5 Things Your Wedding Planner Wants You To Know

I still don’t know why I did this (maybe I’m a good person, or maybe I was seriously duped), but I planned my brother’s entire wedding, and if I learned one thing from it, it’s that I am done planning weddings that aren’t my wedding. And honestly, I’m not even that sure I want to plan my own wedding. One thing I do know for sure is that I want to enjoy planning it, not spend the year leading up to it stress-eating Krispy Kremes and ripping all of my hair out one strand at a time. If you are getting married sooner than I am—like, within the next year or two—and don’t want to have to choose between sleeping at night and having a great wedding, hire yourself a wedding planner and let him/her do everything. To understand why this is the right move, I reached out to Jamie Lipman at absolute. Wedding & Event Planning to learn a little about how this whole process works, and she definitely taught me a thing or two. Because I’m so selfless and want to help all of the brides out there, here are five things your wedding planner wants you to know.

1. Trust Them

This is tough because it’s your wedding and you know what you want, so why would you trust someone else to execute your vision who isn’t you, right? Wrong, control freaks. Your wedding planner’s job is to help you execute your vision, so trust them to do their job! Lipman says, “All great relationships are built on a foundation of trust. The same way you trust your doctor to help heal you; the same way you trust your accountant to tell you how to properly spend and save money. You hired us for a reason, so trust our advice because we are truly experts at what we do.” Obviously, your planner will want you to be involved and give input, but when it comes to the nitty gritty, let Jesus the planner take the wheel. They knows what they’re doing. 

2. Know When To Stay In Your Lane

This goes hand-in-hand with trusting your planners. I mean, look, event planning is difficult because there are so many little details you will not want to deal with. For instance, when I was planning a wedding, the florist called me at 8:07 on a Saturday morning to tell me that the platinum-colored votives I had my eye on were out of stock and wanted to know if I’d be okay with the white gold-colored ones. I mean, white gold and platinum look the exact same, no? Also, at 8:07 on a weekend, I don’t give a f*ck about anything—especially choosing between two identical candle holders. This is the kind of sh*t the planner deals with so that your valuable time can be spent tasting eight different cakes and picking out ugly bridesmaids dresses that they can totally wear again.

Lipman adds, “Allow yourself to be totally taken care of! Not just on your wedding day, but through every step of the planning process. Let us worry about spreadsheets, budgets, orders, negotiations, and all of the other things that can turn this magical time into a stressful, overwhelming experience.” I mean, enough said. You hired your planner for a reason, so remember that when you feel like you want to show up to every vendor meeting and offer your two cents.

3. Planners Like Getting Your Input

I mean, duh, but some brides feel like they’re being annoying/a burden by checking in and offering their opinions, but planners don’t mind! In fact, they like it because without your direction, they have no idea what they’re supposed to do! “We love being a part of one of the most special days in your life. We’re honored that you trust us to hold your day in our hands. We speak a language that you never need to learn and have spent years forming vendor relationships.” Lipman says. And let me just say, thank the good Lord for that, because I don’t know anything about the things like how many bottles of each type of liquor will quench the thirst of 113 people! Like, if I didn’t consult a planner, I would have had 19 bottles of gin, three bottles of whiskey and one of those airplane bottles of tequila. Good thing planners could step in and seamlessly fix my error. 

Planners know that brides are an especially anxious breed of human, so they aren’t going to be annoyed if you ask them whether or not a donut wall is cute or overdone (it’s overdone). They are there to offer suggestions and help make decisions so that you don’t have to! 

4. Try To Understand The Price Tag

Some people out there are cheap af and will take crazy shortcuts like asking their guests to double as vendors in order to cut costs, but if you aren’t an asshole, you will just accept that weddings cost money. Lipman says, “You pay for experience, expertise, and peace of mind knowing that your most important day is in great hands.” She has a point. You didn’t hire a wedding planner because it sounded like a fun thing to do; you hired a wedding planner for their knowledge and ability to make sure that your wedding looks exactly like your Pinterest board. That costs money, people! When you meet your planner for the first time, establishing a budget should be one of the first things you do so you don’t end up spending your future kids’ college tuition on your wedding.

