Elements of Wedding Planning
Honor the Value System
Fixed budgets represent more than the state of the economy. Each couple weighs components of the wedding differently, and budgets are the first step in determining what is important and not so important. So, a budget is a value system. District Bride Guide encourages brides to consider their limited funds a blessing in disguise: an opportunity to create an experience full of meaningful elements.
Limited budgets are an invigorating challenge for event planners. Luckily, we’re in an age where Converse sneakers are coveted groom’s attire. Diversion from the mainstream is celebrated: a popcorn cart during the cocktail hour tops silver trays of tuna tartare any time. And, if it means the couple can splurge on champagne for the toast (or an extra night in Hawaii), “sacrifice” can drop from budgeting vocabulary.
As wedding funds remain tight, do-it-yourself creations have become immensely popular among today’s brides. Our readers report that these projects grant them a sense of involvement. Give space for these endeavors, but offer to help. Say the bride wants to make her own centerpieces: use your connections with suppliers to get her vases at a wholesale price. However, don’t feel obligated dish out unlimited support. You’re the wedding expert; let clients know if a particular handmade project seems overly expensive, difficult, or time-consuming. Martha Stewart makes it look easy, but you know from your experience with vendors that many elements of weddings are true art forms.
Today’s brides are determined to plan unique and personalized experiences for their guests. An effective way to enhance the “extraordinary factor” is to rely solely on local vendors. Washington, DC is full of innovative entrepreneurs who thrive on the challenge to develop one-of-a-kind services and products. From serving Virginia wine to commissioning a local invitation designer, there are unlimited ways to incorporate DC’s vibrant creative scene in the wedding. While “outsourcing” to online and cross-country vendors are alluring, a strictly local focus enables both couple and planner to develop real relationships with vendors. For couples, there’s a sense of trust and comfort that develops out of working with someone in the area. As an event planner, a dedication to collaborating with other community professionals is the key to establishing a strong and diverse network. District Bride Guide is currently developing a Vendor Directory as a means to empower local businesses, a project inspired by the immense popularity of the blog’s vendor interviews and features.
Make It Personal
This is not the industry for a detached, strictly-business mentality. As master of event planning, you may gravitate to the position of leader and guide, but remember to see yourself as a partner first and foremost. “Nearly-weds” crave genuine relationships with their planners. This is an emotional experience for them, and there will be times you may feel like a best friend (or even a therapist) rather than a consultant. In the end, the planning process is strengthened by moments like this. After all, it’s impossible to celebrate your clients as a couple without knowing them as individuals.
Strong relationships enable strong communication, and that’s as important as ever when it comes to your reputation. In the Yelp Era, ranting and raving is no longer limited to one’s confidants. Motivated individuals will post feedback on you in online forums. If you invested in developing a relationship with your clients, you can rest assured that their needs and concerns were addressed to the best of your abilities. However, if you maintained a somewhat impersonal relationship, there’s no telling what you missed. Moreover, a review noting personal traits carries great weight. A former client raving that your smile put them at ease is as valuable as praise for your business savvy. It’s the difference between four and five stars.
Simply put, couples want their originality to be recognized. Get to know them as people. Honor their “value system.” Seek out local artisans to realize this dream. These elements ensure that their Big Day is one-of-a-kind, perfectly personalized, and simply magical.
By Violet Morris, District Bride Guide. Visit www.districtbrideguide.com for daily features on Washington wedding trends, profiles on talented local vendors, and valuable advice for brides and wedding-planners. Any businesses interested in coverage (Real Weddings features, reviews, interviews), collaboration (joint promotions, marketing opportunities), or inclusion in the Vendor Directory should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.