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wedding planner winery

*Florals in the above photo were provided and designed by Bloom and Company

Last week we broke down the initial parts of our services (Email communication, budgeting & venue and vendor sourcing). Today I’ll break down the amount of detail that goes into our Full-Scale Design Proposal process.

We spend about one full week working on the perfect initial design for our clients based on the ideas they’ve given us. Our proposal includes everything that is a visual factor as well as the elements that help create the desired atmosphere. We break down the following into detailed ideas and sketch pictures to put the ideas in our head on paper.

Ceremony

  • “Altar design”
  • Aisle Design
  • What will guests sit on?
  • Ceremony programs
  • What will enhance the guest experience? A water station on a hot day? An apple cider station on a cool fall day?
  • How can we make that beautiful

Cocktail Hour

  • Layout of the event
  • Types of food, signature drinks, bar design
  • Linen choices
  • Signage/ Stationery
  • Music/Lighting

Reception

  • Head Table Design (Style of table, linen, floral piece(s), style of chair)
  • Guest Tables Design (style of table, linen, centerpiece design, style of chairs, charger plates, stationery design( menus, escort cards, table numbers) )
  • Room Layout
  • Overall “wow” appeal as guests enter the room
  • Lighting, music, signature drinks – elements that can suggest the desired tone.

Invitations

Invitations that will echo the entire design/tone of the event.

Floral

A basic idea of how the flowers will look.

After we complete the design proposal, we’ll sit down with our clients to go over the design elements that they want to implement. Once they’ve decided we will get firm quotes on all outside decor.

Complete Floral Proposal/ Quote

Once our clients decor has been decided we will work on putting together a detailed Proposal and Quote for them. This includes everything from type of flowers in each arrangement to how many of each arrangement are needed with a detailed quote on the cost of the service.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where we’ll skip ahead to what we take care of in the week leading up to the wedding.

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weddings in niagara

I recently wrote about the top three reasons full-service wedding planners are worth the investment and I promised I would write, in more detail exactly the services we offer. After starting to write that post, I realized just how ridiculously long it would be and decided to break this post down into parts starting with the beginning of the planning process.

Part 1 | Email communication, budgeting, venue sourcing & vendor sourcing. 

Email Communication

When a prospective client reaches out to us we take the time to figure out what kind of service they are really looking for. We don’t send “templates” or general emails, we send an email with get-to-know-you questions that give us some insight on what you need. I like to jump on the phone with a prospective client to chat a little more in-depth about their vision for the wedding day and get a feel for their expectations to make sure we are a good fit for each other. After figuring out the service(s) they are interested in I sit down to write out a custom quote based on their individual needs. Once they receive the quote, if they are comfortable with the cost as well as the payment schedule, we’ll arrange for an in-person (or Skype) meeting to answer any additional questions before moving forward with a contract.

Budgeting

Once the prospective clients become official clients the first thing we do is take a look at their budget. If the couple already has a set budget which is also realistic,  I’ll break it down by percentages of the overall budget into categories. When that is complete I will confirm with the clients and make changes as necessary.

If the budget is not yet set, or isn’t very realistic based on the number of guests, venue type, etc. we’ll work on an estimated budget for them based on their wants/needs to help educate them on the local costs as well as make suggestions on how to work within their desired budget.

Venue & Vendor Sourcing

Using our database of venues we work with our clients to find the best options for their wedding. If we can’t find the perfect fit within the venues we already know and love we’ll do additional research to make sure we do! We contact each venue on behalf of the client to find out about available dates, ask any questions our clients may need to know and will set up a schedule of appointments to go see each venue. In addition to making the appointments, we also attend each site visit with our clients in order to answer any questions, give them our opinions and work on possible design ideas.  We continue with additional follow-up between the venue and the client and assist in the venue selection. Once we get to the contract stage of the desired venue we’ll look it over with the client to ensure everything looks standard and there is nothing unreasonable or out of the norm.

Like the above service with the venues we provide the same service with each vendor we need to hire. We give suggestions from our database based on the clients style and price range. We do a lot of back and forth emails so the client doesn’t have to. We’ll set up all in-person meetings with the vendors of choice as well as attend them. We’ll bring you to the contract stage where again we’ll look at the fine print and make sure it all sounds good.  This continues for the entire length of your planning process until all vendors have been booked.

The initial contracting stage between Weddings Tied With Lace and the client, budgeting and venue selection can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months depending on how busy and decisive the client is. The vendor booking process continues throughout the entire length of time as we book different vendors at different stages.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 where we’ll break down our Full-Scale Design process.

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niagara wedding planner

Want to know a secret? Wedding planner’s are no longer reserved for over-the-top, exuberant weddings. It’s true! One of the first things you may think about when hiring a [full service] planner is the high cost associated with the service and truthfully, it’s not a low-cost investment. But pay close attention to the word “investment” I used.

cost of a planner

Hiring a wedding planner for their service is much more than a simple transaction or transfer of money. While you may not be receiving money in return for your investment, the value you gain is priceless.

The three top reasons the value of a full-service planner is worth the investment are: Time, Advice & Network.

