As you can probably guess, I get asked a lot of questions about wedding planning. So I added a new page to my website to cover my most frequesntly asked questions and I thought I would also share them here in blog form. So here you go!
Q: Why should I hire a wedding planner?
A: The easiest answer to this is that chances are you have never planned a wedding before, or even an event of this size. Wedding planners have. It’s what they do for a living. They have knowledge and expertise that only someone who has planned a wedding before can possibly know. We have been there before and can help point you in the right direction and save you some time and money in the process.
The more detailed answer is that wedding planners do so much more than you think they do. Budgeting, venue searching, vendor selection, contract reviews, creating a timeline that works for what you want but also what your vendors need, corralling your wedding party and sending them down the aisle, even things behind the scenes that you won’t know about and probably never will. (If you get the chance to ask me about the “Pinterest Fail” cake, please do.) Wedding planners are also the point of contact for everyone on the day and can make decisions for you so you don’t have to because they know exactly how things should be and how you would want them. On top of all of that, you need to look at the time involved. Research shows that it takes an average of 250 hours to plan a wedding from start to finish. That’s a lot to add onto your everyday life, no wonder people get so stressed with wedding planning. Just with my wedding management package alone I spend an average of 35 hours on each couples wedding day.
Q: What is the difference between a planner, consultant and coordinator? And which one are you?
A: A wedding planner is there from start to finish. They help you with everything that has to do with your wedding and keep things organized and progressing as you plan. Depending on what you want they can be involved every step of the way or serve as more of a consultant throughout your planning process.
A wedding consultant is just that. Someone that you can reach out to and ask questions of while you are planning your wedding.
A wedding coordinator is someone who generally comes in closer to the date of your wedding to help finalize the details and run your entire day. But it does get a little tricky really defining it as every coordinator does things differently. Some only come in two weeks before, take the reins and run the show. Some come in a month before and get a little more involved with the last month of planning to make sure things are set up right for the day. Then there are coordinators like me who dread the term “day-of” or “month-of” because I firmly believe that someone cannot come in a couple weeks before you wedding and take over one of the biggest days of your life and have it run smoothly. On top of that, I wouldn’t want to because that would be entirely too stressful. The profession of a wedding planner is always listed in the “Top 5 Most Stressful Jobs”, why make it more stressful? Back on topic, coordinators who offer wedding management generally come in two months before your wedding to finalize all your details, create you timelines and then run the day.
What am I you ask? Well that all depends on what you need. I serve as a planner for some couples and a coordinator for the rest, but I ALWAYS serve as a consultant for each and every one.
Q: My venue has a coordinator, why do I need a wedding planner?
A: Venue coordinators are wonderful and can really be beneficial to your wedding planning. But they only handle the items that are directly related to the venue. The will not create your wedding day timeline, confirm with your vendors the week before, run your rehearsal or keep everyone running on time throughout the day. A wedding planner works together with a venue coordinator to make sure everything is done right at the venue and then your wedding planner handles all the rest.
Q: I need help but I want things a certain way, will a wedding planner take over?
A: No. This is your wedding and it SHOULD be exactly how you want it. A wedding planner is there to help you get that and guide you along the way. They may have ideas and pointers, but in the end what you says happens and a wedding planner will make sure it happens just that way on your wedding day.
Q: I see the packages you offer but I need something in between, is that something you do?
A: Yep! The two packages listed under my wedding planning services are my most popular packages and what most of my couples end up choosing, but if after your consultation we determine you need something else I am more than willing to create a custom package based on your needs.
Q: Do you only refer certain vendors?
A: Nope. When a couple asks me for a referral for a certain type of vendor I ask determining questions to help me better understand what exactly it is they are looking for. It’s at that point that I know exactly the best vendor for them, send them a few options or I do a little research and find one. Even if it’s someone I have never worked with before, my job is to help you find what you need.
Q: My MOH is worried that you will boss everyone around on the wedding day, is that what will happen?
