Category Archives: Wedding Planner

How much will my wedding cost?

By | Budget Los Angeles Wedding, Budget Weddings, Wedding Budget, Wedding Cost, Wedding Planner | No Comments

By Dee Gaubert | Owner, No Worries

It’s nearly everyone’s first question when they start planning a wedding: How much is this bad boy going to cost me?  The idea of sinking many thousands of dollars in one evening is soul-sucking, and I totally understand this.   I tried to charge as little as possible when I first started and quickly realized there was a bottom line I had to meet, fee-wise or I essentially couldn’t run a business. Like, as in, keep the lights on, pay my taxes, feed my family.

And that’s what all other vendors and venues find too when they research initial pricing structures.  Their insurance, taxes, labor (that’s a big one), cost of raw materials, etc – it all gets passed to you, the consumer.  Meantime, a good middle class income means low buying power these days, due to all sorts of shifts in our economy, so you can work hard, save your money, and still barely be able to afford a wedding.  But, don’t get too depressed- let’s work through some hard facts about budget, so you can be an informed consumer, and take control over the process.

Statistics: Read between the lines

The average wedding according to many statistics is about $26k – 30k.  But, in major metropolitan areas, you’re looking at $35-45k to start, and towards $70-80k in cities such as New York City.  Guest count, type of food service, venue, and all sorts of other elements affect your total costs.  My advice is, ignore the statistics – the only way you’ll know how much your wedding costs is to start researching.

LA River Center LARC State Park weddings

In concert with other agencies, the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy runs the LA River Center, which provides a reasonably priced space for weddings. Photo by David Crane.

Add it up: Tally total wedding cost first

Start researching venues, DJs, florists, etc., and collect pricing and quotes.  Don’t do one at a time, i.e. research and price out venues, book the venue; and THEN price out caterers – you need a holistic, macro view of how all the costs add up before booking any single vendor or venue for the event.  Otherwise you’ll book one element, and realize it takes up more of your budget than you thought, and severely crunches the rest of your budget.  Or perhaps trigger other costs that you didn’t anticipate (like a venue that requires a generator at great additional expense, for example).

Consider unique alternatives

Food trucks, BBQ take out (nicely served and presented), cupcakes (instead of cakes) – these are all ways to save money on food by going an unconventional route.  Venue-wise, find a venue that’s run by a local civic agency, or one that’s fresh on the market that may be willing to rent to you for an introductory fee. It’s important to make sure the venue has proper rules and regulations and insurance, and to know of any specific additional expenses that come with out-of-the-box venues.

Rancho Del Cielo, rustic wedding, floral decor wedding

Finding a venue with lush grounds saves money on decor – with such beautiufl surroundings, only a few floral flourishes are needed. Venue: Rancho Del Cielo. Photographer: Katie Geiberger

Hire the right pros

A caterer that specializes in small luncheons won’t be ideal for your 200 person wedding.  A novice florist may not be able to construct that custom arch you saw on Instagram.  A planner who lists as her major experience waiting tables in college and planning her sister’s wedding won’t know off the top of her head how much a family style meal will cost.  Whether you invest a small hourly consulting package for a coordinator to assist in a venue search or order a drop off type service from a high end caterer, there are ways to hire top-of-their-class vendors without breaking your bank.

For more tips, check out our other blog posts, and feel free to call or email us;  310-562-3306 and dee@noworriesep.com.  Happy planning!

Calamigos Malibu Wedding:Bright + Beautiful

By | Calamigos Malibu Weddings, Catering, Event Planner, Rustic Wedding, Vox DJS, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

I had the true pleasure of working with this couple for their wedding last year, and I can’t believe it’s been that long!  they chose Calamigos Malibu for their wedding, and their colors were bright and vibrant, as brought to life by McCann Florist.  They were a fun and playful duo, and they and their families and friends made for a heartfelt evening full of stories and levity.  They also provided classy, rustic wood elements such as signage and escort ‘cards’ (of thin wood slices).

True Photography and First Look Films captured the best moments (and then some) and the team at Calamigos worked with Catering By Brenda, who provided the kosher meal.  Continental Bakery provided the delicious cake and Robert Corral of Vox DJs provided lighting and entertainment.

The space at Calamigos Malibu was the Redwood Room, a space that has been renovated in past years and reminds me of a mountain retreat with stone, wood, and other natural elements.

Rabbi Joe Menashe staged the ceremonial elements beautifully and performed a heartfelt ceremony, and La Folia provided classical music before, during, and after the wedding ceremony.

