The Right Wedding Planning Help For Your Needs

When it comes to planning a wedding, each couple has their own set of unique needs. Some couples want to handle it all on their own, which is perfectly fine. Others really struggle with trying to get the vision they have in their head into something real and tangible.
 

Maybe you fall somewhere in the middle. You can handle most of the planning but just need an extra set of hands to help with the details the day of the wedding or the week leading up to your wedding.
 

Jeanne Stark, owner of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says, “Any couple who feels that they need a little bit of assistance to an enormous amount of assistance should hire a wedding planner.” Though, she says it’s not for every couple or for every wedding. “If you’re having primarily an all-inclusive venue that does pretty much everything,” she says, “that’s usually the person who won’t hire a wedding planner,” However, she says there are exceptions, especially if the couple is doing a lot of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) details, or is having the ceremony at a different venue and moving the party to an all-inclusive afterwards.
 
RELATED: NOT SURE IF YOU WANT TO HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER? 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
 

Whatever your needs are, a wedding planner can help you fully enjoy your day without an ounce of worry or stress. Doesn’t that sound nice?
 

We spoke to Hudson Valley wedding planners to break down the different types of planning and coordination usually offered, so that you can make an informed decision to choose what type of assistance you need for your wedding…if any.
 

Full Coordination:

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Full coordination is just that. Wedding planners coordinate almost every aspect with you and are there to hold your hand every step of the way, from venue scouting, to invitations, to favors, and day-of coordination with vendors and staff.
 

Angela Christoforo, owner, wedding planner and designer at Elite Wedding & Event Planning in Saugerties, says full planning and design is a growing trend in the Hudson Valley. She says couples are having a hard time seeing their whole vision and how things are going to come together the day of the wedding. “They have all these Pinterest boards and all these things they love, but coming up with a cohesive design plan for the wedding is a big challenge for them,” she says.
 

Full coordination, for Joann Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant at What Dreams Are Made Of in Kingston, means “I am available to them (the couple) to do everything with them. I actually hold their hand. We go to appointments together, I am with them as much as they need be to be with them.”
 

Stark says, “Full planning is where someone walks through the door, and says, ‘I want to get married.’ So we narrow everything down, we figure out date, location, and then continue on with all the other vendors.”
 

Nellie Hill, event planner and owner of Nellie Hill Events is Hurley, says most couples who book full planning with her usually have the venue booked, but some do not. For those that don’t have a venue picked out, “I help them with a budget to make sure that they are kind of aware of what everything costs, because people usually have no idea,” she says.
 
RELATED: THE ONE THING THAT WILL RUIN YOUR WEDDING AND 4 WAYS TO PREVENT IT
 

Partial Coordination/Planning:

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photograhy

Partial coordination is really what it sounds like: The couple has their venue and maybe some of their vendors, but needs help tying together all the loose ends. Stark says, “Partial planning is when a couple has already found their venue, they already have their wedding date and now they pretty much need everything else. So that can be a very small partial planning or it can be very extensive partial planning, depending upon the location and how many services they need. But that basically is more sight visits, more visits with vendors, contract negotiation, a little bit more extensive hand holding, basically”
 

Provanzano says, “Maybe they (the couples) need their décor decided on or they haven’t actually put together their invitations yet; maybe they’re looking for ceremony musicians, transportation, things like that.”
 

Month Of/Week Of/Day Of Coordination:

 

These are kind of all clumped together because each planner has their own version and calls it something different. It’s important for you to know, that if you book day-of, week-of, or month-of coordination, you should really have an ongoing relationship with your planner before that week, month or day in order for you and them to form a relationship, for your planner to get a good feel for you, your personality, your vision, and for you to have an open line of communication so that if a problem should arise somewhere along the planning process, they can step in and help.
 

Stark says, “We like to build a relationship; we like to foresee if there’s any problems that way we kind of steer them in the right direction instead of finding out a month before (the wedding) when it’s too late.”
 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Provanzano says, “A week or two before the wedding, I get together with my couple, we try to do a walk through with the venue, we do a timeline of the day, I share that will all of the other vendors, tweak it wherever it’s needed.” She also takes this time to review all vendor contracts so that the day of the wedding, there are no hiccups or issues.
 

