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Professional Wedding Vendors.. Who to hire & why

January 17 2014, Posted by Melissa

This year we’ve decided to not only blog about our fabulous couples and their weddings, but also include some (hopefully) valuable tips for our readers.  We’re also excited for special guests posts by a few of our associates so be sure to tune in!

Without further delay, our first FYI posts for the year.. What and who to hire for the big day.

Besides the obvious vendors, below are a few that we often see clients questioning.  As a newly engaged couple one of the first challenges to tackle is finding the perfect venue.  While many brides decide to hire their planner after booking a date and venue (if they decide to hire one at all), we say start with the planner!

1) Wedding Planner
Although many brides and grooms don’t realize it, a planner can make the entire process not only much less stressful, but can sometimes cover their own cost in savings they can help you with along the way.  Start looking into planners early on (even if you’re only considering a Finishing Touches package), you’ll be glad you did!
Why hire a professional?
It may sound like a great deal and idea to hire your friend the “wedding coordinator” or your aunt who is an “event planner”, but hiring a true professional can be worth it’s weight in gold.  A professional planner has the experience to steer you in the right direction with vendors and etiquette.  They can also save you stress, time and money in the long run.  It’s not just about setting favors, programs and menu, so trust us when we say our number one goal is to provide couples with an absolutely seamless day from start to finish.  And besides, don’t you want all of your friends and family to enjoy the day with you anyway?

2) Photographer
Let’s face it, these days everyone thinks they’re a photographer!  The truth is, in most cases, some of us (not myself) can really take some awesome photos.  That being said, just because uncle Bob can snap a few artistic photos doesn’t mean he has the experience to document one of the most important days of your life.
Why hire a professional?
Wedding photographers do more than take a few snaps throughout the day.  They are by your side the entire day taking thousands of photos.  They have the experience to know how and where to capture the moments that you will look back on for years to come.  On top of that professional wedding photographers are used to working with couples who may not be entirely comfortable in front of the camera, however they are not only able to get that million dollar shot, but they are also able to help guide you through the day.

3) Videographer
While many couples initially opt out of videography, we always encourage our clients to reconsider if their budget allows.  While photos are great and a must, I have to say that I personally watched my wedding video many more times than I expected.  Not only is it a quick click and a 5-10 minute highlight reel to relive the entire day, but you also get to see much of what you missed on the day.  Brides, remember that you are the last one in the processional and grand entrance which means you miss it all.  You won’t see the look on your groom’s face as he waits for you at the altar or the silly dance moves your bridal party makes during the grand entrance.  On top of that, the day goes by so fast that chances are you’ll see moments you might have otherwise forgotten the first time you actually watch the video or see the photos.
Why hire a professional?
What many people don’t realize is that a wedding video isn’t just about filming the day.  Although it takes talent and experience to get the shot, the other part of the equation is the editing.

4) Hair & Makeup Artist
Let’s face it, the wedding is about the couple, but all eyes are on the bride.  That being said, who wouldn’t want to look their best?  You might have a friend that is great with makeup and a stylist that is great at cut and coloring, but are either of them  familiar with doing hair and makeup for an entire bridal party?
Why hire a professional?
Professionals are not only experienced in making the bride look beautiful, but they are also familiar with schedules and timelines.  They usually have additional stylists based on the number of services that need to be completed within allotted times.  Hair, makeup and getting ready take up the first half of the day and really set the tone which means a delay there causes a delay in the whole day.  They can also make recommendations on hair and makeup that may work best with your particular look or style.  On top of that, they have the professional products and tricks of the trade that might keep that gorgeous look and style in tact all day.

5) DJ & EMCEE
It’s true that we’ve actually had some pretty great receptions with friends emceeing, but that isn’t always the case.  The personal touch of having a friend emcee your reception might seem like a great idea, but it could also lead to some interesting or awkward moments.  Other than the bride & groom themselves, the DJ & emcee really set the tone for the reception.  They can make the difference between that awkward silence or a fully packed dance floor at the end of the evening.
Why hire a professional?
As a coordinator, the DJ/emcee is one vendor that we work side by side with during the entire reception.  A professional DJ not only has the correct equipment, but the ability to read their crowd when it comes to music and energy level.  It’s not just about fading in and out or playing your playlist, they really can make or break that packed dance floor at the end of the evening.  Along the same lines, a professional emcee also has the ability to read their crowd.  They fill in the gaps and know how to transition when needed.  Most importantly the emcee is always on deck for the next reception activity which means your friend who is emceeing will constantly be up and about rather than enjoying your big day with you.

