spectacular band and bar list. Before putting together your budget, we will sit down with you, your fiancé, and your parents and discuss how you envision the day going and what is going to bring your vision to life.
Do you have any universal advice for couples planning their wedding?
· Try to include and reflect your personality in the food and/or catering service – people love attending weddings that feel authentic and personal.
· Be sure that you love the food you’re serving up on your wedding day. It’s easy to get wrapped up with everyone else’s needs, but essentially, it’s your day!
· Quite often the floral budget is significantly underestimated, and once money has been allocated elsewhere this may lead to disappointment. Whether you love flowers or just know you probably should have some, they absolutely will play an important role so getting it right early on is advisable.
· Allow around 10% of your overall budget for wedding flowers, but ultimately it will be down to you and what you want to spend.