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Calamigos Oak Room Ballroom Wedding

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Calamigos Ranch Oak Room Ballroom Wedding

Beach Wedding: Sea Breezes at Hotel Portofino

By | Hotel Portofino and Yacht Club, Lavender Decor, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

When I first met with Danielle and Jared together, I was struck at how thoughtful and calm they were.  They carefully evaluated each decision about their wedding, but didn’t obsess; they listened to their vendors’ advice and trusted all of us, which was so wonderful.  (And when she showed me her dress from BHLDN, I was smitten!)  I was also excited to work their venue, the Hotel Portofino and Marina, based in Redondo Beach.  It was pretty much a beach wedding – we were just a few feet from the water! In fact, as the couple were getting their photos taken (by the awesome photographer Brady Puryear), a boat passed by in the nearby inlet and the passengers hooted and waved in congratulations.

Danielle had a beautiful aesthetic: clean, pretty lavender colors with touches of greenery and fresh hydrangea.  It worked so well in the space.  We provided design consultation to help flesh out her ideas, and her florist, friend Bea Tran who owns Floral Event Production, came up with beautiful ideas for seamless execution.   The beach wedding feel was set off by the fresh florals and light colors.

Personal touches, such as lavender cones with seeds to toss at the couple during the ceremony, as well as a thoughtful ceremony by a dear friend, made the wedding truly individual and unique.  As the sun set, Danielle and Jared got some great photos by the water, and guests enjoyed cocktails on the patio.  Their DJ, Mike Tinio, spun music all night and got the crowd dancing literally to the very end!

The hotel served outstanding cuisine, wedding cake, and also provided lighting as well. The Portofino became a turnkey solution for many elements of the wedding. It was really one of those smooth, fun experiences that make you want to be come a planner in the first place! Our congrats to the couple and thanks for bringing us along for the journey!

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Real Wedding: May at Malibu Rocky Oaks

By | Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Malibu, Malibu Rocky Oaks Wedding, Malibu Wedding, Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

This last May, el nino threatened our chances of an outdoor wedding, but in the end, love prevailed!  This wedding, with elements of Korean customs, was full of joy, laughter, and tasteful touches of Jackie Combs of Lotus and Lily’s floral and event design. Delicious food and seamless entertainment and beautiful lighting from outstanding vendors made this a hugely successful event, at one of our all-time favorite venues.  The beautiful photos below are from Iris and Light.

 

Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks

Catering:  Amy’s Culinary Adventures

DJ, Paebeck, and some Lighting:  Valentine Entertainment
Rentals and some Lighting:  A Rental Connection

Cake:  Intricakes

Florals:  Lotus and Lily

Linens:  Luxe Linen

Videography:  Peter Yun

Photography: Iris and Light

Hair and Makeup: Yuri Sinata

 

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Cake by Intricakes

Cake by Intricakes

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Valentine Entertainment coordinated the Korean Paebeck ceremony.

Valentine Entertainment coordinated the Korean Paebeck ceremony.

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Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

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Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

Florals by Lotus and Lily, Linens by Luxe Linen

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Real Wedding: Classic and Romantic Luxury Estate Wedding at Malibu Rocky Oaks

By | Blush and Pink Wedding, Brady Puryear Photography, Malibu Rocky Oaks Wedding, Malibu Wedding, Uncategorized, Wedding Planner | No Comments

We love love love working at Malibu Rocky Oaks, and this estate wedding was no different.  The romance of the florals by Lotus and Lily, the chic combination of pink, ivory, and fuchsia, and the bride and groom looking so dashing in their dress and tux – it all made for a gorgeous event.

Caterer: Truly Yours

Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks

DJ: JK Weddings

Videography: Dove Weddings

Photography:  Brady Puryear

Calligraphy:  Calligraphy Katrina

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Photo by Brady Puryear. Florals by Lotus and Lily.

Photo by Brady Puryear. Florals by Lotus and Lily.

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Real Wedding: Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel

By | Blush and Pink Wedding, Juice Box Media, Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, wedding flowers, Wedding Planner | No Comments

Some time ago, my father attended a national banker’s conference at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel; his job at the time was managing and implementing such conferences for his own employer, and his company was going to implement the next year’s national conference, so his attendance was part preparation as well. For me, it was an opportunity to check out this incredible property.
Fate, via a dear former client who referred us, brought me to work with a couple last May for their Ritz wedding.  They were a joy to work with, as was a particular catering manager who was assigned to us and worked hard to make sure they had a smooth planning process.  The look, brought to life by Doily Design Haus, was full of blush, golds, and creams, and was simply stunning in the room.   It’s been a year now since the wedding and I still remember it fondly, as it took me back to a venue that so impressed me years ago.

