26 Sep Interview with Katrina Otter – Founder and Head Planner at Katrina Otter Weddings
How many weddings do you have in a year?
As an absolute maximum my colleague Cara and I plan no more than 14 full plan weddings a year as we also oversee all weddings at Holywell Hall in our capacity as their in-house wedding coordinators.
Separate to this, Kate oversees all on-the-day services (Wedding Day Management) with an average of two weddings per month during peak wedding season.
What is the most memorable wedding you’ve planned?
Every year I have one, if not two stand-out weddings that are memorable for different reasons – whether that be the couple, a venue that I’ve had the opportunity to work at, the team of suppliers, the overall décor and vibe etc.
In 2017 for example, it was a wedding for 300 that I organised at the Natural History Museum in London, with only 2 hours to set-up. This epitomised the definition of teamwork.
In 2018, I had back-to-back 3-day weddings with 2 of the most incredible couples at Aynhoe Park and Pynes House – both venues had also been on my wish list of venues to work at.
And this year, well it has to be the wedding of Rosie Jones & Joe Wicks!
Did you plan your own wedding and can you describe it for us?
I did indeed! I’m a Virgo and a perfectionist so handing over our plans to someone else was never on the agenda. However, as we were having a marquee wedding and I was conscious that I wanted to relax and enjoy the day, I enlisted the assistance of 2 of my old event colleagues who were onsite throughout the day to oversee set-up, supplier arrivals and guest movements.
How important is social media to your business?
Incredibly and increasingly important. Obviously over the years I’ve changed my areas of focus from Twitter and Facebook to Instagram, which is the most up-to-date shop front / face for my business and especially our portfolio of work.
Our website and my features for Coco Wedding Venues and Love My Dress are also just as important from an enquiries perspective.
How do you keep your ideas fresh and where do you get your inspiration?
I wouldn’t describe us as style driven wedding planners or stylists however, we do have a particular aesthetic – beautifully timeless, effortlessly elegant. Our clients certainly don’t strive for or expect their weddings to be overly styled or trend led but instead have a desire for a refined, naturally elegant, understated but also impeccably planned wedding.
As such, we don’t need to stay ahead of the styling game but still keep our ideas up-to-date by networking, researching on Pinterest and social media, connecting with like-minded suppliers with a similar style and aesthetic to our own, reading blogs and visiting venues, hotels and restaurants .
You moved from London to the countryside, has that had an impact on your style?
Yes, in some way it has but I still do spend a lot of time in London so don’t feel as though I’ve lost the London touch! The biggest impact on my style has firstly been age (my tastes have changed dramatically from my late 20’s to my late 30’s) and secondly, my work with Coco Wedding Venues (you can find out more about our editorials and brand campaigns on the Coco & Kat website).
You won the title of 2017 UK Wedding Planner of the Year at the TWIA, did this have an impact on your business?
From a confidence and recognition perspective, absolutely – it was such an incredible feeling winning the award and one that I’ll never forget.
You also plan events and parties, what is the split?
It depends on a year by year basis but at the moment our full focus is on weddings.
You’ve used Twilight Trees for some of your weddings? What do you think they bring to a setting?
I have indeed! Your trees are very much a statement piece that a lot of my couples come to me with / ask me about, even during our initial consultations – whether they’ve seen one of your trees before or have a Pinterest board full of ideas for trees in marquees and especially trees in the middle of a bar!
Do you have a favorite venue or style of venue?
Around 50% of our weddings are in venues (the other 50% being in marquees) and I’m particular drawn to exclusive stately country houses and weekend wedding venues that are relaxed (and therefore open to ideas), unique and exude charm and effortless romanticism.
Your job seems all encompassing and you go above and beyond for your clients. What do you do to switch off?
Sitting still is unfortunately / fortunately not in my DNA but I do take time out to travel, go away for weekend breaks and spend time with family and friends eating good food and drinking white wine. For pure escapism I resort to regular Body Combat classes!