MEET MARK NIEMIERKO
Friday, March 11th, 2011
Where else would one meet wedding planner, Mark Niemierko other than in the plush surrounds of the Dorchester Hotel? Decked out in one of his signature sharp suits and expertly coiffed hair, Mark looked utterly at home sipping on a cappuccino in one of his most favoured wedding venues. But don’t let this image of indulgence (however deserved) fool you into thinking that wedding planning is all frothy coffees and laid back chats: It takes an incredible work ethic to garner the kind of reputation and success Mark has.
“People said I was crazy when I told them what I wanted to do as it’s so time consuming and you’re using a client’s personal funds. But seven years later the same people are beginning to catch on!”
Having started out as a young runner for a film production company, Mark hatched a “grand plan” which, after a few tweaks, eventually became his business today. We probably all have preformed ideas of what it is to be a wedding planner, but what does it actually involve?
“I still find myself having to fight preconceived ideas about wedding planners” Mark explained. “I’m a businessman first and foremost, but I’m also creative and very much a perfectionist.” “A lot of my work is done in the evening and weekends as my clients often have very busy lives. Day to day though I could be in my office in Fitzrovia where my two assistants are also based. But I might be out with a bride looking at dresses or doing anything from meeting press, at florist appointments or discussing lighting with a technician. My job means I have to adapt very quickly to talking to lots of different people.”
“Attention to detail is very important. A client once asked me to find the best tennis court in London. I was phoning anyone I knew, and thinking can I get Wimbledon? Is that possible?” Mark laughed. “But it’s these touches that make all the difference, although it should always look effortless.” If asked who or what was the most important part of a wedding, most people would likely answer ‘the bride’, or at least something pertaining to her - the dress perhaps, or the venue. Not Mark. “The guests are the most important part of the wedding, with atmosphere being a close second”, Mark stressed. “Guests make the wedding what it is.” As with all businesses, being able to offer your customer base something new and unique is crucial. “When I started I knew I had to have something to set me apart, a point of difference from everyone else. I’ve always had a love for fashion, so I took that as my edge. One of the things I do is take my brides on a dress day, and help them try on various dresses. It’s a lot of fun.” Of course, when the day finally arrives, all the hard work is worth it (although Mark has never actually seen one of his couples tie the knot – always being one step ahead of proceedings). “My career highlight would have to be planning one bride’s wedding and then doing the same for her sister. It was a massive honour to be trusted by the parents with both their daughter’s weddings. I like being discreet and don’t like being publicly thanked much, but when the sister-of-the-bride made a speech saying I was part of the family, I felt genuinely privileged.”
Mark’s tips for brides-to-be:
1. Have fun. Enjoy the planning process – this should be a time you can look back on with fond memories of being engaged and in love. It should be romantic, not stressful.
2. Don’t think it’s all about you. Remember there is a groom and guests. It’s important to be able to take a step back.
3. Lighting. People think flowers should be the focus of a wedding, but a bit of uplighting and candles can transform a room.
4. Dress shopping. Go with an open mind. Be sure to spend at least 90 minutes to 2 hours on your first fitting and don’t be forced into quick service. But remember – if you visit more than five shops you’ve seen too many.