May 5th, 2015

In an effort to give you the best wedding advice for planning your wedding, Off To Wed has dedicated this blog post to an interview with an expert wedding planner, Yana Makliassova of Weddings by Yana.

Yana WBY


Tell us about yourself and what you do?

I’m Yana, the wedding planner of Weddings by Yana, based mostly in London UK and sometimes in Co. Kerry, Ireland. My specialty is planning destination weddings in London, Ireland, France and Italy. I’m slightly different to other wedding planning services in that I not only do bespoke “start from scratch” planning but I also utilize past experience by creating tried-and-tested, all-inclusive, venue-based wedding packages for those venues and suppliers that I’ve personally vetted through past events. My packages include all the necessary elements whilst remaining fully flexible to customisation – so all you will need to do is buy the dress!


How did you start out as a wedding planner?

The decision to become a wedding planner felt quite spontaneous actually, but once the idea entered my mind it felt right at home. Often people told me that I would be perfect corporate event organiser, but working in the corporate world was always a temporary thing for me and I knew I wouldn’t stay there long. At the same time I’ve been secretly reading wedding blogs for years and hypothetically planning my own future wedding, then one day I had a Eureka moment – “I’m supposed to be a wedding planner”.


What do you love about planning peoples’ weddings?

Getting to know the couple and their love story is always one of the best parts. Sometimes you will start off as a wedding planner but by the time the wedding comes you’re also attending as a friend! I love trying to pin down a couple’s individual style and incorporating it into the wedding. On a more practical side, one of the main reasons couples hire a wedding planner for a destination wedding is because they don’t have the opportunity for a lot of travel to see venues and meet with suppliers. So as a destination wedding planner I get to travel a lot to discover new venues and get intimately familiar with them on the couple’s behalf. That’s always fun!


What advice would you give to somebody who has just started planning a wedding?

Most newly engages couples will experience one of two things: they will either dive head first into planning, themeing and organising without having a concrete idea in their heads or they will start researching and get completely overwhelmed. My advice is this: pace yourself and focus on finding the venue first and foremost. The venue will determine the underlying atmosphere and theme of your wedding so it makes sense to invest time here. Whether you’re having the wedding at home or abroad, it is a good idea to expand your horizon beyond Google search results. Wedding blogs and directories are a solid starting point but also consider seeking advice from a wedding planner who focuses on your chosen area, as they may be able to suggest venues that wouldn’t have otherwise come up in your search results. Some planners will offer up this information free of charge because they have referral commission agreements with these venues and others will charge a small venue sourcing fee.


What are the main challenges for people planning a wedding?

Couples are often surprised to realise that the cost of their wedding directly correlates with the number of guests they plan on inviting. Whilst it IS possible to have a 100 people wedding on a £5,000 budget if you are open minded and willing to break the norm, but the rule of thumb is to allow on average £100 per guest for the wedding reception, i.e. the food. So if you’re facing the challenge of cutting your guest list, before you send the invite ask yourself “will I miss that person on my wedding day if they’re not there?” And remember, there is no place for politics at a wedding. Just because your mum says that Sally from the bingo club is a dear old friend who once babysat you over two decades ago, doesn’t mean you have to invite her.

Pastel pink, peach and mint bridesmaids dresses
Image by Morgan Trinker Photography

Are there any themes, trends or style that you love at the moment?

This year’s wedding trends are big on the fine detail as rustic boho weddings are getting passed over in favour of more lux and glamour. We’re seeing richer, more royal tones like masala (Pantone’s colour of the year!) which goes great in combination with dusty blue or rose. Also, I am all in favour of challenging tradition so I’m loving the trend for white bridesmaids’ dresses and two piece bridal gowns!


Tell us about your dream wedding?

I’m a huge beach lover so not surprisingly my dream wedding is a beach wedding! I’m waiting for the day a couple will approach me with “hey, can you help us plan a beach wedding on the French Riviera with a sunset ceremony on the boardwalk and a reception in a little seaside restaurant surrounded by tiki torches?” – That would be the dream. Beach weddings are extremely difficult to organise, what with the wind blowing sand everywhere and curious onlookers adamant to photobomb your wedding pictures, but I love a challenge!