You’re engaged. Congratulations! Now what?

You’ve gotten engaged! You’re telling friends and family, getting excited, buying Martha Stewart and probably looking at lots of dresses. This is exactly what I think you should be doing.

Looking at dresses is actually a great first step. It allows you to get a vision of what kind of bride you are. If your style is modern, romantic, or minimalist, this could also help shape the vision for your wedding day. Vera Wang thinks so too! (

But what’s next?

Aside from the dress, you also need to think about nuts and bolts. The sooner the better! This way, you can have a leisurely, enjoyable planning experience. This is certainly where a planner can help you if you need it. My recommended first steps are:

  1. Make up a budget. In your excitement, you might start buying and booking things, and then discover later that you have very little money left for everything else. This is what we need to avoid. Though it’s not necessarily “romantic,” have the conversation about who is paying, how much you, your fiancé, or your families can contribute, and determine what amount you realistically have to work with. It’s good to start your married life with complete clarity as far as money is concerned, so have that conversation up front to avoid stresses later.
  2. Remember the extras. The venue, photographer and music are easy to remember. But don’t forget to allot money for all the smaller things: invitations, postage, tips, gifts, hotel rooms, travel, etc…
  3. Create a timeline. Make a written timeline that includes everything you’ll need to do. When you need to book photographer? Have your tasting? Find an officiant? Have first fitting? Yes, there’s a lot to do, but you don’t have to do it all in the first month. Spacing things out will keep them fun and interesting.

In my first meeting with couples, I help them layout these steps. If you’d like support in your planning process, I can help you get organized, keep you on track, and make sure you have an enjoyable planning experience leading up to your wedding day.

Until next time…

Giving your guests the ultimate gift

The holiday season is time for giving thanks, celebrating with loved ones—and giving gifts. But when it comes to gifts, it’s not about how much we’re spending, or how big the gift is—it’s the thought that goes into a gift that makes it truly special.

Yes, when it comes to gifts, the most thoughtful ones are the best.

With weddings, the same rule applies … it’s the thought that counts most!

A well thought-out wedding (even on a small budget) can produce a far greater enjoyment factor than a hasty, last-minute wedding (even a big budget one!).

Give yourself, and your guests, the gift of your wedding day. Your wedding day can be a gift to yourself, your fiancé, and your family and friends. Let your guests experience being part of your marriage and celebration. They will remember and cherish it! By providing that inclusive, thoughtful experience, your wedding day will be even more special to you as a couple, knowing that you’ve created a meaningful experience for everyone involved.

Here are two tips:

  1. Take time to create special moments. The more your wedding reflects you as a couple, the more you let guests in to your celebration. But this takes time. You need a timeline, a plan. When will you decide on each element? In which order? Instead of trying to do everything at once, good time management will give you the headspace to create perfect touches.
  2. If you’re giving a favor, don’t let it be an afterthought. What you’re giving as a gift should be something that you love giving to your guests. Make that heartfelt as opposed to an afterthought. Those little things at the end can become obligatory, especially if you’re overwhelmed. With a proper timeline, you’ll have time to take care of the big and little details, with plenty of time, and you’ll have room to enjoy each moment.

As a wedding planner, I love brides to be able to enjoy the experience of their wedding by finding the perfect details. If you need my help, I’d love to talk.

Until next time…

A wedding planner should fit perfectly too

In the search for the perfect dress, most brides try on quite a few. The sample gowns rarely fit properly. When you find “the one,” it usually needs tailoring to achieve that ideal fit.

Now, shouldn’t your wedding planner be able to “fit” you as well as your dress?

I think so.

That is why I’ve shaped my business to be flexible.

Every wedding is different. Every bride and groom will need a different level of involvement from a wedding planner. And in order to create the best wedding, I believe my offerings should be based on the individuals.

Here’s an example: Recently, I got a call from a bride-to-be’s mother. She told me that her daughter needed help, but already had a lot of stuff in the works. She just needed to talk things through with a professional, discuss strategies, and get some expert input. They hired me for the day, and together, I helped them put the pieces together.

Tip: You can hire a wedding planner to get as involved as you need them to be! You might not need a structured package—and you shouldn’t settle for one. When looking for a wedding planner, ask yourself what kind of involvement you’d like. Do you want a wedding planner to:

  • Come to all appointments with you, be involved in every choice and decision?
  • Meet you in-person and on the phone at regular intervals?
  • Meet with you for a day, or a few days, to help you shape your day and choose the right venue and vendors?
  • Simply sit with you to plan a timeline?
  • Handle day-of event management?

I have worked with clients in all of these capacities—because that is what they needed.

And sometimes, they weren’t sure what exactly they needed—until we spoke on the phone.