Time

At Weddings Tied With Lace, we put in roughly 260-300 hours of planning time dedicated to each client. We’ll dive deeper into the exact details of what a full planning service with Weddings Tied With Lace entails in a future post but basically, we’re spending time working with you every step of the way. Here’s a brief list of how we spend our time with you.

  • Budgeting (breakdown and allocation)
  • Venue Sourcing, contracting and follow-up.
  • Vendor sourcing, contract and follow up for each of your vendors (photographer, officiant, cake, transportations, etc.)
  • Full-scale design proposal.
  • Unlimited emails and scheduled phone calls.
  • Week of coordination
  • Floral Design
  • Attendance and Supervision at the wedding rehearsal.
  • Day of coordination which is about 17 hours for us.

We’re going to dedicate an upcoming post to explaining exactly what you hire us for, so stay tuned for that!

Advice

This isn’t our first rodeo. As the cliche goes “we eat, sleep, and breathe” weddings. Chances are good that if there is a challenge you are facing, have an idea you are wondering about or need a suggestion, we’ve been through it before. We’ll give you 100% honest advice about every situation. If it won’t work, or if it will work but needs some extra special attention, or if it will make your guests angry or upset, we’re going to lay it all out on the table for you. The decisions are always yours but we’re going to provide you with the pros and cons of each situation which takes away the guessing game for you.

Network

We’ve been in the industry for over 10 years, which means we’ve had plenty of time to develop relationships of all sorts. Not only do we get to work with our favourite vendors often, we also make a point of networking with them outside of “work”. We believe it’s important to develop close-knit relationships with vendors because it makes the planning and day-of coordination so much simpler when you have 110% confidence in the vendors we are recommending.

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weddings in jamaica

Last week I travelled to Jamaica to stay with a wedding planner friend who just opened up a new wedding venue! Exciting right? Jennifer Borgh is a wedding planner, travel agent and now owner and operator of a three-bedroom guest villa & wedding venue, Borghinvilla. I had such an amazing time in Jamaica. Not only do I love the country, the weather was amazing and the sound of the waves crashing up on the cliffs makes my heart skip a beat. If you’re thinking about having a destination wedding but aren’t sure what direction to go in, consider these tips:

  • All-inclusive resorts have a standard “cookie-cutter” package for all weddings. It’s not to say you can’t do something unique, but it’s less likely to be encouraged.
  • All-inclusive resorts also almost always charge a ($200!) fee per offsite vendor you want to bring on site for the day.
  • Resorts are fun! There’s always a lot to do and it will keep your guests entertained.
  • If you’re looking for a laid-back, just-want-to-get-married kind of wedding, a resort might be perfect for you.
  • If you’re looking to think a little outside the box, consider a guest house or villa. These are usually independently run and allow a lot more flexibility and one-on-one planning time with the coordinator.
  • There are no additional fees (at least not at Borghinvilla) for your vendors, bring who you want for as long as you want.
  • You’ll get to experience a lot more of the culture in your desired wedding country by staying outside of a resort. Resorts are pretty Americanized, so you miss out on a lot of the “real” culture.
  • By staying in a guest house and renting a car to get around, you can explore the country and be a little more adventurous.

In summary, if you’re looking for a custom wedding experience with culture and adventure a villa or guest house might be ideal for you. You can choose to stay at an all-inclusive resort and get married off site for a mix of both worlds.

If you’re thinking about Jamaica, definitely check out Borghinvilla. It’s situated on the cliffs which makes for an amazing ceremony and  private dinner receptions.

Here are some photos from my recent visit!

jamaica wedding venueniagara on the lake wedding planner

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I wrote about my big goal of transitioning to a more simple and minimalistic lifestyle in my January Goal blog. In an industry which thrives on “over-the-top-ness”, it can be easy to forget the purpose of a wedding, the marriage.  I believe a wedding should emulate who you are as a couple and so the details you choose to include in your day should be a reflection of that as well. Simplicity in a wedding isn’t necessarily about cutting back, it’s about ensuring that the fine points you do include will convey a story about you.

niagara on the lake wedding

Photo by Elizabeth in Love

‘Experience’ Triumphs 

Next to the actual ceremony of marriage, the most important aspect of a wedding is the experience. From the bride and groom standpoint, that means taking things slow to live in the moment. This day happens only once, enjoy the process, eat great food, drink just a little too much, spend time with your friends and family, and most importantly slow down and take it in. You’ll spend a year planning this day that goes by so quickly so remember to take a moment and enjoy your hard work.  From the guests point of view, the experience is everything from the words in the ceremony to the venue type/location, food, drinks, entertainment and yes, even the decor. What items you choose in each category should tell a story of who you are together.

Ditch the Extras

This is a suggestion that could mean something different to everyone who reads it. What some people might consider an extra, others would consider a necessity. A good example of this is favors. Unless you can think of a really cool item that expresses who you are as a couple and is something practical your guests will actually use again you might want to consider skipping this tradition. If it doesn’t emulate who you are and it’s just going to accumulate in your guests junk-drawer at home, then you’re just wasting money and space on “stuff”.

Remember this,

Focus on what makes you feel good and go with that. Will that item you want truly increase the level of experience for your guests? If so, add it in!

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