Bianca Hendricks, owner and founder of RSVP By B in Poughkeepsie, says every couple should have a day-of coordinator. She says, “Your wedding isn’t just 8 hours long. It isn’t just the ceremony or just the reception. It’s important to us that each couple, their family, and their friends are all able to relax and enjoy the entire day from the beginning to end!”
 

Other Planning Services

 

If you live outside the Hudson Valley and are having a Hudson Valley wedding, you want to make sure that you hire a planner from the Hudson Valley who is familiar with the area, familiar with your venue space, familiar with your vendors, and most importantly is in the area should you need assistance with anything.
 

If you are a couple planning all aspects of your wedding but just needs someone to check in with to make sure you are on the right track, a virtual wedding planner may be just right for you. Stark says virtual wedding planning “…is for someone who really doesn’t need a lot of hands-on (help), but they want someone to be virtually there – phone, email, Skype, to just be able to organize them, make sure they’re going in the right direction, and be there to answer any kind of questions to relieve their anxiety.”
 

Are you hiring a wedding planner? If so, what type of coordination are you using? What is the right fit for you?

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Not Sure if You Want to Hire a Wedding Planner? 5 Things You Need to Know

When I was planning my wedding, I didn’t hire a wedding planner. I had preconceived notions of what a planner did and honestly, I was looking forward to the challenge of planning a wedding and didn’t want to spend any more money than I already had. I’m the type of person that loves to plan, loves to create, and my wedding was the perfect playground for me. We also had our reception at an all-inclusive venue, so I felt like everything was taken care of, and it was, perfectly.

 

There was, however, one part of my day that did not go as planned, that still bothers me to this day and still has me doubting my decision of not hiring a planner, at least a day of coordinator. Here’s what happened…

 

When we arrived at the church, my bridesmaids and I were led to a room off to the side of the vestibule in the church. Within a few seconds, my girls left the room to line up with the groomsmen and then I heard our processional music playing. I couldn’t see anything from where I was waiting, but in my head, I envisioned the bridal party walk down the aisle, like we rehearsed the day before, and knew we good to go.

 

However, it wasn’t until I saw my video that I realized the timing was totally off!! Our first couple to walk down the aisle did so before any music started playing, then the second and third couple walked to music, then our ring bearer started walking down to my music!

 

The thought never entered our mind that we needed to make sure someone was going to signal to the organist in the choir loft that we are ready to go. She couldn’t see us and needed guidance! We never thought to ask the question of how the timing was going to go. We just assumed, somehow, it would happen…but it didn’t. Once the ceremony started, the organist had vocal cues from the priest to know when to start playing music, but to start, she had nothing…co clues or signals to know when to start.

 

It’s such a tiny detail, but when you spend hours planning your perfect day, and something like that happens, it’s cringe-worthy!

 

I share this story with you, not to scare you, but to show how common misconceptions can sometimes lead to poor decision-making. So, I wanted to take this time to debunk some common myths about wedding planners to help you make a more informed decision when it comes to your wedding.

 

Myth #1 – Wedding planners are too expensive

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Weddings

Many couples think that hiring a wedding planner is a luxury, something that they will spend money on, IF they have money leftover in their budget. The result is many couples, at least those familiar with the Hudson Valley, forgo this “luxury” because they don’t think it’s worth it.

 

Truth –

 

As with all aspects of your wedding, you are investing in something much more. You are investing in memories. Joann Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant of What Dreams Are Made of in Kingston, says, “Yes there’s a price, but there are so many perks to it (hiring a wedding planner) that people don’t realize.” Perks include all the little items that some folks forget about such as cuing the music at your ceremony or making sure your gifts are packed and taken back to your hotel room.

 

Other perks of hiring a wedding planner is that they can act as a mediator and “therapist” of sorts. If families don’t get along, your wedding planner can step in and ease some of the tension by finding workarounds. They deal with the problems at hand so that you can relax and not be so stressed out. Jeanne Stark, of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says with a wedding planner, “You have an advocate on your side, you have someone that you can always run questions by, etiquette, family issues.”

