Wedding Planner 101

Informational

March 10, 2021

Planning a wedding is scary guys. There’s so many decisions to be made, vendors to hire THEN if you live in a big city, there’s TONS of choices for everything. By this time you’re probably understanding why ostriches just stick their heads in the ground!
Luckily, not all heroes wear capes and some don a clipboard and hot glue to make our wedding dreams come true! Our good friend Wendy with The Savvy Bride STL let us bother her with some questions; everything from if she’s a dog person to what the difference is between a wedding planner and day of coordinator.

Photo credit to Megan with Something Bleu Photography

Get to know Wendy:

Tell me about yourself! What made you take the leap from 9-5 to wedding planning?  My background was in theatre education and direction. After teaching for about eight years, I left to get my MFA in Arts Administration and worked in the non-profit arts in St. Louis. I ran a few organizations before deciding to step down as the managing director and took an office job that would allow me to keep my weekends open to build my own wedding planning company. Basically, I was done working for someone else. I decided that I wanted to make my way, and if I succeeded or I failed, it was because of the quality of my work. 

Have you always wanted to be an event planner?  Wedding planning was not a life-long dream; it was a career that just evolved. Wedding Planning took my skills of directing and stage managing theatre, my love of inspiring and working with young people, and my degrees in business management to create The Savvy Bride.

Are you a cat person? Dog person? Both?  I am both.  I grew up with rescue dogs, and once I began living on my own, I added cats to the mix. We currently have four rescue dogs and one rescue cat. We also began adopting senior rescues. It has been a wonderfully rewarding experience. While it is hard because we don’t have very long with our senior babies, we know that they will leave this world loved and cared for.

What’s your favorite wedding meal?  If given the opportunity, I will always go with the salmon.  Healthy and doesn’t overfill me.

What is your favorite part of planning a wedding? The interaction with the couples.  My clients have access to me from the time they sign their contracts. We email, chat, text, and zoom throughout their entire process. It is so important to really get to know your clients. It makes it so much easier for the couple to turn over their wedding day to you when they know you on a personal level.

What is your favorite wedding color combo?  I don’t know that I have a favorite color combination. So many of my couples have themes or “nods” to something significant about them or their relationship. I think of my weddings in terms of “theme” rather than colors. I am not one for randomly choosing colors that don’t reflect the couple at all.  It is kind of like going to a tattoo parlor and picking out a random image to adorn you forever.  It should have some meaning or connection.

What is a wedding planner? The best person on the planet…lol We are a combination of many things.

  1. Teachers: We teach our clients about the wedding basics, assist them with etiquette questions, and explain why traditions exist.
  2. Logistic Experts: We build timelines, we preplan transportation routes,
  3. Project Managers: We make sure the right people are hired, we navigate the desires of the couple with the needs of the vendors, we set and followup to ensure everyone meets deadlines during the planning process.
  4. Liaisons: We work on the couple’s behalf with their vendors, work to reschedule, or even cancel if needed.
  5. Counselors: We help to smooth the ruffled feathers of family, wedding party, and guests. We help to mediate a compromise when couples can’t agree or when others want to influence the wedding. We help nervous brides to relax and listen to rants and vents when she needs to blow off steam.
  6. Designers: We help our couples take their wedding vision and make it a reality. We bargain shop, and we can custom build décor to make sure the couple can create the right atmosphere for their day.
  7. Finance Managers: We talk reality to couples about the expenses involved in weddings and focus their money on the key factors they want. We track their spending and adjust the budget to stay as close as possible to their desired amount.  We can’t grow a money tree, but we can help to spend their budget wisely.

What are the main differences between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator? I think of a wedding coordinator as a stage manager and a wedding planner as a director.

A coordinator is responsible for taking the details of your wedding planning and turning it into a workable project. We handle the timelines for the couple, the vendors, and the guests. We oversee the vendors you have hired so that we are all working as a team. We put out your personal décor and make sure the caterer and florists know how you want the tables to look. We are there to assist the wedding party throughout the day and make sure the guests are moving so that critical moments happen on time.

A planner does everything a coordinator does, plus they assist the couple with finding and hiring their vendors based on quality and budget needs. We help with budgeting and designing the overall look of the day. We coach you through the checklist and make sure you aren’t falling behind in your planning. Those items I mentioned earlier are what planners do.

Photo Credit to Alicia Rose

What are the benefits to a wedding planner in your opinion? A wedding planner can assist you in the planning process, saving you time and money by helping you pick the best vendors for your needs and budget. A planner is with you from the start to assist through every part of the process.

What are the benefits of a wedding day coordinator in your opinion? A wedding coordinator is a perfect option for couples with smaller budgets. We can help to look over your wedding plans and suggest tweaks to help the day run smoothly. We take the reigns and run your day so you, your family, and friends can enjoy the wedding day rather than being put to task on decorating rather than focusing on time with you.

What should a couple expect to invest in a wedding planner versus a wedding day coordinator? There is a wide range of price points for wedding planners.  Like photographers or caterers, partial and full professional wedding planners can range from $3,000 – $12,000 plus.  Wedding coordinators in the area can range from $1,300 – $3,800.  There are planners and coordinators for less, but for your protection, you will want to make sure they are insured and hold a state business license.

What is your best piece of advice for a couple on the fence about hiring a planner or coordinator?  Talk to couples who have used one and ask whether they felt it was worth the investment. Consider how you envision your day. Do you want to be hands-on prepping and decorating before the ceremony, or do you want to relax and enjoy some relaxing time with your wedding party?

Any advice for COVID couples? Unfortunately, 2021 is not going to be “like normal.” If you marry in 2021, you will have to manage a different set of rules than you might have hoped. A planner can help you to understand the contractual stipulations regarding COVID, postponements, and cancellations. We can assist couples who need to switch gears and change plans at the last minute. Wedding planners are following the CDC, state, and city guidelines on behalf of our couples. We are providing them with the most up-to-date information and policies so they can make informed decisions.

Photo Credit to Megan with Something Bleu

So there you have it friends! If there is anything we didn’t cover here, PLEASE let me know so we can share the knowledge! Make sure you check out Wendy for all your planning needs, too! You can contact her at wendy@savvybridestl.com for her availability and breathe easy!

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Thank you!