INTERVIEW: Dubai Wedding Planner, Yes! Exclusive Weddings & Events
Get to Know the Wedding Pro
Each week, we shine the spotlight on local companies in the wedding industry, allowing you, our reader, to get up close and personal with some of the best wedding vendors in town. Here, you can learn more about the people behind some of the businesses you may be using to make your wedding day perfect!
This week, we have the privilege of showcasing Dubai Wedding Planner, Elfi Bösinger, who founded Yes! Exclusive Weddings & Events with her Mum, Sylvia. Below, Elfi provides us with an exclusive insight into the company, and how the special mother-daughter bond brings an extra dimension to their work, as well as sharing with us what she loves the most about her job.
How long has Yes! Exclusive Weddings & Events been established, and what makes your company different when it comes to planning weddings?
Yes! Exclusive Weddings & Events is a boutique wedding and event planning and styling business which we established in Dubai at the end of 2015. We are a ladies’ powerhouse, both expats of German origin with a passion for the finer things in life and relationship building.
We are family – and we are an unbeatable team. This may be the reason why we love to create magic moments for couples. We each bring our strengths into the business and we can rely on each other blindly. In addition, we know both sides of the business. As we own a boutique location in Germany, we know the demands and difficulties of running a location, and what it takes to smoothly plan and execute an event from both a planner’s and venue’s view.
Our transcontinental operation, with offices in Germany and South Africa in addition to such a multicultural melting pot as Dubai, benefits us and reassures our clients that they are in qualified and reliable hands. With such a personal event like a wedding, couples want everything to be planned to the smallest detail, and we ensure that we understand the different requirements from a range of cultural backgrounds and incorporate them into our design.
Our decor style embodies unique, natural handwriting, inspired by Mother Nature. Thus, our designs use exclusively natural flowers, grasses, ferns and moss. We also love to decorate with fruits and other foods, offer natural flower arches for beach weddings or simply go by our clients’ request, but always in a very natural way. Our strength is our individuality; each event gets its very own concept.
What made you decide to work in the events industry?
We like to work in a challenging environment and the events industry is certainly one that is full of surprises! No day is like the other, no project is like the previous one. It’s never the same layout or even venue, and most definitely not the same clients (in the best of cases). You always have to fully dive into the requirements of the venue and the wishes of the clients and make something beautiful at a place that you might never have seen before, work with people whom you might never have worked with before and source vendors or get in touch with suppliers that offer unique services or materials. The key to success for working bespoke in an industry that is time pressured and with high competition is to believe in yourself, your clients and your creativity.
What do you love most about your work?
We are quite unique in the market. We plan, style and execute most of our work ourselves. We source our own flowers (being also flower wholesalers in South Africa makes the job a little easier). We have connections to the best growers and flower farms around the world and real flowers are what we love to use in any quantity for our bespoke events.
This job takes a lot of different skill sets and is not for one person only. You need the balanced qualities of a creative and a structured personality and usually that is not found in one person alone. It takes a team, relationship building and a mother-daughter duo who simply love what they do – and that is essentially making other people happy and accompanying them during one of their life changing moments. I love to work with my Mum. She is the creative backbone of the company, a visionary optimist and my rock in my private life and business. I concentrate more on the coordination and strategic tasks. It is rare to find such a special bond and it reflects how we go about our work. We fuel the business with our heartfelt passion and commitment to deliver events that are made from the heart. Dubai offers the perfect platform to showcase what our team is able to accomplish, with European precision, Arabic hospitality and African resourcefulness.
What budgets do you cater for?
There is no small or large budget. There is only a budget. The main task of a wedding planner is to manage expectations. Most definitely there are couples out there who have a long wish list that goes beyond their budget. Some have just a wish list and no budget. I advise all couples to agree on the services required from a wedding planner and also to set a budget of how much they would like to spend on that special occasion. This will help the planner and the couple to get a fair idea of what can be offered; it is the job of the planner to come up with creative ideas and alternatives. Essentially it depends also on the number of guests that are expected. We have organised beach ceremonies for two people only and huge functions with a couple of hundred guests. One thing is certain: we will always use fresh cut flowers, which in itself requires a certain budget, since we are located in the middle of the desert and everyone knows that flowers take a little journey to get here.
Describe the experience a bride to-be will have when hiring Yes! Weddings & Events for her wedding?
Due to our activities on three continents, we are extremely well connected and bring, for example, decoration materials or ideas to Dubai which we have seen or used in other parts of the world. Our goal is to create unique moments – and thus to create an atmosphere which our clients will fondly remember for years to come.