 

Vendors:

Photography – Studio Purdy

Florals:  Doily Design Haus

Cookies: Sugar Babies Cupcakery

Videography: Juice Box Media

Chuppah:  Happy Chuppah

Chiavari chairs and Dance Floor:  Chiavari Chairs 4 Rent

Cake, Food, and Venue:  Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel

DJ and Lighting:  Soundwave

 

 

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Smart Ways to Stay On Budget for Your Wedding

By | Budget Los Angeles Wedding, Budget Weddings, DIY, How Much Do L.A. Weddings Cost, Los Angeles Wedding Coordinator, Realistic Wedding Budget, Wedding Planner | No Comments

It’s every bride and groom’s biggest concern:  Budget.  Many couples get a sense of sticker shock when they find out how much weddings cost, and justifiably so.  While the end result is a beautiful day and celebration that in some ways is priceless, there’s no getting around the fact that spending a certain sum on ‘one day’ can be uncomfortable.

When thinking about saving money but preserving the vibe of your event, keep these things in mind:

1.  The extras.  You don’t always need that something ‘extra’. For example, gold leaf on your cake can be pricey; buying a roll of exquisite satin gold ribbon instead can save a significant amount of money.  Letterpress invites are lovely; but not necessary. Flat printed invitations look beautiful and are elegant enough without the additional charges.

We created this sweet centerpiece with inexpensive greenery and sunflowers, using a pitcher that we sourced from the rental company for that evening's event. Photo by Lorenzo Hodges.

We created this sweet centerpiece with inexpensive greenery and sunflowers, using a pitcher that we sourced from the rental company for that evening’s event. Photo by Lorenzo Hodges.

2.  Food!  Food is one of your biggest costs, as is venue (particularly if the venue is lumped in with food, such as when hosting an event at a hotel).  If working an out of the box space where you can provide your own food server, be careful about using a food truck or taco cart. These are great options for saving money, but you need additional staff to properly serve at the bar and clean up at the end of the night.

A space like the Millwick in downtown LA (http://marvimon.com/Millwick) already has some kitchen infrastructure, lighting, and dining tables and chairs, allowing for savings on outside rentals. Food trucks are also doable at this space.

A space like the Millwick in downtown LA (http://marvimon.com/Millwick) already has some kitchen infrastructure, lighting, and dining tables and chairs, allowing for savings on outside rentals. Food trucks are also doable at this space.

3. Decor.  Beware DIY tips online – there are some awesome tutorials out there, but when you see a photo of a stunning decor idea that is labeled cost effective or DIY, ask yourself, ‘how much would the labor cost?’ Hanging lights, large floral pieces, etc – all those projects cost in labor, and anything that requires going up a ladder means serious liability risks.  So be sure to factor the labor in to any supposedly ‘easy’, ‘inexpensive’ DIY project.

A professional event planner’s goal should always be to create a gorgeous and lovely day without sinking a client’s budget.  It takes innovation, experience, and familiarity with cost controlling procedures.  Typically working with an event planner can save you money and keep you at budget.  (Some statistics say the average couple otherwise goes over budget by 30%.)  There are also all sorts of wacky fees (“administrative charge,” “AV liaison fee,” etc) that can rear their ugly heads when clients least expect it, whereas event planners frequently see them coming long before they are an issue. I often recommend to a couple on a tight budget to hire a planner just to do a budget consultation.  That way, they have a good idea of all those scary unknowns, and have the most accurate information on realistic pricing.  This consultation also gives them solid strategies for progressing along their planning process with extensive wisdom based on a pro’s experience.  Then the planner can become involved again a couple months out and serve as day of coordinator to bookend the entire process.

Once your goals for each wedding expense are locked in, you can proceed with authority and way less stress. For more about budgets, check out our past blog posts here and here. Happy planning!

 

Luxury Estate Wedding at Malibu Rocky Oaks

By | Estate Wedding, Malibu Rocky Oaks Wedding, Malibu Wedding, Nick Saglimbeni Photography, Uncategorized, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

One of our favorite venues is Malibu Rocky Oaks, a working winery with a gorgeous chateau perched at the end of a long, winding driveway, overseeing the vineyards and most of – no, definitely – all of Los Angeles. In my opinion, the best view in town.

