Why You Should Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner feat. MLH Events

At Windridge Estate, one of our favorite things to do is help you plan out your wedding here! While we love imagining, offering ideas, and planning out aspects of your wedding day alongside you, there are so many parts of planning a wedding that sometimes you’ll require the extra helping hand of an actual wedding planner and/or day-of coordinator.

While we will always do whatever we can to make your wedding day run smoothly, it is always so helpful having another professional there to aid in keeping everything afloat! When you have a wedding a Windridge Estate, one of our requirements is that you have a chief Point-of-Contact person who we can come to with any questions/issues that pop up. The role of your Point-of-Contact is also to keep everything (and everyone) organized and on time, this way you don’t have to worry about anything yourself on your big day! Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life, and we want you to remember it fondly, happily, and completely stress-free. That’s why it is so important to have a reliable and responsible Point-of-Contact person.

Photo by Lovewell

Some couples choose to make their POC person a parent or a member of the wedding party, which seems like a great idea in retrospect, but once the wedding day arrives, your POC will likely be too busy getting dressed or trying to make sure everyone is present for family photos, so they won’t have much time or energy to invest in organizing all the little details of your wedding day. This means that, unfortunately, the little detours that happen on every wedding day will eventually make their way back to you, the couple.

So while MaryBeth and Ann will always handle everything and anything related to the venue, we cannot express enough how much of a help it is having another professional to work with, who’s one and only job of the day, is to plan, organize, and run your wedding day smoothly. Having been in the wedding industry for several years now, we have gotten to work with so many incredible wedding planners and coordinators. So we wanted to sit down and have a chat with our friend, Megan of MLH Events, to talk about just why you should consider hiring a wedding planner for your Windridge Estate Wedding.

 

Q&A with MLH Events

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Q: Why should a couple consider hiring a wedding planner?

Megan of MLH Events

“The tricky thing with planning a wedding is that you don’t know what you don’t know, oftentimes until it’s too late. It’s easy to have sensory overload with a huge number of online “resources”, tools like Pinterest and even TV shows and movies. There is a huge amount of expectation that comes along with weddings and it can be tricky to navigate for people when emotion is at play. Planners are here to ease the stress, remove the variables and plan for the “unknown” by anticipating what troubles could pop up. We are professional problem solvers and a great neutral third party to help outline the impacts of each solution. We move you through the planning process building on the decisions that you’ve made, compiling your ideal vendor team and injecting your personality along the way. We have long standing working relationships with a variety of vendors that not only helps to ensure a great value, but a superior service offering. We know who you can rely on and who you can’t. Who will go above and beyond for you – who has the freshest flowers, the best buttercream and the most reliable rides.

From a coordination standpoint, the practical support of having someone guide you through the day is priceless. We encourage you to be very present and in the moment – it’s a day that can go very quickly otherwise! We’re there to anticipate the next activity, get your vendor team on deck and move you through your moments seamlessly and elegantly, all the while staying behind the scenes and problem solving should anything unexpected pop up. We’re there to set-up, to breakdown and to keep everything moving along the way. I always equate it to being the maestro of an orchestra. The vendors are the musicians and we’re there to help cue everyone at the right time to create an amazing composition for you and your guests.”

 

Q: What are some of the tasks that you take over as the event planner? How involved can the couple be in planning with you?

Photo by Kerri Lynne Photography

From a process standpoint, we typically take over the back end/non-glamorous/more practical side of the planning so that the couple doesn’t need to be bothered or need to learn how to address each step. Things like contract review, budget management, floorplan development and the logistics of set-up, power needs, water needs, heating and cooling, infrastructural rentals, catering setup and restroom needs are things that we usually do 98% of the work on with an overview explanation and approval process from the couple. We provide vendor referrals, schedule vendor meetings, attends things like tastings and vendor chats and generally guide the couple through the planning process. Management of the guest list, website and registries are handled by the couple, but we’re happy to step in for formatting and managing responses. We continually provide ideas and solutions and work with the couple to ensure that their day is a reflection of who they are and their relationship.

Couples can be as involved or as out of the loop as they prefer and as their schedule allows for. We will never “take over” a wedding unless it’s explicitly requested from the couple and even in those instances, I like them to have had a few interactions with vendors like their photographer and videographer prior to the wedding to develop a bit of a relationship and familiarity. The wedding day is a day when you’re inundated with people – people in your personal space, people wanting to talk to you, people pulling you in different directions. My goal is always for you to feel that the people on your vendor team are there to support you and back you up. That we’re all a “safe space” so by interacting with your vendors prior to the wedding day, you feel like, “Oh it’s Meg – she’s got my back!” or “I’m so happy to see my photog”, not “Who is this stranger in my space that I’ve only spoken to once”.

 

Q: What types of events need a planner? Do you do large scale weddings, as well as small and intimate affairs?

