engaged!! now what??

Congrats on your engagement!! Now that the two of you have made the decision to tie the knot, you may be feeling overwhelmed and wondering what to do first. Here is a fool-proof, five-step plan for getting the ball rolling:

  1. Share the news with family and close friends.  There is no rush to begin planning wedding details right away…your engagement is (and should be!!) much more about your coming marriage and building new family relationships. Sometimes loved ones can get a little too carried away with their questions, especially asking when you’ve set the date. Don’t feel pressured to nail anything down yet- “We’re thinking next fall,” or something general will be enough to satisfy.
  2. Talk wedding budget with your SO. Money trouble is a top cause of marital dissatisfaction, so make sure you get this started off on the right foot. Average wedding budgets in Springfield range from about $7,500-$15,000 but it truly depends on what you are both comfortable with. Weddings can be beautiful in a local park with a potluck or at Chateau on the Lake with an 8-course meal, and everything in between. Set a budget that allows you to have some fun celebrating, but still invest in long-term goals like saving for a house or taking a killer honeymoon.
  3. Hire your wedding planner. Just in case you didn’t read our series on why you need a wedding coordinator, this your friendly reminder that a good planner is the very best way to save time, money, and avoid stressful situations. Your consultation with your planner should include her taking a look at your budget and vision to see if you are a good fit for her experience and pricing structure. Once you find your match, she’ll do the legwork of narrowing down the right vendors for you and making sure everything falls into place.
  4. Build a vision board. You can do this using social media or kick it old-school and collage it. Ideas should be as grand as you’d like- the idea is to visualize your top priorities and the vibe you are going for. This board helps with your decision-making process as you are choosing vendors down the road.
  5. Start visiting venues with your date in mind. Be prepared to sign a contract and pay the deposit when you find the right venue. Popular spots can book out a year in advance or more, so when you find the right spot be prepared to secure it!

And that’s it to get you off to a really great start!! If you’ve made it through the first two steps and are ready to hire your wedding planner, we’d love to meet you! Visit our contact page to schedule your consultation, or call/text Steph at (615)975-5367, or send me an email at steph@blissevents.co

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day-of or full-service?

I get emails like this one a lot:

Hi Steph,

I am recently engaged and we are looking at October 2018 for our wedding. I have been to a lot of weddings recently and know that a coordinator can make a huge difference, but I’m not sure what exactly I need. Can we meet to talk about how you might be able to help?

In this series that’s sort-of turning into Wedding Planner 101 (read these posts on how a coordinator can save you time, money, and sanity, or this one about how to find the right coordinator for you), I wanted to follow-up with a post that helps you answer this question when determining how much to invest in your wedding coordinator.

Some coordinators offer a wide-variety of packages…but honestly, that can overcomplicate what can already be an overcomplicated wedding planning process. Here is an outline of two packages offered by the majority of wedding planners.

Full Service

This is the one you see in the movies. The coordinator is there every step of the way, available to answer questions or concerns as they arise, attending vendor consultations with you, keeping track of your deadline tasks, helping you source decor and rentals, and developing the perfect timeline for your event. Depending on her areas of specialty, she may be able to help with creative tasks like graphic design, floral arrangements, or decor design. She will help run the rehearsal, and will be onsite for the duration of your event, most likely with a team of assistants. The average price for this type of service around U.S. is between $1,500-$2,500, or 10% of the total wedding budget. With wedding budgets a little smaller than the national average, Missouri falls near the lower end of this scale.

Day-Of

Day-of Coordinating is much simpler, and therefore typically costs much less than full-planning. The coordinator will meet with you initially to get an idea of the basic details and your overall vision. She may offer vendor recommendations to get you started on the right foot. Generally, you won’t meet with her again until between 4-8 weeks before the wedding when you will confirm details and she will help you iron out a timeline for the day. She will usually follow-up with the vendors and be available for limited hours on the day-of to help make sure everything gets where it needs to go. There may be an assistant onsite depending on the planner, but usually the bride will either hire most of her vendors for set-up or provide helpers that will be responsible for certain tasks. The cost for this varies widely, but starts around $500 and fluctuates based on specific factors like size of wedding and duties performed. Occasionally planners will add on additional services at an hourly cost, such as running the rehearsal or set-up and tear-down.

Which is best for you?