A: No, that is not what I will no. I am a manager and I will do what I need to do to get things done, but as a manager I know how to get it done the right way and kindly. Wedding vendors work as a team with one goal in mind; a beautiful wedding for their clients. I will help in getting all of them on the same page and working together. I take all of their needs into consideration but I also look at what you need to happen and meet in the middle. As for your wedding party, I am there to guide and help them. Not only should the wedding be stress free for you, but it should be that way for all parties involved.
Q: What types of weddings do your wedding packages accommodate?
A: Any and all – we cater to all types and religions.
Q: Do you charge for my first consultation?
A: No. Your first consultation is free. It usually takes an hour and we will sit down and talk about where you are in the planning process and what I can do to help. If you need more than one consultation before booking with me, there will be a fee invoiced.
Q: Why should I hire Eventistry to be my wedding planner?
A: On the logistical side, I’m extremely organized and will help keep you on task. You also get access to me from the moment you book, even for just wedding management, to ask me questions and get advice as you plan. In the end, helping you helps me. You also get access to an online planning portal where you can keep everything having to deal with your wedding planning in one place. Lastly, my pricing includes my assistant that comes with me on the day and I also have a la carte services that can be added on, some are listed on my website some are not as it really depends on what is needed. But if I can help, I will.
On a more personal side, I am transparent. I tell you how it is and I get things done. I like to drink whiskey and bake cookies. Halloween is my favorite holiday with Christmas as a very close second. I’m interesting and like to have fun with my clients and get to know them on a personal level. Also, I hate heels and avocados.
Q: How far in advance do I need to book you?
A: It all depends on what you are looking for me to do. If you are looking for wedding management, then no less than two months, but I have worked with less. For full service I recommend one year minimum. Now that doesn’t mean to wait to book with me as my calendar fills up. I ALWAYS recommend booking me the moment you decide you want to work with me. That way your date is marked in my calendar and no one else can book me in your place. Plus, like I said before, the moment you book with me is the moment you have access to me for help as you plan your wedding.
Q: How long have you been planning weddings? Are you insured?
A: I started planning weddings in 2009 and am fully insured.
So working with past clients I field a lot of questions on wedding etiquette. Who is supposed to pay for what? Where does this person stand? The thing I get asked about a lot is invitations. So for your reading pleasure, here is a very simple rundown of wedding invitation etiquette. These are questions that I have been asked personally or have known to been asked of invitation designers I have worked with. Of course, not everything is covered here, but if you wish to receive more help on your invitations, reach out to the designer or even myself. I love to help my clients go into meetings with designers with a game plan so that they run smoothly.
1) When do we send out our wedding invitations? I always recommend that your invitations go out 6-8 weeks before your wedding date. This gives people enough time to make travel arrangements and take time off work if necessary. If you are having a lot of out of town guests, make sure you do save-the-date cards and send them out 6-8 months in advance.
2) When should we set the RSVP deadline for? It is important to give yourself some time to reach out to those guests who do not RSVP, there are always some that don’t. So I recommend setting your RSVP date to be 3 weeks before your wedding date. That gives you a week to make phone calls and then be able to give final numbers and finish final details in the last two weeks.
3) Where should we put the information about our wedding website? You can include the web address in the formal invitations with a seperate insert, or added to an already created insert.
4) Where should we put the information about our registry? Your wedding website. To put it on your formal invitations is looked at as a big no-no. You also should make sure your bridal party and immediate family members know where you are registered because they may field that question. The registry information can go in your wedding shower invitations if you are having one.
5) How do you make it clear to our guests that the wedding is adults only (aka no kids)? There are a few ways you can head this off. First, make sure to address the invitations precisely, as in each persons name is written out on the envelope. On the RSVP card you can have “X seats have been reserved in your honor” and then write in the number of seats for each invitation. Lastly, make sure this information is written on your wedding website. In the end you may still have people adding their children. You should give them a call and let them know that it is an adults only reception and that you hope they can still join you.