5. Don’t Try To Negotiate

Wedding planners recommend vendors with whom they have strong relationships, so the price they give you is trustworthy. No one is trying to swindle you, honey. “The vendors we refer treat our clients amazingly well because you are our client, period. We know they will do a great job and give you an incredible value for the money you’re spending. You need to trust that the price we give you is the best price that will ever be available because of our personal relationships.” Preach. Also, negotiating sucks. I once bought a necklace on Etsy and tried to negotiate the price down via the online messaging portal and didn’t sleep for three whole days because it was so stressful and nerve wracking, and by the time I got the necklace, it became a daily reminder of how much I hate negotiating. When it comes to negotiating with your planner, just, like, don’t do it. 

Look, if you’ve ever tried to organize a dinner with more than three people, you know that planning sh*t is really hard. When it comes to your wedding, which is the same thing as that dinner we talked about, only plus two hundred more people, just hire a planner and trust that they’ll deliver on their promise to give you the most perfect Instagram wedding there ever was. 

Images: Photos by Lanty / Unsplash; Giphy (5); Unsplash

Are We Having Expensive Weddings To Compete With Instagram, Or Our Friends?

It’s no secret that weddings have gotten out of control. Just ask any 29-year-old who’s spent hours every Sunday this summer performing the ritual wedding hashtag stalk. It’s also no secret that the number of millennials currently in debt thanks to their wedding—or worse, other people’s weddings—is not zero. 

Asked why, the obvious answer is that people are motivated to do it for the ‘gram. According to Wedding Wire’s Newlyweds Report, 28 percent of couples cited “succumbing to Instagram pressure” as a reason for their increased wedding costs. I mean…that photo of the donut wall cake-cutting that never seems to f*cking leave my explore page may be pretty, but I’d rather not make interest payments on it, and I feel like most people would agree. So can Instagram really be the main reason for increased wedding costs when the average bride has like 500 followers and 10 photos on their hashtag page? (I completely made that statistic up.)

This is the donut wall Instagram that’s everywhere:

 

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Who needs wedding cake when you have a donut wall ??? . . Follow [email protected] Follow [email protected] Follow [email protected] . . . . //Photo by @lukeandmallory //Dress @bellalilybridal //Bride @allyscalf //Groom @ryanscalf •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ • ⠀ #soloverly #weddings #bride #bridetobe #truelove #thebest #pursuepretty #weddingfun #iloveyou #weddinginspiration #instawedding #blushgown #weddingideas #weddingphoto #weddingtime #instabride #gettingmarried #weddingblog #valentino #michaelkors #marriage #perfect #weddingcake #dessert #relationshipgoals #donuts #cuteideas

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We spoke to Jamie Lipman, the founder of the event-planning company absolute. Wedding & Event Planning to get her take on what she sees as brides’ main motivations for spending more money, and the answer was a tale as old as time: brides are actually spending to compete with their close friends.

Credit: Alain Martinez Photography

According to Lipman, “As a planner, we’re privy to getting super intimate with our clients, and it’s kind of like therapy. They can just flat-out say, ‘my friend got married last week, it’s gotta be bigger and better.’” And as it goes with friend groups, when one gets engaged, there are usually more to follow. The result is that brides are going to numerous weddings around the time they’re getting married, which creates opportunity for comparison. “I had a girl who was kind of like 27 Dresses—went to a wedding every weekend—so every weekend was something incredibly extravagant. The place card wall was floor to ceiling, they had fire-based entertainment, neon LED lights—she compiled all this stuff and gave me a list of everything she’s seen lately and that she has to do more and have a bigger wow factor. She hit every single possible thing of miscellaneous entertainment that we do in our industry. What she neglected to do was focus on the details.”

