SOURCE: Marriott

Sydney Harbour Hotels

November 30, 2010 11:07 ET

Newly Appointed Sydney Harbour Marriott Wedding Planner Knows the True Cost of a Wedding -- 200 Hours

The Downtown Sydney Hotel Offers Professional Wedding Planning Services and Beautiful Wedding Reception Venues

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - November 30, 2010) - Like Jennifer Lopez in the film The Wedding Planner, Lee Stringer, wedding planner of Sydney Harbour Marriott, lives and breathes bouquets, bonbonnieres, table settings and wedding singers. The Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay, one of the premier downtown Sydney hotels, has newly appointed Lee as the hotel's fully accredited wedding and event planner.

Lee recently spent several months completing the prestigious "Joy Certification" course offered through Marriott International, giving her full accreditation as a wedding planner. This course is unique to the hotel industry and enables Stringer to offer invaluable advice and exceptional service to potential brides and grooms for their Sydney Harbour weddings.

"Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but the stress of arranging all the intricacies such as flowers, bridesmaids' dresses, music and the always controversial seating arrangements can be a major headache," said the Sydney downtown hotel's newly accredited wedding planner.

Sydney Harbour Marriott's Director of Sales and Marketing, Helen Radic, said: "This course is extremely well regarded and Lee has taken to it very naturally. She is an outstanding wedding planner and knows the industry back to front. She is a real asset to Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel and of course to anyone wishing to have a wedding in Sydney Harbour."

While once considered extravagant to have a wedding planner, in 2010 if you don't have one you are staring down the barrel of 200 hours of wedding planning, alone. With the hotel's professional assistance, event planning in Sydney doesn't have to be such a chore.

Stringer said, "The average age of a bride has increased to about 30. Thirty year olds are extremely busy with their careers and don't have time to deal with the details."

Lee says with the weddings she has seen, there have been numerous interesting fads, such as groomsmen arriving by parachute, but one common trend that appears to be sticking around is that fewer people are going for the religious ceremony and are opting for civil ceremonies instead.

"We have the ability to host in-house for both the ceremony and reception onsite at our beautiful harbour view hotel in Sydney," she said.

Civil weddings have actually outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999. In 2007, nearly 63% of wedding celebrants in Australia were civil and not religious and wedding coordinators need to be able to cater to all sorts of modern day requirements.

Some other modern day trends are the use of female groomsmen and male bridesmaids. Even the choice of wedding music is bucking the traditional trends with the string quartet and 'here comes the bride' making way for jive dancing bridal parties and modern day chart toppers being selected to see the bride down the aisle.

"Like all wedding planners, my aim is to create a spectacular experience for every couple from start to finish, and every occasion is tailor designed to suit the couple. It's a day they can cherish forever," she said.

A wedding coordinator should be an integral part of the wedding and a necessity rather than a luxury.

Lee Stringer shares some of her expert advice for a smooth running wedding.

1) Start planning early and be organised to ensure you are the least stressed possible -- leave that job to the planner.

2) Decide on a realistic budget and look into what package options really offer.

3) Choose reputable suppliers and service providers to avoid disappointment on the big day -- your planner should have her little black book of recommended suppliers.

4) Decide on a theme and stick to it -- incorporate the theme from beginning to end including invitations, ceremony and reception.

5) Invite people to participate in your wedding because they care about you, not out of obligation. Use people you can rely on, especially for important tasks like the MC.

6) Don't be afraid to delegate, you can't do everything yourself! The help of a wedding planner will be invaluable as they will be able to accommodate your every need. Most venues such as Sydney Harbour Marriott hotel include a wedding planner who can assist with a variety of tasks, not just the venue itself.

7) Provide entertainment and activities at the reception -- keep the early guests from becoming restless by offering canapés and pre dinner cocktails to begin with along with a guest book to sign. Invest in some live music at the reception to keep guests entertained.

8) Trying to keep everyone happy is almost impossible. So if you have any delicate family or friend situations it's best to keep them separate from each other at the reception.

9) Go to bed early the night before -- your beauty sleep is vital.

10) Don't forget to relax and enjoy the wedding experience. It's a fun, joyous and beautiful time, so don't let the planning process stress you so much that you forget what's actually important.

For further information about planning your wedding at Sydney Harbour Marriott please visit http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sydmc-sydney-harbour-marriott-hotel-at-circular-quay/ or contact +61 (02) 9259 7000