6) How do we let guests know our dress code? Easiest way is to include the dress code on the lower right-hand corner of the invite or on an included insert. On top of that, the style of invitation will help your guests determine the type of event you are hosting. It you have a calligraphy artist address everything, that sets the tone for a more formal event. An invitation of a more fun nature will point to a more casual event. As always, this information can also be posted on your wedding website.
7) Do we have to give everyone a plus one? Nope. If someone is in a serious relationship then it is nice to extend the invitation to their partner, but make sure to address the invitation as such. Otherwise it is perfectly acceptable to only invite them. If for some reason they decide to add someone to their invitation, you should call them up and explain that either your venue only fits so many people, or that you are trying to keep it intimate and that you hope they can still join you.
8) Where should we write the return address on the envelope? It should be written on the back flap of the envelope. Make sure that the address used is the person that will be recording and updating your guest list. Make sure the RSVP envelope is addressed to the same person and that postage has been paid.
9) What information should be included on the invitation? In short: Who, What, Where and When. You can include a variety of other information like maps, menus, schedule of events,etc. But that is also information that you can put on your website and instead just have once simple insert with the address.
10) How do we word the invitation itself? Traditional wording where one set of parents are financially responsible:
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Jones
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter/son
If you still wish to include the other set of parents on the invitation then in would be listed after the second persons name as such “son/daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith”. If both sets of parents are co-hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Jones
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their children
If you don’t wish to list any parents:
Heather Renee Jones
Julie Laura Smith
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
In the end there are so many different ways to word your invitations. I can assist with this personally, or talk with your stationer as I am sure they have run into many different forms of weddings.
I hope that I have answered a few of your questions related to your wedding invitations. Remember that your invitation sets the mood and style of the wedding that you are having and so you need to make sure that not only is your event style but that your own style is reflected in them. Happy planning!
Special thank you for your invitation imagery (in order of appearance):
Adore Paper Co
Up & Away Designs
It’s All Personal
The wedding registry. To some couples it is the chance to create the ultimate wish list for their home, a way to begin planning their new life together. To others they feel they have everything or don’t like asking people for things. Or the last type of couple, they don’t want items, they just wish people would give them money (we’ll touch on this situation later and why its still a big no-no to ask for cash). But seriously, wedding registries can be really fun to create but they can also become stressful and overwhelming. So let’s talk about some tips on creating a wedding registry.
When should we start our registry? Traditionally you would create your registry before you announce your engagement. But frankly, that’s a lot of work to do when you’re bursting inside wanting to share the good news. So I recommend to my couples to make sure that it is completed before you have your engagement party, and if you are forgoing that, then make sure it is done before your wedding shower invitations go out.
Is there anything I should look for when choosing where to create my registry? First and foremost, make sure it is somewhere that actually carries things that you want, not just somewhere that will make Mom happy. Second, make sure their registry is user friendly. Nothing sucks more then having a registry that is hard to find or navigate because the system in place is complicated. Another thing to look for is if they have completion rewards. Some places give you a final coupon after your event for 10-20% off everything that is left on your registry that wasn’t purchased. So maybe the towels you’ve been dreaming about in your sleep were never gifted, but you just have to have them, well now just because you registered for them you can get them for 20% off.
How much do I need to register for? A lot more then you think. The thing is everyone that is invited to your shower will more then likely be bringing a gift. And if it is a lower priced item, then multiple gifts. Then you have people that won’t be able to attend the wedding but still want to send a gift. And then the people that actually bring a physical gift to the wedding. Do you work somewhere with friendly co-workers? They may throw you a party without you knowing it and you’ll have to have enough items on your registry for all of them. But it also goes back to the previous question when I mentioned the completion reward. Those coupons only work for items that you registered for before your event, so register for anything and everything you can think of so that even if it’s not purchased you can go back and buy it later at a discount.
