Recreating That Love Actually Scene Is The Biggest Cliché According To A Wedding Planner

Love Actually

by Rebecca Cope |
Updated on

It’s only women that are interested in ‘wedmin’ right? Wrong. Unmarried 27-year-old Robin Weil started his business The Wedding Planner three and a half years ago to help couples streamline the process of booking venues, photographers, bands, food and pretty much every other detail of their nuptials online by linking up brides and grooms-to-be to suppliers across the UK. Invested in by John Lewis after completing its J-Lab business accelerator programme, and with over 23,000 couples having used the site since it launched, it’s dominating the wedding sphere. Its average bride is someone who shops at Zara, wants to make her day unique, and has a modest budget of £20,000-25,000. Sounds just like us. Here, we chat to Robin about where the idea came from, plus what to expect trend-wise in 2018 as well as the biggest wedding clichés to avoid.

How does the Wedding Planner work?

Essentially, after the initial excitement of getting engaged starts to die down, and couples start thinking on a practical level, their journey starts with Wedding Planner – we often get couples coming to us at the start of their planning. We try and get as much information from them as possible in terms of area, budget, date, and then all of this feeds into our system and we recommend suppliers through the site. We’ve just added a new piece of functionality that means we’re transactional so that couples have the option of booking everything through the site.

What made you want to start the website?

I guess there aren’t many men starting wedding businesses. People tend to get into it because they’ve got married and loved planning their wedding so much that they’ve decided to plan other people’s weddings too. I launched a music agency at university called ‘Music Students for Hire’, and so many of the events that I was finding musicians for were weddings. It was the experience of coming from the supplier perspective and seeing the issues that I faced and that couples faced that led me to start The Wedding Planner, an online brand that people could trust to plan their whole wedding through. I could see an opportunity to develop technology in the wedding space and I thought it was a good industry to be in in terms of working with people on a very happy occasion, too.

What do you think are the biggest wedding clichés?

We get asked all the time to repeat the Love Actually scene with musicians popping up. Couples think that it’ll be super cheap because the musicians aren’t playing for very long but actually it’s not easy to get that right! The number of couples who ask for it is ridiculous and the number of couples who actually do it is pretty much zero. Often its either the groom or the bride’s idea to surprise the other person, just like in Love Actually. Other things on the clichéd list include barn weddings, food trucks and couples asking for Pachelbel’s Canon in D – 90% of couples still walk down the aisle to that song.

What are the big wedding trends of 2018 going to be?

We’re thinking that there are going to be less and less themed weddings this year. That was big, particularly for a 1920s theme or that kind of thing, but we’re predicting that there’s going to be a move away from that. That’s partly a concern from couples who have realised that it’s not particularly unique. Most brides are obsessed with finding the unique, and a lot of that goes down to the wedding venue. We’re seeing couples moving away from venues that offer wedding packages and instead finding random venues and seeing if there’s any way they can get married there. They’re becoming more willing to put more time into that side of the planning. We think there’s also going to be a move away in terms of colour from ‘calm’ colours, to bolder colour schemes that are less safe.

What do you think the role of Instagram is in wedding planning?

Instagram is getting bigger and bigger. Because you find that couples are on Instagram for all other aspects of their lives, it can have a big influence the style of their wedding and give them lots of ideas, it’s not somewhere that they ‘collect’ ideas, like Pinterest. Whereas Pinterest is used as quite an integral part of the wedding planning, Instagram is more for inspiration. Brides will openly talk about the details they’ve included that are purely to go on Instagram.

What’s the biggest piece of advice that you have for couples organising their own wedding now?

The biggest piece of advice is that couples feel incredibly rushed, but it doesn’t take that long to plan a wedding in reality. As long as there’s the availability, you could do it in a few days. There are a huge number of fantastic suppliers out there.

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Below, click through to read our definitive ranking of Love Actually's problematic relationships...


Love Actually's Problematic Relationships

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Peter and Juliet

Peter and Juliet are that couple. The ones who improbably live in a mews flat in Zone One, yet still try to spin the myth that they're struggling creative types through a combination of lo-fi sartorial choices (baker boy hats, Etsy-ish wedding dresses…) If Instagram had existed in fictional 2001, these two would've been insufferable (and they'd definitely have deployed a wedding hashtag on the big day). These two are so wrapped up in their soft-focus White Company and Waitrose lifestyle that they've neglected to notice that Peter's best mate is a Nice Guy about to go nuclear – they're not problematic so much as really, actually tedious.

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Colin and the American girls

A storyline where the BT advert bloke lives out the British male delusion that all American women find them (and their gosh-darn-adorable accents) categorically irresistible: what could possibly go wrong? In the scenes where Colin, an adult man with all the urges – and social graces – of a 13-year-old boy, heads across the Atlantic, Love Actually becomes Coyote Ugly as directed by Richard Curtis: January Jones et al deserve so much better. Shout out to Colin's mate who, in calling his friend 'a lonely, ugly asshole,' is the only one to tell it like it is.

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Mark and Juliet

If the technology had been available at the dawn of the millennium, Mark would've been the guy who slides into the Instagram inboxes of women who've swiped past him on Tinder, asking them why they've rejected his digital advances. This being 2001, he's forced to make do with hand-made signs and a shaky video montage of Keira Knightley's perfect face in extreme close-up. Borderline psychopathic behaviour, you might think – and yet we're expected to believe that Juliet somehow finds this behaviour mildly endearing, despite admitting that Mark has never properly spoken to her. But then again, Juliet has terrible taste in pie (banoffee), snacks (Munchies), headgear (baker boy caps) and, most probably, men. Enough now.