We are honored to be on the preferred vendor list at MRO, and adore working with the team there.  It’s a substantial amount of logistics and coordination, but hey, that’s what we do! The goal when managing an event at a high-concept space such as MRO is having logistics so well planned from the outset, that guests don’t see the ‘gears’ grinding away – we want it all to feel organic and flowing.

For this particular bride and groom, we oversaw the full execution of their event.   We sought the best vendors to provide the bride and groom with a beautiful ceremony and reception: Jackie Combs of Lotus and Lily Floral and Event Design provided the florals and decor, LM Event Productions provided the lighting and rentals, and various friends and family came together for the music and entertainment, including the fabulous Jerry Warren – with his band, he played incredible R&B and jazz music throughout.  The cake by Hot Cakes Bakes was exceptional as well.  Videographer Isabel Cinemateque filmed the day, and photos by the talented Nick Saglimbeni / Slickforce Studio captured every moment.

Lotus and Lily's bouquet waits for its bride..featuring dahlias, orchids, hydrangea and roses.  Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

Lotus and Lily’s bouquet waits for its bride..featuring dahlias, orchids, hydrangea and roses. Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

Another personalized element, provided by the father of the bride: A wood initial monogram.

Another personalized element, provided by the father of the bride: A wood initial monogram.

The father of the bride is a master sign maker and artist, and custom created wood signage, like this directional sign.  Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals by Lotus and Lily.

The father of the bride is a master sign maker and artist, and custom created wood signage, like this directional sign. Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals by Lotus and Lily.

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals by Lotus and Lily.

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals by Lotus and Lily.

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals by Lotus and Lily.

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals by Lotus and Lily.

The beautiful bride.  Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

The beautiful bride. Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

What a view!   Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

What a view! Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

Parasols shielded guests from the sun.  Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

Parasols shielded guests from the sun. Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

A dove release capped off the ceremony.  Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

A dove release capped off the ceremony. Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals and decor (like these mercury votives) by Lotus and LIly.

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals and decor (like these mercury votives) by Lotus and LIly.

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals and design by Lotus and Lily.

Photo by Slickforce/Nick Saglimbeni, florals and design by Lotus and Lily.

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Dessert table:  Traditional Italian treats and a delish cake from Hot Cakes Bakes, with decor and florals from Lotus and Lily.

Dessert table: Traditional Italian treats and a delish cake from Hot Cakes Bakes, with decor and florals from Lotus and Lily.

 

 

 

 

5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths: Myth # 3 – The Web Has All The Answers

By | 5 Biggest Wedding Planning Myths, Budget Los Angeles Wedding, Budget Weddings, Wedding Budget, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Planner | No Comments

In this blog series, we’re tackling some of the misinformation and misconceptions out there about wedding planning. Today’s myth:  “Want to save money/time/stress? Just ask the Web!”

Like a lot of brides, we loooooovvee looking at wedding blogs, viewing the latest in advice and planning strategies, and absorbing all the great information out there.

While the web can help with wedding planning, it doesn’t have all the answers.  Each wedding is like a snowflake: No two are the same.

For example, Google ” save money on wedding” and you can find such dream-shattering advice as “Slash your guest list” or “have a cocktail reception instead of a sit down dinner.” Picture 30 guests at a bunch of cocktail tables – that’s a happy hour, not a wedding!

No matter how stressful or overwhelmed you may get, this is the moment that's most important:  The walk down the aisle. Photo by Shani Barel.

No matter how stressful or overwhelmed you may get, this is the moment that’s most important: The walk down the aisle. Photo by Shani Barel.

Other budget tips simply don’t add up to much savings: “Have a backyard wedding!” (cue the restroom rentals, kitchen equipment rentals, etc. – before you know it, you’re way over budget). “Use bigger tables to save on centerpieces” – that’s a nominal savings – maybe $150 or so per table.

You get the idea – there are good strategies out there, but interpreting them for your particular event is the challenge.

That said, the web CAN be helpful, Just read between the lines. While the Internet is a huge source of inspiration, the reality behind the façade can best be found on uber-honest forums for brides. Try to hone in on regional forums geared towards brides in you area for the most accurate information.  Double check bids from vendors for accuracy and question any fees you do not understand.

We have knowledge that only comes from road-testing our expertise on over 100 events.  Call or email us anytime for a consultation:  310-562-3306 or dee@noworriesep.com. 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