But what if we have everything we already need in our home because we have lived together for a while now? My husband and I have been together 14 years, I was ecstatic when my mother bought me a new knife set for Christmas. Just because you have a lot of items already, doesn’t mean they couldn’t use an upgrade. Or that you couldn’t ask for a new tent to have for future camping trips. Or something that you are planning on buying for yourself, but could wait till after the wedding to get. You can always use new items or things to replace the old. It is a new chapter in your book together, it might as well start with new shiny things.
Seriously, I don’t want gifts, I just want cash. Seriously, no. I mean, I know, you’re putting a lot of money into your wedding and you’re hoping to not start your new life together in debt. I get it. But it is still UNACCEPTABLE to ask your guests for cash. Register for your honeymoon. Register for activities (see a few points down on registry options). Register for anything and everything that you will never use at a place with a wonderful return policy and get the money back. I don’t care, but do not ask your guests for cash, or let anyone know you returned everything or that I even mentioned it. In fact, forget I even said it. Go to Walmart and register for your groceries, just register. (Funny note, my husband and I registered for chips and salsa – totally worth it.)
OK fine I’ll make a registry, but do I have to do more then one? Yes. At a minimum I recommend you do two, and no more then four. But really two will do you just fine. The reason? Not everyone likes to shop at the same places. Not everyone can afford high end items and want more practically priced items so they prefer a different store. Give your guests options and they will not only buy you things but be more happy in the end. Make their shopping experience easy.
Make your registry practical and fun. Make sure that when you are choosing items to put on your registry, to pick things that you not only need, but items that you want too. I mean not everyone feels that they need zombie head cookie jar with removable brains, but if it’s something you really want then why not? (By the way it’s available at ThinkGeek). Make your registry practical, because you really do need dinner plates but also fun because who doesn’t want to drink their morning coffee out of a Back to the Future heat changing mug (also available HERE)?
Think outside the box. There are a lot of options out there for wedding registries. Not only those at brick and mortar stores, but a lot of options are now online. From Amazon registries to companies like ZOLA and My Registry. The nice thing about companies like ZOLA is that not only can you choose items but you can choose activities or honeymoon items. And My Registry takes every registry you create and puts it all together in one location. Let me touch back on brick and mortar stores, not only do people like to go and see and touch what they are buying, but a lot of people don’t feel comfortable or know how to purchase things online. Again, make everyone’s shopping experience easy.
Flatware. Check. Towels. Check. What else should I add? Storage items. You can never have enough storage items. Bins, baskets, totes, shelves, storage, storage, storage. As someone who is a big organizer I cannot recommend this enough. After all, where are you going to keep all of your new items?
So my registry is finished, now what? First, if you went to a brick and mortar store, go to their online store. Sometimes there are items that are only available online, but also keep in mind online exclusives or seasonal items may be out of stock if you create your registry very far in advance of your date. Lastly, tell your immediate family who can now spread the word to people they know. Make sure whoever is hosting your engagement party or shower knows where you are registered and give them any pertinent information like website or the handy-dandy cards you are sometimes given to put in invitations.
I just talked to my stationer and I keep being told I can’t put my registry on my invitations, why? Because it is another etiquette faux pas. Your registry information should be given to your guests in your engagement invitations or shower invitations. It can also be given by word of mouth through immediate family. It can also be listed on your wedding website. On a separate insert within your invitations you can add your wedding website, and that’s where people will find your registry.
I just received my first gift off my registry from someone who is not coming to my wedding. Can I open it? Yes. Open that sucker up and see what they sent! You want to make sure it is not broken or missing pieces as return policies differ for everything. And once you have checked it all out send them a thank you note now. That way they know you received it and enjoy it.
So there you have it. Just a few things to think about as you are creating your wedding registry. I hope that creating your registry turns out to be a simple process, as there are many other things to be working on when planning your wedding. Creating the registry should really be something fun you can do together.
Photo Credit: Blask Media
I often get asked by friends for help and advice when they start their wedding planning. I love to help where I can, but it’s not as often that I actually get asked to help on the day itself. I’m so glad Tara reached out to me because I absolutely loved being able to help on their big day.
