You have a great email back and forth with a wedding couple - things are looking good! You send your pricing sheet - and they're in shock. They question your worth, try to strip down your services, whatever they can do to save a buck. How do you explain why you're worth it? This week's episode has three effective ways to market your value and close the sale. Music by Michael Holowatch of the Replicas.
We put the "party" in Bridal Parties with the latest episode of the Aisle Survive: Tales of a Former Wedding Planner Podcast! From groomsmen who chase planners across the dance floor to bridesmaids who break up bachelorette parties, do I have some stories - and, tips for how to help your clients manage rogue members of their squad.
I also have tips for how to handle bridal parties that have big responsibilities on the wedding day - to ensure they feel supported, yet set you up for success.
Music by Michael Holowatch of The Replicas!
In this episode of the Aisle Survive: Tales of a Former Wedding Planner podcast, I talk about the dumb little things that can be a big, awkward issue on the day of. As a wedding planner, we have to cross check everything - no one else is doing it, so we get blamed if something slips through the cracks. In this episode, the top three things to make sure you double check before the big day. Music by Michael Holowatch of the Replicas!
NOTE: Podcast vocal starts at 00:41, really long music intro on this one!
Ever feel like you're a professional arbitrator or MFT? When what you thought you were doing was planning a wedding? When family drama gets too much and we planners are in the middle of it, it can make our job exhausting and stressful. Here's how to get everyone to behave and treat you not like a member of the family, but like the professional you are. Tips start at 4.57. Music is "She's So High" by Michael Holowatch of the Replicas. They provide outstanding live music for any event and are simply amazing. Many thanks to Michael for letting me use this track.
Questions? Stories? Just want to talk? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The transition to podcasts has officially begun! This first official episode of the Aisle Survive: Tales of a Former Wedding Planner podcast is up. This episode is about Bad Decisions - the client who wants their cousin to do the lighting, their aunt to take the photos - you get the gist. How to maintain integrity of the wedding, and thus your role, at the event? I'll explain all. Any questions, input, comments, or war stories? Email me at email@example.com.
The music is "She's So High" by Michael Holowatch of the Replicas, one of the best bands EVER. If you need a killer band for your clients' wedding or event in Los Angeles and beyond, look no further!
To my patient Webinar registrants: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a 20 minute 1:1 about whatever topic you desire, my treat. Thanks!
Your significant other popped the question...you said yes...Now what?? It can seem overwhelming deciding the what to do first, but if you take things one at a time it'll help cohere the wedding planning process into something manageable.
Create a budget - preferably with a pro's help.
You don't need to hire a full service pro for wedding planning to get the most valuable aspect of their services - setting a realistic budget. Many times, couples underestimate their budget, because people just don't realize how much these damn things cost. Hire a planner on an hourly or a-la-carte basis to discuss your ideas on decor, venue, time, date, and main components of the event, and have them create a budget scenario so you know what to expect. You may decide to postpone the wedding planning until you save more money, or it could help show parents and relatives the true cost and formalize any contributions.
Don't get carried away by Pinterest.
You will see so many great ideas on Pinterest, and the next thing you know you're pinning everything in sight and have 500 photos, that all represent different ideas and themes. Instead, pick your aesthetic (modern? Vintage? Rustic?) and let that guide your venue choice, and wedding decor, and don't get distracted by anything that looks off-theme.
Consider a small bridal party.
Anecdotally, I'm finding more and more couples are doing this. It cuts down on the workload of wedding planning considerably - managing tuxes, gowns, and navigating inner-circle drama takes up a lot of time.
For more tips, visual inspiration, and just social media fun in general, follow us on Instagram.
As you can imagine, often in my career as a planner, I'd have to recommend the best wedding photographers I work with. And there I'd sit, having worked with about 200 or so wedding photographers - and knowing even more - and only sending out the same few names. I'd say there are about 15-20 I regularly recommend, and a few more that fellow planners have worked with that swear by that I also hold in high regard.
Since digital photography became the standard, the wedding photography market became glutted. Since people didn't need to buy costly film and spend hours in a darkroom, there was a lower barrier to entry in this segment of the wedding industry.
And what happens then? The pool of talent becomes very wide and shallow. How then to choose the best photographer for you?
Don't be dazzled by just a few photos.
