5 Common myths about wedding planners

bout wedding planners

As I talk to brides and their friends I began to realize that very few people really know what wedding planners/coordinators actually do. There were many myths or misunderstandings that I discovered. I wanted to give some clarification to how, what and why I do, what it is, exactly, that I do. Here are the top 5 myths I uncovered:

1.) Wedding Planners take over your wedding and make choices for you.
It is your wedding, first and foremost. A good wedding planner will listen to your desires, help you create a vision, and encourage you to make choices. It is our job to help you find options, advise you if you ask for it and ultimately you (and your fiancé) pick what you want.

2.) Hiring a wedding planner is really expensive and I can’t afford it. Wedding planning is a process, I strive to help my clients make the most of their budget. The earlier on I get involved in the process, the more I can prevent mistakes and assist them in understanding how certain decisions impact processing. Often, my services pay for themselves. I save clients more money (through discounts with vendors I recommend, helping them avoid costly mistakes, and providing creative ideas to maximize what they have to spend) than my services cost. If you’re estimating, a planner should cost around 12-15% of your budget, a coordinator should cost around 8-10% of your total budget.

3.) My venue has a coordinator onsite, so I don’t need one.
Most venues have a point of contact for vendors the day of your wedding, their titles include: event manager, event coordinator, wedding coordinator, wedding director, event director, etc. This person is who will provide on-site info the day of the wedding to your vendors or notify you if something goes wrong. He/She will not have any contact with your vendors before the wedding, his/her job is to make sure of things like: the buffet opening on time, vendors cleaning up and leaving by the time breakdown is over. A wedding coordinator that you hire personally provides a completely different level of service. More than 50% of our work is done before the wedding day. We work hard to be proactive and communicate with all your vendors in advance, our work is preventative. That way there are no emergencies or stressors the day of the wedding.

4.) If I hire a wedding planner, she will probably talk me into things that increase my budget.
I pride myself on helping my brides and grooms get the absolute most for their money. I kinda feel like the TJ Maxx of wedding planning. There are tons of creative ways to trim the fat and inexpensive ways to Wow! Your guests. When planning a wedding we start together at the beginning. We talk numbers at the beginning, create a detailed budget and use they to guide your decisions. It’s okay to over-spend in one area, if you’re willing to skimp in another area. And going over-budget is a conscious choice, not a surprise mistake.

5.) But, I’m a planner, so I don’t need to pay anyone to help me with my wedding.
No matter how organized and clear you are on what want your wedding to be, the day of the wedding you will want to be the guest of honor. Not a wedding coordinator. Even if everything goes smoothly, you will want someone else (who is not your mother, sister or best friend) to be there to handle any mishaps. Even though I had been planning and coordinating weddings for 7 years by the time I got married, I hired a “day of” coordinator. I knew how many details there were to attend to and I didn’t want to be the person responsible for facilitating them. It was great decision and I now I have positive memories of my wedding day and enjoying all the friends and family that came to be a part of it, not regrets about stress and distraction.

5 things that will Ruin your Wedding Reception

5 things that will ruin your Wedding reception

Weddings are a one-time event. You get one shot to get it right. One. Most Brides and Grooms will spend near $30,000 on their weddings. Taking the risk of wasting $30,000 is huge. It’s important to me to share ways that can help you avoid this. Here are the 5 things that are most likely to impact your wedding reception in a negative way (so make sure you don’t do them):

