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Apr 01 2011

Why Wedding Coordination Costs “So Much”

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I have noticed that many couples don’t understand the importance of wedding coordinators and some wedding planning professionals have cut wedding coordination out of their list of services altogether.  As such, it seems that many brides and grooms fail to appreciate the role of a wedding coordinator and their costs– as I have heard things said like:

  • “I only need someone for the day. Can’t you just come on the day of?”
  • “I’m a type-A personality and highly detailed so I enjoy the planning, so I don’t really need a lot of help”
  • “We’ve done all of our planning and have about $400 left for a coordinator”

 

Now, this isn’t the norm– but with the economy’s downturn, people had become very creative with their inquiries and excuses.  So when they hear that wedding day of coordination could cost thousands, they are shocked.  Let’s clear up some misconceptions:

 

First, no one is just “showing up” on the day of your wedding to coordinate it.  That’s not day of coordination. That’s damage control.  This is much like you going into a doctor’s office and saying, “I don’t need you to do any tests on me, I’m pretty smart and really detailed.  So, what I’m going to need you to do is just show up at the operating room and do the surgery for me”.  You basically want the doctor to do a procedure “cold”, without knowing anything about your medical history, predispositions, or the medical team of nurses, anesthesiologists, etc. you’ve secured.   The same is said for clients who expect wedding planners and coordinators to do the same thing.  It is expected that the clients want someone to appear a few hours before the ceremony, set up a few place cards, fluff the peonies, tell your grandmother when to walk and cue you when to cut the cake.  That is truly the watered down version of what a wedding coordinator does.  That is only what you see.

 

It takes more than one day to coordinate a wedding.  Truth be told, it takes anywhere to 4 to 6 weeks to coordinate ONE day.  Those weeks consists of pulling together logistics, reviewing the event team’s contracts to confirm responsibiities and obligations, contacting your bridal party to make sure they know their duties and needed locations, finalizing payments, scheduling load-ins and strikes, creating timelines, event layouts, seating charts and more.  By the time your wedding day rolls around, your coordinator will have put in at least 8 hours on your wedding. I’ve heard many brides laugh and say, “Oh, I don’t need all of that”.  I laugh right back and say “Of course you don’t. But your caterer and photographer does…” It’s your job to be the bride, so there are many details that you may not have thought of.

 

Think of it as major motion picture company finding the right movie director for their new hot blockbuster.  While a movie producer finds the talent, supervises and controls the funding, and other important duties.  The parallel would be your full service wedding planner.  The movie director is the person who directs the making of the film.  They control the artistic and dramatic aspects, and work to visualize the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision. That, my friend, is your wedding coordinator.  You supply the vision, they make sure that everyone else is on the same page so that the vision can come to fruition.  With something as important as a blockbuster movie, as an investment, the motion picture company would never bring in a director on the day of a final shoot.  Directors are hired early enough to get a feel for the film so that they know it like the backs of their hand.  This allows them to know which cameras need to be where, The location of boom mics, pans and zooms and so much more.  Again, the same is said of your wedding coordinator.  S/he is able to see your event before it happens, making it possible to avoid pitfalls, timing clashes between vendors and other important factors.

 

So this is why wedding coordination “costs” so much.  The experience, commitment and savvy your coordinator brings your wedding is an asset and benefit to your event as a whole.  I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my team before each and every wedding: there are no do overs.  While you may be extremely detailed, a planner by nature or profession, or have a really good friend or Maid of Honor who can help you, wedding coordinators do this every weekend.  You’ll only do it once.  They know the ins and outs, what works and what doesn’t.  What sounds good in theory, may not work at all for your wedding. Nothing replaces the ability of having your own personal event director/producer on your side to make sure that your vision happens while you’re enjoying your day.

 

Stepping off my rhinestone soapbox in the Ambertina Louboutins…

P.S.– Keeping in mind what I just described about what the weeks prior to your wedding could entail production-wise, beware of $200 “wedding coordinators” or “free” wedding venue coordinators.  You get what you pay for, luxeling.

