Everyone (no matter how much money they have) has a budget or total investment in mind when it comes to planning their wedding. Perhaps it’s a total dollar amount and for some people it’s a dollar figure by vendor category (photographer, planner, catering, et al).
Your choices on how much to invest in each area of your wedding is primarily based on personal importance and what you deem is worthy for your investment.
less experienced vendors:
Often less experienced vendors will offer a lower price point when compared to a more seasoned wedding veteran. And it’s understandable to lean towards these vendors because you can save money. The DJ that has great equipment, but really never worked at a wedding. The planner that is earnest, but has no previous experience, nor resources. The photographer that does really great portrait shots, but has never shot a wedding.
It’s your money and it’s your wedding. But before you sign on that dotted line, please take this into consideration.
Sometimes what may seem to be saving you money, may cost your more in the end. We’ve seen it happen too many times over the ten years we have been planning. We watch our brides grow frustrated at the lack of returned phone calls or emails. We watch them be concerned at whether or not this newer vendor will perform what they have promised.
We receive the 2 am emails from our brides…
"I can’t sleep and my mind is racing about Vendor Z because I haven’t heard back from them for weeks. Are they going to show up? And now they are complaining that they don’t have this or that. What should I do?"
It takes all the restraint in the world to not answer, “Why did you hire them in the first place?”
Sure you may save $500 or $1,000 or whatever dollars. What is it worth to you in having peace of mind?
hiring friends as your vendors:
We were just chatting with a 2012 bride this weekend. Her exact words to us were:
"Please blog about NOT HIRING friends as vendors. We were pretty disappointed with our photos."
It happens all the time. A friend is a friend, and it’s hard to mix business with pleasure. Especially if there are problems to discuss.Read More »
There is often confusion in what duties a venue coordinator performs and what duties a wedding planner will perform for you. Brides and grooms sometimes perceive that they may be double paying. A valid point, but perception is not the reality in this case. This is why.
What are the Differences?
1. Your venue coordinator is responsible for your venue (thus the title). They are there to make sure all of the venue employees are informed of your reception plans. Think about it: the chef, the serving staff, the setup crew, the landscapers, the hotel staff, the bartenders, the cleaning crew, the janitors, maintenance department… just to name a few. Yes, they can be there when your cake is delivered or when your entertainment arrives, but that is the easy part.
2. Your wedding planner is responsible for YOU, your family and your wedding guests. We are with you the entire day after putting together a comprehensive master timeline that includes all of your plans that you wish to happen, all of the personal touches that you want from your ceremony all the way to the reception. The venue coordinator may not be concerned where your dance shoes are, whether Aunt Betsy in a wheel chair is comfortable, if the flow of your reception is going smoothly or perhaps how your liquor tab is progressing. The bride and groom may still be bombarded with questions from all the vendors (photographer, videographer, DJ). When we are there (or any wedding planner) then we answer those questions so that you and your family can truly enjoy your celebration with your guests.
I’m not suggesting they are callous, not at all. They are focused on doing their job which is ultimately ensuring accurate and prompt service from catering to bar services. We don’t know where the extra kegs are located or how to turn up the air conditioning should it get too warm. But they do, because it’s their venue.
Now this blog post is written a little backwards, concentrating on the wedding day FIRST. Let’s back this wedding train up and discuss PRE-wedding day duties.
Wedding planners help with the pre planning of your entire wedding. From reviewing contracts, designing details, reviewing the flow, securing hotels, finding the right wording and invitation, looking out for your best interest in staying within your budget, answering your many etiquette questions, calming your anxiety and referring the right vendors that fit your budget and style.
The Elusive Preferred Vendor List:
Venue coordinators will also give you recommendations from their preferred list of vendors. But please, PLEASE, be sure to ask them:
“Do vendors on this preferred list PAY the venue to be listed here?”
In my humble and experienced opinion, I don’t believe the correct description of a “preferred vendor list” means that a vendor shelled out some moola to have their name on it. It should instead be entitled “vendor paid advertising”. You see the vendors that we prefer to work with have proven themselves time and time again working along side with us. We know that they not only deliver what they promise they are a gem to work with, especially when times get tough (unexpected increment weather, for instance).
They don’t pay us to refer them, where is the credibility in that? Nor do we pay to be on any preferred vendor list.
“You Don’t Need a Wedding Planner!”
Sometimes venue coordinators like to tell brides, “You don’t need a wedding planner, we’ll coordinate your wedding.” Hmmm, let’s dissect this. You mean the venue coordinator will be at your ceremony coordinating between the musicians and lining up your wedding party? Or are they available take your late afternoon phone calls and meet with you after hours in your home to discuss your wedding plans and what are the best options to alter your dress? Or maybe they are there to help you manage your Pinterest projects and design the details from programs, escort cards and signage? They are not helping you plan your wedding. They are coordinating their venue.
Now as a professional planner, who gives venue referrals I can tell you when I get feedback from a client, WHO I REFERRED, and is told that we are not needed, it does more than get me a little hot. It is infuriating. And for your venue coordinators that think these client’s don’t come back to tell us, you are wrong. And it happens more than we would like to admit.
