How you experience your wedding day is one of the most important things to consider.
Working with a professional wedding planner is going to pave the path for your experience to be stress-free and the most incredible party of your life. Wedding planners are at the top of my list for people you have to hire, so I thought, why not let couples hear from someone I admire?
I interviewed a super talented wedding planner, Melissa Boyd of Novelty Events, on a google chat while sippin’ on some Ballast Point sculpin IPA. Melissa and I worked together on Emetisse and Payum’s wedding at The Parker in Palm Springs last fall. She is a DREAM to work with and truly does it all to make sure her couples are stoked on their day! (ahem, this was also published in a print copy of Ceremony Magazine)!
Before jumping in to all the wedding planning deets, let’s get to know Melissa.
(Alex talking here) From a young age, Melissa was artistic, with a love for art, dance, theater and music. She uses all of those avenues as inspiration points for making mood boards, steering the direction of design and planning a wedding! Girlfriend even tried out for American Idol at one point! When I asked her to tell me more, she had this to say:
“My love for music and art really influences how I put together a design. I really try to get know all the fun and unique things about my couples. If they are foodies or love a good IPA. If they like to go running or prefer surfing. If they love baseball or just relaxing at home with a cup of coffee…I want your guests to come to your wedding and say ‘OMG that’s SO them!'”
She loves finding out what makes you click as a couple and being able to tell your story in an artful way to inspire the big picture of your wedding.
Melissa is AMAZING at making you feel relaxed, comfortable and confident in all your wedding-planning decisions. She’s super uncensored (so she’s gonna tell it like it is with a whole lotta love) and is going to instill confidence in the direction you’re taking for your wedding.
Alex —What are the biggest reasons hiring a wedding planner is the best decision couples can make?
I love this metaphor: A wedding is a lot like a limo. It’s luxurious, fun, expensive, and you only have it for one day! Why would you rent a limo but then drive yourself around? Wedding planning is kind of similar — why would you spend all this money on your one wedding day and try to do everything yourself?
A lot of times people think they can do all of this themselves with the help of their family and friends. And yes that is true. It is possible. But I want my couples and their friends and families to still love each other after the wedding! (haha). Your wedding planner is the neutral party in the middle of the chaos and can be the liaison and also your biggest advocate when wedding planning… like if a family member has an opinion about how you should do something, your wedding planner is going to have your back and say, “That’s not going to work because of XYZ.”
My top reasons would be…
Sleep. You won’t be getting any if you’re doing it yourself! Planning a wedding is like another full-time job… on top of your full-time job. No one realizes the amount of hours that are invested until it’s crunch time and Vegas starts looking really good!
Everyone that has a role in your day is in constant communication through the wedding planner. If a couple has to do all of that, they would feel a little nutty. You are already stressed out by family dynamics, working with different people, thinking about the budget, etc, so hiring a wedding planner will help you have one less thing to worry about!
Peace of Mind. My goal is that couples can be in the moment on their wedding day. Don’t worry if your DJ is on time, where the napkin placements are, grandma worrying about her corsage falling off, whatever it is. JUST focus on being in the moment with the love of your life — it’s a big deal. It goes by way too fast and I wish I had hired someone so I could have relaxed on my wedding day. It’s one of my biggest regrets. My family couldn’t relax and enjoy the day because they were so stressed and tired from all the preparation.
Wedding planners make sure that your day is a well-oiled machine and that your vendors are doing their jobs within the timeline. They troubleshoot if the DJ didn’t bring the right equipment, or if the photographer is in the hospital (to find you a new one), or if the rental company brought all the wrong rentals. These are things that happen and that you should never have to deal with (or know about).
The big picture. Having someone who knows how to pull your ideas together is super important. Planners can keep your design aesthetic on point, your vendors organized and informed, and are going to allow for timeless yet unique-to-you style to shine through (and avoid cliché’s at that).
Alex — How far in advance should they book?
You should think of them as FIRST on your list, not last! I book 9 -12 months out and if you wait to book, you might not pick the right venue for your style, or it might not allow for that outside catering you wanted. Your wedding planner will educate you on the time sensitive vendor choices and be your biggest advocate!