What’s your thought?

Dec 21 2010

Golden Isles Girls Night Out: Burlesque Event

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Earlier this month, we produced and co-hosted a Girls Night Out event with the Sea Palms Resort on St. Simons in honor of the new movie, Burlesque featuring Christina Aguilera and Cher.  This was the best must-attend party in the middle of the week!  The event was a great opportunity the ladies of the islands to let their hair down, get dressed up and party Cocktails + Details style!  Ladies walked the red carpet enjoyed tapas and special designer signature drinks (Dream and Breathless), which were a huge hit!  Chris Moncus served as our resident paparazzi for the evening, while Justin Henshaw of Island Sound provided the music that kept everyone on the dance floor.  James Grella and Jason Lavender of Image Artisans gave all of our ladies mini-makeovers prior to loading the ladies up for their royal transport over to a private screening of Burlesque.

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We had a fabulous time— it was a great chance to see old friends and meet new ones.  Another congratulations to Kristin Williams who won our ultimate swag bag giveaway which included beauty products, makeover and a vacation at the Casa Monica in St. Augustine, FL!  I just want to say thank you to all of the professionals that helped me pull off this event: Wendy, Chris, Justin, James + Jason—you guys were awesome and I appreciate you all so much.

Stay on the look out for next Girls’ Night Out event in February— we’re going inside the genie bottle, baby!

We Likey…BBJ Design Center

BBJ Design Center

 

I am a huge lover of BBJ Linen.  I absolutely love their Design Center; it allows you to piece together the linens you like and see them set visually before you to get an idea as to how your vision will come to life.  You can work with your primary linen, coordinating linen, napkins, chair covers and ties.  Seeing complementing colors and textures will give you an idea of what your tables and/or chairs will look like.  You can print out your results for your notes and try as many combinations as you like.  With showrooms across the U.S., you can make an appointment and see the linens you’ve chosen on actual tables.

 

Don’t forget to use the Linen Workup Sheet in combination with this great site!

{Papier Tuesday} Gourmet Invitations

When I was blessed to attend and speak at Eventology, one of the sponsors was Gourmet Invitations. I was so impressed with place cards, escort cards and other materials Tifany contributed, I couldn’t wait to feature her for Papier Tuesday.  While looking for different sets to feature for this blog post, I was really impressed with the many ideas and styles that Gourmet Invitations offers. Be sure to check out the Gourmet Invitations Blog, as you will see that each set has its own individual story.  I loved reading each one, as it became apparent how the story influenced the concept of the design.  It was great to see how Tifany brought that out and truly made those ideas flow into the suites she created.

I love how Tifany’s creativity is never pigeon-holed into one particular design.  She is able to recreate the event vision through paper before your eyes and have it flow through out the entire invitation suite, menus, seating charts and other cards. From vintage to modern, romantic to energetic, there is no limit to what Gourmet Invitations can inspire.

Fabuluxe 2.0 Friday Download: Wedding Ceremony Program Planner

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Gorgeous wedding program from Gourmet Invitations

We’ve cracked open the vault to help you with your planning this wedding season!

This week’s download is a ceremony program planner that will help you list all of the important information for our ceremony program.  Having all of your information at-a-glance will help you keep the names,  proper spellings, and other information on your program.  Use additional space to notate any memorials that you wish to include.

Enjoy!

Happy Downloading!

The Lie the Wedding Magazine Told You…

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I’m not the Oxy Clean guy.

There is never a “But WAIT!  There’s MORE!” moment with me.

There is no “but if you call right now, we’ll double the offer” moment.

Ever.

Just to clarify, I’m not this guy either:

I sell provide a service that includes my creativity and expertise. It does not consist of discounts.

While that’s not the “lie” that they told you outright, I feel that we should clear up a tragic misconception.  This misconception has been flagrant in the economic climate where the funds that were once set aside for your wedding have been diminished and depleted.  Everyone is looking to save money. I don’t blame you.