Ask for what you need. Just because a service isn’t listed on the wedding planner’s website, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for it. Here’s what I mean: I had a bride that wanted day-of coordination, plus design help. But, she could only afford the day-of portion. Because I knew exactly what she needed, I was able to give her partial day-of (9 hours instead of 12), and five hours of design consulting for the price of the full day-of. We made it work!

If she hadn’t expressed her concerns and budget, I might not have had the chance to work it out.

For me, it’s about how I can best help the client—not how much I can sell them.

Finding the right fit with a wedding planner—is just as important as it is with the dress. And if you’re a bride-to-be, I wish you the best in finding both!

Not sure what you need from a wedding planner? I’m happy to help you figure it out. Then, we can see if we might be a good fit together.

Until next time…

Do you have a bad weather plan?

Even the best wedding planner can’t control the weather. But we can control how we prepare and react. While we hope for sunshine and light breezes, sometimes we don’t get what we order. That’s why a bad weather plan is so important.

This point was vividly obvious, recently, when Hurricane Irene came to town. And my client had a wedding planned—on the day Irene was scheduled to hit the New York area.

Two days before the wedding, as the weather reports made it obvious of impending hurricane force winds, flooding and transportation shut downs, we knew the day, as planned, would not be possible. If we tried to go ahead with the wedding, it was clear that most guests wouldn’t have made it.

We decided to move the entire event to the following day.

I didn’t want my bride to be stressed. I sent her to get her nails done while I handled these details:

  • Speaking with guests to help them change flight reservations
  • Mapping alternate driving routes for guests based on road closures
  • Getting extra hotels, changing hotel reservations
  • Calling all vendors, working with venue, coordinating a reschedule
  • Adjusted deliveries, appointments
  • Being the main contact person amidst the weather-induced chaos

People hire a wedding planner for the little, and big emergencies you can’t foresee.

My bride’s job is to keep celebrating while I handle the sticky stuff. I know that most brides don’t want to be calling their lost Uncle Charlie when he can’t find the church, finding the missing flowers, collecting the bowtie that got left behind, or keeping her drunk brother-in-law from toppling the cake over.

Tip: Sometimes a venue has a “bridal attendant” to assist the bride. They’ll tell you that you don’t need an outside wedding planner. But, a lot of the planning and support happens before the venue! Your venue’s “bridal attendant” won’t be around when the limo doesn’t show up and you’re running late for the church.

P.S. The wedding turned out perfectly.

I was delighted that even Hurricane Irene didn’t keep my bride and groom from having the beautiful wedding day they had waited for. When Irene was approaching, they were overwhelmed and ready to cancel the whole thing. By having me there, as a calm, focused voice-of-reason, they had the day they planned – with just one day’s difference!

Until next time…

Emergency kit: don’t get married without one

In my last post, I talked about destination weddings and why it’s important to have a travel emergency kit for guests. Today, I want to talk more about emergency kits, and why they’re just as important as the dress, the venue, and the meal.

Weddings get intense. When you’re in the thick of it, and everything is coming together, unexpected things come up all the time. As a wedding planner, I prepare for the unexpected more than the expected. Why? Because on the wedding day, I’m tending to the bride’s emotional needs as much as the logistical ones. I want my bride to be fully available to experience her marriage.

When little things crop up, like a blister for example, it can detour the day if not addressed immediately. Little incidences can take away from the big picture—so as a planner, I’m on the lookout for anything that can detract from the day or cause a bride anxiety. I stay prepared for mishaps … not just the big ones, like a cake getting knocked over, but the smaller ones: a tear in a dress, a stain, a mosquito bite.

I want my bride to be on a straight path, to emotionally and physically walking up there to get married. On such an emotionally charged day, a little stress can escalate into a bigger one. I take away as much as possible, and stop problems before they start. My emergency kit is one of the ways I do this. Here are just some of the items in mine:

  • Aspirin
  • Bandaids
  • Benadryl
  • Blue rhinestones/heart stickers
  • Dental floss
  • EpiPen
  • Feminine products
  • Granola bars
  • Handheld fans
  • Nail polish
  • Hair pins
  • Immodium
  • Razors
  • Saline
  • Sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Shout wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Tape
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpicks
  • Water
  • White out

Here’s an example of my emergency kit in action:

Recently, one of my brides was walking through a screen door, and grease got on the front of dress. I reacted quickly, called on my arsenal of supplies, and with tiny toothbrushes, Shout wipes and handheld fans, got it all out. The bride was relieved, and something that could have been a disaster, was quickly fixed by an emergency kit.

I focus on making the day seamless for the bride. I don’t want her to worry about anything, or have her sidetracked by something that I can handle for her. Some say you can never be prepared for the unexpected, but our motto is, we certainly do our best!

Until next time…