The Wedding Planner and Your Budget

April 17th, 2017
Even a very small wedding can benefit from having a coordinator.

Even a very small wedding can benefit from having a coordinator.

There are two major reasons people don’t hire a wedding planner or coordinator:  First, they think they don’t need one.  Second, they think they can’t afford one.  I’ll address the first issue in a couple of weeks, although I’ve written about it before.  Today, let’s talk about how a wedding planner or coordinator has an impact on your wedding budget.

Hiring a day-of coordinator for your wedding can add a few thousand dollars to your budget (depending on which coordinator you hire).  It’s usually less than 10% of the budget, unless you have a very small budget.  Is that the end of its impact on your budget?  Hardly!

When you hire a coordinator, you can actually save money.  And the earlier you hire, the more likely your coordinator will be able to help you save money.  One of the things that makes weddings expensive is the fact that a great many people getting married have never planned a wedding before and can get trapped into spending more than necessary.

That is one of the reasons why I encourage my clients to keep in touch with me as they plan.  Let’s say you hire me to coordinate your wedding as soon as you have a date, maybe a year in advance.  You can always drop me a note or call me up when you have a question or problem.  Chances are, I have an economical solution.

I was talking to a woman recently who was a couple of months away from her wedding.  She was thinking about hiring a coordinator, but before we were able to have a discussion about it, her budget blew up and she decided she couldn’t afford me.  I kept thinking what a shame it was that she hadn’t hired me much earlier and given me a chance to prevent the budget blow-up in the first place.

So, when you’re making your budget, include a reasonable amount for coordination.  In the long run, your budget will thank you.

Book Now For Best Prices

December 5th, 2016
Floral urns

Photo by Studio Finch Photography, www.studiofinch.com

Just a reminder:  My prices increase on January 1.  If you want to book my 2017 wedding planning or coordinating services at 2016 prices, call me or email me now so we can get everything signed and sealed before the end of the year.  Wouldn’t it be great to have one more thing out of the way now?

Puzzling About Rentals

August 1st, 2016
Rental dishes and linens are part of most big parties. Photo by Carasco Photography.

Rental dishes and linens are part of most big parties. Photo by Carasco Photography.

You are planning a big party or wedding reception, so you plan to hire a caterer to make things easier.  Your caterer is handling rentals of dishes, furniture, and other necessities, because that makes it even easier for you.  But maybe you’d like to know how much you are paying for this convenience.

There are three different ways that caterers generally handle pricing of rentals:  pass-through, mark-up, and (for lack of a better word) kick-backs.

Pass-through is exactly what it sounds like:  The caterer passes the exact price from the rental company on to their client.  Some caterers do this as a courtesy to their customers, and because they make their profits in other areas.

Marking up rentals is a fairly common practice.  The caterer adds a percentage or small amount on to the rental bill to compensate them for the time they spend managing your rental order.  This is generally not itemized on your invoice.

A few caterers have arrangements with one or more rental houses whereby the caterer receives an amount equal to a percentage of the total rental bill from the rental company.  Unfortunately for you, this means that the caterer has a financial incentive to steer you to the more expensive parts of the rental catalogue.  You can be sure that no caterer who does this will tell you up front that this is their practice.  (I’ve written about this subject in greater detail before.)

So, how do you know what your caterer does with regard to rentals?  You’ll have to ask.  Good interview questions to ask might be: “Do you mark up rentals?  If so, how much is your mark-up?” and “Does your rental company give you any incentives to work with them?”  If you don’t like the answer, you can negotiate with them or move on to a company whose answers you like better.

News from Consumer Reports

July 18th, 2016
Florists are unlikely to mark up their prices for weddings. Photo by Peter Coombs.

Florists are unlikely to mark up their prices for weddings. Photo by Peter Coombs.

If you’re familiar with Consumer Reports, you probably associate the magazine with reviews for cars and appliances.  Every once in a while, though, they do something else.  Their June 2016 issue has some reporting on wedding pricing that I found interesting.

The CR team made phone calls to wedding/event vendors in several markets and asked for pricing on two identical events, a wedding and an anniversary party.  They found that some types of vendors were more likely than others to have a wedding surcharge.  Specifically, photographers and limo companies were most likely to increase their prices for a wedding.  Some caterers also have higher wedding prices.

Interestingly, they found that florists, photo booth rentals, and bakeries did not generally have a mark-up for a wedding.  (For bakeries, they only priced sheet cakes, not wedding cakes, which are notoriously expensive.)  I was glad to read this research, since it matches my experience, as well.

I don’t rush to judgment on vendors who raise their prices for a wedding.  In any field, there are always some people out to gouge their customers, but, for the most part, it’s likely that the extra level of service required of weddings is a good justification for higher prices.  After all, you don’t want to skimp on service!  But this information is helpful to savvy consumers on a budget who want to know where their wedding dollar is going.

You can read the whole article on the CR website.