So, the thing that really molds my lip gloss is when the glossies and some blogs perpetuate the role of a wedding planner as a walking talking coupon code or Entertainment Book (remember how you had to sell those in school?).  I believe they say things like “A good wedding planner will save you money with her vendor relationships, who in turn will provide you with discounts”.

Oh, really? No. Not quite.

Let me tell you what a good wedding planner will do:

  • A good wedding planner will never publicly or privately purport to you that she can get you exorbitant discounts.  This is something that is never guaranteed.  Unless, she is discounting her own service and pricing.
  • A good wedding planner will save you money by matching you with vendors that fit against his/her stringent wedding budget and event vision criteria.  S/he already knows who to go to—s/he knows which vendors to go to for what it is you need that will be in your price range and maximize your dollar for your event vision. By doing the footwork of research, preliminary and sample orders for you, s/he has saved you time.  Which is almost the same as saving you money.
  • A good wedding planner will always pass along any professional courtesies to his/her clients and refrain from taking kickbacks or markups on the client’s order.
  • A good wedding planner understands that to get “the best deal” or price is relative to each particular client. The best “deal” may be a completely non-traditional workup of the menu that the caterer does not typically do, or a service or product upgrade.
  • A good wedding planner has worked years for his/her vendor relationships, and continues to do so; s/he does not violate, abuse, or manipulate them in such a casual manner,as some of the antiquated wedding advice columns perceive.  S/he knows, not only as a creative professional, but a business owner, the enumerable costs of overhead, taxes, staff salaries, etc. that factors into a vendor’s pricing.  S/he appreciates when discounts are given to her clients, but knows that they are always at the vendor’s discretion, and never guaranteed.

  • A good wedding planner will tell you this.

A good client will not rely on potential discounts, but can plan their wedding on a budget they can actually afford. They understand the ??less is more” concept, understanding that if budget is truly an issue, the guest list may need to be cut, or the vision may need to be scaled back.

Check out other wedding planning myths you can’t afford to believe.

10 Tips from 10 Wedding Planners

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One of the benefits of reading wedding blogs is that you get so much insight from fellow planners and brides.  I decided to ask some of the planners I think are outstanding to share a few of their favorite tips with Fabuluxe™ readers. Be sure to check them out, too!

“Hire vendors you trust, then let them do their jobs.”  Sara Bauleke • Bella Notte
“Start work on your seating assignments early as this becomes a MAJOR task as you get closer to the wedding…. when you make your guest list, purchase plain white, cheap paper plates and a pack of sticky notes…..write each guests name on a sticky note and arrange them in groups by family, friends or co workers around the paper plate about 8-10 on a plate ( as most 60” round banquet tables seat 8-10).”

Mark Kingsdorf • Queen of Hearts Weddings | BLOG

“Do you dread negotiating with vendors on their prices?  Wedding vendors need to support their lives too so most aren’t willing to drop their fees just because you ask.  The best way to get a good deal is to tell the vendor what amount you’re able to spend.  Then see how they can customize their services to fit your budget.  Perhaps the photographer will knock out the parent album that you don’t need anyway.  Maybe the DJ will leave the spinning club lights at home.  Or perhaps the caterer will suggest that you skip the mini dessert buffet and only serve wedding cake.  You may be surprised at how customized your vendors will make their packages in order to earn your business.” Laura Auer • Wish Special Events | BLOG
“Don’t get caught up in a particular shade of “pink” or “blue” when choosing your colors!  Different hues of a color will give your decor and overall wedding style that “designer” look.  Gone are the days of everything matching as well.  Bridesmaids dresses in gradient shades is a HAUTE look!”
Wendy Robinson • Sacred Moment Weddings | BLOG
“If you really want a unique wedding, stop looking for inspiration in wedding magazines.” Monica Gill •   The White Box | BLOG
“If having an outdoor ceremony, be considerate of your bridesmaids who may be wearing heals.  Consider purchasing them Solemates It keeps them from sinking into the grass.”  Latrice Cushenberry •  Bridal Opulence Weddings and Events | BLOG
“Keep all wedding related information in one place. Don’t have piles all over the house, and one at work, and one in the car, and don’t forget about the one that you have in the bathroom.  If you keep all of your wedding contracts, correspondence, emails, pages you’ve pulled out of magazines in one place, you will feel more organized. And if you need something, you will know exactly where it is. If your wedding consultant asks to see a copy of the contract, you know where it is – if you need to check the floral order, you know where it is.”

