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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weddings and Money

Money Talk!  Wedding Vendors and Brides and Grooms, All!

Sometimes, well...I should say more often than not, money can be a difficult subject to talk about. Often it is considered to be a taboo subject, but when it comes to weddings it is a must-have conversation.  
From a wedding vendor's perspective
When planning a wedding one of the first questions that couples will often ask is "How much does it cost?"  Many times it is because they don't know of any other place to start a conversation.  So as wedding vendors, sometimes we need to take a chill pill.  My answer is that everything is so customized that an answer can only be developed after I've spoken with a potential client.  

So depending upon how you word it or the tone of voice you use, this is how wedding vendors could interpret that question!  Vendors will feel like this person wants to bleed them dry and don't really care about how much work they would put in to do a good job for them!  They can tend to feel that a couple is just price shopping and is not recognizing how their work could be completely different from another vendor's work.
From a wedding couple's perspective

So where does the subject of money become awkward to a potential client?  It probably would be when a wedding vendor is asking, "What is your budget?"  This also is a very important question, but often it is feared by brides and grooms to mean, "They're going to take it all if we tell them!" That's not true.  The budget determines what you can do and will force people to set their priorities.  
From both sides now...
The wedding industry sometimes gets accused of raising the prices for the "W" word.  I don't see that happening among vendors I know.  It is true that weddings are much more involved and complicated than other types of events, and they definitely have a more emotions involved than other types of events.  I think that in reality, it just feels to couples planning a wedding that everything costs a fortune because they are discovering that there are so many details that need to be taken care of and paid for than they ever imagined.  As in any consumer transaction, if you are respectful and appreciative, you will probably have a much better experience.  Quite possibly they'll throw in some extras.  If you approach a vendor with a defensive or aggressive attitude, they might just tell you to take your business elsewhere.  If they are going to be working with a grumpy client for a year, they would probably just as soon not have your business.
The average couple has no idea how much time goes into what professionals do for a wedding. They don't just show up on a wedding day.  How could they and why should they?  They haven't done this before and even if they have, things change constantly.  As with any profession, you are paying for a skill which is preceded by education, investments of time and money and followed by many hours of hard work.  One thing that I say with 90% certainty, wedding vendors are doing what they love to do.  That is priceless!  Also remember that they are running a business and wearing so many hats like any other business owner.  Seldom, does a wedding vendor get rich doing what they do.
A good thing to remember is that if everything was easy, always possible, took little time and we could learn everything there is to possibly learn, there wouldn't be any industries out there. The same holds true for the wedding industry.
One thing that we must never forget as wedding vendors.  It isn't just another bride, another groom, another mother, sister or friend we are dealing with.  This is a very emotional and probably one of the most anticipated day in their lives so far.  We can't always show our emotions but that doesn't mean that we can't show how much we care.

Wishing you the Greatest of Days!

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

You've Got Questions?  We've Got Answers!
"What if my venue already has a Wedding Planner?  They said that they would do all of the planning."

We hear this a lot and it's not just venues.  It can also be caterers and sometimes DJ's who will say this. In reality, venue Coordinators/Wedding Planners are responsible for the venue and their staff's responsibilities on your wedding day.  They might even have vendors that they will recommend to you, but their approach to finding vendors for you can be very different. *The difference is really like comparing apples to oranges.  More than likely they would have a preferred vendor list whereas an independent Wedding Planner will search for a vast array of vendors that match your personality, style and budget and will look at your wedding from a much larger picture than just the wedding day. An independent Wedding Planner will help you from the very beginning all the way through to helping you with tasks that you still have in the weeks after the wedding.

An independent Wedding Planner becomes much more familiar with all of the dynamics of your wedding (including your family dynamics which has a huge effect) and an Independent Wedding Planner has by far the most consultations with a couple than any other vendor.  With our Full Planning Options (The Totally Pampered  and The Carefree and part of our Ala Carte options) we accompany our clients on as many consultations as our clients wish for us to be at. Some couples are thrilled with the very first one and others can't explore enough and go well beyond the average.  Only a few of the vendors who are integral to the success of a wedding are actually at the wedding
As a rule, venue Coordinators will tell you that they like it when a bride has hired an independent Wedding Planner.  An independent Wedding Planner makes their job easier.  They like it that they will have a contact person who is very familiar with weddings to contact at any time during business hours and they know they won't be receiving as many phone calls because a Wedding Planner knows the ropes if you will.  On your wedding day, we can help concentrate on the needs of the couple and whomever else you would like us to be aware of, i.e., elderly guests and so forth.  We help brides with all aspects of their wedding and not just what is visible on the day of the event.  We can match you with *the average of 16-20 vendor categories that are required for the average wedding usually averaging up to 3 consultations per category or more if necessary.   We try to find a vendor who will compliment your personality, style and budget.  We want our vendors to fall in love with you and you to fall in love with them!

Wishing you the Greatest of Days!

Greatest of Days was nominated in 2011 and 2012 for Best Wedding Planner in the King 5 Best of Western Washington Contest