Having planned the celebrity wedding of Rochelle and Marvin Humes and acted as the BBC’s wedding commentator during Kate and Wills’ nuptials, Mark Niemierko is the hottest name in the wedding industry - and we got to pick his brains on all things weddings.
What makes the perfect day: A confident bride and groom. By this I mean a couple who is confident and comfortable in who they are and not afraid to show this through their wedding. Have this and the perfect day will take care of itself.
Three wedding tips: 1. Have fun planning – planning should not be stressful. 2. Don’t feel bullied into making certain decisions by suppliers but do be decisive. 3. Focus on guests, couples think weddings are about them but they could not be more wrong. Weddings are not about the bride and groom they are all about the guests, the couple are merely the hosts. One should think of a wedding as a party with the guests as the most important aspect.
Wedding no-nos: Couples who try to emulate other people’s weddings and try to be someone else. And buffets. God. Weddings are NOT for queuing.
How a bride can have a beautiful day on a budget: Just focus on what is important to you, do not try to imitate anyone else. For example you don’t have to have a sit down meal just because everyone else does, you can have staggered canapés. Just stay away from a buffet! Food stations can work, but don’t have lots of different styles like sushi in one corner and Mexican in another, try to stick to one type. (At this point I tell Mark that he’s ruined my future wedding because different food stations are exactly what I wanted, after a raised-eyebrow-slash-look-of-disbelief ‘do you?’ he realises I’m joking, sighs and lets out a Mark Niemierko chuckle)
Biggest trend right now: I don’t like trends. Or themes, your wedding should be about what YOU like, not what is on ‘trend’. The theme will form organically if you go with what you like. The theme is the couple, follow this and you will have a wedding completely unique to you.
Favourite wedding ever: It's hard to pick a favourite, so many stand out. One in particular was a beautiful wedding for 36 people, the couple spent a lot of money on their guests, about £650-£850 per guest on just food and drinks and gave each guest personalised gifts.
What I love about weddings: I love the couples – how they met, how they got engaged, their dynamics, just their whole story. I planned the weddings of two sisters, one after the other and today we’re still very good friends.
Wedding cakes: Are completely unnecessary. The cutting of the cake is the biggest non-event in the history of weddings. An alternative to make the cutting of the cake more of a showcase is to have it revealed with dancers, or confetti cannons to go off as you cut into it.
Weddings in five years’ time: In the future I think weddings will become more and more about the couple, about what they like rather than what they think they should have in their wedding. The couple will be the theme.
Wedding disasters: In my entire career I have had no disasters. Pre-planning, pre-planning and pre-planning means one avoids disasters.
One thing people don’t realise about weddings: It is usually much cheaper to book a top hotel like Claridges or the Dorchester than to hire a marque. People think that they can have a reception in their back yard and save on money. This is not the case, if you do this you have to have space, hire an oven, décor, seating, organise food. With a hotel you have all of this, it’s usually more cost effective going for a hotel in a city.
The job of a wedding planner: The job of a wedding planner is to get to know the couple and offer choices appropriate to them and their personalities. I usually guide my brides in the direction of two or three suppliers in every category, that’s my job – making their lives easier. Wedding planners who give their couples lots of choices are not doing what they should. It’s like if I went to an interior designer and they gave me a hundred choices for sofa linens – they’d not be doing their job properly. Our job is to narrow down choices for couples.
How to succeed in the wedding industry: Be ruthless. There are so many people who come into the industry thinking it’s all fun and fluff but they forget they have to run a business - until they have to do a tax return. I spend days at my office doing accounts and admin work. It’s a necessary part of any business, especially wedding businesses which tend to be quite small. Also be true to yourself and have a clear direction of where you want to go.
Three things I’d take to a desert island: 1. Karl (waiter see picture below on Mark’s insistence) 2. Terre D'Hermes aftershave 3. Expresso Martini
As I say ‘bye’ to Mark and thank him for his time, I realise that I ‘get’ why he is at the top of his game, why brides will happily fork out upwards of £30k for his services, why he is the ‘go-to’ man for major international news channels on wedding stories. It’s not just his extensive connections within the wedding market (while regular brides pay for a Browns Bridal consultancy, his brides do no such thing). He has a wicked sense of humor, a mega-watt smile and exudes charisma like it’s going out of fashion. Oh and he’s also an absolute perfectionist, demonstrated first when we attempt to take a selfie together and secondly when he insists I take a photo of his waiter, Karl, to use in this article. As I attempt to do this he hijacks my phone, laughing ‘darling, it has to be straight – look’, and proceeds to take a gazillion photos of Karl each of which look exactly the same to me when I flick through later. Therein perhaps lies the secret to Mark Niemierko’s success.
Featured image: Mark Niemierko (Image Credit: Xander Casey Photography) Top: A Niemierko wedding. (Image credit: Xander Casey Photography) Left: Rochelle and Marvin's Niemierko-planned wedding. Right: Karl the waiter would accompany Mark to a dessert island. (Credit: Hello Magazine)
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