“The things people try to one-up are the dresses, outfit changes, the gifts they’re giving their bridesmaids, even the way they thank their vendors on Instagram. Honestly, I see a lot of resemblance in photos after.”

Credit: Adi Adinayev

There seems to be no aspect of the wedding—no matter how sentimental or meaningful—that is exempt from competition. “I have had brides who demand to read speeches and toasts ahead of time and critique them because they know how well their best friend’s father did reciting his speech and now she is demanding her dad ‘be more sentimental’ about her,” Lipman says.

Apparently this pattern encompasses more than the wedding itself, and includes pretty much every event a bride could conceive of to celebrate herself, from engagement to honeymoon. “There is an element of status that goes along with the bachelorette,” Lipman explains. “Where are you traveling? How many girls? To see a lot of girls on a trip in your honor makes a statement. So it becomes so much about what will the attire be, as in ‘what will look the best in photos.’ It all looks better in their mind because the actuality of it is that no matter how much you love each other, no girl wants to travel with so many other girls. Intimate environments are what it’s all about.” 

Credit: Cheryl & Jay

At the same time, there’s pressure to do things differently from one’s closest friends, basically for the sake of being different. “We also get brides who don’t want something because their friend had it. I’ve definitely had friends or sisters also tell someone that they can’t have something. Especially if it’s the same venue. Sometimes a bride will want to do something, but their friend got married first and took the idea so now they won’t or feel like they can’t.” She even says, “I’ve definitely heard brides say their friends can’t use the same dress designer.”

Lipman says the real way to stand out is through personalization. “There’s nothing more exciting than the subtle references and details that are specific to the bride and groom, that usually have some humor to it, that make people go ‘wait what? This is great.’” But it’s important to keep it subtle. “Over personalization is something that, when not done right, copied off of social media, or not guided in the right direction by a planner, can be tacky and obnoxious. For example, monograms are pretty basic. I don’t know how important it is to put names of the couples on a logo at the top of the wedding menu anymore. Everyone knows who they came to see.” So make it just a little more interesting.

Credit: Emily Harris Photography

When it comes to Instagram, she thinks brides use it more for inspiration than for competition. “People gather information from Instagram, but it usually stems from a good place because they don’t know the person whose wedding they’re looking at. It’s usually an influencer and you don’t have a direct connection to them. So you can still appreciate it. None of the other human emotions—jealousy, competitiveness—get in the way. The bride can still take from their idea and truly feel that it is their own because they don’t have friends or family in common with this social media stranger. It won’t trace back in her own world, so she gets to hear ‘wow…that was so creative, I can’t believe you did that.’” 

We asked her how stressful this must be to deal with and she assures us that, “it’s not always so catty. I think everybody prides themselves on at least trying to be original.” You know what that means: say no to neon signs and donut walls in 2020.

Images: Alasdair Elmes / Unsplash

9 Ways To Cut Wedding Costs
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Weddings are expensive. They’re also one of the most important days of your life, and you don’t want to skimp on the details! So how do you strike that balance between not cashing out your 401(k) and still having the wedding of your dreams? While every element of your wedding is no doubt important, there are a few areas where you can be a little thrifty in order to cut costs—that won’t make you come off cheap or tacky or sacrifice your ~aesthetic~. We reached out to some of our industry faves, the venue experts at Here Comes the Guide and Portland-based wedding planner Luxe Event Productions, for their best tips on how to have your dream wedding without breaking the bank. Read on and get ready to save some serious cash (you’re welcome).

1. Rent Your Tux

With renting, your groom and groomsmen can get the expensive look you they want with a much more manageable price tag. The key is to look for quality. For example, most quality suits that are 100% wool can run $400+. That’s for the jacket and pants only, BTW. But online suit rental companies like Generation Tux rent everything à la carte, so you have full control over your budget. Plus, their 100% wool suits start at just $109. Think of all the extra drinks you can buy on your honeymoon with that extra money.

