Last week, I had a chat with wedding planning expert Lissahn DeVance with Enraptured Events. She had some great insight on wedding planning tips to make this process less stressful. Read on!
Tell us a little about your business.
We are a full service wedding and design company. I’ve been planning weddings for 13+ years. I pride myself on being creative and being customer service focused. A lot of times within this industry, it is very hard to focus on the customer. Even though I may be planning 12 weddings or events at a time, I make sure that they feel like they are the only bride. I take pride in that.
Going back to being a tween, I read romance novels. That was always my favorite pastime. While reading, I could clearly see the images that were being described in the book. Fast forward, many years later, a friend of mine at church asked me to help her with her wedding. I asked her what did she want it to look like. I was able to formulate a picture from her description. So now I just always get the story, the vision, formulate a picture and plan accordingly.
What services do you offer?
I provide full service wedding planning services that includes the design concept, negotiating contracts, RSVP management, etc. I define the clients’ vision and negotiate contracts with the vendors that they have. Whether it's the cake, flowers, stationery, etc. Sometimes I am doing RSVP management because it's a tedious process to keep track of everyone that is attending the wedding. My full service and impartial planning includes quite a bit.
What should all Brides expect when meeting with you for the first time?
They should expect the “girl next door”. I am very down to earth and very bubbly. I love to laugh. At the same time, I’m all about business and making sure that I comprehend your vision and able to show you how I’m going to make that vision come true. I also present my clients with several documents and planning tools that we will use throughout the process. But I like to have fun at the same time...so a lot of laughs!
How can Brides prepare for their first meeting with you?
I always have Brides bring their photos. It doesn’t have to be wedding related photos because I am inspired by what inspires you; whether it’s fashion or traveling. Alot of them have already created a Pinterest Board and they will invite me to view them. The Pinterest Board allows me to look at all of the different pins that include their home life or specifically details about the wedding. I also have a questionnaire that I send to them so that I can get more insight. I actually send it to the Bride and the Groom so that I can get both sides of the story. That helps me to also get a vision of what they are looking for.
At what point in the process would you suggest the Bride contacts you?
The beginning. I always suggest that a couple hires the planner and venue first...in that order. I say that because there is so much that is involved in booking vendors. A lot of times the Bride would come to me and she already has a vendor secured. She doesn’t know that she is only going to get 5 hours for the venue when she really needs 6 hours.
If I am hired on the front end, I am able to address issues upfront and even negotiate a lower food and beverage minimum (or whatever the case may be). If she does the process in reverse, she’s already locked in. I now have to do what has already been documented and work around it.
In the past, I had a Bride who booked a venue prior to hiring me and she was happy that they had table and chairs. Well the colors of her wedding were black, white and green. So we then had to rent 100 black chairs because the venue only had 50 of one color and 50 of another color.She didn’t save any money where she thought she was saving. If you don’t know to ask these questions upfront then you’re not necessarily getting the best that you can.
What are some mistakes Brides make when planning a wedding?
#1. - The biggest mistake, and I don’t necessarily call this a mistake, but the biggest issue is budget. A Lot of times people think that $10k for a wedding is sufficient and it’s not. Many Brides come to me with a $10k budget and 100-150 guests. Yes, $10k is a lot of money, but when you think about how far it goes when planning a wedding, they just don’t fully understand what things cost. One of the biggest mistakes is not doing the research and knowing what vendors actually cost. Therefore, they end up pulling a number out of the sky and it just doesn't work.
#2. - This next mistake ties in with the budget. I always say that hiring a planner is an asset, not a liability. People think they can do it themselves. In some aspects, you can. But you can not execute your wedding yourself. You can’t tell someone when to walk down the aisle when you’re the last person that needs to go down the aisle. You should not be running around trying to make sure the caterer and the DJ showed up.
#3 - Another mistake is hiring family and friends to execute your wedding; whether it’s taking pictures or cooking the food. I always say that your wedding day is a celebration. They want to enjoy it with you and be happy for you. By requiring them to work, you are going to lose out on something. It could be that you end up with bad pictures or the simple fact that that person is not able to celebrate with you. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. I understand that you are trying to save money and cut costs. However, I always say that you should never cut so many corners that you end up with a circle. When you have your family and friends doing things because you want to save money, it doesn’t always work out to your benefit down the road. You get what you pay for.
#4- I would say another mistake is listening to everybody. I tell my Brides that you have the planner that you hired as well as the planners in your family and circle of friends. You cannot please everyone and you should not listen to everyone. You hire professionals because you trust their guidance and their expertise.
For example, I am in the process of securing a venue with a client but her bridesmaids are giving her flack about their dresses. I told her that she can worry about that later. They are going to keep asking her everyday about their dresses because that’s the most important part to THEM. However, she has a timeline and it’s my job to take her through that timeline. Right now, the biggest focus is on the venue. The dress won’t matter if there is no place to go.
So when you are listening to everyone else, it becomes overwhelming. It takes the joy out of the planning process. I understand that people are excited, happy and overjoyed for you. At the same time, you should be able to delegate to the people that you have hired and keep people at bay long enough so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
There are times where the mom or grandmother is paying for the wedding. In this case, the Bride may let their opinions outweigh her own. I often have to play counselor because the mom has always wanted her to wear a princess ball gown but maybe the Bride wants something more form fitting. I always advise that just because someone is paying for it does not negate your own feelings or vision for what your wedding day should be.
Where can my Brides find out more information about your services?
Note: She plans other events as well including birthdays, baby showers, social and corporate events, so give her a call!