Full-service is best for brides who have full-time jobs, school, or other obligations that need attention, since wedding coordinators can help them book the right vendors for their vision and budget in half the time. It’s the only choice for brides who want that Pinterest-worthy look at their wedding that requires lots of attention to detail on the big day, and for couples who want family and friends to just come and enjoy the day without getting put to work. Interestingly, it’s also the best choice for brides on a budget, as hiring a skilled planner can save costs in other areas.

Day-of Coordinating is best for brides who want to keep their weddings really simple and small. The guest list should be around or under 100 guests for maximum benefit, and the couple will need to have invested in skilled vendors in other areas (a great venue, DJ, and caterer are musts for the best wedding experience) and, though the planner can help with set-up and tear-down, will likely need to make arrangements for the bulk of this themselves.

Ready to talk to a consultant to see which one works best for you? Contact us for your consultation!

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finding the right coordinator

After last week’s post series on ways your wedding coordinator can save you time, money, and your sanity, some of you may be wondering how to find the right wedding planner for you. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Vendor Recommendations. Good relationships with vendors are crucial to wedding day success, and most vendors aren’t shy about letting you know who they feel are the best in the Springfield wedding industry. You can check to see if vendors you have already booked have a recommended vendor list or just a personal opinion about planners you are considering. Believe me, you want a coordinator who has a great relationship with your other wedding vendors.
  2. Social Media. My second favorite way to find the right coordinator is to do a search for planners and coordinators in your area. The most valuable source of reliability isn’t necessarily number of likes or frequency of posting. You want to look at one thing: reviews. Read the reviews on their page, and see if the things people are raving about are things that are important to you.
  3. Website. By this point, you should have a good list of 3-4 planners you are interested in working with who are reputable in the Springfield industry. Checking out their website will help narrow it down: are they experts in their field? Does their portfolio showcase a wide variety of tastes and styles? Does their overall vibe mesh well with your taste?
  4. Consultation. The absolute best way to know who will be the best planner for you is to meet with them in person. You should absolutely schedule a consultation even if you are worried the planner may be out of your price range…you never know when flexibility is available! The initial consultation should be free, with no obligation, and should include you sharing your big day dreams and your planner discussing her role in making that happen. If it’s not a good fit or your date isn’t available, don’t be afraid to ask the coordinator for her recommendations- I have two coordinators that I LOVE to recommend to brides if the stars don’t align for us.

And that’s it! The first three steps can take a couple of hours one afternoon, and narrowing it down to two will mean you can get the consultations finished and a planner hired by the end of the week.

If you are ready for your consultation ASAP, just fill out the form below and I’ll schedule some time to chat!

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saving money

We’ve been working through how a good coordinator can save your sanity and save you time, but today’s topic will undoubtedly be the most popular of the three. Who doesn’t want to save money?

One thing I’ve noticed since moving to the Springfield, Missouri wedding market is that a lot of brides haven’t quite caught on to the necessity of having a coordinator. It’s easy to justify spending money on the food (because people will eat it), on the flowers (because people will see them), and the photos (because you’ll keep them forever), but what a wedding coordinator supplies is slightly more intangible. After all- you can’t put a price tag on time OR sanity, and the truth is that you may never know all the fiascos your wedding coordinator solved on your behalf!

So today I wanted to focus a little on the tangible benefits of hiring a coordinator…that is, her monetary value.

Hiring a wedding coordinator early in your planning process is VITAL for shaving dollars off of your total bills. Many vendors in the Springfield area offer a special discount for brides who use coordinators (because they know how AWESOME wedding coordinators are!!), and a planner with good vendor relationships may have a few deals available exclusively for the planner’s clientele.

Another way coordinators help lower your bill is in the initial selection of your vendors. An experienced planner is familiar with local prices and will know where to find the vendors that fit your vision AND your budget, and will also know which vendors tend to tack on fees or suggest unnecessary add-ons to the final bill. They will know which venues offer complimentary decor, if that is important to you. They will look at your priorities and suggest changes that don’t hinder the overall vision of your big day. They have LOADS of experience with this. Loads.

She can also troubleshoot potential wedding money pits before they happen. Ordering flowers online to save on money makes total sense, until the box arrives two days late on the morning of the wedding, with half of the roses brown and dying and you’ve kissed that $300 goodbye. And you don’t have roses.

That’s a true story.

A coordinator would recommend choosing a florist who is willing to order those extra flowers wholesale, absorbing the risk of potential disasters and saving her client dollars and panic attacks. This is just one example of how an experienced wedding planner can save your bottom line.