6) Florist
We all know the DIY trend isn’t go anywhere, but one of the last vendors we highly recommend is a professional wedding florist.  Making your own centerpieces or personal flowers might sound like a good idea in theory, but unless you’re planning on something extremely simple or you’ve done it before, I’d leave it to the professionals.
Why hire a professional?
While Pinterest might provide some great ideas and truly pin-worthy photos, it’s the execution that you’re paying for when it comes to a professional.  Just a few things that are often overlooked when you plan to make your own flowers.. Will they bloom or wither in the time between putting them together to the big day?  How will you plan to transport everything?  Where will you store everything?  Who will put them together?

We’re not saying that these are the only professional vendors needed or that you are required to book them, but these are just a few that we often see couples questioning.  We’ve worked with both professionals and great non-professionals in each of these categories, but no matter who you select be sure that they will be there on the big day.   Remember to always sign a contract and keep a copy.  It also doesn’t hurt to ask if they are licensed with liability insurance since many venues require it.

Happy planning!

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This is one of the most common questions we get from prospective clients, friends and family. So we thought it’d be good for us to take a moment to explain the differences.

“I already have a great event/sales manager at the venue so I don’t think I’ll need a Day Of Coordinator” you say. That’s fantastic that you have an awesome contact at your venue! We love them too! Can’t do our job without them! They are the experts when it comes to their venue, but they are typically there for the venue. Their job includes tasks such as:

  • Provide a personalized tour of the property.
  • Provide you with their vendor list.
  • Assist with menu planning.
  • Draft your banquet event order, which outlines your event specifics as it pertains to the venue.
  • Create an estimate of your venue charges, detailing your financial commitment and deposit schedule.
  • Draft a floor plan of your event space.
  • Schedule and attend your menu tasting.
  • Some oversee the details of the Bride and Groom’s room reservations (at hotels only).
  • In charge of ceremony and reception set-up which only includes hotel equipment and items for food preparation.
  • Be the onsite liaison between your wedding coordinator and their property.
  • Ensure a smooth transition to the Banquet Captain upon arrival to your event.
  • Provide your final bill.

Here at ME Weddings & Events, our “Day of” Coordination actually starts out about 1.5 month in advance. By this time you would have done most, if not all, of the planning already. We step in to make sure you haven’t forgotten any major details. We handle the details and logistics with the venues and vendors for that point on and are there to meet the wedding party and direct the rehearsal. On the wedding day we are there from start to finish, making sure you get down the aisle, and that your vision and plans come to fruition. We just want you to relax and truly enjoy your special day! Here is a brief listing of some items that we would be responsible for (items your venue Events Manager would most likely not be involved in):

  • One planning consultation (venue walkthrough and details meeting).
  • Correspondence with wedding venue(s) regarding setup instructions and details. We make sure that every detail is thoroughly discussed with the hotel so it makes most sense aesthetically and logistically for your wedding.
  • Custom wedding day timelines for your vendors, venue and wedding party. This is typically not provided by the venue Event Manager.
  • Checklist of personal items needed for your wedding day.
  • Wealth of information.
  • Review of vendor contracts to ensure you have the services you need.
  • Confirmation of vendor commitments during the week of the wedding.
  • Distribution of your wedding day timeline, driving directions, and setup instructions to vendors.
  • Relaying of final head count to the appropriate vendors.
  • Review of Banquet Event Order from venue.
  • Direction of your wedding rehearsal and actual ceremony.
  • Unlimited support on your wedding day.
  • Complete on-site management of your entire wedding and ensuring things are running on time.
  • Handling and overseeing all setup of your ceremony and/or reception, including personal items from your checklist.
  • Distribution of final payments and gratuities to vendors.
  • Coordination of tear-down, packing, and safe storage of all your wedding items at the conclusion of reception events.
  • Wedding Day emergency kit.

We are basically your Personal Assistant/Event Director rolled into one!

The major difference is that we work for YOU and your venue Event Manager works for the venue. But we work together as a team to make sure your wedding day is everything you want it to be.  You venue Events Manager will make sure your venue is set up the way it’s supposed to be and that the meals are served on time, whereas we actually “run” your wedding day, working closely with your vendors and coordinating each event. When your venue Event Manager goes home, (usually once dinner service starts), we are there till the end to make sure everything continues to go well.

Although some of our clients often don’t realize the value of hiring a coordinator when they first book our services we find that ALL of them realize it after the big day (especially the grooms!).  So we say, give yourself a break and enjoy the day, and let us do the work to make your wedding a night to remember!

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