Photo by Sarah Heppell Photography

 “I think all events need a planner AND a coordinator. Certainly large-scale weddings with many moving parts, but also small and intimate events where there’s nowhere to hide. Any event – whether 300 people or 13 – needs a solid foundation. Timing, food and beverage and rentals are all factors that can make or break an event. Bad food, poor service, not enough flatware, etc. are all things that become glaringly obvious with smaller groups in particular. From an execution standpoint, any event that you’d like to be “present” for, you should have a coordinator for. They will take the yolk of responsibility from you, the host, and oversee the logistics and serve as a point of contact for the staffing so that you get to enjoy the work you’ve put into your event.”

 

Q: What are your thoughts on the stigma that having a wedding planner is a “luxury”?

Photo by Kerri Lynne Photography

Planners, designers and coordinators aren’t just for “luxury” couples. You don’t need to be famous or high profile to hire some support. We work with a range of budgets and have plenty of cost-saving tips and tricks to pass along. It’d be a shame to spend so much time and money planning your big day and then look back to realize that you’ve either hated the whole process, were too stressed on the wedding day to enjoy it, or both. Most of us offer free consultations so you can ask questions, learn more about how we can help with each step of the process and get a feel for our personalities. We’re here to help so that you can have your best day ever!”

 

Q: What types of planning services do you offer?

At MLH Events, we provide planning, design and coordination services. Planning involves the front end, foundational work – selecting vendors, venues, managing budget, etc. Design is the creation of the aesthetic vision and how that translates through color palette, floral, linens, paper goods and specialty rentals. Coordination is the actual execution of the plans – setup and wedding day management.

In terms of service packages, we offer a few different options depending on the couple’s preferred level of involvement:

Photo by Kerri Lynne Photography

  • Full Planning services include planning, design and coordination
  • Partial Planning services include some general planning support and coordination
  • Wedding Day Management services cover the coordination of the event onsite
  • Stand Alone Design services if they need help envisioning the look and feel of the event
  • Consulting services done on an hourly basis 
  • A La Carte event services for smaller events surrounding the wedding (rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties)

 

Q: How does a couple decide how much planning they will need for their wedding?

Service selection is based on the couples needs and wants. Factors that can affect which direction they lean in can include everything from their chosen careers and daily stress level, to the nature of the venue, their guest list and geography. Many of our clients are “destination” couples who live out of town or out of state and are looking for a local source to be their “feet on the street” in their absence. Many clients are also professionals in demanding career fields who simply don’t have the time or the mental bandwidth to learn how to plan their own weddings.

We’re here to walk potential clients through the options and help them determine the level of service that makes the most sense for them and their wedding. “

Q: What’s included in each of your Service Packages?

The Full Planning Package

This package is perfect for couples who want their dream wedding but don’t want the headaches that can come along with planning it! From designing an aesthetic and color scheme that suits them as a couple to planning their perfect exit as partners, this package covers all aspects of your wedding day and includes:

Photo by Kerri Lynne Photography

  • An initial “Meet the Couple” consultation and unlimited planning consultations
  • Complete design and color scheme development including design presentation
  • Vendor management and contract review
  • Ongoing budget management
  • Extensive customized wedding planning checklists and timelines
  • Décor planning including shopping support
  • Rehearsal coordination and attendance
  • Full setup of ceremony and reception sites by myself and my team (including ceremony décor, guest table décor, special touches like personalized guest books, favors, etc.)
  • Complete wedding day direction (including coordination of ceremony procession, formal announcements, first dance, food station or dinner announcements, etc.)
  • One hour of site tear down to ensure that both rental items and personal décor items are ready to be picked up/transported at the designated times.

 

Partial Wedding Planning Package

This package is ideal for couples who have already completed part of the planning and need help to finalize outstanding vendors and details of the wedding. This package allows the couple a hands-on role in the planning with our professional assistance to guide them. It includes:

  • Details meeting at time of booking to go over what has been planned so far
  • Establish a “to do” list to guide the couple in planning their wedding
  • Unlimited emails and phone calls from booking date
  • Provide etiquette advice
  • Research/make vendor suggestions and schedule vendor meetings

    Photo by Kerri Lynne Photography

  • Attend up to six vendor meetings with you
  • Customized wedding planning checklists and timelines for all tasks and projects
  • Décor planning, including shopping support for items like containers, linens, paper items, unique guest book solutions, card boxes, etc.
  • Rehearsal coordination and attendance (and management if an officiant is not assuming that role)
  • Full setup of ceremony and reception sites by myself and my team
  • Complete wedding day direction (including coordination of ceremony procession, formal announcements, first dance, cake cutting, any dinner announcements, etc.)
  • One hour of site tear down to ensure that both rental items and personal décor items are ready to be picked up/transported at the designated times 

 

Wedding Day Coordination Package

This package is designed for the couple that has their wedding planned, but is unsure how to execute. They want to enjoy their big day with the confidence of knowing that their months of hard work will be displayed beautifully… and exactly as they planned. It includes:

  • Up to four planning in-person meetings where we discuss table layout and floor plan, vendor details, décor and timeline
  • Unlimited phone and email correspondence