Finally, hiring a coordinator doesn’t have to be as expensive as you would think. Day-of packages that include an initial consultation and full coordination on the big day can be very reasonable. At Bliss Events, we even offer substantial discounts on our full package to clients who work with other recommended vendors.

Want to learn more about how we can help you save money on your wedding? Contact us for a consultation today!!

Read more about how a coordinator can save you time and sanity!

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saving time

Let’s talk about how you wish you had more time in the day.

Right??!!

Life is already crazy busy…and no doubt that planning a wedding can be one of the most exciting–and stressful–events in a lifetime. There is just so much to keep track of: vendor visits, comparison charts, contracts, timelines, notes, invoices, ideas, checklists, contacts…the list goes on and on and on.

You are throwing what is likely the biggest and most expensive event of your lifetime during a season when there is already a lot on your plate. Maybe you are finishing up school or neck-deep in your full-time job. You probably have family responsibilities and friends you’d like to see once in awhile…not to mention keeping that relationship with your partner nice & strong.

An informal poll by Forbes magazine shows that brides spend an average of 10 hours a week on wedding planning, with a full 50% of brides spending 10 hours per week or MORE than 20 hours a week on planning the perfect day.

Wouldn’t it be great to have some of those hours back to yourself?

A great coordinator will save you time along the way. After she hears your vision and knows your budget, she should be able to provide you with a list of vendors that will work for you…saving you HOURS of research time and dead-end emails and phone calls.

She can also be the liaison between you and what is usually a minimum of six other vendors–send her a quick email letting her know you need to schedule visits, make a change to an order, and asking any questions that have come up and she’ll get back to you within 48 hours with results that you don’t have track down.

Want to do ribbon wands for the big exit but don’t know where to find them? Your wedding coordinator can find that information for you. Want an out-of-the-box guest book idea but don’t have time to surf pinterest? Your planner probably has some ideas! Having a hard time keeping track of all the payments that are due? A good planner has a system in place to help you keep track of all of these details.

What will you do with those extra hours this week? A pedicure. A date with your guy. Dinner with friends. Maybe just some extra time on Pinterest 😉

Ready to hire a wedding coordinator for your wedding near Springfield, Missouri? We’d love to chat about your day! Contact us ASAP for available 2018 dates.

Read this to learn how a coordinator can save your sanity. Check back later this week for ways your coordinator can help you save money!!

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saving sanity

Photo by Shana Lynne Photography
Guess what is the #1 time of year that couples get engaged?

Yup. Christmas season.

With holidays and engagement rings fast approaching, and with many of you jumping into wedding planning mode soon after, there are three BIG questions to ask yourself before you make any wedding day decisions:

1. Do you want to save time?
2. Do you want to save money?
3. Do you want to save your sanity?

I think you may want a wedding coordinator.

Over the next few days, I want to really unpack how a good wedding planner can help you do all the things. Today, let’s focus on what is the most obvious job of a coordinator: saving your sanity on the day of your wedding.

It’s 11:00 a.m. on the morning of the big day. What are you doing? Are you enjoying getting your hair and makeup done, laughing with your besties and relishing those butterflies as you realize your ceremony is just a handful of hours away? Are you spending the night whispering into your lover’s ear and hugging friends and family who came all this way to see you?

Or… are you fielding calls from the florist who misplaced the directions to your venue? Are you wondering how in the world you can get in your dress and fix the drapery that the rental company installed incorrectly at the same time? Are you dancing with your hubby for the first time while mouthing directions to the DJ over his shoulder to make sure you get the timeline back on track? Are you changing out of your dress and into sweatpants and tennis shoes to clean up the half-eaten cake and dirty tablecloths?

I think we know which is the more ideal scenario. A great wedding planner is ALL yours, all day. She is onsite to receive your vendors and make sure everyone does what they said they would do at the time they said they would do it. She makes sure that drapery is hung just the way you wanted it, makes sure those flowers get in all the right places. Forgot to pack the guest book pen? She’s on it. Need great-aunt in a wheelchair to be seated near the front? She’ll make it happen.

Your coordinator has the birds-eye-view. She knows if your photos get exactly 45 minutes between the end of ceremony and beginning of reception, and will make sure your DJ is on cue and your photographer has finished up by the time you need to make your grand entrance for dinner. She can gracefully whisk you away from your chatty cousin so you don’t get sidetracked on the way to the cake cutting. She’s there to make sure the sparklers get put in a bucket of water so your venue doesn’t go up in flames. Best of all, she’s there help everything get back in it’s proper place once the festivities are all said and done.

