Expert wedding planner, Nikki J. Begg of Bermuda Bride shares her professional advice with local and destination couples planning to say “I do” in Bermuda.
Nikki J. Begg is a professional wedding planner and the founder of Bermuda Bride. The team at Bermuda Bride (established in 2000) designs and arranges more than 100 weddings in Bermuda each year. Bermuda Bride is known for its stylish, elegant, seamless and memorable events.
3 Park Road, Suite One, Hamilton HM09, Bermuda
Bermuda Tel: 441-295-8697
US Tel: 866-912-9115
Canada Tel: 866-912-9112
What services do you offer as a wedding planner?
We provide everything from hourly consultations, wedding management, full service wedding planning, budget management, food and wine paring, advice on etiquette, design, styling, and with Petals (owned by Bermuda Bride), exquisite floral designs that complement the couple’s aesthetic.
What is the cost of an average Bermuda wedding?
On average the cost is approximately $750 upwards per head.
How often does the couple communicate with their planner in the lead-up to the wedding?
It’s very easy for local brides to get in touch or arrange a spontaneous meeting. Local brides initially decide to undertake many of the arrangements themselves, so we spend time gently reminding them of safety-net deadlines. Often a bride will feel a little overwhelmed by the tasks she thought she had time to complete, so we’ll offer to take over anything that is still outstanding. With our overseas brides, there is a tremendous amount that needs to be accomplished in the last three weeks once the final numbers are known and everything can be confirmed, resulting in a flurry of correspondence and phone calls.
Do you accompany your couples to meetings with their vendors?
This is one of our favourite parts of wedding planning. We have some terrific vendor relationships and we have tremendous trust in one another. The vendors know that we create a balance between fantasy and practicality. We understand each vendor’s strengths and only book vendors that complement the couple’s vision. We are aware of questions the couple may not have thought about and can help guide the meeting. It ends up saving everyone time as we ensure we cover what is important to the client and vendor alike.
How many people from your staff will be at the wedding?
For small events, just one wedding planner is required. For larger affairs or events with more than one location, there will be between two and four planners on site at different periods throughout the event.
How do payments work?
Local couples tend to pay vendors directly through internet banking, but we also offer the couple the opportunity to let us handle all the payments on their behalf. Our destination wedding couples take advantage of this facility as most small vendors do not accept credit card payments.
Do you charge a percentage of the budget or a flat fee?
A flat fee for small weddings, but for larger affairs, where the number of hours may vary but can be approximated for budgeting purposes, we charge for our time.
What are the first steps I should take in planning my Bermuda wedding?
Decide on the date, hire a great wedding planner, select the venue, and book your favourite photographer and musicians. Begin to collect, if you haven’t already done so, images for inspiration. Don’t get overwhelmed. Everything can be broken down into manageable steps and don’t forget to have fun along the way.
In your opinion, what are some of Bermuda’s most exquisite locations for a wedding?
There are some fantastic locations on the island, such as the Unfinished Church, the Croquet Lawn at Tucker’s Point, a private garden setting or the bow of a sailboat at sunset.
When do I need to get a marriage licence?
We apply for a licence six weeks prior to the wedding as it takes two weeks for the application to be processed, leaving ample time for the minister to prepare the marriage particulars.
What is the most expensive time of the year to get married in Bermuda?
Bermuda is unique in that there isn’t an off-season. Most services cost the same regardless of the time of year. However, if there are overseas guests attending, bear in mind that accommodation costs considerably more from May through October.
How can I avoid going over budget?
It’s very easy to get carried away—there are so many options and all the little things add up. Establish a budget and your priorities. Work through a financial overview listing every possible expense. Add in 10 percent extra, just in case. Recognise that if you wish to add something, you must be prepared to give up something else.
What should I do if the weather doesn’t cooperate on my wedding day?
Make sure your alternative (indoor) plan is well thought through and just as fantastic as your first choice. Leave the decision to the wedding planner and the venue, if you can.
Am I responsible for cleanup at the end?
If you are having an outdoor wedding at a private residence, you should absolutely build into your budget the time required and the cost for a team to do this for you. If your wedding reception is at a restaurant or club, the venue will handle this and the fee will be built in.
How can I prepare for unforeseen disasters?
Hire a wedding planner! We know the different areas where problems may occur. The most important thing to remember is that no matter how well planned your wedding may be people do the strangest things, which one can never anticipate. Maintain a sense of humour and remember the sentiment behind why you’re getting married.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of planning a Bermuda hotel wedding?
Often having a hotel wedding is less expensive as many of the services are easily available in-house. Other events can also be held at the hotel, such as a welcome barbeque and the brunch, saving on transportation costs for overseas guests. An important consideration for hotel weddings is that the event often needs to end earlier than it would if held at a private club or residence. There has been many a wedding for which an after-party was held at an alternative location or the couple had to go into town (the bride in her wedding dress) to continue the celebrations.
What are the main things I should splurge on and save on?
Spend on whatever is important to you and save on the areas that don’t matter to you. For each couple, this tends to be different. If you are looking to save, have a DJ instead of a band, raise your glasses to toast rather than have champagne, replace a selection of entrees with a set menu; there are many ways to work within budget and still have a beautiful affair.
Am I expected to pay for guests if I’m having a destination wedding?
Depending on your budget you can do everything from taking over a hotel and flying your guests to the island to simply hosting the events. At a minimum we suggest providing transportation to and from the different events.
How many bridesmaids should I have?
Local weddings tend to have more bridesmaids. I love seeing an even number of bridesmaids to groomsmen; it looks balanced. And the general rule of thumb is to have one groomsman to every 25 guests.
Should I tip my vendors?
The people who work on weddings tend to be unsung heroes. From a planner’s perspective, it’s like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. Often a couple does not realise the enormity of what has been accomplished—seeing only the end result. So if you feel you have received terrific service, although not expected, a tip is a great way of saying that you have recognised their contribution to your day.