With his ceaseless enthusiasm for creating perfect weddings, Bruce Russell has reached a place where many aspire to be, but few seldom get there, and that is at the epicentre of the wedding planning industry. For 18 years he has steadily garnered a reputation for giving his clients artistic, unique and creatively buoyant events, which are executed with fine and detailed precision.
He’s risen from a veritable unknown to work with some major clients, reaching many milestones, including tenures with The Plaza, New York and The Savoy, London. Bruce is also courted by some of the world’s most desired vendors in the industry. He truly is the man with Midas touch.
Think Shaadi had the great opportunity to chat with Bruce, who happily discussed his inspirations, career highlights and that defining moment when he became The Savoy’s resident wedding expert.
What inspired you to become a wedding planner?
Having worked in the hospitality industry for over 16 years in some of the most iconic hotels in the world, I wanted to do something for myself. I’ve always had a passion for entertaining, and have a sharp eye for detail. Wedding planning is all about detail, but it’s also so personal – the most important day of someone’s life, where you are involved in every aspect – from fashion, design, food, logistics, planning and detail. Each one is so different from the other.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Everywhere! First is from the bride & groom and the vision that they have for their special day. My role is ultimately to bring this vision to life, while keeping is unique, original, and most of all personal. Otherwise I love interior design, architecture, food, decor…you name it. I can be walking down the street and see something which will inspire something completely irrelevant, but be perfect for a wedding. I collect all these ideas and just wait for the perfect client – it can be a great idea, but it might not work for every wedding.
What’s the most extravagant wedding you have ever planned?
I planned a wedding for a lovely Russian couple last summer, which we put together in just over 6 weeks. We worked with over 45 different suppliers and no detail was overlooked. We had three bands flown in from Ukraine, Moscow and Israel, as well as a DJ from the south of France who was in the UK for 3 hours for the late party. Every inch of the venue was covered in white flowers – from the outdoor canopy to the personalised message stamped on orchid petals on each place setting. The wines were brought in from the family’s private cellar in Brussels, to compliment the carefully selected 7 course menu. We did have the bride’s niece perform a special song for the bride & groom – you can’t forget the personal details, such as the bespoke candles in monogrammed boxes which we gave away as favours. It was perfect!
How did you feel about being appointed the Savoy’s resident wedding planner?
Having worked for the iconic hotel in the past, it was a natural fit, and a partnership that I am extremely proud to have achieved. The Savoy has always been a leader in the hospitality industry, and clearly realised that there was something missing when it came to looking after potential wedding couples. We worked together over 18 months to put the prefect team together who look after every single personal detail of each special day – that’s what ‘Savoy Weddings By Bruce Russell’ is all about.
Have you ever planned an Asian wedding?
I have had the privilege of planning a few Asian weddings (on a smaller scale) and Asian Engagements, which are as important as the wedding itself.
What elements of Asian weddings appeal to you?
Each aspect of an Asian wedding is steeped in culture and tradition, which can often be missing from weddings generally these days. What I love to see though, is younger couples embracing elements of tradition, and their own personal vision in order to make it very unique.
What essential piece of advice would you give to someone planning a wedding?
Keep it personal – it’s what I tell all of my couples. That’s what people will remember, and it’s what will make your wedding exactly that – your special day.
What’s next for you?
There are a few projects in the works at the moment, but the first to launch this summer will be a series of Bridal Tours & Bridal Retreats, which will give brides who may not intend to hire a wedding planner, access to me for a day or weekend. This will include consultation time, access to top suppliers, and provide each bride with a very personalised experience to help her plan her wedding.
We wish Bruce the best of luck with his future projects, of course, not that he needs it.