Re-Run: A Little Advice To Start Planning

November 13th, 2017
One step in the process of wedding planning:  decor.  Photo courtesy of Agnes Malorney.

One step in the process of wedding planning: decor. Photo courtesy of Agnes Malorney.

When a cousin of mine announced his engagement a few years ago, I wrote a little something to help them get started planning:

Dear Cousins,
Thanks for asking about how to get started with your wedding planning and where to find a planning checklist.  There are probably 100 to be found on the internet and in wedding magazines.  They are all a lot alike.  I think the best thing to do is to take any random one you find and tailor it to your own use.  For myself, I would put it into an Excel spreadsheet, but there are lots of ways to make it useful.  Delete all the things that don’t apply to you.  If you don’t know yet if something is relevant, hang onto it for now and see if it is needed.  And take with a pinch of salt the exact timing recommended by any checklist.  You can adjust it to suit you.
At this point, the three or four things you probably need to be working on are all interconnected:  date of the wedding; location of the ceremony; officiant, if that doesn’t come with the location; location of the reception (assuming you are having a reception–I make no assumptions); and finding a caterer for the reception (assuming ditto).  Of course, there are a lot of other decisions you will need to make in order to make those few decisions, so you may end up working backwards a little and then going forwards.  (For example, you probably have to have some idea of how many people are on your guest list before you start looking for a venue.)  After you have that framework in place, then you can look for other vendors to help you:  florist; photographer; wedding coordinator; clothing; rings; jewelry, etc..  Then it will be time to work on decorative stuff (assuming you aren’t planning to do it all yourself–because if you are, you needed to start on that yesterday):  invitations (functional as well as decorative, of course!), any other paper goods, reception decor, if any, etc.  After that, there will be a lot of little details.
I will caution you about two things:  There is the thing that NPR’s Car Guys call the Wedding-Industrial Complex (or the “Marital-Industrial Complex”).  It is real and it can be dangerous.  It is the bridal industry’s marketing machine that wants you to believe that you can’t have a wedding without having all the stuff provided by all the various vendors.  Don’t buy into it.  It’s not true.  All you really need in order to have a wedding is the two of you and someone who can sign the paperwork–and in some states you need witnesses.  Everything else is optional.  I like to advise my clients to do the things that have some meaning for them and to skip anything else (unless it makes their parents happy, for instance).  So, don’t believe the hype.  Just do the things that will make you happy.
And here’s the other thing:  There are a lot of scams in the wedding industry.  There are unscrupulous vendors who know that you’ve never done this before, and they will not hesitate to jack up prices or insist that you do things their way.  But there are also lots of vendors who will help you to do what you really want to do.  Make sure you find those and steer clear of the others.  Trust your instincts.  If it doesn’t smell right, it probably isn’t right.
Take a look at this previous post of mine, this one and also this one for some tips on how to protect yourself against some of the most common scams and pitfalls of the wedding industry.  And feel free to keep asking.  It’s my pleasure to help you two have a wonderful wedding!

When Should You Hire Your Planner?

November 6th, 2017
Was it planned 2 years in advance?  Or two days?  Photo by T & S Hughes Photography.

Was it planned 2 years in advance? Or two days? Photo by T & S Hughes Photography.

Here’s a question that does not get asked nearly often enough:  When should you hire a coordinator or planner for your wedding or other large event?

The short answer is:  As soon as possible.

If you’re hiring a full-service planner or even someone who is only doing partial planning plus coordinating, you obviously want to hire that person well in advance of the date of the event.  You need to give them time to do their job, which is to plan your event.  No one wants to do a rush job or do the job badly, so ample time is necessary.

But even if you are hiring someone who is only coordinating the day of your event, it is still a good idea to book early.  For one thing, you want to find someone who is available on the date of your event, and Saturday nights start booking up as you approach the date.  But beyond the practicalities of who is available, booking early gives you access to your coordinator’s advice and expertise for a longer period of time, saving you money and headaches.  And it allows for enough time for your coordinator to get to know you and understand what you want.

I don’t know how most planners charge, but if you hire me early, it doesn’t cost you a penny more than if you hire me later.  (In fact, it can save you money.)  My fee is based on the average amount of time I expect to put in on your event, and always includes unlimited phone calls, texts, and emails from the time you hire me until the day of your event.

And what if you’ve waited until the last minute to hire someone to coordinate your event?  Do not despair!  I actually specialize in last-minute jobs (if I am available).  While it’s nice to have months to sort out the details and make sure everything is in place, I’ve coordinated weddings with less than 48 hours notice!

One final word of advice:  Most planners won’t book more than 12 to 18 months out.  That’s my general window, as well.  So, if you are more than a-year-and-a-half from the date of your wedding or event, that is the one time I recommend waiting to hire.  But within a year or so of the date, don’t delay.  Start making calls or sending emails to find the planner who is the right fit for your event.  We all appreciate your booking early.

Book Now For Best Prices

October 30th, 2017
Photo by Danielle Heinson Photography.

Photo by Danielle Heinson Photography.

Do you have a wedding (or other event) planned for 2018?  Here’s a budget-friendly tip for you!

If you hire me before the end of 2017, you’ll get my services at 2017 prices.  It’s a good bargain!  Starting the first of the year, though, my prices will go up to cover my increasing costs.

Call or email now to set up a no-cost, no-obligation meeting, and let’s get started.  If you know you’ll need a coordinator or planner, why wait?

Featured Wedding

July 17th, 2017

KED Design's flowers complemented the orange and purple color scheme.  Check out the bride's shoes in matching colors.

I did full planning on a wedding that was featured on the blog A Bicycle Built for Two.  It’s a blog that says it is “real wedding inspiration for lesbians, queers, and everyone else.”  I love what they do!  They show real people and their real choices for celebrating.

So, please check out the post about the wedding I planned.  And take a look at their archives.  There’s a lot of good stuff there.