1.) Having a DJ that doesn’t really do weddings (ex: works in clubs, bars, social gatherings, etc.). For weddings with over 50 guests, that have food and dancing, it is essential to have a knowledgeable DJ. He will be your master of ceremonies; announcing he buffet opening, directing your guests attention for toasts/cake cutting, etc. and most importantly for setting the tone for your reception. Timing the music well is an art. A good DJ knows to play low-key music during dinner, faster dance music later on and hold the booty-shaking jams until after the grandparents and older guest have left.
2.) Not hiring your photographer for the entire wedding day. Some photographers offer packages of 6, 7 or 8 hours of coverage for the wedding; they show up, take pictures and leave when that time period ends. While this may seem like a good way to save a few bucks, it is a bad idea. What often happens if the photographer leaves before the formal departure (typically a couple of hours before), is that all of the memorable shots (cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc.) is pushed forward in your timeline. As a result, guests either get bored and leave or feel like all of the important stuff had happened and leave. You do not want this to happen. Having the photographer on-site for the entire time of the event allows things to unfold casually and keeps your guests engaged and there.
3.) Using an inexperienced caterer. While it is obvious that the quality of food serve at your wedding is important one not so obvious detail is how crucial it is to hire a caterer that had done many weddings. Mainly, this is important for estimating the correct amount of food and not running out as well as understanding logistics. Timing is a big part of making a wedding flow well, caterers that have lots of experience know how much time it will take their staff to set-up, prep the food and clean up. Caterers without wedding experience, are likely to be running behind and cause your timeline to lag.
4.) Not providing alcohol of any kind to your guests. Whether you drink alcohol or not, it is good manner to provide beverage options for your guests. If you were having someone over to your home and you knew that they enjoyed wine or beer would you offer them a drink? Probably so. On the occasions that I have done dry weddings, they inevitably end early… meaning that the majority of the guests leave before the bride and groom, resulting in little to nobody being there to dance, party or see the bride and groom off. This tends to be less important for daytime or morning weddings, but will make some impact regardless.
5.) Misuse of Wedding funds. A solid wedding budget is pretty straight forward and easily found online or in wedding magazines. When the money you have is not spent in a manner that is well thought out, it compromises the quality of your event. For example: it does not make sense to spend 30% of your budget on venue rental, this leaves very little money to work with for food, beverage, décor and other essentials. Your guests will not remember how wonderful your $300 centerpieces were if they did not have anywhere to sit during dinner (because you skimped on table and chair rentals to save money).

The good news is that all of these potential problems are easily avoidable. Hiring a wedding planner is a great way to get guidance on all of these details so that problems are prevented up front. A wedding planner can also help you get the most for your money; as they often get better deals from vendors, can give you recommendations of more cost effective options, and help you prioritize how you spend the money you have.

We’re back and better than ever!

It has been over a year since I last blogged. In the past year so much has happened that I wanted to share with you all; I got married, which was really awesome (and beautiful, if I do say so myself), there were several gorgeous weddings that I got to help plan, coordinate and enjoy, and we’ve started working on 2012 weddings already. Life took me away from blogging, but now I’m back.

I’m excited to announce that Chelsie Green, one of my former brides, has agreed to join Beyond Events to help plan, design and direct weddings. While I worked with her on her wedding last September I realized how creative, self-motivated and organized she is. To say that I was impressed is an understatement. It is rare to find this combination of traits in one person, but she pulls it off quite nicely, I must say. I am so excited to have her on board and look forward to creating some amazing weddings with her!

Stay tuned for more info, gorgeous event pics and updates. I’ll be posting some great stuff soon and you won’t want to miss it.

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Impressive, Affordable Centerpieces

Submerged Calla Lilly centerpieces

These submerged Calla lillies are ideal centerpieces. The tall, long flowers provide height for the centerpieces, which is needed for large round tables. Having high centerpieces draws the eyes up, and creates depth for the simple design. In addition to their beauty using a single flower (or three in this case) per table allows you to really trim down your costs. Floral centerpieces can get pretty pricey, so this is a nice alternative for brides that want a floral feel without a hefty pricetag. The floating candles at the top are also a nice touch. The candle light will both provide a contrast to the water and give your reception space a beautiful romantic glow (not to mention they are low cost, too!).

Wedding Music Ideas

logo_pandora1For every bride out there that wants help selecting tunes for her wedding and reception, I would like to make a recommendation: Check out www.pandora.com! This website is amazing, part of the music genome project, it was created in 2000 by a group of music loving technologists. Pandora allows you to create your own music stations and then customize your preferences. How you ask? After you select a genre or artist you love the site plays one song of that type, then starts offering another, similar but slightly different musical selection. You give each song a thumbs up or a thumbs down, this is how the site learns your personal preferences and thus customizes radio station just for you. This a great tool if you have a general idea of what you want to hear, but need a little help with the details. And don’t just use this for weddings, I listen to my stations on pandora daily at my computer while I work, you can even have it streamed to your iphone!

Buttons

Buttons
Buttons

At one of my recent weddings the florist added “buttons” to the bases of the bridesmaids’ bouquets. This simple touch of a circle of mums at the base of the bouquet added a little panache to the overall look of the flowers.  Sometimes it’s the simple details that create the biggest impressions.