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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cupcakes or coffee?

If you are thinking about hiring Bliss Events but haven’t taken that first step to schedule your consultation…wait, why haven’t you scheduled your consultation??

First of all…It’s free. Completely free, no obligation, just 100% fun to meet you and hear your big ideas for the wedding day.

Second of all…it’s cupcakes. Or coffee- your choice. And on me.

And finally, it’s just the best. THE BEST!!

Here’s what you can expect: I will arrive probably way too early because I am psyched to meet you and your VIP. I will have my computer out and my online planning tool up and ready to go when you arrive. As you tell me a little about your story and your ideas for your wedding, I will be typing away as I listen so I don’t miss a thing.

Next, I’ll talk about all of the things I can offer you…things like our online planning tool, a vendor recommendation sheet for your vision and budget, scheduling vendor visits, being available for unlimited emails and text messages, and helping you create a perfect timeline for your day.

You’ll be so pumped. And we will ride off into the sunset.

But first, schedule the consultation already.

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cupcake consultations

Wanna know one of my favorite things about being a wedding planner?

The consultation.

love hearing big day dreams from recently engaged brides. I love hearing how two people met, built a relationship, and fell in love. I love hearing the unique ideas those two people have for celebrating that love.

And since we’re already talking flowers, dresses, and wedding cake, we might as well be eating cupcakes!

If you are in the throes of wedding planning in the Springfield, Missouri area, please give me a call or send a text to (615)975-5367. I’d love to treat you to a cupcake and talk more about your vision and how I can help you make it happen. Having a wedding planner is more affordable than you’d think, and more necessary than you know.

Can’t wait to meet you!

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save, five ways…on your wedding coordinator

Of course I believe you need to hire a wedding coordinator. I am one, after all.

But how can you make sure you can afford one? Here are five ways to save money on your wedding coordinator:

Use one. I know this is counterintuitive- your budget is being pulled a million different directions and it can be hard to justify something so intangible. After all, you can smell the flowers, taste the food, see the photos. It can be hard to give some of those precious dollars to something outside the realm of your senses. After all, if a wedding planner has done her job right, you’ll never know about the tears you didn’t cry, the bridesmaid you didn’t snap at, the vendor who didn’t come through exactly as promised. There is no question that a talented event coordinator is worth her weight in gold. So many times, a planner actually saves her client money. Rosesinister at Offbeat Bride writes:

One day I had plans to meet with a caterer and a photographer and my planner tagged along, and brought with her a second photographer for us to meet with. The moment the amazing, wedding planner-picked husband and wife photography team commented on my TARDIS-blue nail polish, I was sold — SOLD, I tell you — on a photographer that I would never known about if it wasn’t for my planner.

The best part? The photographers are Eight. Hundred. Dollars. Less. than the not-too-pricy photographer I was dead-set on. $800 is no small amount of dough.

Then my planner convinced me to talk to a different caterer. The first caterer I picked had a quote of $37.50 per person (alcohol not included, that was another $35 per person). I thought that was fair…

The second caterer? Can I tell you how much I love this woman? We had a tasting with her. She is SUPER AMAZING! And because she isn’t as “established” as my first choice, guess what? She’s totally cheaper. $1750 cheaper.

Holy cow, did my wedding coordinator just save me $2,550? Yes, yes she did.

Be honest about your budget. Here’s the deal. Unfortunately, it’s true that some planners won’t return your phone call if your wedding budget is under the national average of $20,000. It’s also true that there are TONS of us out there who got into the business simply because we want to help make dreams come true. If you are dying to work with a planner whose fee is more than you wanted to spend, be up front about that. Depending on the time of year you are getting married, the coordinator’s schedule, your personal story, or a host of other reasons, she may be willing to work with you for slightly less than her typical fee.

Choose the right planner. When you are researching your options, don’t be shy about asking what other services the coordinator can provide under her contracted fee. Many wedding planners are not only brilliant at balancing budgets, vendors, and timelines, but are also extremely creative and talented individuals. Can she arrange flowers you’ve purchased in bulk to save some cash? Does she have table linens available for rental? Does she have a stash of decorative items (like vases, candles, etc.) that she frequently lends to clients? Is she talented at graphic design? If she offers these services for an additional fee, don’t be afraid to ask if she’s open to negotiating a discounted rate. 

Get discounts for referrals. Truly, a successful wedding business is built on positive referrals. When a bride has a positive experience with a wedding vendor and shares her thoughts with a throng of about-to-be-married friends, that vendor gets a huge opportunity to work with more clients. This opportunity makes you, your word-of-mouth, and your happiness so valuable to a wedding coordinator. At Bliss Events, our referral program is our primary way of getting you top value for your dollar. For every client we book through you, we deduct 1% from your total bill. For example…You decide today you want to hire us to help pull together your big day. Your budget is $10K, so our agreed upon fee is $1,000 (our typical 10%). We meet for our initial consultation, and you are over the moon with excitement about working with Bliss. You share our Facebook page with a shout-out to how awesome we are. Immediately, your cousin Jenny books us because she’s engaged and has been looking for a planner. You pay 9%. Two months before your wedding, your best friend gets engaged and hires us through the referral program. You pay 8%. A $10,000 wedding coordinated for $800 is nothing to sneeze at, my friends. The limit is 10, and after you enjoy the free coordinating of your big day, we’ll continue to send you restaurant gift cards for every person you refer.

Barter. Call me old school, if you’d like, but I’m a big believer in bartering goods and services for what you need when you are short on cash. Reverse roles for a minute and consider what services you could provide that your planner might use. Do you have mad web design skills? Offer a website re-do in exchange for planning. Are you a massage therapist? I don’t know many people who would turn down a years’ worth of monthly massages in exchange for services. Straight up, I’m a girl on a tight budget, too. If I had a client who was a hairstylist offer me a free cut and color in exchange for a discount…well, I’d take a moment to consider that 😉

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hello

Hello! I’m so excited to be launching Bliss Events in 2016. Check back here soon for more photos as we’re working on the website. In the meantime, a little more about Bliss Events…

My journey as an event planner began over 12 years ago with a public rally for nearly 200 young people and has developed through the years as I’ve orchestrated myriad productions- everything from dinner theaters, to community events, to formal dinners, to baby showers. My husband and I have been married for nearly ten years (!!!) and recently relocated from Nashville, Tennessee. I am thrilled to be joining the Springfield, Missouri wedding community.

I love to celebrate two people as they step out in adventure and start new life together. I am passionate about helping you tell your love story to a room full of teary-eyed guests as they revel in the beauty of your day. Every bride deserves the luxury of a personal assistant on the most important day of her life. Would you let me come alongside you as you navigate the world of photos, catering, music, flowers, timelines and deadlines? My name is Steph Urich. It’s so lovely to meet you.

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