When I met with Tara to go over all the final details I could tell that this day was going to be special. Her style has always seemed to have been simple and sweet to me. She’s so fun and easy going and her fiance Josh is just a big fun-loving guy. They’re perfect for each other. So with the beautiful blue linens mixed with delicate doilies and candles galore, I knew it was going to reflect them completely. She’s also so laid back that she really just gave me her items, a basic idea of what she wanted and then set me free.
The day started out with a torrential downpour that lasted a long time. A lot longer then I wanted it to, but when it comes to a wedding, nothing stands in the way. Especially when you have over 120 wedding guests coming in just 4 hours.
With a little adjusting and assistance from my staff, we were able to assemble almost everything under the tents to be taken out right before the ceremony. But we didn’t have to wait that long because about an hour before the wedding was slated to start, the clouds parted and the sun shined through.
A beautiful memorial table was set on the ceremony stage to represent all those who couldn’t be there in person, but were certainly there in spirit.
A make-your-own-cupcake-bar was a big hit with the wedding guests. Your choice of flavor cupcake and icing and then decorate till your hearts content.
A little candle table off to the side that the young and old enjoyed alike.
And a lot of fun dancing on the dance floor. This was a lively group of people there to celebrate a beautiful couple who’s love for each other really showed through that day.
Thank you so much Tara and Josh for letting me be a part of your wedding day. I’m so happy for the both of you and I cannot wait to meet your newest little girl. Congratulations!
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo by Blask Media
Photo Credit: James Blask
This is the first post of many in a new series of blogs I will be writing. Each blog will contain tips for planning your wedding, and each will be based on a certain topic: venue hunting, making your budget or general decor decisions. Just to name a few that I have floating in my head. I hope that you find this new series beneficial to your wedding planning needs and that it can help guide you in some way.
So let’s start it off at the beginning. You just got engaged, so what do you do? Well of course celebrate, but I mean after that.
Topics to discuss with each other before you begin planning your wedding.
1). What do you see on your wedding day? Talk about the overall vision you have in your head for your wedding day. You should both be represented in your wedding. You should both have ownership of what your guests will experience. It may be something you’ve seen at another wedding, something you’ve envisioned since you were little or a fun, quirky idea that you think would set your wedding apart from every other wedding you’ve been to.
2). What is important to have happen that day? What are some things that are important to the both of you to have for your wedding day. A certain flower in your arrangements or a special meal to be served. These are your priorities for the wedding day and it will help you to know what you need to budget for. Not only are these things important to you both, but they also tend to be those things that really connect your guests to you on your wedding day.
3). When would you like to get married? A lot of couples have a date or season that is very important to them and so it’s easy to pick a wedding date. But you also need to stay flexible in your wedding planning. Sometimes the venue you want isn’t available and so you’ll have to adjust your date. Also holidays and weekends are appealing to a lot of couples planning their wedding because it’s easy for out of town guests to fly in. But also keep in mind that there are certain holidays where people want to stay home. Also, the discounts people say you get aren’t always true and sometimes holiday weddings are harder to plan because either everyone has picked that date or no one wants to work it. Also keep in mind the length of time you will have for wedding planning. The more time you have, the easier it will be on you.
4). Who must you invite? Maybe you want a small intimate wedding or maybe you have 13 cousins and their family that you just have to invite. Talk about who needs to be invited and who would be a bonus. Make a preliminary guest list now. It will set the stage for your budget and venues for your wedding day.
5). What do you want to spend? Are you paying for everything yourselves or are family members contributing? What can you honestly afford to spend? This is a great time to start doing some research on what a wedding actually costs. Some people are very surprised when they start to see those numbers. Talk to some recently married couples or join some local social media groups and see what people from your area are spending.
Wedding planning can be overwhelming at times, so take the time to plan it well. The more organized you are from the beginning the easier your wedding planning will be over time. And if you want the extra help, then contact me for a consultation and I will help with your wedding planning needs to make your day just perfect.