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John and Judy

It's only upon your fifteenth consecutive viewing that you'll finally realise just how naked body doubles John and Just Judy fit into Love Actually's festive spider web: their film is being produced by Tony, Colin's disparaging friend. Bringing together Tim from The Office and Stacey from Gavin & Stacey (though Love Actually actually pre-dates the latter by about half a decade), this storyline feels like it could form the basis of a charming – if NSFW – Christmas advert. Plus, it says a lot about this film that the line 'All I want for Christmas … pregnant pause… is YOU' doesn't even register on Love Actually's exponential scale of festive cheese.

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Ant and Dec

It's a monumental injustice that Ant and Dec, arguably the most enduring platonic love story of the modern age, didn't get a full Love Actually of their own. As is, ITV's premier double act have to make do with a three-minute cameo and an inclusion in this list. Though their screen time may be negligible, 'Ant or Dec' prove that the combined power of their bromance is enough to diffuse disaster when Billy Mack drops some F-bombs in a live interview. And if that isn't love, actually, I don't want to know what is.

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Natalie and David

There's enough fat phobia in the films of Richard Curtis to inspire a whole graduate thesis, but let's not get into the weird body-shaming of Martine McCutcheon here, because the tentative romance between Natalie from Wandsworth (the dodgy end) and David the Prime Minister is Love Actually's beating heart. On paper, it's another workplace relationship with a blatantly unbalanced power dynamic – and one that compromises the special relationship between Britain and the US in the process. Eventually, though, this one plays out as charming rather than creepy (largely because this is Hugh Grant in bumbling Notting Hill mode, with added meme-able dancing, rather than full Bridget Jones mode). Shout out to papier maché octopus child, the ultimate third wheel and true hero of Love Actually.

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Jamie and Aurelia

The Jamie-Aurelia relationship is essentially the incarnation of a Pinterest quote telling us that love needs no language to flourish. So, what could be more romantic than a storyline where neither character actually understands what the other is saying, while one is quite literally the other's domestic drudge? It's only when – in a male-gaze inversion of Colin Firth's Mr Darcy pond-dipping – Aurelia jumps into a lake in her pants that Jamie starts to take any notice of his cleaner, who's essentially contracted to laugh at his terrible jokes and admire his M&S Blue Harbour knitwear. Admittedly, the proposal scene has its redeeming qualities, but the whole set-up is probably less progressive than Pride and Prejudice itself.

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Billy Mack and his manager

A weird element of 'no homo' cuts through the bromance between ageing pop star Billy Mack and his 'old, fat manager' (if anything in the film merits an 'Enough… enough now' from Andrew Lincoln's Mark, it's the endlessly boring gay jokes that keep cropping up in the script). But as the one storyline that prioritises platonic friendship over, say, obsessively stalking your best friend's wife from a distance, or mounting a harassment campaign against your colleague, Bill and his pal provide some light-hearted relief – all when providing multiple name-drops of the premier boy band of early Noughties Britain, Blue.

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Sarah and Karl

Where to start with Sarah and Karl, yet another of the film's many couples who we're supposed to view as viable, despite neither party having ever bothered to speak to the other – in this case, for two years, seven months, three days and I suppose, what, two hours? When enigmatic chief designer Karl and knitwear aficionado Sarah do eventually get together, things don't exactly go to plan: as it turns out, Karl doesn't just look like a Ken doll but has the emotional capacity of one, too, apparently fleeing when it emerges that Sarah has a brother who's mentally ill. That said, did she really have to pick up the phone a second time?

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Sam and Joanna

What could be more endearing than the 'total agony' of Sam's crush on Joanna, who 'everyone worships because she's heaven'? He's just an emotionally intense 10-year-old boy, standing in front of a girl, trying to find love through a mutual appreciation of Mariah Carey and a casual attitude to airport security. This being the Richard Curtis universe, he succeeds – and for once, we're willing to let the improbability of Sam's Heathrow escapade slide, just because his tiny happy face is the true meaning of Christmas.

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Sam and Daniel

'Let's get the shit kicked out of us by love!' Such is the rallying cry of Love Actually's loveliest relationship: the one that unfolds between Sam and his step-dad, Daniel (as played by Liam Neeson) after the former loses his mum and the latter loses his wife. With a little bit of help from Kate and Leo (courtesy of the 'I'm flying!' scene from Titanic), this is A grade Richard Curtis schmaltz – and while both parties eventually find love (with Joanna and actual Claudia Schiffer respectively) it's their charming relationship that comes out on top.

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Mia and Harry

How could you do such a thing to Emma Thompson? The Harry and Mia pairing is one of the most frustrating plotlines in this frustratingly plotted film: like Andrew Lincoln's Mark, sexy-secretary-trope-gone-rogue Mia behaves in a way that's borderline sociopathic (raise your hand if you've ever requested a party venue with 'dark corners for doing dark deeds?' Thought not…) yet still seems to charm the hapless Harry into buying her an intricately wrapped necklace that's ostensibly from Selfridges but looks straight out of the Argos catalogue. It can't be a coincidence that she turns up to the Christmas do with distinctly un-festive devil horns: Mia and Harry are the undisputed villains of the piece.

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