Jane Dayus-Hinch, for 25 years an internationally recognized wedding guru, has planned show-stopping weddings for celebrities, socialites and even royalty. Additionally, she is a senior Toastmaster and a Harley Davidson enthusiast.
Do you still have time to plan weddings?
I have planned more than 1,000 weddings and, regardless of shooting the TV show (‘Wedding SOS’, airing on Slice) and writing a book, I still take on quite a number of weddings every year.
What are the major differences in British and North American weddings?
The Brits love pomp and we dress up for weddings. The mother-of-the-bride certainly wears a hat. I’ve seen an American groom show up in shorts and flipflops at a golf course! On the other hand, I love your idea of showers. But why is there no fruitcake? It’s so symbolic – and my favourite.
What are three common wedding planning mistakes?
What? Only three? Well, (1) inadequate budgeting, (2) failure to have a Plan A and a Plan B for everything and (3) not using an experienced wedding planner.
What’s the average cost of a U.K. wedding?
It seems to be £15,000 to £18,000 and up (about $24,000 – $28,000).
What’s the average size of a U.K. wedding?
About 65 to 100 guests and 120 to 150 for the evening reception.
What’s the most extravagant item you have used?
A horse-drawn carriage pulled by four horses and a 12-tier cake, which I realized was too much when I was on a ladder placing the seventh tier. And hospitality is important, but when the bar bill runs over £10,000, is that generosity or madness?
What are some unusual items?
One groom arrived in a suit of armour to be a knight in shining armour for his bride; we had living sculptures (in spray painted body suits) moving very slowly on pedestals around a marquee; release of butterflies (always unsuccessful – doves work better), enormous ice sculptures and a dragon on a cake (their surname was George, representing George and the Dragon. Quintessentially British).
If you had to choose between your TV show and being a full-time planner, which would you choose?
The TV show is intense. Sometimes there are only three days to ‘save’ the TV wedding from disaster. But could I choose? No. One life is ‘normal’ and the other life is surreal. I love the mix. It gives my life balance.
When disaster strikes
We asked Jane what serious wedding mishaps she had experienced. She laughed and said, “I could write a book on that alone!”
- Three brides didn’t show up. Two grooms have been no-shows. And too many bridesmaids to mention.
- A mother-of-the-bride died at the reception. Twice, a grandparent died.
- Lots of fainting bridesmaids (usually from standing too long).
- An aunt went into labour and delivered her baby in an adjacent room.
- All the male guests deserted amid the speeches to go and watch the football cup final.
- A groom was about to say his vows and, instead, projectile vomited over the vicar.
- A best man ran off with the bride just before the first dance.
- One bride locked herself in a room because she couldn’t believe she had done it!
- One groom was so drunk, he slipped and ripped the bride’s gown.