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!

private residence weddings NEED a planner…

Well thank you everyone for all the texts, emails, tweets and FB posts about our wedding last weekend which I encouraged all of you to follow our #behindthescenes.

I loved how while the ceremony was going on my phone was BLOWING up with “congratulations” texts from vendors and friends all over the country. You see the horrible rain and bad weather literally STOPPED 1.5 hours before the ceremony began. cutting it close, but a Win is a Win.

This was a very personal wedding for us. Yes, part of it was that the bride has breast cancer … but we don’t want that to be the whole story. We have planned this wedding for over a year! We’re invested with our clients! And we worked hard to pull it off, with the help of her fabulous dad and step-mom.

We continue to see a trend of more private residence weddings. It’s personal. It’s lovely. And it can be a lot of hard work. Over the past 10 years we have really honed our skills for these types of events.

Here’s just a FEW reasons to why you need a planner for your home or private residence wedding:


  • Setup is ridiculous. Seriously … vendors galore and all have to be scheduled accurately for delivery AND pickup. You have to bring in everything! Tent, chairs, dance floor, dishes, bathrooms, trash cans, electrical needs etc. You don’t want to manage this. You want to get a massage and have your nails done.
  • We come up with Plan A, Plan B and sometimes a Plan C to pull off your wedding day the way you want it to happen. Of course, Mother Nature can wipe through all those plans (she’s a real *B* sometimes), but we do everything humanly possible.
  • We get the A game from vendors. They love to work with planners (hello … referrals = business). We prepare, inform and contact everyone many, many times with private residence weddings. Everyone is on the same page, especially as changes happen.
  • When there is bad weather, we do the grunt work. You don’t want your family in their pretty dresses or tuxes sweating and wiping down chairs. Or walking through mud. We scraped mud this past weekend and got rained on. Our hair wasn’t the best, but who cares … we are hired help.
  • We handle the emergencies. Ran out of liquor and guests have been drinking? We run to the store. Need to herd the out-of-town guests to the transportation bus so they can get back to the hotel? We do that. Guest leaves a cell phone in said transportation bus and needs to contact someone at 12:30am? We do that. And more.


We could make this list a lot longer … but we’ll save more details for another blog post.

So for a little eye candy, here are a few of the photos from this past weekend. We’ll do a more formal post when we get the professional photographer photos from stewartography. Cannot wait to see them!

IMG_4086 IMG_4085 IMG_4084 IMG_4083 IMG_4082

from the bride

And just in case you were wondering how hard a planner works, here is my Fitbit for JUST the wedding day (not the two days of setup). I walked more than 10 miles.


plan on!


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!


you want to work with us?

wedding planner work horse


Few little things you should know about our little event planning company:

  • Everyone starts out with an unpaid internship.
  • Everyone is on commission basis only. Including the owner.
  • This job is awesome.
  • This job requires many hours on your feet with a constant smile.
  • While occasional food tastings and picking out pretty linens are sometimes perks of the job, this is a real business and managing other people’s money and their once-in-a-lifetime event is serious and not taken lightly.
  • Kiss your Friday nights, Saturday day and evenings goodbye. Can you hang with that?
  • You must have a deep desire to serve people, while thinking 10 steps ahead.

…. and this is just the beginning.

photos: saundra’s iphone

plan on!


last week of wedding planning :: IT’S WEDDING DAY !

Continuing our series of the last week of wedding planning for our very OWN, Kerry Devine.

It’s now THE WEDDING DAY !!!

The Finale …

ps We’ll be posting a wrap up with the highlight photos of the day, the stuff that went wrong and the amazing vendors that made it all happen.

featured photo credit: pfe iPhone

plan on!