 

Another perk, which kind of sounds ironic, is that by investing money in hiring a wedding planner, you could actually be saving yourself money (and time and stress) in the long run. Stark also says that planners have vendors in their repertoire that you may not ever know about. Little hidden gems, as she likes to call them “We also have a lot of vendors that they’re (couples) not going to find on The Knot or Wedding Wire,” she says. “They just don’t advertise, they don’t feel they need to or want to and they’re going to be at a lower price because they’re not paying for advertising.”

 

Myth #2 – Wedding planners are too bossy!

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

This misconception, I’m sure, comes from the portrayal of wedding planners in movies and TV, where they show up and start bossing people around. Think Martin Short’s character Franck from Father of the Bride. While it’s fun and entertaining, for the most part, wedding planners are not like that.

 

Truth –

 

Nellie Hill, Event Planner and Owner of Nellie Hill Events in Hurley, says the right planner actually keeps their relationship with other hired professionals cordial. “We all work together,” she says. “I’m not going to step on their toes…I will just step back and make sure that it’s happening from afar.” However, she says, as the second set of eyes, she makes sure everything happens the way it’s supposed to. She gives an example of a photographer. “They are a professional, they know what they are doing” but if she sees something happening that they may not be aware of, she will make sure to tell them.

 

Stark says a common misconception is that wedding planners go around yelling at everyone, telling vendors what to do and bringing them down the lowest level they can charge. “A good wedding planner,” she says, “is a team player, we’re all on the same page, so the misconception is that we are there to tell everyone what to do, and we’re not.” She continues to say that “it’s not our job to say ‘do this!’ It’s our job to say ‘let’s come up with a couple ideas,’ and then they (the couple) can choose what’s comfortable for them or what they feel is going to work best in that situation.”

 

However, if you are still unsure of this truth, talk with your vendors and your venue on planners they’ve worked with before. You want to make sure that the planner you hire works well with others and is not the type that lives up to this misconception.

 

RELATED: The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Wedding and 4 Ways to Prevent It

 

Myth #3 – I don’t need a wedding planner because my wedding is in a non-traditional venue

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Getting married at a non-traditional venue has its perks, but also has its setbacks. Remember, most non-traditional venues were built with another purpose in mind first, like a barn, an inn, or an old industrial space, not for weddings. That means that you need to turn that space into a wedding venue.

 

Truth –

 

Provenzano says, “Unique venues such as barns, backyards, wineries – it’s more complicated.” If you are turning a non-traditional space into a wedding venue, it’s all on you, unless you hire someone to help you. You need to provide everything from tables, china, napkins, silverware, to portable restrooms, heat, tents, etc. Even if you are a DIY bride, do you really want to be in charge of all of those details? Stark says, “Most of our clients are going to be ones that are in a venue where they pay a site fee and they have to do everything. EVERYTHING! So that’s a typical couple that would need a wedding planner, just because there’s so many moving parts, so many components to the wedding itself.”

 

RELATED: DIY Weddings: 5 Things You Need To Know Now

 

Myth #4 – I don’t need a wedding planner because I’m getting married at a full-service venue

 

A full-service wedding venue is one you would typically associate with a wedding. A catering hall at a venue or hotel where you choose your linens, your menu, etc. and have staff taking care of you throughout the night. Because of all the staff catering to you during the night, it’s easy to assume you don’t need a wedding planner.

 

Truth –

 

While most couples who have weddings at venues like this do not hire wedding planners, “Full-service wedding venues still need someone there”, says Provanzano. The venue is almost always your biggest ticket item. “If you have a problem with the venue,” she says, “and you don’t have a planner that you’ve hired, who are you going to turn to?” You need to go to someone who works at that venue instead of having an independent person to help you through the issue.

 

Hill says at full-service venues, “sometimes the maître d’ may not be there when a vendor is not showing up…the maître d’ is following the food and managing the staff.”

 

Myth #5 – A wedding planner will take control and not give me the wedding I really want

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Some people have this misconception that a wedding planner will take over all control and force their opinions onto a couple creating a wedding that is the planner’s vision and not the couple’s vision.

 

Truth –

 

When you hire a wedding planner, you are also hiring a third-party “voice of reason.” Sometimes couples get so caught up in the wedding day that their expectations are set way too high, and become unrealistic. The wedding planner comes in and brings them back to reality. Provanzano encourages couples to make smarter decisions. If a couple wants a flame thrower at the reception or wants to spend $2,000 on invitations, she will often times show them what else they could get for their money that would go a lot further instead. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but she gives alternative options to let the couple ultimately decide what’s really important to them and what they really want to do.