2. Buy Secondhand

In the past, retail stores were the only option for buying a wedding dress, but these days you have options. Buying new isn’t the only way to go anymore, and secondhand online stores like Stillwhite.com are popping up all over the place. Now, you can go online and find the exact same dress you’d buy from your local retail store, this time from another bride around the world, and end up paying much less. Another bonus? You can re-sell that dress after your wedding and make a lot of your money back! Because, come on, you are never going to be able to wear that dress ever again.

3. DIY Your Flowers

It sounds hard, we know! DIY florals can be hard to navigate, but kits from online sources like Bloominous provide design, instructions, materials, and recipes to easily put together wedding flowers to make it yours. It’s also a fun way to enlist your family and friends to help in the days leading up to your wedding.

4. Think “Off Season” For Your Venue

Winter Wedding

Who says “Saturday in June” wedding couples have more fun? The wedding off-season typically spans from November to March—and couples on a budget will get the most bang for their buck by booking their venues during this timeframe. Consider having your celebration on a Thursday in November (not Thanksgiving, please) and see how much your venue will shave off the regular rental fee. Or how about a winter morning mimosa brunch wedding? Just be sure to have an inclement weather contingency plan in place!

5. Make Your Guest List The A-List

It goes without saying that a shorter guest list is easier on not only your budget but your sanity, too. Even if it’s unrealistic to whittle your list down to 20 of your closest friends and family, chopping it from 300 to 150 will still help take things from overwhelming to manageable. More often than not, an intimate affair really does require less money and less work—and it comes with an invaluable bonus: more quality face time with that cozier group of guests you invited.

6. Hire A Wedding Planner

You might be thinking of foregoing a coordinator in order to save some cash, but trust us…if you’re looking to have your champagne-dreams-on-a-beer-budget wedding, then a hiring a planner is your best bet. Time is money, and an experienced coordinator will handle all the little details so you don’t have to stress. Plus, they can also pass along savings to you by hooking you up with their extensive vendor network. This is one area where spending the money is totally worth it.

7. Choose One Standout Feature

For all aspects of your big day, identify one standout feature instead of making each and every detail high-end. For instance, on invites, choose one remarkable element, like a silk ribbon or a foil pressed folio/pocket, and pair that piece with simpler enclosures. Control your budget by shopping online with sites like LoveonPaper.com and choosing these standout elements on your own. The bottom line is, you can’t go over-the-top in every single area of your wedding and still expect it to be budget-friendly.

8. Track Every Purchase

It’s easy to break the bank by not tracking the little things, like your earrings, groom’s socks, new perfume, or those shoes you just *had* to buy. It’s these items people often forget to track and they wonder why they are running out of money. It might be hard to face the truth of how much money you’re spending, but you’ll be so thankful in the long run when you don’t have to wonder where all your money went.

9. Keep Your Wedding Party Tight

Large wedding parties can definitely increase the budget. When you think about it, each bridesmaid bouquet can run $85-$150 each, and groomsmen boutonnieres are about $15-$20. Multiply those by 6, 8, or more and your floral costs are skyrocketing without you even noticing. So keep your wedding party small to cut unexpected costs like these (and probably cut unexpected drama).

Images: Carrie King; Stillwhite; Sanaz Photography; Meg Sorel; Shutterstock (5); Kendra Allen / Unsplash

5 Things You Need To Know About Choosing A Wedding Planner

You know, getting married isn’t just about picking the most legendary wedding hashtag and making sure you look hotter than all of your bridesmaids. There’s a lot of other stuff to think about too, like whether you’re going to hire a band or a DJ, and I guess, if you’re going to like, want to spend the rest of your life with your fiancé. Luckily, there’s a whole industry of professionals who you can literally pay to help you get your sh*t together. Just make sure you’re at least competent enough to pick the right event planner. Although I haven’t actually ever planned a wedding, I do work in the wedding industry and have seen a f*ck ton of brides and event planners bicker over things as simple as the color of an RSVP envelope, so I feel pretty qualified to tell you what to avoid when choosing a wedding planner.

