I recently interviewed Holly Blackett of Zuriana’s Elegant Occasions on her experience as a wedding planner in the DC area. Most planners offer day-of planning or full-service, but Holly accommodates her brides with custom planning packages. This is the ultimate plus for any bride who can handle most the details but would prefer a planner to offer assistance in some areas or needs last minute details finalized.
Why is a wedding planner a necessity and not a luxury?
[Holly]: A wedding planner is familiar in the industry, has gone to events, researched and built the relationships. A lot of times vendors offer planners the best prices because they’ve built a rapport with them and know they’ll bring more business (in this case, it’s brides). Essentially, planners save brides time which is valuable. In Holly’s experience, her relationship with vendors makes a difference in getting the vendors you want!
Holly describes a bride who wanted a well-known caterer in the DMV area who is usually booked a year out for their mouth-watering $100-plated dinners. The wedding was less than a year-out and Holly was able to book their catering services for the bride based on that relationship she built with them.
Holly adds, wedding days go by so quickly, planners allow you and your family to relax. Brides should not leave day-of details to friends and family – they may not follow through or do it how the bride or groom wants it. Planners assure everything runs smoothly and if something comes up, planners make sure it appears everything is still running as planned.
What advice do you have for brides?
[Holly]: Don’t drive your fiance crazy by looking at 30 venues. A planner looks at your budget and helps you determine appropriate venues. You should really only be looking at 3-4 venues. The same applies to caterers. Even if you don’t want a full-service planner, a partial planner is still a must to finalize all the details, ensure the wedding rehearsal runs smoothly, and attend final meetings with vendors.
Holly tells the story of a couple who didn’t firm-up transportation details with their planner. Only one limo was reserved to transport an entire wedding party to the ceremony site causing the wedding to start 40 minutes late. Holly emphasizes the importance of sharing all details with your planner.
Still a “do-it yourself” bride, Holly prepares you for the road ahead…
[Holly]: If you’re going to plan yourself, know that it can be overwhelming and stressful. You can have a sticker shock if you’re not familiar with the prices. A wedding photographer starts at $2,700 and cake is $4.25-$5.50 a serving for a basic wedding cake. This can be confusing if you visit 10 different venues, caterers, and other vendors. You should only go to 3-4. Do your research online first, understand your vision – planners can help too.
Thank you for interviewing with us Holly! Next week’s blog will feature important questions to ask your wedding planner with Holly Blackett.
Brides, what is the most valuable trait you’ve found in a wedding planner? How has or did a wedding planner make a difference in the overall planning process?