Wedding Planner Insights & Advice: In Conversation with Michelle McDermott – Dream Irish Wedding.

Have you ever wondered what exactly a Wedding Planner does? Did you know that working with a Destination Wedding Planner will bring your vision to life, avoid costly mistakes and ensure everything is taken care of for you?

We asked Michelle McDermott, founder of Dream Irish Wedding and Fáilte Ireland Destination Wedding Ambassador, all about her job as one of Ireland’s leading Destination Wedding Planners. From career highlights to the wedding day timeline, Michelle provides invaluable insight and advice throughout this conversation.

Photographer: Christina Brosnan

With a career of over 20 years in the Irish Wedding industry, where did your journey begin? How did you decide to become a Wedding Planner?

My background is in hotel and business management. My final position in hotels was as Events Manager of the 5* leading hotel in the world, The Berkeley Court in Dublin. We had couples from overseas come to get married in Ireland, which sowed the seed and gave me the idea to start my own Wedding Planning Business!

Photographer: Dermot Culhane

What would you say is your favourite part of your job? 

I am inspired by the opportunity to paint a whole dream. Creating our couple’s Dream Day is that inspiration! On the day of, I exude excitement and joy seeing all of the planning, designing, and hard work come to fruition. Especially the most magical moment when the bride (or groom) walks down the aisle and, of course, when the couple exchanges their vows.

Photographer: Under the Veil Weddings

Photographer: Wonder and Magic & Clarie Studio Brown

What does a typical wedding day look like for you?

  • Quite often, our weddings are two to three day celebrations. In addition to the set-up for the wedding day itself, which can have us on site one or two days in advance, we are also on location a day or two prior for the welcome party, rehearsal dinner and other activities, as well as ground handling for the guests.
  • On the wedding day, I commence very early managing the final set-up, preparation and logistics for the wedding, including overseeing the glam squad.
  • My first visit to the bride is based on the time I know she is due to wake up and have breakfast.
  • My morning involves engaging with the venue and vendors and guiding the Dream Irish Wedding team to make sure everything is ready and running smoothly.
  • Timings are critical on the morning. Every minute is crucial to ensure the bride and groom get the very most out of their day!
  • And to date I’m very proud to say my brides are only fashionably a few minutes late!
  • I work in such fantastic venues with amazing teams that I can usually slip away before midnight. By then, the couple are in full party mode and being looked after by the competent venue team.
  • Very often, we are back on site the morning after to oversee the strikeout.

Photographer: Studio Lordan

Photographer: Dermot Culhane

Are there any standout moments or highlights from your career? 

I’m most proud of creating unforgettable moments and fostering exceptional team collaboration.

I love to give each and every wedding couple a wedding that reflects them. Over my career as a destination wedding planner, I have walked nearly 400 couples down the aisle.

Planning and executing a wedding for 600 in a marquee at Adare Manor was certainly a highlight. As was being recognised as Fáilte Ireland Destination Wedding Ambassador.

Photographer: Tobias Tumac

How far in advance should a couple start to work with you for their wedding? 

Ideally, we like to begin working with a couple 12 months out from their dream day, but we are very happy if it’s 18 months prior. Equally, we have planned and executed large weddings within six months.

Photographer; Dermot Culhane

Finally, do you have any advice for couples planning a wedding? 

  • Create a budget from the outset and try to stick to it!
  • Discuss your dream wedding together and identify the priority elements for you both.
  • Don’t sweat the small things.
  • Ensure your wedding is a true reflection of you; it’s not anyone else’s wedding. It’s your day!
  • All elements of the wedding should feel authentic to you both.
  • Delegate some tasks to your wedding party and family or hire a full-service Wedding Planner or Day of Co-Ordinator.
  • Take some time for yourselves on the day!

Photographer: Studio Lordan

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