For years, I asked myself “Why?” And I think I’ve got it narrowed down. This is my personal epiphany on this controversial subject:
Notice I kept saying “some venue coordinators”. There are many that love to work with planners and we love you right back. Nothing falls through the cracks and our mutual clients are served very, VERY well.
Would love to hear your feedback, thoughts or questions!
update: Did a TV segment on this subject on Local 7 Lifestyles, check it out!Read More »
I wanted to take a moment to truly thank all of our clients that we served in 2012. You cannot imagine how grateful we are that you chose US to help you with your wedding, corporate party, private party, design and more. These are important investments in your lives and we were part of building memories that will last a life-time.
Thank you to all the vendors that work so hard with us, tirelessly through all kinds of weather and long days on our feet even though we are starving or our backs and feet are hurting, we still pull through with smiles and confidence in our abilities. (that was the longest sentence, of ever!) It takes a village of vendors to pull off an awesome event.
Thank you to the team at Local 7 Lifestyles. From the producers and camera people behind the scenes to the anchors that interviewed me throughout the year. A truly awesome year at the new studio and actually having the opportunity to co-host a total episode with you was a dream come true. This has evolved so much since 2006 and I am very grateful.
Thank you to the producers of the bridal shows that we participated in. We know how hard you all work, trust me.
Thank you to all the industry peeps that we talk to through social media. Twitter and Facebook has made this big blue marble super small and our team is better off being able to collaborate and share with you.
Finally thank you to the pfe team and extended design and break-in/break-out team for your support and hard work. This business wouldn’t work without you.
Here’s to 2013! We will be celebrating our tenth anniversary and have some fun things in store for all of you!Read More »
This post has been brewing in me for a little while now. It is NOT directed to any one person or situation in particular. But a accumulation of occurrences.
As wedding engineers (er, planners), we get a plethora of wedding vendors that contact us requesting to be on our referred vendor list. Facebook messages, emails, cards, phone calls, and more. We have a process when we recommend a vendor (and yes, we will occasionally recommend vendors that we have not worked with before… as long as they have some stellar testimonials that we check out).
We are also offered many things, one of which a little “kick-back”. “Refer me and I’ll give you $50.” says wedding a vendor.
Honestly that’s not our motivation when referring vendors. For the record, we do not accept kick-backs of any kind. What we prefer is that you (the wedding vendor) extend that $50 towards our client’s service package. You look good, we look good. Win/Win.
However here’s the real needle in the haystack that I want to address in this blog post.
What we really would love, (we = wedding planners) are for wedding vendors that we recommend to do the following:
- Bring your A game and a little more. Seriously. Treat the clients that we bring to you with such great care that they want to be your Bestie as well.
- Want to work with US. That’s right. We bring you into the team-fold to spend all day with you on a Saturday (away from our family), we want you to work with us. If you have ever experienced working with the planning…forever events team, you KNOW that we don’t ask you to do anything that we wouldn’t do ourselves. In fact, there is no such language as, “That’s not our job” at an event. We pitch in and work hard right along side of you.
- Watch each other’s backs. It takes a full vendor team to execute a fabulous wedding. Everyone doing their part and a little more. We all make mistakes (yes, us too). We’re human. Help us and we’ll help you.
- Be a little more flexible. You know that your job is going to be a little easier with us on site. Timelines and production schedules are complete. All vendors are contacted prior to the wedding. So don’t lump us with all your other DIY clients. We are professional. Time is money and we know what we are doing. A little flexibility goes a long way to repeat referrals.
- Have fun on the wedding day. We pull 17 hours sometimes. Often, we’re the first ones there for setup … to the ceremony … the reception and breaking out. We love what we do, but I won’t lie. Sometimes it can be a long hard work day. Bring a smile and a great attitude. The day will go by faster and easier.
- Communicate with us. Sometimes client’s don’t tell us everything. A rogue Father of the Bride goes off and plans special events during the reception as a surprise and we don’t know anything about it. Let us know ….
- Refer US. You read that correctly. Throw our name out there to YOUR clients. Ask them, “WHO is your wedding planner?” and tell them about us. Tell them why you like to work with us. You should know, we SELL YOU before our clients call you to meet. This is a tight wedding vendor circle and throwing back some love to us is just as important as us always referring you. One sided relationships almost never work. Think about it.
This blog post was from the heart and for educational purposes. We are so fortunate to work with so many fabulous wedding vendors. And on the weekend’s that we have a “dream team” put together…we all sleep better the night before.
Go ahead, tell us what you think…Read More »
We’d like to send a huge shout out to all the wedding vendors who tirelessly work every weekend so our clients can have their special, special day. No matter what the weather, the circumstances, our own personal problems … we show up at the door with a smile and make sure the wedding happens smoothly.
Brides: Thank your vendors today!
And for your amusement, check out this video I captured with the wait staff at Evansville Country Club. Don’t worry all the guests have been fed and are happily dancing.
…. and so were we!Read More »