Planners can help you with budgeting and prioritize what is most important to you. Are you a big foodie but don’t care much about decor? They will suggest things to put a higher percentage of your budget to what’s important to you versus things you think you need to have. AND they have the resources for it. They know quality vendors that are professional and masters at their craft and all at various price points to fit your budget.
Alex — What’s the difference between wedding planners and venue coordinators, wedding planning and wedding design, etc? I get so confused myself!
Venue Coordinators vs. Wedding Planners
If you break your shoe the day of wedding, the venue coordinator isn’t going to help you. They are there for the purpose of the venue, worried about their venue staff. They aren’t there to help you negotiate things, find vendors, trouble shoot if the DJ didn’t bring the right equipment, or if you left the wedding rings in the hotel. The wedding planner WILL do all of this and more. They will use their arsenal of experience and their vendor relationships to find someone to bring the equipment the DJ needs. They will send someone to get the wedding rings at the hotel, or give directions to a vendor that is lost. Wedding planners help ensure that all the players (vendors) involved are on the same page of that timeline! They allow you to be IN THE MOMENT all day long.
Wedding Planning vs. Wedding Design
A wedding planning package can include anything from full planning, partial planning, or wedding management. Any what that includes varies from each planner. The ideal scenario is that you hire the wedding planner before booking ANYTHING. They can go to the venue with you and read through contracts. From creating a budget, to making realistic timelines, referring vendors, and helping you understand your contracts. You most likely have never done any of this before so it such a benefit to have someone with the expertise and the experience in this industry. Planners will figure out, for example, what time your rentals can arrive. Some venues don’t allow anything to be brought in earlier than 2 hours before the wedding, and you have to know if you’re willing to pay extra to have extra hours for setup. The list goes on, but we fill in the communication gaps between vendors, make sure contracts are fulfilled, and will even make sure your vendors receive their designated tips.
A wedding design package is what you choose if you want us to pull your feel and look into one cohesive big picture. If a couple doesn’t have design guidance, they often will be distracted by every shiny object (“Squirrel”) and it can end up being a hodge-podge of items or they end up going way over their budget. When you hire a planner for their design work, they know the right vendors to work with that will allow the design to be cohesive, unique to you, and something that matches your aesthetic! For example, if you love art, maybe they can help you find the perfect artist that could illustrate your venue on your invites. If you love a more classic, vintage look, they are going to help you find a stationary artist who provides refined vintage torn linen invites! They’re AMAZING at matching all the right vendors to the couple and committed to pulling in the best design elements in a non-cliché, non-cookie-cutter way.
For us, Full planning marries wedding planning and wedding design together.
And something we all get confused on, “Day-Of” wedding coordination…
This is something planners in the wedding industry are really trying to educate our couples about. It is a misnomer to say “day-of” wedding coordination. It really should be called Wedding Management. “Day-of” doesn’t exist. If I showed up on the day of the wedding with little to no preparation it would be a disaster. Wedding Management for us starts from the moment you sign a contract with us, with venue location visits, vendor recommendations if need be, and ensuring good communication between the couples and each vendor. Wedding management (not to be confused with full wedding planning) is where you’ve already hired your vendors but want someone to take over the reigns before the wedding. They take care of communication with all vendors and work out all the details regarding the timeline with your hair and makeup, the caterer, DJ, cake delivery, venue, photographers, etc. Everyone that has a role is in constant communication with us so the couple doesn’t need to spend hours arranging the details.
Alex — What is one piece of advice you’d like to leave for all couples currently planning a wedding?
Don’t be afraid to go smaller on your wedding. Small wedding guests lists are in a lot of ways better. You can maximize your budget in so many ways and have the most important people there on your day. You can truly indulge in that foodie catering, or those epic florals, or that badass DJ. You can have your cake and eat it too 😉 Then you can really interact with all the people you DID invite! Because, there’s no way you can visit with 150-200 people there. Bigger is not always better.
Also, spend money on good photos. You’ll love your photos forever even if your decor wasn’t “wow…” but your photos, those are forever. And even better, if your decor was “wow,” those things you took the time to dream up, you’ll have amazing photos of!
That was so good, you guys. Leave Melissa some love in the comments below and let us know your thoughts on hiring wedding planners <333