Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, which is why many couples choose to go the wedding planner route. This is a very wise decision for many couples, especially if you don’t have the time, interest or inclination to plan a wedding on your own. In addition, although you wouldn’t think so, hiring an event planner to plan your big day can actually save you money because they will negotiate with vendors on your behalf to make sure you pay a more than fair price (and that you don’t get ripped off).
When you are scouting out planners, there are some key questions to ask to make sure that you choose the planner right for you and your wedding.
1. How much experience do they have? Probably the most important question to ask. Every professional has to start somewhere, but do you really want your wedding to be planned by someone with no professional experience? Probably not. So, you need to ask fairly specific questions about how many events the planner has planned, how big they were, how big the budgets were, what were the themes of the weddings, etc.
2. Do they have a portfolio book? Nothing speaks to the quality of an event more than pictures. From a planner’s book, you can get a sense for how detailed they are, their flair for design and how polished and finished their events appear.
3. Can they give you references? Of course, any decent planner will provide you with glowing references, and you should definitely call these references. However, you should go beyond this and look for past clients of the planner via Yelp! and other wedding websites where there are reviews of the planner and then try to contact those former clients.
4. Are they credentialed? Many wedding and event planners have taken courses or even completed training for event planning, and these programs can provide planners with a substantial amount of knowledge and preparation as well as official certification. In addition, many planners belong to professional organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants. You should definitely weigh these factors heavily when evaluating your planners.
5. Do they have tools and resources that are part of their process? Some event planners have event planning software and some wedding planners have wedding planning software to help them stay well organized and streamline their operations, and these tools can really be an asset to both the planner and to you. They also show a commitment to their business and a desire to provide the best service possible to clients.
6. What is their personality like? Although this isn’t a precise question you can pose, it is an important question to ask yourself because you are going to have to work very closely with this person, so you should enjoy working with them.
7. What other value-add things can they offer you? Some wedding planners have special relationships with vendors so they can offer discounts that you can’t get anywhere else. Some event planners use professional event planning software or wedding planning software that includes special tools and features that clients can use. Be sure to ask if there are any special things that the planner can offer beyond their base services.
Is non-stop wedding planning making you want to tear your hair out? Are you wondering why you need to spend more for flowers than you do on your monthly rent or mortgage? Does a seating chart put you into a tizzy? If so, you are probably tempted to elope.
Eloping used to be done in the middle of the night and without the blessing of your families. Today’s elopements are a much less dramatic affair. But eloping is not for everyone. Just because you can elope, doesn’t mean you should.
Take our self-quiz to help decide if an elopement is for you. Have your fiancé take it too and compare your results. Then decide if you are reserving the reception hall, or two First Class tickets to Las Vegas!
Question 1: Imagine it is one year after your wedding. On your first wedding anniversary, what memories of your wedding do you look forward to the most?
a) the moments with our family and friends
b) our first kiss as man and wife
c) I’m thinking about how we’ll celebrate our 1st anniversary!
Question 2: If you had no limits to your budget or imagination, what wedding dress would you choose?
a) one with a long train and lots of lace
b) something with a modern twist, it might not be sold in a bridal shop
c) as long as it fits and looks great, I’m happy
Question 3: What stresses you out the most about planning your wedding?
a) that everyone I’ve invited will have a good time/be able to attend
b) that everyone does what they’ve promised to do/be on time/deliver items or services
c) that the logistics of the event planning will go off without a hitch
Question 4: Do you have bridesmaids?
a) my best friend from childhood, my best friend from college and my sister/fiancé’s sister
b) I’d like a few close friends to be my bridesmaids
c) Yes, I have several bridesmaids
Question 5: Why do you want to elope?
a) I am so tired of planning this wedding; it is too much pressure/stress. How do brides do it all?
b) who needs to be the center of attention at an event? We have each other, that’s what counts.
c) it sounds so easy. One long weekend and we’re hitched.
Okay brides-to-be, let’s tally your answers!
If you have mostly A’s: You’re All About Family & Friends. Eloping probably is not the best choice for you. You may be temporarily tempted by the thought, after spending a few hours with your latest seating chart. But most likely you want your nearest and dearest by your side on the Big Day.
If you have mostly B’s: You’re a Close Couple. Eloping might be a good choice for you, if it is a choice the two of you entirely agree on. You make choices based on the happiness of the two of you as a couple. If both of you are happiest eloping – then elopement it is!
If you have mostly C’s: You are a No Fuss Bride. Some brides it seems love to fuss with the every detail of the wedding, from the monogrammed cocktail napkins to the dog ring bearer and teaching them a new trick to wow the guests. That’s not your style. Eloping could be a good option for you, if your fiancé agrees with your no fuss style about eloping being the ideal choice for your wedding.
Let’s face it: trying to do anything big and splashy like a wedding is tough, no matter the time you try to do it. But getting married during one of the worst recessions the International economy has ever seen – has been tough on a lot of brides. But do you realize there are actually some benefits to being a recession era bride? Let’s talk about some of the “good” reasons that getting married during the recession isn’t quite so bad after all.
A tighter wedding budget forces you to focus on what’s important. Do you really need calla lilies flown in from an exotic location at every table – or would you rather have delicious food at the reception? Do you really need an open bar all night long – or will a single signature cocktail do the trick? Do you really have to invite your very best friend from summer camp you haven’t seen for ten years – simply because you always wanted to do so? The recession era bride has an easier time of focusing on what is really necessary and needed at her wedding and what can be tossed by the wayside.
Today’s bride is a savvy shopper. Gone are the days when a bride would pick the very first wedding dress that gave her tingles up the back of her neck. The recession era bride knows to go to a variety of wedding dress shops and to take digital photos of the dresses she likes. To do more comparison shopping. Also not to be afraid to ask for a better deal – when a competitor’s shop is offering a coupon the shop you are in just might honor it as well – you never know!
A wedding truly isn’t about what you buy – it’s about what you are doing. Getting a beautiful dress and going on an exotic honeymoon is certainly fun. But the recession era bride realizes more than ever what matters is the special moment she’ll be saying her wedding vows with her husband-to-be. That moment when they’ll kiss for the first time as husband and wife. The treasured father and daughter dance or having her father walk her down the aisle. These special moments can’t be bought in a shop or charged to your credit card.
A recession era bride isn’t afraid to get a little creative. If that banquet hall is just too far out of your budget – or you can’t afford flowers or something else you’ve been dreaming of – the recession era bride doesn’t pout – she gets to thinking! Could she get married in the big backyard of a family friend or at her college or university chapel? Could she visit a flower market on an early morning and buy flowers at a discount or get flowers from the grocery store? Or would small potted plants from a nursery make great centerpieces (sure…why not?) that you just wouldn’t see anywhere else? In another economy that bride might not get as creative – but the recession era bride learns to stretch and expand her thinking like never before.
So if you’re a recession era bride – enjoy the special and treasured moments your wedding day brings. Enjoy being with family and friends and your first day of married life!
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