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what to expect from consultations with wedding vendors …

So you’re going to get married! Congratulations! This is a special time in your life, planning your celebration and yes, dealing with some stress that goes along with it. It’s a big monetary investment!

When you begin your quest to plan your awesome day to share with family and friends, you’ll begin the process of interviewing your potential wedding vendors. Here are some tips that may help you along the way, as to what to expect.

tips on what to expect from your wedding vendor consultations

1. vendors will give you lots of free advice, about other vendors.

When you meet with your potential wedding venue, photographer, videographer, DJ etc. you may ask or they may give you advice on other wedding vendors they know that are good. Wedding venues like to refer (in general) vendors that they have worked with before and enjoy having at their venue. This does not necessarily mean that they won’t work with others, it’s based on their experiences. Every vendor has an opinion, which they are entitled to have. However, when a wedding planner gives you advice on a vendor, they will take into account your overall budget and your personality. This makes for a great match and ultimately a wedding dream team. Planners have a wider breadth of vendors to suggest to you for your wedding day. Consider it a more ariel perspective, as we work with all the vendors, in every aspect of the day. We know their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, a fabulous caterer that performs better for a small gathering would not be necessarily someone to recommend for a 450 guest wedding at a private residence.

2. don’t pump wedding planners for lots of free referrals.

While we don’t necessarily charge for vendor referrals (some planners do, and that’s fine). It is our business to know wedding vendors that may be a great fit for you (see above). By contracting a wedding planner, they will then start with building the proper wedding team. Asking a planner on floor plans, venues to recommend, where we get our products we order and more, puts us in a problematic situation. We need to prove to you that we know what we are knowledgeable and experienced, but we can’t give away all our secrets before you actually become our paying clients. Or, we won’t stay in business. We hope you understand.

3. do not expect them to lower their prices for you.

Everyone has a story. And while we appreciate that, we also have a story. For instance, making a living that will sustain our businesses and families. Negotiation is fine, it’s part of doing business. But we are not able to give away “free services” or “free products” to every client that we meet. Keep an open mind, and in any art of negotiation, it needs to be a win-win situation for both parties.

Final thoughts: please be sure you’re on the same page before you meet with a vendor. You cannot believe how incredibly awkward it is to smile, while a couple argues in front of you. We’re not judging, we ALL argue with our S.O.’s. But we don’t want to listen to it at our first meeting. Think about the child who says, “I cry when Mommy and Daddy fight”. Yeah. That’s us. Awkward.

And remember: every wedding vendor wants to help you. We want to make money, we want to stay in business, and we want to work like crazy to make sure YOUR day, is a celebration that everyone will remember.

Have any questions? Post them and we would love to answer!

featured photo credit: jesse and gena weddings

plan on! 


why we didn’t hire a wedding planner … but wish we would have

Sometimes there is little debate about hiring a wedding planner BEFORE the wedding. But after the wedding it’s a different story.

While this does appear to be self-serving, this was one of the most well-thought out articles that I have ever read! And I’ve read a lot on this subject. In fact, it made me stop to think, “Hey, we DO help with that”!

here are a few favorite excerpts:

Contrary to what I had thought, hiring a wedding planner doesn’t mean outsourcing your entire wedding; a wedding planner only handles what you want them to (support at the start to get you on the right track, on-the-day coordination only, or indeed the whole shebang) so won’t take over and choose your final bouquet design for you.

During our engagement, several recently married friends told me that in the final month before the wedding they had been so exhausted that they just wanted the day to be over. This ended up being true for me: in the final week I lost five pounds from stress, burst into tears a few times and my groom and I were snapping at each other. Bringing on board a professional planner to help and take some of the workload off our hands definitely would have made sense (and they probably could have given advice on managing family drama).

Despite thinking that researching vendors ourselves was the only way to ensure we could make the best supplier decisions, this didn’t work out so swimmingly. Out of 15 or so wedding day vendors, there were only three that we were actually totally happy with… and some others we were extremely unhappy with.

Things went wrong at the last minute. Tiny things, but they were unnecessary and brought a general feeling of stress on a day my groom and I had planned to be lovely and relaxing. Someone to handle those details for us would have been amazing.

And many more awesome and poignant points. Check out the full read here. Thank you Reflective Bride for the awesome read!

plan on!

saundra-driving feature

follow us behind the scenes …

We have a special wedding this weekend. Okay all our weddings are special, but hear me out and I’m sure you will agree.

Our lovely bride, Kelly, contacted us over a year ago to help plan their wedding day in her Dad’s beautiful backyard in Newburgh, Indiana. A really cool couple, they wanted something different, fun and quirky. Most of all, an intimate celebration with their closest friends and family.

What we couldn’t predict during this planning year:

  • A pleasant surprise, the birth of their beautiful little boy. Planning a wedding WITH baby hormones can be quite a ride.
  • In March, that ugly cancer creature creeped into our lives, and Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two chemo treatments so far before the wedding. Can we bring back the baby hormones, please? She’s a rockstar with a heart of gold and a spirit to match. And a sense of humor that will make you belly laugh.
  • Now, her beautiful outdoor wedding is being threatened by Mother Nature … RAIN. WIND.

So if you are so interested we’ll be adding photos to Instagram, Twitter and company Facebook. Follow along, starting today … it’s going to be entertaining.

And please say a prayer for no rain at least from 5 – 8pm. We aren’t greedy.

featured photo credit: pfe iPhone

plan on!


wedding-planner feature

venue coordinators vs wedding planners

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.

A wedding planner’s paycheck comes directly from our client. A venue coordinator’s paycheck comes directly from 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:

Some venue coordinators absolutely do not want a wedding planner on board because they are not able to upsell the bride and groom. Venues that provide inclusive, turn-key weddings are no-brainers for couples that don’t want to be bothered with the details. But trust me, you’re going to pay for it. Right or wrong is not the issue, it’s understanding the difference and acknowledging it. If you have a third party, such as a professional wedding planner, that understand contracts, BEO’s and knows what questions to ask to potentially save their mutual client money, hey … that’s not necessarily good for the venue.

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!

featured image photo credit: pfe iPhone

plan on!

update: Did a TV segment on this subject on Local 7 Lifestyles, check it out!



behind the scenes, wedding planner…

We are happy as a dog with a bone to show you a project that has been one year in the making (actually conceptualized two years ago).

With our good friends, Garrette and Amber Baird with Eyenamics (cannot thank these awesome filmmakers enough!) we present to you a Behind the Scenes video of my planning team, studio and my personal family. Only #realtalk and I really hope you enjoy it.

Please leave a comment, I would love to have your feedback! Be sure to come back on Monday for The Blooper Reel.

You KNOW I would have to have a blooper reel. Cannot miss the opportunity to poke fun at myself.

plan on!


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