The name Yes! was chosen because of our activities in the field of wedding planning, but it is also our motto and reflects our can-do mentality. Everything is possible! For example, we use lace as a tablecloth which is otherwise only used in the fashion sector, or we fly in well-known artists for projects to give an event a special touch.
We also know that we operate in a service environment and therefore the customer is king. We actually work on a simple principle; we treat our customers the way we would like to be treated. “No” is not an option – there is always a solution.
How do you manage trust from your clients? After all it is the most important day of their lives.
As well as being established in three different locations around the world, our references range from hosting events with world-renowned master florist Karen Tran from the USA and planning surprise candle light dinners on the beach for two, to styling lavish parties with hundreds of guests and hosting our own luxury wedding business conference. Our clients come from all walks of life and corners of the world, which makes our job really exciting! Our work has been featured on TV and various bridal magazines; our most recent work has been showcased in Harper’s Bazaar Bride Arabia.
But simply listing references is not enough – essentially you cannot have trust in a company, you can only have trust in the people working for it. Sylvia and I are the face of the company, supported by a wonderful team that is waiting to get to know our couples’ love stories. We are there to support them in creating lifetime memories and we welcome them with open arms and hearts.
If you could give one piece of wedding planning advice to our readers (brides to-be) what would it be?
The amount of time allocated to plan a wedding is generally underestimated by our clients. Recent studies claim that the majority of brides put ten hours of work into their nuptials each week. The planning of bigger functions can take up to 100-250 hours. Again, nothing is impossible and we have had couples reaching out for our assistance just four weeks before their wedding. The pressure was on, but everything went perfectly. The advice I give to any couple is to start planning as early as possible to save the date, the venue, and of course to inform guests to make sure this event is shared with as many loved ones as possible.
Generally, I see a huge difference in the planning behavior between Europe and the Middle East. The pace of life is much faster in Dubai than in any other European city, which also results in inquiries typically reaching us with less lead time than in our German branch, where couples sometimes start approaching us up to 18 months prior to their wedding day. Be at ease with your wedding preparations and think about the details as early as possible.
Do you have any exciting weddings projects happening soon? What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming wedding season?
Personally, I have been touched by a wedding project that we organised recently. It was a surprise that a husband was planning for his wife. The couple is from Germany and had just got married two weeks ago, spending their honeymoon in Dubai. The husband has been diagnosed with spinal cancer and contacted us a month ago to secretly organise the renewal of their vows on the bride’s birthday, on the beach of their hotel, because he does not know if he will survive to see their first wedding anniversary. What a bittersweet and tragic moment! As part of this, we organised a couple shoot in the desert for them with a dear local Emirati friend of ours as a special treat from our side – we know those memories will be treasured forever and we just could not let them leave without some beautiful shots in the desert! In collaboration with the hotel and the wonderful German wedding vendor community, we surprised the bride with a birthday cake, a bridal bouquet in her favorite colour, a make-up artist, who arranged for a fabulous look, and again, we had a wonderful photographer with us who captured these moments graciously.
The surprise ended with a purple set up for the beach ceremony in which the renewal of the vows took place. With the German reading done by myself, and a candle-light dinner on the beach, there were lots of tears of happiness, because it was a surprise for both that they did not expect. To spend time with a couple that you know has faced such hardship and yet to see and feel love in the air when they are looking at each other and holding each other tight was most precious. Sometimes it is not about the most exciting projects with the most number guests and the biggest fireworks. It is about the small, most personal and intimate ones; the ones that make you realise again that your job seriously changes other peoples’ lives and that it is your responsibility to make memories for them. I always say I’m blessed because essentially, I only work with happy people towards positive occasions. But as with so many occasions, planning an event is a team effort and without the assistance of so many volunteers and genuine people, we could not have delivered such a personal occasion on a very small budget. I am grateful to know those people in the industry here in Dubai; they are part of the reason why I love this city!
We are now looking forward to meeting new couples and to get to know their personal love story so that we can make sure that the personalities of these two people are reflected in one of the most important days in their lives. We are romantics at heart and love getting to know how couples meet and all about the proposal – it helps us with our job.
Lastly, why did you choose to list with www.brideclubme.com?
I see www.brideclubme.com as one of the leading one-stop online directories in the UAE for engaged couples who are looking for reliable and trustworthy vendors for their special day. A lot of our vendor friends are on it, too. It is not only a club for brides to get relevant and helpful information; it is also a vendor club, listing companies with the same level of expertise, the same approach to quality and customer satisfaction.
Thanks Sylvia! For more on Yes! Exclusive Weddings & Events or if you are interested in booking them for your wedding, click on their Bride Club ME Vendor listing, or head straight to their website.