Don’t Hire An Event Planner If You Don’t Need One

Sure, an event planner can make planning your Big Fat Instagram-Worthy Wedding a lot easier, but if you have a really small budget or are just holding an intimate ceremony in like, Tulum, you probably don’t even need one. If you’re looking for someone to choose all your vendors and design every aspect from invitations to the farewell brunch napkins without much input from yourself, then yeah, you’re going to want a bomb event planner. If you’re not sure what kind of help you need, shop around a bit and think about what kind of services you’ll need. Oh and, P.S., if you already have a venue in mind, see if they have onsite planners, because that will might make your life a lot easier.

Don’t Hire A Planner If You Really Need A Coordinator

Can’t decide if you need an event planner or an event coordinator? Approach the whole situation like most college dudes approach dating and ask yourself, how much time do you really want to spend with this betch? A wedding planner is basically the chick that will force you to apple picking in the fall, and a coordinator is more like that unsaved number you booty call in the final hour.

If you’re looking to work with someone who will basically be your right hand from the moment you get engaged until the very last minute of your reception, you’re going to need a wedding planner. If you’re willing to pay for it, this betch will plan all of the tiniest details, from deciding whether you’ll use a wreathed or a double monogram to picking the fruit that’s going to garnish the mimosas at your bridal shower.

If you’re looking to work with someone who will tackle the tasks you can only think about when you’re on Adderall, you’ll need a wedding coordinator. You’ll typically work with a coordinator for a few weeks or months leading up to your wedding. They can do as little as just making sure the tables are properly set for your reception, or as much as planning your seating arrangements so your drunk uncle doesn’t end up anywhere near your future mother-in-law.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Hire Someone

If you’re feeling totally overwhelmed, it’s actually better to start making decisions about wedding planners as early as possible. That way, even if you only need someone during the month of your wedding, you can hire a planner before it’s too late, and won’t end up with someone sh*tty. Also, keep in mind that literally every aspect of your wedding will run on its own timeframe and event planners and coordinators should have a pretty solid grasp on that. If you have no idea when you’re supposed to create a seating chart, send your guest list to a calligrapher, or pick your wedding cake, sitting down with a planner as early as possible to at least build out that timeline will be really helpful. 

Don’t Just Hire Your Friend Who’s Self-Described Type A

Oh, your best friend from high school had so much fun planning her own wedding that she now wants to become an event planner? Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where Monica basically ruins Phoebe’s wedding? Don’t let that happen. It’s definitely a good idea to pull a Blair Waldorf and enlist her as a minion to put your hotel bags together or whatever, but if your wedding budget allows, hire an actual professional. Unless you want to lose a friend over table linens, it’s better to work with a total stranger to whom you can send low-risk passive-aggressive emails back and forth. A real event planner will help your day go off without a hitch, and might even have connections with wedding vendors that could possibly help you cut costs elsewhere.

Don’t Just Pick The First Planner You Find

I mean, I get it. Sometimes you see a really great photo of a tablescape on Instagram and you’re like, “I want the person who is responsible for this beautiful creation to be responsible for my whole entire life.” There’s just something about a perfectly coordinated charger and table runner that makes you want to trust someone with everything you’ve got. But like, you’re probably going to have to spend a lot of time with this person, and your wedding is kind of a really big deal, so don’t just jump into this as quickly as you swiped right on your fiancé. If you’re not really sure where to look, start with the major vendor lists, like Wedding Wire, Wedding Chicks, and The Knot. If you’re overwhelmed by the bazillion options, try looking through more niche wedding websites that fit the aesthetic you’re looking to create. For example, if you’re into having everything blush, rose gold, and monogrammed, check out Style Me Pretty. If you’re obsessed with the idea of making your bridesmaids do something edgy, like wear customized leather jackets, try Green Wedding Shoes. There is literally a wedding blog for every kind of wedding you could ever want to throw, so even if you’re like, planning a Disney themed sh*t show, you can probably find the right event planner online.

Images: Unsplash; Giphy (3)