Interview With: Vanessa Harness
Company Name: Rocks and Frocks Ltd
Location / Coverage: Located in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, with nationwide coverage
What does Rocks and Frocks do?
Rocks and Frocks are creative wedding planners. We pride ourselves on interpreting your requirements in a professional, methodical manner to provide a seamless, elegant, stress free wedding.
How did Rocks and Frocks come about and how long has the business been going?
Rocks and Frocks started after I had to retire from my Account Director role within the design and print arena due to health reasons. With a solid project and account management background working on global accounts my skill set was transferable to the event industry. I spent three years working for a production company on worldwide events before launching Rocks & Frocks Ltd.
Who works at Rocks and Frocks and what are your roles?
There is myself, Vanessa, and I am Co-Director and Wedding Planner, and I’m lucky enough to work with my husband, Dominic. He is also a Co-Director and not only assists me on my larger weddings but runs our premium 5ft letter hire side of the business. We also have the lovely Sue and Lizzie who form part of the planning team on our larger weddings.
What is the inspiration behind your name Rocks and Frocks?
I’m afraid several bottles of champagne on a girlie night in led to the name. The two things that most girls focus on at the beginning of their wedding journey are the engagement/wedding rings and the wedding dress. Hence the name Rocks and Frocks Ltd.
Have you always had an interest in weddings and wanted to be a wedding planner?
I used to ‘crew’ with my brother doing wedding discos for over 10 years. I therefore gained a lot of contacts within the industry and saw many different weddings on a variety of budgets. With my project management skill set and an interest in hospitality and events it seemed the natural progression and where my true passion lies.
Which areas of the UK do you cover? Do you offer your services outside of the UK?
We focus our planning in and around East Anglia and London, but we are happy to travel anywhere that our clients wish. Our premium letter hire is available nationwide.
What services can Rocks and Frocks offer to couples planning their wedding?
Rocks and Frocks offers various services to suit the requirements of our couples. We can plan your entire wedding from start to finish, take over the management in the last few weeks when things are getting a little stressful, or we can manage only the day itself. We also provide venue and supplier sourcing services. Our services are tailored to your requirements and budget.
Do you offer any services other than wedding planning?
Yes, we work with many venues on a consultancy basis to help them move their wedding venue business forward. We also provide consultancy to people who are considering turning their property into a wedding venue. Finally, we have our premium 5ft letters that we hire for weddings, parties and corporate events, along with a prop hire service. Couples can hire everything we’ve ever had to buy for previous weddings, including a flock of pink flamingos!
Why should a couple choose you to help them plan their big day?
We are very passionate about what we do and how we do it. We provide our clients with a meticulous planning process which is both enjoyable and stress free.
On the wedding day our couples know they can relax and enjoy themselves as our team takes care of every last little detail.
Have you taken part in any wedding planner training or courses?
We have over 15 year’s industry experience, and Rocks and Frocks started before most training courses existed! We also act as mentors for other wedding event professionals.
Which part of helping to plan a wedding do you enjoy the most and why?
We love turning a bride and groom’s ideas into reality. Sometimes they ask for things or have ideas and they are just not sure where to start or if they are even possible. We have built up our recommended supplier database over the years and, to date, we’ve had no requests we’ve not been able to produce.
Putting a couple’s stamp on their wedding is what makes it unique to them, and what makes no two weddings the same for us.
Do you have a specific style of wedding you like to help create?
Rocks and Frocks specialise in outdoor wedding receptions such as tipis, marquees and barns. We love to take a blank canvas, interpret ideas and wishes, and turn them into something that will wow our couples and their guests.
What is your most memorable experience of planning one of your clients’ weddings?
This year we had a gorgeous couple book Rocks and Frocks for their wedding. The bride suffers from severe anxiety and she had no idea how she was going to get through the ceremony, let alone the reception. In fact, she had no expectation that she would manage to even put her dress on in the morning. I worked with them on how the wedding could work around them and enable them to have the wedding day they wanted.
I’m delighted to say that the wedding went off without a hitch. We separated the ceremony and the reception into different days. Only a handful of immediate family attended the ceremony and around 80 the reception. This meant the bride could take part in all aspects of her wedding and even relax and enjoy it.
The testimonial she sent us after the wedding had us all crying with tears of joy because we had been able to help her enjoy a day that every girl takes for granted. She directly attributed that to myself and the team for providing such a friendly, stress free lead up and on the day service.
What’s your top tip for planning the perfect wedding?
Set your budget at the start and do not let others (or Pinterest) sway you. It seems everyone has an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do!
What do you think will be the top trends for weddings in 2017?
Industrial look books and geometric designs and shapes, along with softer muted metallics. Couples will move away from the harsh, bright gold or shiny silver.
Describe a typical day in the life of Vanessa at Rocks and Frocks
A typical non wedding day is an early start in the office accompanied by our office mascot and cat, Sprocket. He has his bed on my desk and spends all day with me when I’m in the office. Sometimes we are also joined by our Cockerpoo called Bentley.
Usually I spend the morning catching up on emails and admin for the various weddings I’m working on and any light up letter hire. The afternoons are generally taken up with site visits and supplier meetings, ahead of meetings with my couples in the evenings.
Random question… When it comes to music, who/what’s your guilty pleasure?
Hmmm, there are possibly too many to mention, but I love Faithless, Prodigy and Guns N’ Roses!