You'll see this advice a lot - look at ALL their photos from a few weddings, not just a handful. In the old days, this was easy - you could check out their work in cohesive albums. Now, they can just post a few photos per wedding on their website and show off the most beautiful. But, pro photographers will still have albums made (not just to show off their talents, but to let you see and feel an album in case you want to purchase one).
Yes, just about anyone can pick up a professional camera these days and start snapping away with little risk - photo didn't turn out right? Just delete it! - so you need to make sure they have experience. This doesn't mean someone 1-2 years into their business is not a good candidate- I've worked with a lot of newbies who had years of formal training and second shooting for other photographers before going solo, and can talk shop with expertise. I'd rather work with someone with less years of experience but better instinct than photographers who have had years of experience, but still can't follow a timeline.
They must be familiar with timelines.
It's not just getting pretty pictures. If they cannot manage a timeline, the photographer is going to back up and delay your entire day. This is 90% of what makes a wedding photographer a good one - being able to get just about everything on the shot list (and making sure it's a reasonable list) while hitting deadlines throughout the day. I've had lots of stories about this that I could share all day long about this.
How can you tell if they know how to manage a timeline? ask for a couple coordinators' references and ask them directly if the photographer was able to manage the timeline without significant assistance from the coordinator's team.
A photographer with a gruff or wishy-washy personality will not serve you well. Someone upbeat, authoritative without being bossy, with a sheen of calm, is exactly what you want. This comes out in the interview, and also via references from their past clients.
So like anything in the wedding world, you can't just have wedding CAKE any more, you have to have - s'mores, or lollipops, or pudding parfaits, or literally anything BUT cake, because of course you have to be super-duper unique. There's nothing wrong with this (but guys, it's TOTALLY OKAY if all you want to have is cake. I love cake! and NO, wedding cake isn't dry or gross - I promise!)
That said, a great compromise between wedding cake and something more unique is the great American breakfast snack, donuts. Having a donut bar at your wedding can be a great touch that does not have to be labor intensive and can be quite reasonable. I personally believe heaven is a collection of 800 varieties of coffee and an all you can eat (where you never get full!) buffet of donuts. God, do I love them. And while they have been taken over by 'artisans' like everything else these days, not even hipsters can ruin them.
One client LOVES donettes, and had a candy bar with a donette display as the centerpiece, which was simple yet charming. Another client had super-cool and tricked out donuts from California Donuts that their dessert vendor, Fantasy Frostings, picked up and assembled among the rest of their fabulous desserts. Mixing in donuts with another dessert element (such as the ice cream sundae bar below), or keeping it simple with a donut bar, will delight your guests regardless of what brand or style of donut you use.
There are the more unique donuts these days that don't even taste like donuts; I'm going to be honest, they kind of taste like bread and come in vegan and gluten free options, and can be pricey. If you use a new-fangled vendor for these more specialized offerings, be sure to taste them first. Offering a variety will be sure your guests will be fondly remembering your donut bar for years to come.
When you're scanning the web for wedding planning advice, be careful - a lot of sites out there have recycled information, or just SO MUCH of it that it's confusing or overwhelming. And it's super important to make sure experts are quoted in the articles. When individual brides and grooms are giving advice in articles, remember, they've had experience with one (maybe two) weddings, and while they may have outstanding information to share, it's good to remember that wedding vendors have worked on hundreds to thousands of weddings.
Here are our fave blogs for pragmatic, entertaining wedding planning advice:
This blog is run by an actual wedding planner, Lauren Grove, which I love, because a lot of wedding how-to content is written by editors and writers who, while they definitely do their research, may not have been elbow-deep in the trenches of wedding planning. A wedding planner has seen so many situations play out, that they have a breadth of knowledge that makes planners like Lauren the top experts to follow.
Jessica Bishop's website has tons of solid advice and real-world examples of how to save money but still have a great wedding. Too often, budget advice is without context - but she brings in background information that makes sense. Also, fellow smart and practical brides bring honest feedback to what it's like to plan a budget-friendly wedding.
This website is all about weaving a couple's personality into the wedding without breaking the bank. It's the perfect antidote to the super-glossy, almost unreal glamour weddings you see online. (Not that I don't like seeing those, but it's nice to see something a little more unique.)