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Making Dreams Come True

Organising a wedding is a daunting task, but Sameera Al Balooshi makes it sound like a walk in the park. She gives WTM the nitty-gritty of being a wedding planner.

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background and how long have you been a wedding planner at Crowne Plaza Bahrain?
I was working as a reception supervisor at the hotel before I became a wedding coordinator. I’ve been doing it for two years now and I truly enjoy it.

What inspired you to become a wedding planner?
I enjoy working at Crowne Plaza as this is where I have broadened my experience, learnt new things and faced new challenges every day. I love the excitement that comes with planning a wedding and meeting the lovely couple full of hope, ready to start their new life together. Also, it’s a joy working with a highly knowledgeable team, providing our clients with the best possible service and advice.

How long does it take to plan a wedding and what does it entail?
It takes a year, sometimes six months, before the wedding date for the preparation.
First, setting the budget is very important. Once that’s agreed upon, the next step is to find the right venue. When the venue and date are selected and confirmed, it’s time to begin selecting vendors, considering the whole wedding décor with full stage set-up, fresh flowers, chairs, beautiful cake and more. After the venue and vendors are booked and secured, we help our clients with everything else to make sure that their wedding will be as magical a day as they always envisioned.

What’s the biggest wedding you have organised so far?
So far, the biggest wedding I’ve organised was with 500 guests, which was a successful and unforgettable one. Everything was done perfectly.

What is the most challenging part of your job and the most rewarding?
Proper budgeting for a wedding is a difficult task, particularly when weighing everyone’s expectations. As a wedding planner, my job is to make sure that the bride and groom get the best value for money. I tap into every contact I’ve made, and do everything I can to get a discount – that’s part of my job, after all. The couples have to make some difficult choices and remember weddings are emotional. My job is to figure out the best possible options that work within their budget.

The most rewarding part is making our clients’ events a success – seeing them satisfied and pleased with the end result. Making them happy makes me happy.

What is the one thing that most people spend their maximum wedding budget on?
The wedding stage, as this is where the bride spends most of her time.

Name three things that can make or break a great wedding party.
If things have not been done at the right time – if the kosha [stage] wasn’t ready on time; the food is delayed; the DJ is having a problem with the music or any problem with the sound system; the bride is not ready on time – these are the things that can break a great wedding party.

On the other hand, a nice venue, good food, great music, lovely wedding décor, fresh flowers, proper lighting, beautiful stage set-up and a happy couple can make the wedding amazingly perfect.

You must have come across a few demanding clients. What has been the most outrageous request from a bride or groom?
There have been times when the bride and the family have requested additional seats for extra guests during the wedding. This is a common thing that happens a lot but we always make it possible and sort out these kinds of issues so the wedding goes smoothly.

What are your top tips for a good wedding?
The best thing is to hire a wedding coordinator. If you have a wedding planner, you can save a great deal of money and time – they’re well organised and will eliminate your stress. A coordinator takes the problems away, and makes wedding planning a fun and enjoyable experience.

Are you married? If yes, did you plan your own wedding or hire a wedding coordinator?
Yes. My husband was the one who arranged everything for my wedding, which I find very sweet and loving.

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