Category Archives: Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths

The Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths – Myth #4: “I can coordinate my own wedding!”

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#4 in our series of the Five Biggest Wedding Planning myths: The risks of not working with a professional wedding coordinator.

Certainly, a bride or groom with common sense, an eye for numbers, and solid time management skills allow him or her to organize a wedding from the ground up. But no matter how on point you are, you need to be present as the guests of honor on your wedding day, not actually ‘working’ the day itself. It’s like a play – the lead actors cannot also serve as the stage managers!

Also there are logistical and permitting issues at play in a variety of cities, that the layperson is not aware of. Having the bare minimum of expertise to guide your wedding will save you from doing the dirty work of brass-tacks logistics.

A few things to keep in mind:

Vendors do not all communicate with each other or the venue. In other words, they often don’t know what they don’t know about each particular wedding until someone shows them a timeline, a scout video, etc. Once they receive that initial information, numerous questions and concerns come to the fore, and a coordinator can then expertly answer them, while the client focuses on more fun things – attending a flower mockup, trying on the dress one more time, and sorting out her guest list.

Most other vendors – like the DJ, onsite banquet captain, or photographer – hate taking over as coordinator. They do not have time to answer multiple questions or perform certain tasks (i.e., repurpose the bridesmaid bouquets to the head table; discuss adjusting the main course service time due to the bride and groom taking last minute sunset shots; coaching the terrified maid of honor through a dry run of her toast, etc.). The DJ is constantly adjusting volume and his or her mixing board, double-checking the speaker system, and prepping for the next toast or announcement. Your photographer is catching the most essential, important moments of one of the biggest days of your life, scanning the room for those special moments. They do not have ample time to circle back with the banquet captain to keep things flowing. The biggest danger here is going seriously off your timeline and running so late that you go into overtime with your vendors or the venue.

Having a chat with a Maid of Honor before the ceremony.  Photo by Wasserlein Photography.

Having a chat with a Maid of Honor before the ceremony. Photo by Wasserlein Photography.

Experience counts. There is no governing body that declares someone fit to start an event planning or coordination business. No bar exam to pass, or board certification to earn. Anyone an their mother (literally) can sell themselves as a planner, with little to no practical experience.

The assistance that a good, qualified coordinator provides is evident throughout the planning process, as well. Here’s an example of just a small percentage of the work – the tip of the iceberg, really – we recently provided to a coordination client:

  1. Advised on floor plan and gave floor plan changes to the venue manager, who mis-read them twice. That’s about 30 minutes and 4 emails back and forth that we took on, on behalf of the client. This is just a small sample of the hours and number of emails (typically 600-800 per event) that we expend on behalf of a client.
  2. Provided ideas for how to create risers and, thus, more space, on their favor table so there was enough room for their cute but bulky favors.
  3. Consulted with their DJ on a jam-packed timeline to ensure it went smoothly on the day-of. I sent multiple emails back and forth and drafted at least 3 revisions of the timeline, and ran it past multiple other vendors to ensure it worked with their service time frames.
  4. Advised on quantities for dessert bar; myself and my associate sat on hold multiple times with the bakery to discern how long the desserts would be stable at room temp, as well as to confirm delivery time.
  5. On the day of, we dealt with serious issues at the venue on the clients’ behalf. First, we showed the venue manager the contract to ensure everything we and the client originally confirmed with them, was provided accordingly. Then, we asked for a $500 credit at the bar for the client…and got it.

A coordinator protects your best interests and removes a lot of wasted time and guesswork from your planning process. As soon as you hire one, you’ve come the closest to truly guaranteeing your emotional and financial investment in the big day is fully realized.

Our door is always open for a complimentary consultation about the peace of mind and stress savings a coordinator can provide.  We can be reached at dee@noworriesep.com or 310-562-3306.

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #2 – Haggling = Negotiation

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MYTH #2:  Haggling = Negotiation

Over the past few days, we’ve been breaking down the 5 biggest wedding myths. Today we’re tackling Myth #2: “I can haggle my vendors down to nothing!”

