So there are three women in my life that are the best friends anyone person could ask for. Two I have met in the past nine years and the other one I met through my Mom’s best friend Sandy. Sandy has been around most of my life, and her daughter Steff is the sister I have never had. Our Mom’s are close and so are Steff and I.
After Christmas this year Steff and her better half Ken came down to visit me in NYC. Ken had proposed to Steff right before Christmas, of course she said yes! (She better! Ken is a wonderful person!!!) She handed me a present to open after our 6-hour car ride. It said “Laugh with me, dance with me, cry with me, plan with me. Will you be my maid of honor?”. I was so touched!!! Of course I said yes!
So now here is the tricky part. They wanted a wedding this summer. Now because I work in this industry, I know how difficult this can be. We are 8 months out and it could be tricky finding a date and a venue that would work.
We let them enjoy their engagement for a few days and I of course had to be the one to deliver the news. “If you want a summer wedding, you will need to have your church and reception venue picked out at the latest the end of January. The sooner you can get this booked the better.”
We know their wedding budget and now my skills will be put to the test. I crunched the numbers with them and we knew how much we could allocate for each part of the celebration. Not only did they find their venue and church by the second week in January, they were able to book the hotel for the reception at a 20% discount because they booked early!
So far, here are some things that I learned in this “planning” role:
1. Follow the budget and have your client understand this to set the expectations of the day.
2. Not to say “No” right away. Research to see if there are other options. If no alternatives exist, be inspired by the original idea and see what else is out there.
3. Discuss with your couple what the most important aspect of their day is. All other details will fall into place around that.
4. I wouldn’t let Steff & Ken allocate their budgeted monies right away. We kept some off to the side, I like to call this the “Oh sh*t fund”. This has been giving us the wiggle room to move numbers around and still stay under budget.
5. The most important part as planner and friend, that this is a celebration of love and I am here to to keep all parties on task in a happy manor. I have given the Mom’s and the bride their tasks and the things that need to be communicated between all parties. There are no need for arguments if issues are presented fairly and both sides are heard out. There is always a solution, sometimes it just takes a little more work at finding the answer. We have stuck to this rule and everyone is having a great time in this process. While we know we have a lot of work ahead, we are excited to see the outcome.
So this planning a wedding journey is just beginning for my friend Steff and Ken, and I will be there helping them along the way…to be continued…