Why I have a Wedding Planner & you should too

I know what you’re thinkin’: “Yes Stacy, okay, we all know why having a wedding Planner is great- she does the work for you, blah blah.”

That’s probably a mere 10% of the reason why you should hire a wedding Planner/Coordinator. Let me set the mood…

Chances are, once you’re engaged, the following will occur in almost exact order:

Ask if he’s serious. Cry happy tears. Say yes. Ask if he’s serious. Hug him. Ask if he’s serious. Cry more. Call EVERYONE forgetting at least 5 important people. Feel overwhelmed and giddy at the same time. Tell the story of how he proposed 79 times. Answer questions you haven’t even thought about yet such as “When’s the date?” “Where are you going to get married?” And once all the people are told, Facebook is updated, you’ve had your time to calm down…you’ll open your Pinterest and visit your wedding boards. *YAY.*

Girls, raise your hand if you’ve been pinning stuff to your wedding boards since the first day you downloaded Pinterest? *My hand is raised.* You pinned those ideas with the intention of bringing them to life one day, right? I bet you pinned allllll those glorious ideas without thinking about several things, but especially this one thing: it’s every bride’s worst nightmare; a crusher of dreams; an unavoidable monster; a show stopper. The Budget.

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Let’s be honest, Pinterest is the dream world we get to live in where we plan our perfect wedding, build our dream home, get in shape, and cook glorious meals…but never actually do 95% of it. But you never thought this would happen with these pins. These are your wedding ideas! They are EVERYTHING. This is the moment when you get to actually use your Pinterest!

Right?

I’ll never forget that moment I realized how much getting married costs. I immediately went through my wedding boards on Pinterest and deleted a ton of what I had. The pins were haunting me. I know… you’re like, “But Stacy, those pics can still be ‘inspiration‘ for you!” That might be true for some, but I had unrealistic things pinned like HUGE centerpieces full of beautiful flowers (EXPENSIVE). Once your parents tell you the budget and you figure out how much things really cost, you’ll almost start over with more realistic ideas. You’ll have a ‘that was fun pinning for the last 4 years but it’s time to get serious’ moment. You may decide to opt for an overall feeling or theme for the day; romance, modern, country, chic, intimate..something to that effect. I will say the positive thing about going through the pins to delete them was I was able to notice a trend in what I had pinned which led me to my theme. Either way, at the first mention of budget, your vision can become a little more challenging to achieve.

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Let’s take it a step further. Imagine you have an unlimited budget, you lucky beetch, but now I want you to think about how you will actually bring your ideas to life. The florist takes care of your flowers, but who sets them up exactly as you want on the day of? Who confirms all decor is exactly as it should be. Sure, nearly every nice venue has staff that handles the checklist of things which need to be taken care of, but I’m talking style and organization here; your vision coming to life without you needing to worry about it. I’m talkin’: who can hook you up with amazing vendorsfor cheaper. And no, the “preferred vendors” that “you must use” with your venue selection are not always cheaper, honey. If you love a venue that requires you to use their vending partners, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Call them and make sure their prices fit your budget. If your venue allows you to choose any vendor you want, find out the requirements the venue has for what each vendor needs (licenses, etc) so they can operate on the property.

Tip #1: NEVER EVER EVER ever sign a contract with a venue until you’re absolutely sure they have exactly what you need (tables, chairs, etc) for the price they quoted you. Many times, the initial price doesn’t include A LOT of stuff you expect it to. 

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The problem you might face and the one I was facing, is I don’t have the time. I don’t have the time to call 30 vendors and make excel sheets to compare price. I don’t have time to go meet with them for interviews. I don’t have time to design a floor plan that works or come up with a schedule for the day; hell, I don’t even know what I’m doing. I just know my vision for the day. I know I love my man and I know I want our wedding to be romantic, fun, and beautiful. I want to find great vendors that won’t nickel and dime us so we can get the most out of our money. If you’re not engaged yet, I can promise you that you have NO IDEA how hectic and intricate planning a wedding is. It is overwhelming.

Here’s a little tidbit of my personal experience: I fell in love with a venue. Super cute, within my budget, nestled perfectly between my hometown and Tad’s. I Read over the initial information the owner sent me and felt okay with it. I set up a time to tour the property and meet the staff. We were allowed to bring in our own vendors, so I immediately called a few. After calling around to several catering companies and finding out that food for the wedding would be the most costly of all things, we decided to reach out to a few friends that are chefs. One, a close friend of Tad’s, offered to cook our wedding food for cost of materials only which made us very happy! I told the owner of the venue this and found out that the caterer we chose would need to 1) be licensed 2) have insurance 3) have a recent health inspection. I got confused as to why he needed to have all this coverage because the venue itself should have insurance as an “event venue” which covers any vendor operating on the property. I called around to several other venues and heard the same feedback. I could understand it somewhat, I guess, but what it meant to me was that no venue was going to allow us to cut corners to save money. I figured the high price to rent the location would have included an amount which goes into insurance in case something occurs. I’m no expert but if you’re charging me close to $8,000 just to use your property, there better be insurance included so I can bring in my own vendors. ESPECIALLY if you require me to use your wedding Plannee that I have to also pay extra for.

