Bio I am Charlotte-aka Charlie-Cooper (née Bonehill), founder and coordinator of ‘By Charlie’ I have over 15 years experience in the events industry- a decade of which was in my home city of London, England- where I worked on Europe’s biggest home & lifestyle exhibitions, London Fashion Week, The Queens Jubilee at Buckingham Palace (yes…the actual queen of England!!) and various other exciting live events. I moved to St Lucia in 2013 permanently after falling in love, initially with the island as a child and later my husband. I am a proud St Lucian Citizen and business owner, wife and mum to my beautiful son born in 2015. I have a BA (hons) degree in Event Management & PR, and have qualifications in 3D illustrations & operations management. We plan, design and coordinate all events here in St Lucia including weddings, private parties, corporate events and fundraisers. Most recently we won the contract for the milestone Prime Ministers Ball which was part of the islands’ 40th independence celebrations. We were also nominated in the category of ‘Best Caribbean Wedding Planner’ at the 2018 ‘Caribbean Wedding Industry Awards’ and have just won a couples choice award from Wedding Wire for our wedding planning services. Hobbies include- home decor, movies, reading and my son. Website www.bycharlieltd.com or follow us on instagram @stluciaeventsbycharlie
Bridezilla… The ultimate insult to any woman planning her wedding…People like to throw this term around and use it to keep ‘nagging’ brides in check. Remove all the clichès and put aside the jokes and there is a very fine line between bring a bridezilla and just a reasonable human who wants the best service possible.
However, bridezillas do roam amongst us, and brides have been known to destroy the fun of their big day along with friendships and even relationships by getting carried away with demands & expectations. Clients often have freakout moments where they say they feel like they’re getting a bit nuts and I have to calm them and take control, they ask me ‘was I harsh?’ and a tonne of sentences begin with “Charlie,You will NEVER guess what x said/did” only to realise halfway into their story that perhaps they played a bigger part in the scenario than they thought. I have brides DM me to ask how they can put their foot down without being labelled as a bridezilla. I am not here to name, shame or blame brides to be, this is the biggest day of their lives and it needs to be perfect. But how do you avoid this label ladies?
Here are a few tips….
The first thing to remember is that your planner, vendors, family, friends -and most importantly your fiancée are all trying to make your day perfect, work with them not against them as you are all on the same ‘team’. More often than not, the people around you aren’t fighting the actual task you have delegated to them, they are fighting your approach to getting it done.
Make it fun… instead of demanding that bridesmaids make favours and giving them a deadline, host a favours crafting night. Invite your girls over, eat, drink, listen to music and create them together. This takes it from being a ‘chore’ to building a great memory. Don’t neglect your fianceè, he is the reason this is all possible and ensure you get to know your planners process and approach. It will avoid a lot of stress, worry and headaches later on.
Realise that the vendors are experts in their field and only want to produce their best work possible too, we love our clients and their happiness is our focus- but at the end of the job we want something we can post and use as promotion also. Listen and learn from your service providers- ask them to explain the reasoning behind their advice and elaborate on responses. Be mindful that you are not their only client and be reasonable in your expectations of them… especially if your wedding is a year or more away. (expecting a response at 2am because you see them ‘ online’ on whatsapp isn’t reasonable). I once witnessed a bride screaming & cursing at the florist for a certain flower not being in season (worldwide) but refusing to move her wedding date so it would be available- we had solutions to offer her including artificial versions but she refused to listen or work with any of them. Listen to the professionals and work with them to find a compromise.
If you genuinely feel someone is not doing enough for you or you are unhappy with the service being provided, send them a concise and polite email communicating your worries then await a response. If you have a planner, go through your planner as much as possible, that’s why you have them.
DON’T go over budget trying to impress guests, compete with others or have a ‘Pinterest’ wedding. There is nothing more scary than money issues and it will put a dark cloud over your entire day if you start your wedding in debt. Those items you went over budget for will no longer be exciting when you’re stressed and taking it out on your nearest and dearest. Ensure you stick to your budget and enjoy the day guilt free and feeling fabulous.
In my experience the bridesmaids are the number 1 accusers when it comes to labelling someone a Bridezilla. They walk on eggshells and many end up wishing they could just be a regular guest. Ladies, your bridesmaids are not punchbags, and there is only so much they should or will tolerate. Remember you chose them as the girls most special to you and when the wedding is done, life goes back to normal. You don’t want to be repairing friendships as you begin your new chapter as a newlywed. You know your girls best so write a list of tasks needing to be done then delegate accordingly. If one works as a personal assistant don’t give her the photo booth to decorate whilst your creative friend struggles with juggling invoices and payment plans. Speak with them face to face and figure out who can spare what hours to assist you. Remember that everyone has their lives outside your big day and respect that, you are much less likely to get into arguments or feel uptight if you are aware of their availability from the start. Utilise others around you, your parents, in laws and groomsmen. One of the biggest issues that comes up between the Bride and their tribe is the dress/hair/makeup choices. Let the wedding party have some say in how they’ll look on the day, they should feel comfortable, excited and proud to be part of the day NOT tottering awkwardly on 6inch heels or feeling frumpy in a gown you demanded they wear. A good solution to this is to give them guidelines and let them take it from there with your approval on final dress. E.g. I told all my bridesmaids they’d be in midnight blue, lux chiffon from Dessy and had them select 2-3 they loved within that criteria. They had approximately 120 dresses to choose from so all got something they felt happy and confident in. I initially wanted grey but knew that navy would better compliment their mixed skin tones so decided on navy with grey/silver accessories.
Be realistic in what your budget can cover… I have posted about this numerous times before on Instagram but it’s so important. You wouldn’t step into Chanel and demand a $5000 bag for $500us because you WANT it. You wouldn’t accuse the sales associate of being unprofessional or unable for not giving it to you for that price. Services are no different. We want to make the most of your budget too but be fair & realistic.
Finally decide to have fun… it’s that easy! Whatever happens wake up on the wedding day and enjoy every moment, laugh if there is a little hiccup and be present in the moment. It goes by way too fast. If at the end of the day you had fun and you’re married to the one you love, be happy.
All of these can be avoided by hiring a planner to guide you through the entire process but the reality is that for some this just isn’t feasible. If you cant afford someone to plan your wedding at least hire a professional to coordinate on the day to keep everything on time and to plan. It will be well worth it for you to just have fun.