Following on from the Q&A with Jennifer, here’s a chance to get to know the other half of Lavender & Rose, the blonde one, the Brit French wannabe, Kerry Bracken.
Where are you from?
I’m from Kendal, a small town in the Lake District, an area located in the North West of England. The Lake District is a beautiful part of the world and I’m lucky to have grown up there. I’ve always loved France though, ever since the first time I went there and heard the French language. It’s difficult to explain why, but I’ve been drawn to the country, language and culture for many years. I discovered the French Riviera when I was a teenager as a friend from school’s parents had a studio in Antibes. A group of us would spend a few weeks there every summer, crammed into this tiny apartment and had the best time. I moved to Cannes after meeting my husband who’s a born and bred Cannois, we met in 2006 while I was in Cannes teaching English at a high school. I moved here in 2007 and couldn’t ever imagine living anywhere else.
What did you do before you became a wedding planner?
After a very brief stint in the preforming arts then marketing in the UK, my first job in Cannes was working for a high-end event company as PA to the CEO. My then boss taught me a great deal about the luxury events industry on the French Riviera, it was all very exciting to me at the time as a young twenty something. The experience I gained there was invaluable and gave me a real flying start.
What made you want to get into wedding planning?
While working for the event company, I realised that I much preferred private events to corporate, as for the participants there was so much more of an emotional connection with the event. I realised that as a planner you have the possibility to create incredible moments and memories for the client. When we started 10 years ago, there was a clear gap in the market for an Anglophone, international clientele in seek of on the ground support and a certain refined aesthetic.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Walking, listening to podcasts (often while walking), working out and spending time with family and friends.
What’s your favourite country?
Indonesia for sure, I’ve been there twice and am already dreaming about the next trip. Highlights were seeing orang-utans in the wild and climbing the Rinjani volcano.
What part of a wedding do you enjoy most?
The ceremony for sure, I love the bridal party processional and the choreography that goes into that. The ceremony rehearsal is also one of things I really enjoy doing.
What do you most like about working with Jennifer?
She’s one of the funniest people I know, I love her quick-wittedness and audacity. She’s my alter ego but at the same time we’re so different. She excels in many things I struggle with so we’re very complimentary that way. She’s always up for a pre-lunch snack, often Babybel cheese and croutons.
What’s the most challenging part about running your own business in France?
As Jennifer said, it’s pretty costly to run your own business, but aside from the economics of it, it’s a shame that there are not more networking opportunities for small businesses here. Communities where owners of small businesses and sole traders can share their own specialist knowledge and expertise to help others.
What’s the best thing about being a business owner?
Not having to confirm to the arbitrary working week hours, particularly being able to adapt to your working week to your workload. The satisfaction that comes from providing appreciated solutions for clients and creating working relationships with vendors with similar values to us.
What are your professional specialties?
Guest management, budgeting, logistics and music.
Do you have any pets?
I do, a lovely black cat. He used to be the king of the household until we had our daughter!
Do you have kids?
I have a 1-year old girl, like Jennifer’s little one, she’s very active.
What’s your favourite place in the South of France?
I would have said Aix-en-Provence but Jennifer got there first, so I’ll go with the Cap d’Antibes. I absolutely love driving along Boulevard Maréchal Juin by the flat calm water then passing the stunning Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and arriving at the Garoupe beach. From Garoupe there is a lovely coastal walk which I love to do out of season when it’s quieter.
What would be your ideal evening look like?
A fancy aperitif (Champagne or a very good cocktail), followed by a nice meal out with some good red wine, a leisurely stroll after dinner, then early to bed. A good workout prior too so I can enjoy a guilt free dessert.
Is there a wedding or event that stands out for you in your career?
One of the first ones of our career for sure, I like to think about it and remember how much we have learnt and how much experience we’ve gained in the 10 years we’ve been planning weddings.
Tell us about a funny memory from a wedding
There really has been a lot, often through hysteria induced laughter! Watching one of the guests at a wedding comically fall into the swimming pool was one of those ones when you have to try and keep in the giggles but your shoulders moving up and down give it away… meanwhile trying to help the gentleman out of the pool and find a solution to dry his tux so he can get back and enjoy the party! As a side note, we got as many hairdryers as we could and blasted the tux until it was dry… a wedding planner always have creative solutions to any problem.
What’s the most crazy and unexpected thing a client asked you to do?
Actually the same wedding that Jennifer is talking about with the butterflies, the bride asked us to tell the award winning French pastry chef to go to Starbucks and try the red velvet cupcake and replicate the recipe… as you can imagine that went down like a lead balloon!
If you had to open L&R in another country, which one would you choose?
Indonesia would be a great place, the craftsmanship there is highly skilled when it comes to decorative items and fabrics, and there are some stunning venues.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I already have one! Anyone that knows me well will already know that I can listen in to several conversations and just about hold my own conversation at the same time! I could have been a private detective or spy for sure if I wasn’t a wedding planner.
What are your dreams for Lavender & Rose
I love working in the South of France and want to continue to deepen our level of experience in this area, but I’d like to have one wedding per year in a destination outside of our area of expertise. We worked in Spain for the first-time last summer and it was an incredible experience. Both Jennifer and I would love to start an e-commerce site at some point, we’re taking it slow but it’s definitely on the cards.