The investment in a coordinator for the day of your wedding is the most important investment you will make for your sanity. At the end of the day, you don’t go down in history as bridezilla. Because you didn’t have to worry about a thing.

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faves on friday

Inspiration from the week: wedding planners and local vendors sharing bridal bliss around the web. Enjoy!

Color and whimsy about on this Modern Valentine’s Wedding Day Wedding from 100 Layer Cake.

L-O-V-I-N-G naked cakes right now. 29 Naked Cakes for Your Wedding on Martha Stewart Weddings.

Wedding invitation logistics, demystified on Wedding Invitation Do’s and Don’ts at 417 Bride.

Shopping around? 5 Things to Know Before Hiring Your Wedding Vendors at Every Last Detail.

A simple and STUNNING Intimate New Hampshire Backyard Wedding at Artfully Wed.

Happy Friday!

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think of the little ones

There is nothing more adorable than a tiny little person all dressed up at a wedding. Fidgety bodies, uncontrollable impulses, and hilarious one-liners: there is no doubt that many of your big day memories will come from these baby members of your wedding party. The dark side? Tantrums, potty accidents, and general mayhem can come from these same little ones. A savvy bride with many children in her wedding party keeps a few things in mind to help wrangle the chaos:

Consider the timing. The fewer moments that a child is in full dress–think crisp white shirts, poofy satin dresses, intricate updos–the fewer opportunities for juice stains, holes in tights, curls falling flat, and lost shoes (not that I’ve ever seen a toddler take off their shoes and not remember where they put them or anything…) Work with your photographer to schedule the photos that include the children as close to the ceremony time as possible so there is little chance for them to get bored (i.e. destructive. Ahem.)

Work with parents. Ask the parents of your littlest: what do you need from me to make this child’s day go smoothly? Commonly heard complaints include–no time for naps on wedding day, too much waiting around, and too exhausting for parents to actually enjoy the wedding day. You can easily avoid these complaints by making your schedule respectful of the child’s nap time (see above point), having plenty of activities available for them once they arrive (see next point), and asking a young teenager in your family to be the official wedding nanny as a special way to be a part of the big day. She can help the parents by running for items, entertaining fussy ones, and cleaning up messes.

Make it fun. Set up a special kid’s station to anticipate their needs. A few things to include:

  • Low-mess snacks: crackers, cheese sticks, apple slices, raisins, and water. If you choose to offer juice, opt for a light colored juice (white grape or apple), and DON’T serve juice boxes. Instead, pour it into no-spill cups with lids. Just trust me on this.
  • Activities: crayons and coloring books (no markers!), or board games for slightly older ones. Play dough is a surprisingly good option- very little mess on hands or clothes. As long as you have someone available to clean up the area afterward, it can keep kids of all ages entertained for a long time. A trip to the dollar store to arm yourself with a tiny baby doll or small cars will round out your arsenal to keep the kids busy.

Be proactive. Think through some things that might go wrong. Worried your flower girl will spill juice down her dress? Grab a men’s undershirt to slip over her head. If you clip the neck with a clothespin, you can make sure her dress is covered while she’s waiting. Removing the clothespin will allow you to pull the shirt back over her head before the ceremony without messing up her hair. Worried your sister-in-law will forget dress socks for ring-bearer? Pick up an extra pair to keep on hand just in case. You get the idea: be prepared.

 

Got any great plans for keeping children happy at your wedding?

 

 

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save, five ways…on your wedding venue

Location, location, location. Mention the word wedding and suddenly the price spikes. There is no question that where you have the wedding is an important detail of your big day, but you certainly don’t want to go deep into debt to purchase time in a place where you will spend approximately ten hours of your entire life. Venue costs tend to stay relatively fixed, without a whole lot of wiggle room. Here are some tried-and-true tips to score a great space while saving a bit:

Curate the guest list. I know, I know. You are so tired of hearing this. But it can’t be overstated- you must cut down the guest list. Most venues around Springfield implement a price hike when you get to a guest count of 125-150, and some of the less expensive options don’t even hold more than 125 people.

Timing is everything. Weeeelll, maybe not everything. But it does influence the price point, for sure. Don’t feel locked in to Saturdays because that’s what everyone else does- Friday or Sunday are equally lovely days to host a celebration. If you are looking at a year when a national holiday falls midweek, schedule your wedding the night before so your guests can enjoy the next day off and you can enjoy the savings from booking a Wednesday night shindig. While I’m not one to suggest you choose a wedding off-season because of a price break, if you happen to love autumn or the snowfall of winter, book your date in those months. Bonus that it can often come with off-season pricing.