    Photo by Sarah Heppell Photography

  • Vendor outreach and detail verification to ensure that all vendors are punctual on the day of and are aware of the day’s timeline
  • Recommendations for organization of décor and accessories
  • Rental item pick up/drop off plan
  • Rehearsal attendance
  • Full setup of ceremony and reception sites by myself and my team (including ceremony décor, guest table décor, special touches like personalized guest books, favors, etc.)
  • Complete wedding day direction (including coordination of ceremony procession, formal announcements, first dance, food station or dinner announcements, etc.)
  • One hour of site tear down to ensure that both rental items and personal décor items are ready to be picked up/transported at the designated times

 

The Divine Design Package

This package focuses on aesthetic development and helps determine the look and feel of the wedding ceremony and reception spaces. This package includes:

Photo by Sarah Heppell Photography

  • An initial “Meet the Couple” consultation to determine their likes and preferences
  • Two follow up consultations
  • A personalized wedding design inspiration presentation with décor, floral, attire and cake design recommendations
  • A 30″x20″ inspiration board featuring fabric and paper samples, design recommendations and more
  • Vendor referrals
  • Complimentary wedding planning checklist and budget worksheet

 

Q: What should couples be prepared for if they DO NOT on-board a wedding planner?

To confirm, confirm, confirm. The couple needs to outline what they expect each vendor to do and then walk through it with them to make sure that everyone is on the same page. They’ll also need to communicate with their guests and bridal party to try and preemptively answer any questions that pop up. They should select a venue that provides set-up services and that will clearly label their décor and it’s intended locations. 

The couple will need to block out some additional time each week to work to work on various tasks, such as:

  • Vendor selection

    Photo by Kerri Lynne Photography

  • Décor development
  • Music Selection
  • Creating a shot list for the photographer
  • Managing their budget
  • Creating a rental list
  • Setting up hotel blocks
  • Manage Guest Responses
  • Tracking entrée selection and allergies
  • Etc. 

They also need to prepare for poor weather, have back-up plans in place with each vendor, acquire insurance, make sure that they’re reading contracts AND vendor reviews. They’ll need to be organized and lean into the process because there are a lot of cracks for important details to slip through.

It’s all do-able but it can be confusing, time-consuming and stressful. There’s a big learning curve when it comes to planning so at the very least, if they don’t think they need a planner, consider hiring a coordinator to create your documentation, tighten up your details and troubleshoot prior to the wedding day.”

 

Q: What separates you from other planners? Especially in regards to working with Windridge Estate RedBarn20?

“I started MLH Events a little over 10 years ago now. I like to joke that I’m an OG in the local wedding industry! In that time I’ve had the pleasure of working with countless couples in so many incredible spaces, supported by so many amazingly talented vendors and I like to think that I’ve been able to learn a little something from each of them. I have extensive experience in building venues from the ground up in non-traditional spaces and working with foundational needs like power, water, restroom and catering requirements. I’ve created beautiful moments in corn fields, on the tops of mountains, on beaches, in maple syrup farms, in the middle of the woods, on golf courses, in garages, in parks and theaters and ballrooms and summer camps, in barns, so many barns and at family homes next to childhood swing sets and memories of celebrations past.

Photo by Kerri Lynne Photography

I pride myself on the practical but also the whimsical. I love to push the design envelop and create something unique for each client. I love to learn their story. I work well under pressure and consider myself a bit of a McGuyver when it comes to problem solving. Give me some gum and a paperclip and I can fix 90% of what could go wrong. 

I approach things joyously and hope my clients do the same. I want them to know that we’ve “got them” and that once you’re a member of the MLH Events family, we’re on it, we’ve got it covered and we’re ready to celebrate them. We know that you don’t get a do-over so we’ll make sure that it’s exceptional the first time around.

 Over the years we’ve had the great pleasure of working with Ann and MaryBeth at Windridge Estate Red Barn 20 many many times. They can attest to my team and I as problem-solvers: sitting in bushes to run ceremony music, hemming groomsmen pants last minute, crafting extra boutonnieres and finding place settings for unexpected guests. They embody the idea of a vendor team. When we work with them we always know that everything on the venue end is covered and they know that we’re there to keep things moving and oversee the whole operation. The unique layout of the property allows for many different combinations of event flow – ceremony sites, cocktail hour locations, dinners floor plans and indoor/outdoor dancing. We have the chance to really craft the progression of the day around how the couple wants it to feel and even reinvent spaces by turning cocktail hour into the cigar lounge or a speak easy following dinner so that each moment feels new and we can really utilize each nook and cranny. “

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On behalf of everyone here at Windridge Estate, we truly hope that this guide to hiring a wedding planner has helped you in your own wedding planning process. Remember that at the end of the day though, this is YOUR day (or weekend), YOUR way!

 

Wedding Planner: Megan of MLH Events | Photography: Sarah Heppell Photography, Kerri Lynne Photography & Lovewell

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