Melissa DiStefano •  MasterPiece Weddings | BLOG

“Consider a brunch reception if you are planning your wedding on a shoestring.”  Shanika Butts • SJB Weddings and Events | BLOG
“Add a line item to your budget for vendors that need to receive gratuities such as limo drivers, beauticians, etc. This can add up and it is so important to account for it at the beginning.”  Saundra Hadley • Planning…ForeverBLOG
“Make the timeline realistic and plan for all the activities you want. For instance, if you want to take pictures before the ceremony, please don’t ask the bridal party to show up only 2 hours before the ceremony, then say “If they’re late, then they won’t be in the pictures.”In reality you are going to WAIT for them because those are your friends or MOTHER,  and you really want them to be in the photos.  Plan accordingly to avoid any tardiness, tantrums and hurt feelings.”

Katasha Butler •  K.Sherrie + Co. | BLOG

Thank you to all of the planners that were so gracious with their time to participate. You all offered some wonderful tips and I know you will create more fabulous events in 2009.  Stay tuned for more tips from other wedding pros.

Fabuluxe 2.0 Friday Download: Linen Workup Sheet

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We’ve cracked open the vault to help you with your planning this wedding season!

Photo :: Wildflower Linen

This week’s download is a linen workup sheet that will help you keep track of the linens  you are considering for your wedding.  You can take note of the linens you like, its size, how many you will need and where at your wedding it will be used.

This workup sheet is great to use if you want to send them to linen providers to receive a quote or to check against when the delivery is received.

Happy Downloading!

Linen Workup Sheet

Go Green with Recyclable Luggage

 

Perhaps you have already decided to go on a green honeymoon.  Perhaps not—but you still want to do your part to travel efficiently and in a responsible manner towards our environment.  Good on ya, mate!  Now, it can be made just a little bit easier with Papier Bags by Saskia Diez which will be available in select retail stores and on the online shop next month.  Saskia Diez is a world renowned jeweler who will now grace the world with her eco-friendly luggage. 

According to Trendhunter, the bags are made from synthetic paper, etched with sterling silver and are recyclable, waterproof and almost impossible to tear. 

Inspiration ::Crème Brûlée::

Creme Brulee with berries

It is no secret that I absolutely L-O-V-E crème brûlée.  (Seriously, it’s unnatural)

When checking my stats, I noticed a lot of people were looking for crème brûlée inspiration boards.  I figured that a lot were attracted because of my fake crème brûlée recipe and our moodboard section.  I decided to take a stab at it, focusing on all of the things that crème brûlée represents to me.

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I based this board’s shades around the colors in crème brûlée– the soft ivories of the custard, the golden brown of the carmelized sugar, the bright white of  the whipped cream and the rich red of berries that accompanies most servings.  The linen samples are from BBJButtercup Lamour (the custard), Antique Gold Sparkle Sheer and Espresso Bichon Runner (the carmelized sugar).  When I think of crème brûlée, I think of very rich and full flavors.  It was only fitting that flowers like red ranunculus and ivory mystique roses would be incorporated into the centerpieces.  When paired with this gorgeous fluted vase from Country Living, the look is simple, yet elegant.  The low vase resembled ramekins used when cooking this decadent dessert.  Its coloring will pop against the warmth of the linens.  Those same warm colors are incorporated into the textured invitations and the pillar candles which produce an amber glow for the event.  The gorgeous bridesmaid’s dress from Dillards also ties in those colors and textures.

Très delish!