Filtering by Tag: monroe wedding planner

The Best Investment You Can Make While Planning Your Wedding

Randi Fracassi

Thought I was gonna say me, huh? As much as I would like to say a wedding planner or coordinator is the best investment you can make or even photography, video, or food, I can’t lie to y’all and say that it is. Though having a planner in your arsenal of vendors can be a great benefit, and more often than not pays for itself in savings, time, and stress, I’m not going to attempt to sell you on those points. However, as I’ve been thinking a lot of the idea of investments and what actually does make a wedding memorable and gives your attendees the wow factor, and I’ve come to one conclusion.

None of it matters.

I know what you’re thinking, but stay with me on this.

The money spent on photography, food, the perfect venue, the most gorgeous dress, the gifts for your bridal party, none of it matters. How your wedding looks or what your guests say about those things, doesn’t matter. Money, after all, is only valid because we believe in the value a fancy piece of cotton and paper holds in the exchange for another thing. I live for the Dr. Suess quote, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”. The material goods, products, and even services on a wedding day mean next to nothing if you don’t make this one key investment.

And that is, the investment into your marriage.

A wedding after all (and I’m taking this from my Christian upbringing on what a wedding is supposed to be) is the covenant exchange between you and your future spouse to build a life together, always support one another, and be each other’s partner in building a life together. Essentially, it could be just you and your spouse making this to each other, and it’s bonafide, the officiate just acts as a witness (thank you, government, for being ever present in the biggest moments of life).

Alas, I digress.

When you have a wedding, you make that promise to each other for your marriage. Whether you use traditional “love, honor, obey, in sickness and in health” vows or write your own, you do make that commitment to listen to each other always, compromise when needed (and equally), take care each other spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and always put each other above yourselves. It’s making hard decisions and little decisions and family and financial choices, as well as dealing with the merging of two separate entities into one (again, thanks government). There’s a whole lot of things that go into this marriage journey, and it’s incredibly different from your dating life, even if you’ve lived together or been with each other for a long time. It’s different and it’s an immediate change.

Setting yourself up for this commitment, for this change in your relationship and this new chapter you are taking with this person who you want to share the rest of your life with is the biggest investment you should be making throughout your engagement. Even if you’re not getting married by a traditional priest or pastor that generally offer counseling services, definitely go through couples therapy and let the therapist know that you’re looking for premarital counseling. Bringing to light the issues or possible issues that will come up as you continue on in your married life together before you’re married will facilitate better and healthier discussions (whether these are arguments, talking about your days, unloading stress or talking about successes), and ensure that when conflicts do arise that you as a couple have that foundation in order to have a healthy way to resolve them.

The idea of investing in premarital counseling can seem like an additional expense, and it is, but in the long run the conversations that arise in the very beginning, and that you’ve already talked about in a safe and moderated environment before you’re juggling bills, kids, work, and other stressors together, will set you and your marriage up for the best success. We’re all trying to beat the 50% statistic of failed marriages here, and the best investment you can make to ensure that your marriage and your life that you are building with your soul mate is undergoing (even if you have to find topics and bring up these conversations yourself)  premarital counseling or therapy, and making sure that your core values and beliefs in how you want your lives to be are on the same page.

I hope this was helpful and enlightening, friends, and I hope that you take into serious consideration the value of having premarital counseling and investing yourself into good, deep conversations in order to set up your marriage in the best way possible.

Happy planning,

Randi

Plan with Me: How to Have a Successful Vendor Meeting

Randi Fracassi

Meeting your vendors can be stressful and overwhelming – generally, you don’t know what exactly to ask, contracts can be complicated, and pricing may not make any sense whatsoever. Creatives and wedding industry professionals who are used to the language and work flows of weddings and events can sometimes overwhelm potential brides and grooms, and sometimes you may have questions that arise throughout, but you don’t want to seem silly for asking (spoiler: never feel silly for asking a question regarding investments you’re making on your wedding day!).  So, while wedding and event planning season is kicking into full gear, I wanted to share some tips and tricks in order to have a successful vendor meeting.

First, before you even schedule with vendors, it’s best to know what kind of financial commitment you want to make for your wedding. Whether you decide that by looking at averages of wedding costs for your city or region, or by determining who is committing the funds to make your dream wedding come true, making a tentative budget or getting a ballpark amount for what you want to spend is key. Once you figure out your budget, start looking at the style you want to convey – light and air with lots of greenery, or something more formal with a sit down dinner at a hotel, will help guide you to vendors who have those kinds of experiences and tastes as well, ensuring that your wedding day is consistent in all things.  

So – you’ve found vendors that fit your style, but you’re noticing that there’s a push to meet with you first before disclosing pricing information. Which, as a vendor, I can totally agree with – you wouldn’t want to hand out pricing to everyone who came along, and be able to remain competitive. This also weeds out the serious inquiries versus the non; see if you can schedule a phone consult before you meet, or see if they can give you a ballpark amount. After all, you’re still wanting to remain in budget and keep a track on your expenses.

My biggest piece of advice however relating to pricing, even when you’re reeling from the sticker shock or pleasantly surprised with a vendor’s pricing: keep in mind you’re not just investing in a final product after a service, but you’re also investing in a client experience. I personally would rather spend more money on an excellent customer service experience and great time with a vendor and have fantastic product than a bland, impersonal relationship, and therefore have my final product be tainted by that client experience.

What about when you actually sit down with a vendor? Of course, ask about experience, style, what’s included as a service and what is the client experience with them. But, it is to my recommendation to always ask about whether or not a vendor has a full contract, and if they carry insurance. With more and more venues requiring insured vendors (particularly with caterers), it’s important that the contract protects everyone’s interest, and that should the worst happen, liabilities are able to be covered and taken care of.

When you get to the portion of the meeting regarding deposits and retainers, ask about the difference and what is refundable or nonrefundable, and if the difference can be spelled out within the contract if it’s not already. A deposit, more often than not, can legally be refunded if service is found unsatisfactory or the event is cancelled unless it is strictly outlined as nonrefundable. It is so important for you as a client to be knowledgeable going into a contractual agreement. Ask if you can have a copy reviewed, or if they contract has been reviewed before. As always, it’s better safe than sorry.

Besides looking at making sure that everyone’s interests are protected and ensuring everything is in budget, there are key questions you should ask during your meeting. When you’re spending money and investing in your wedding day, you want to make sure that the people you’re hiring work well together and with you. Ask if they’ve worked with your other hired vendors or at your venue(s), but also learn about them as a person and ask what got them into doing photography or baking or planning weddings, what they do when they’re not working, and their favorite spots around town. Getting to know your vendors as people will help you build a relationship with them, and you’ll find that you have a better experience working with them in the long run.

So, in summary: research and inquire about pricing and availability, even in ballpark amounts, always ask about reviewing a contract and insurance, and get to know your vendors beyond what they do for you. Doing this will lead to better working relationship and a more satisfactory experience on your wedding day.

Happy planning,

Randi