 

“The other part of being a wedding planner,” Stark says, “is making sure that clients are making good choices, in a timely manner, and unfortunately, sometimes, being the one that says ‘OK, I know you love the fact that you want to come in a hot air balloon, unfortunately, you have a $25,000 budget and that’s going to blow it out of the water.’ ” Because of that, Stark says planners “sometimes have to be the one that has to be the bearer of bad news. But from experience, what you do is you say ‘well, what about this idea instead? It’s going to be a third of the price, it’s something spectacular, and people are still going to think it’s really cool.”

 

The fact that this “voice of reasoning” may be where this myth comes from, the reality is, the couple actually ends up makes smarter decisions.

 

Are you hiring a wedding planner for your wedding? What made you decide to hire one? Why did you decide not to hire one? We’d love to know.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

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DIY Wedding

3 easy ways to DIY your wedding when you don’t have the time or crafty genes

You love DIY. You have visions of your wedding day being full of crafty, hand-made goodness. However, it’s been years since you touched a glue gun, and the last time you crafted anything was back in high school art class.  Maybe the thought of a DIY wedding is tormenting you because, even though you love to craft, you just don’t have the time to do it.

 

If any of these circumstances sound like you, have no fear. The DIY fairy is here! Well, not really; I don’t have wings and a little tutu, flying around with glitter and ribbons … though that would make an awesome Halloween costume. What I do have is real, practical, advice that will help you.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

DIY Option #1

 

First, let’s start with DIY for the those born without the craft gene. I mentioned in an earlier post that, by now, you should have a good idea of your crafting skills. If they are not where you would like them to be, don’t use your wedding as the time to practice.

 

Look to your family, friends, bridal party, and especially your maid of honor. If any of those people have a craft skill you are envious of, ask them for help. I can almost guarantee they would be more than happy to help. Now, this comes with a big BUT. You can ask for help, BUT do not micromanage! I can’t stress this enough, and trust me, whatever it is you are tweaking or fussing about to make just right, no one will notice. Some people you ask might be hesitant, and that’s because of that dreaded word “bridezilla.” They want to help you but are afraid of the repercussions.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Now, I know you aren’t like that, but to make things easier for all involved, start with some photo inspiration and sit and talk with that person about what exactly it is you like about a particular photo. Keep in mind that what you get may not look exactly like the photo, but will be inspired by it. Then, you can offer to pay for the supplies, or tell that person in exchange for doing the DIY, they don’t have to give you a gift. Before that person goes ahead and makes hundreds of anything, ask to see a sample, that way you both have a chance to see what it looks like and change anything. Once you give your OK, that’s it. Leave it be.

 

DIY Option #2

 

If you don’t know anyone who is crafty, another option is to look online for local crafters. Etsy is a great starting point, as is your local art society. Don’t forget to talk to your venue and florist for ideas as well. Remember, they’ve seen it all and could have some great suggestions for you. Who knows, there could be a DIY craft (such as mason jars filled with fairy lights to be placed down the aisle) that would be a cinch for you to make, even if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body or the time to day anything. That would be a really simple DIY project.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

DIY Option #3

 

Speaking of time, if you really don’t have the time to deal with any DIY, hiring a wedding planner may be a great option for you for several reasons. First, similar to your florist or venue, they’ve done it all, AND they have all the supplies – or, at least, know where to get the supplies – so it’s out of your hands. You don’t have to worry about a thing.

Second, they have the time. They are hired to help you and to help make your vision a reality. For example, let’s say you want antique teapots on each table as centerpieces or to hold the table numbers. Well, without a wedding planner, you are stuck with sourcing the teapots, so that means taking the time to drive to antique shops, searching, buying, and then what do you do with all of them after your wedding? Unless you collect them, chances are you want to get rid of them.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Vintage rental companies are another great option. If you don’t want to hire a planner, you can hire a vintage rental company to see if they can provide that vision for you. They would have the supplies, and best part, they take them back with them.

 

The last thing you want is to be stressing out over this. These are just a few options. If you have an idea or thoughts that you’d like to run past someone before you begin, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love to craft and could suggest some great ideas for you.

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