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Archive for February, 2009

I just receive pictures this week from a wedding I did this Fall at RH Phillips near Esparto, CA.  Shannon and Chad were such a wonderful couple to work with.  The colors were chocolate brown with various shades of pink.  The weather ended up being perfect that day.  The very touching ceremony was on top a hill overlooking an incredible view of the winery and the valley below.  A full moon added the perfect touch to an elegant and fun-filled reception at the winery that evening. 

Enjoy the pics!

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So what does a wedding planner do anyway?  This is a question I actually get a lot, not only from brides, but from my own family and friends.  The images of wedding planners or bridal consultants (same thing, different words) are of either Franck, the wacky and pushy wedding planner from the movie Father of the Bride, or Jennifer Lopez, from the movie The Wedding Planner, who catered to very upscale and expensive clients.  While Jennifer Lopez’s character was probably a bit closer to reality than Franck, there are still many misconceptions about wedding planners.

First, we are not pushy.  We will give you lots of ideas and vendor suggestions, but ultimately, it is your vision and your choices that matter.  After all, it is your wedding, not ours.  We are there to help make that dream, that has been in your head since probably childhood, into reality.  We are a creative group as well as an organized group.  And, since we’ve been doing this for years, we know what works and what generally doesn’t.  We know vendors that have earned our respect and trust and will give our clients the best product for their dollar.

Second, wedding planners are not just for the “rich and famous” people.  The majority of my clients are average, hard working people, just like you.  They don’t have huge budgets but they do have big dreams and big ideas.  Our job is to help you make a budget and then stick to that budget.  I am a huge believer in not going into debt for your wedding.  That’s a very stressful way to start a marriage.  More often than not, I save my full service clients the amount (or more) of what my fee cost them, just because of the vendors I knew that they would have otherwise not found.  If full service is still not in your budget, consider hiring a wedding planner for day-of services.

Third, we do not take away the mother-of-the bride’s job of planning the wedding.  I welcome the mother-of-the bride to be part of the planning process if she wishes.  At the end of the wedding night, it is almost always the mother-of-the bride who seeks me out first to thank me.  Moms are busy people, just like brides and grooms, and they simply do not have the time to plan a wedding, in addition to work and family obligations.  They would like to enjoy the wedding and visit with the wedding guests.  They do not like running around like a “chicken with their head cut off” before the wedding putting the decorations on the table when they should be getting dressed or doing pictures.  They do not like spending the entire evening fielding questions from vendors and dealing with emergencies that come up.  Some day, when my own children get married, I will insist on having a bridal consultant, other than myself, to handle at least the day-of.  I want to enjoy my children’s weddings!  My favorite mother-of-the bride quote from one of my weddings last year, “You were the best money I ever spent!”

Fourth, wedding planners are very respectful of your house of worship’s rules and regulations.  A house of worship, even if it is not of my religion, deserves to be respected.  I always take time to talk with the pastor, rabbi, etc. to make certain of the rules and customs.  I have also changed the misconceptions of more than one church wedding coordinator or pastor about wedding planners being “rude and disrepectful”.

Fifth, ethical wedding planners do not take “kickbacks” from vendors.  If a wedding planner is a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) then they are bound by a code of ethics that says they cannot accept kickbacks.  A kickback is where a vendor charges the bride and groom more for a service than normal and gives a percentage of that back to the consultant.  Many of my vendors, however, will offer a discount off of their normal rates because I continue to bring them business.  This discount is always passed on to my clients.  Many bridal consultants do sell invitations or other wedding products and services, in addition to their consulting services.  This is not a kickback since the consultant is acting in a retail capacity.

Wedding planners/bridal consultants are creative, organized, and very detail oriented people.  Our goals is to make our clients special day happy, memorable, special, unique, and stress-free.  The best feeling I get is when the couple comes up to me at the end of the wedding, with big hugs, thanking me over and over because their wedding was perfect!  Only, I know of the things that went wrong and was able to handle them professionally and without much fuss or fanfare.  It is so rewarding to see of all of my months of hard work come together for one beautiful day.  When my clients and the guests are happy, and enjoying themselves, that makes me happy.  When a couple tells me that their wedding day was so much better than they ever imagined it could be, that let’s me know I did my job!

Happy Planning!

Karen 🙂

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