Evaluate perks. Does the venue provide linens, or will you need to rent them? Are there decorations available for use, or is it a blank slate? In the case of outdoor venues, do they have a rain alternative, or will you need to have a back-up tent? All of these are considerations that can either rack up your bill or save you a considerable amount once the day is done.

Double-duty. Choosing a venue that has a ceremony area in addition to the reception hall can  can save travel time and transportation costs. Going one step further to find  accommodations for your ceremony and reception in the same space will save you time, transportation, and floral/decoration costs. These suggestions aren’t for everyone- some brides really value holding their ceremony in a church. Others feel strongly about having separate locations for two vibes, the more sacred and sweet ceremony versus the celebratory feel of the reception. If you are up for it, though, it can shave some change off your final bill.

What about you? Have you found creative ways to trim your venue budget?

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save, five ways…on wedding catering

Great conversation happens around great food. Relationships are built around the table. Memories are made around the smell, look, and taste of meals.

Conversation, relationship, and memories don’t cost a thing…so why is your catering bill nearly 30% of your budget? Food costs money, and good food costs a good amount of money. Great food costs…well, you get the idea. Here are five ideas for saving money on what your guests will be eating and drinking on the big day:

Manage your guest list. Boy, bet you didn’t see that one coming. Overdone advice, but still so true. The single best way to cut wedding costs is to have fewer people present. Start with the invites- if you or your significant other do not know the person by name, would not recognize them on the street, or otherwise would not invite them except-that-a-certain-family-matriarch-will-not-stop-insisting…don’t invite them. If they have not been a part of your life for the last fifteen years, it’s doubtful they will be offended if they are not invited to the wedding. The average guest costs $125 to host at a wedding in Springfield, Missouri. This includes the cost of catering, printed products, and divided venue and decorations costs. If said family matriarch claims disrespect, you can respectfully suggest that they foot the bill for said guest. If they are indeed footing the bill, well…I guess you wouldn’t be reading this post, then 🙂

Finalize guest details. When you choose to give an estimate to your caterer instead of a definite head count, you will likely pay for people who are not present. If guests have not RSVP’d by your deadline, a simple phone call can save you twenty bucks a head! In the same line of thinking, know how many of your guests are children. Usually children’s portion sizes are smaller, so you can negotiate a lower rate for less food.

Price match. Wedding catering is a highly competitive business. If you’ve got quotes from Caterers A, B, C and you looooooove with a capital L Caterer B’s food, but Caterer C gave you a slightly lower estimate, don’t be afraid to ask for a price match! Graciously, of course, and with a heavy dose of complimentary accolades. Be aware that caterers who do more volume can get better discounts on wholesale foods, so a smaller caterer may not be able to compete. If they do a similar volume of business, there shouldn’t be any reason why Caterer B wouldn’t give you a small price break in order to secure your booking.

Scrutinize traditions. Are you really going to want to eat the top layer of your wedding cake in a year? If you get a hankering for wedding cake on your anniversary, why not order a fresh sheet cake instead of pulling your plastic-wrapped, frozen hunk of cake out of the back of your freezer. Serve the top layer to guests. What about the appetizer spread? Do you really need it, or can your guests have the salad course of the meal while the bridal party is finishing up photos? Doing things just because it’s the way it’s always been done is the fast track to spending more than you actually need to. Do what makes sense for you now.

Minimize the cake. For most people, a gorgeous wedding cake is as essential as a gorgeous wedding dress. It just must be done. There are so many fantastic ways to make a small cake look extravagant that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a jaw dropper. Filling the space between tiers with fresh flowers, placing tiers on pedestals of different heights…a quick search on Pinterest will give you tons of great ideas. Consider ordering a cake for half your guest count, then have a basic sheet cake cut for the remainder. Alternatively, many caterers offer cupcakes for a lower price per person (sometimes up to half off!) Let’s plug in some numbers. Guest list: 150, Cake: $3.00/slice, Cupcakes: $1.50 each. Ordering just a wedding cake brings the total to $450, not including extra costs for fillings and flavors. Ordering a wedding cake for half and cupcakes for half brings the total to just $337.50, a savings of over $100.

How are you saving on your catering costs?

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