A powerful sign that a wedding vendor is worth every penny is when they don’t offer drastic discounts. That means a) they have experience and know-how, and understand exactly how much they need to charge to make sure you have all the resources (time, labor, materials, etc.) you need from them and b) they are so secure in their reputation and referral base that if you don’t choose them, then they’ll find another client who values them for their actual worth. It’s as if they are saying, “Go ahead – find someone new, inexperienced, and low priced, and best of luck to ya. I’ll wait for the next client who comes along and truly values me.”

Tip:  When negotiating, be reasonable. Fridays and Sundays almost always mean price reductions at venues; Fridays in particular have become very popular in the wedding world, and tend to last as late as Saturday night weddings. Also, meet the vendor in the middle – whether it’s shaving off an hour of the time frame for the photographer’s active time or letting the florist pick more cost effective blooms that still stay in your color scheme.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

To save on decor budget, we advised the bride to use lanterns and floral pieces, down her wedding aisle, then we repurposed them as cocktail/lounge decor. Photo by Collective Perception.

Tip:  Also keep in mind the wide swings in pricing from one vendor to another. If Vendor A charges $1800, and Vendor B charges $1500, but Vendor C charges $700, something is way off with Vendor C.   That’s just the economics of supply and demand, simple as that. Vendor C may be a diamond in the rough just starting out and building their clientele – but you better check solid references on them just to be sure. Why? Because they have not established a market value – what the consumer is willing to pay for their services. And they won’t be charging that little for much longer at all, because eventually – no exaggeration – they will make more money slinging lattes.

 

Find a way to make it work, and remember the realities you are working with. Once you understand actual and realistic costs, you can learn to move forward making smart, cost effective decisions!

 

We’re no strangers to negotiation and far, win-win agreements between clients and vendors.  Contact us anytime here or at 310-562-3306.  Happy planning!

 

 

 

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth #1 – The Bargain Basement Wedding

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Five Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Wedding Budget, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Planner | No Comments

In this blog series, we’re busting the five biggest wedding planning myths, starting with this doozy:   “I can have the wedding of my dreams for a bargain basement price.”

The majority of our clients want a quite formal, high-end affair based on the gorgeous blog photos they see online or in magazines. Thanks to the numerous “10 easy ways to cut your budget!”-type articles out there in the world, many couples think that the average cost of a wedding (close to $30,000 at last survey) is exactly what they’ll spend – or less.

A perfect example of a fun, DIY project that can be done ahead of time - simply using pennies and self-printed escort cards. Photo by White Haute Photography.

A perfect example of a cost effective, DIY project that can be done ahead of time – simply using pennies and self-printed escort cards. Photo by White Haute Photography.

I wish I could say that was the truth in Los Angeles and other big cities. But several factors come into play, along with the metropolitan area you live in: Your personal taste; the venue, and so on. There is a unique formula that needs to be applied to exactly the type of wedding you want. For example, If you choose a hotel, you’ll pay a more inclusive price than a private estate – but at an estate, you can bring in alcohol and save on the bar service. There are a multitude of pros and cons. It’s hard to say exactly what is most cost effective, because no two weddings are the same.

 

A view like this doesn't come cheap.  Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks.  Photographer:  Dave Richards Photography

A view like this doesn’t come cheap. Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks. Photographer: Dave Richards Photography

 

TIP: Ask recently wed friends about realistic costs, hire a wedding consultant for an a la carte budget consultation, even ask for baseline quotes when contacting prospective vendors – do your research before investing one penny into your wedding day. A consultant can build a budget that entails every single cost down to the penny, from risers for the band you want to hire to the generator you’ll need at the state park venue you love so much. The budget may look way higher than you expect, but there will be no surprises. Another tip: ask to see a recently wed friend’s budget and ask about their total costs, if his or her wedding venue and scope is similar to your vision.

Above all, don’t rush your decisions. Look before your leap – and you’ll sleep better at night during the entire wedding planning process.

We offer complimentary consultations for all couples, an informative hour where we can illustrate further how important it is to truly know and research your budget.  Call or email us anytime – we’re happy to help!  310-562-3306  / dee@noworriesep.com