Can you believe this is real life? I mean there are SO many things I never knew until I started planning. For example, at least 3 venues told me I had to use their hired wedding coordinator and pay extra for her plus I would be charged a “cake cutting fee” that was at least $150. Whats’s a cake cutting fee? It’s where they cut your cake for you and hand it out to guests. LOL, move over Becky, I’ll cut my own cake. Another example, with some venues, a coordinator was included in the price but the venue itself had little-to-no decor and only had tables, chairs, plates and linens for up to 150 guests (See Tip #1).  This meant I would have to call out to vendors for plates, decor, etc if I had over the amount of guests or even if I just wanted extra decor and then the coordinator would style it for me as I wanted. Translation: I, the bride, am the planner.

It wasn’t this way with every venue. Some recommended/required me to bring in a planner of my choosing, which at the time, I knew of no one. Some didn’t come with squat which meant we were going to pay thousands of dollars to simply rent the place and have to do all the work ourselves anyway. Do you want to be sweating setting up your venue on the day of your wedding? No. I mean the saga continued on to me eventually wondering if we should elope.

*Disclaimer: My experience isn’t the only one out there 🙂

Are you tired just reading this? Well kick your feet up, Bride-to-be or future-bride-to-be, I have a solution: Hire a Wedding Planner of your choosing.

It is popular belief that hiring a Wedding Planner is a luxury. Well, it is a luxury when you consider how much better you’ll feel afterwards but it isn’t something only wealthy people do. Hiring a Wedding Planner will save you time and money because he or she often has stocks of decor you can use and/or established relationships with vendors that will get you cheaper prices. You will absolutely, positively be able to actually enjoy your time as an engaged couple as a result of hiring a wedding planner. Most importantly, hiring a Wedding Planner will provide you with the talent necessary for making your day beyond what you imagined in your budget, this I can promise.

KATIE BLOG

Pictured above: Styled by Katie Perkins, Photography by Holly L. Robbins Photography. Model: Katie Perkins herself!

Katie Perkins is my wedding planner. She owns her own event planning company called Blondies. We met her at one of the event venues she operates out of back in November of 2017 and when I tell you I was a mess when I met her, I was a hot-bridezilla-mess. I knew what we were looking for was possible (not having to sell our souls for an awesome, romantic wedding) I just didn’t know where to find it and I was fed up with searching. Katie was an angel. She had an answer to every question. She is confident and very well organized. I liked her right from the start. I think I’ve talked about this before in a past blog, but it is such an amazing feeling to talk to someone that’s truly passionate about what they do. Katie is this person. I trusted her instantly because she has built her business around a passion for seeing happy brides. She has a ‘can-do’ attitude and she doesn’t automatically bring up money every time you ask her if something can be added.

How many of my brides out there have ever asked about adding a different color flower, napkin, or something simple to the wedding and the first response out of the vendor is “Oh, those are extra” or “Well let me get a price because those got more expensive” ? I don’t know how many of my readers are like me, but I haaaaaate when someone does that.

To me, the mark of a truly talented professional in this (or any) business is how well they can offer solutions that fit within a predetermined budget. For example, let’s say that you, the bride, decide you’d like some bigger flowers added to your bouquet. You go in to your florist to show her a picture. She sees that you’ve chosen Peonies and notices that when you previously discussed budget, you didn’t want to spend more than $400 on your bouquet. She knows Peonies are very expensive, but instead of pointing that out immediately, crushing you, she suggests design ideas which will add what you want without going over budget such as, “Those are so pretty! Let’s add a couple of those stems and take out some of the greenery so they stand out more, what do you think?” Taking out greenery (greenery is expensive) will allow your design to come to life and keep you within budget; only if you persist with expensive design will she point out budget.

To me, that’s talent. Did I mention Katie is my florist?

 These are the kinds of conversations I have with her, positive and upbeat. She leverages her creative talent, knowledge and relationships with Vendors to make dreams come true.

Tip #2: Hire a wedding planner you’re comfortable giving freedom to. She’s not there just to run around and keep everything organized, she should be creative and talented with design too! So relax, gorgeous Bride-to-be, she’s got this.

Using my experience with Katie, I’m going to sum this up. I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner because they are the experts. Katie has spent years establishing and maintaining relationships with amazing vendors; great prices, excellent customer service, great products. She has worked with magazines and done styled shoots, expanding her expertise. She is extremely resourceful and talented. I tell her one little idea I have and she expands it ten-fold into something better than I imagined. I sent her 3 pictures once of my ideas and when I met with her the following day, she had a portfolio made with more pictures and ideas. The ideas were so spot on to what I wanted, my initial reaction was “Oh cool, you saw my Pinterest boards!” She hadn’t though, she’s just that good. It blew my mind that what she had pictured was within my budget.

As an added bonus to the expertise, having a wedding planner feels like a luxury experience. You can truly feel like a Bride on the day of your wedding because your coordinator will be checking in your vendors and assuring all is perfect. She will make sure your wedding is flawless and if anything goes wrong, she will step up to the plate to handle it before you are even aware of it! My favorite thing about Katie is her work ethic. If it needs to get done, she does it. Period. If your cake gets delivered and it’s not right, she will pull strings and fix it. A natural disaster a few years ago caused one bride, who chose to go with a venue that wouldn’t allow an outside planner, to not have any wedding day flowers because deliveries got behind. The bride called Katie, frantic. Katie pulled strings and put together some flowers for her. This girl is the real deal, ya’ll.

I don’t know what I’d do without her. I’m a little biased, of course (comment on this blog for Katie’s information) but my recommendation to any bride is to find a talented and driven wedding planner that gives you all the good feels. You will not regret it!

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Pictured Above: Styled by Katie Perkins. Photography by Holly L Robbins Photography. Floral provided by JL Designs.

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