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Empowering the Modern Bride: A Collaboration Between Shandro Photo and High Culture

Empowering the Modern Bride: A Collaboration Between Shandro Photo and High Culture
March 18, 2012 Haley Shandro

{Ask the Wedding Planner — A Q&A with High Culture}
Author: Rebecca Fisher-Swarbrooke

Oh my goodness! I apologize for neglecting to post on Wednesday; it was my birthday, so I tried to stay out of the office and did not realize that I had forgotten to queue the post. Nonetheless, I am quite excited for this week’s post as the topic of discussion is “ask the wedding planner.” As you will tell by the lengthy answers throughout this post, I am quite passionate about wedding planning, to say the least!

Haley interviewed me and asked me common questions that I often receive from brides, if you have a question that you’re dying to ask, please feel free to comment on this post or e-mail me at high.culture@me.com as we would love to keep the conversation going.

edmonton wedding planner high culture

What are the different levels of service that planners offer and what are the costs associated with these services?
Well, it depends on the scope of the service. Most planners, such as myself, offer the following basic services: planning and design, wedding month management, and hourly consultations. Once we know exactly what our client requires, we are able to provide them with the best possible service to suit their needs.

In Edmonton, the cost for full planning and design starts at an average of $3,000+. From there, you must take into consideration the size of your wedding, the amount of work that your wedding will require, and your total wedding budget. For example, a wedding with a budget of $100,000 will require greater time from your wedding planner than one with a budget of $20,000; therefore, the cost associated with the planner will be adjusted accordingly.

Wedding Month Management is sometimes referred to as “Day of Coordination,” by brides. This is misleading because it’s not truly a day of service. Although I’ve been in a situation where I have entered into a wedding the actual day of the event, the service is typically much greater than this. Professional planners who offer Wedding Month Management services will typically commence their contract with a couple 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding. From here, we review contracts and ensure that nothing has been missed. It is our responsibility to work with you in tying the loose ends together and to coordinate the day of schedules. This service starts at an average of about $1,200-$1,500.

Many planners also offer consultation services based on an hourly rate of anywhere from $125-$150/hour. At these consultations we discuss a huge scope of items that the client may require assistance with. If you aren’t sure if a wedding planner is something that you wish to invest in, but do have questions, it is definitely advisable to reserve a few hours of consultations with a professional planner.

Some planners charge a percentage, can that make them more likely to want to book the most expensive things for their clients?
I cannot speak for all planners, but I would hope that the answer is no. As a wedding planner, I take into consideration the following factors before proposing anything to my clients:
1. Their budget — as per last week’s post, determining a budget from the very beginning is crucial, in order to have a smooth wedding planning process.
2. What will best suit my client — their style and their vision.
Through considering their wishes and their budget, while also being realistic, we are often able to propose unique ideas or suitable vendors so that they can have a special wedding that best represents them as a couple.

What can a planner do to save time and money for the wedding?
Well, experienced wedding planners have had their turn at planning a wedding numerous times, so we already know many answers to your wedding planning questions; those that we don’t know, we’ll find answers to. The average bride spends 200+ hours planning her wedding — who has that kind of time? Having a professional wedding planner to assist you will save you from unnecessary stress. A wedding planner becomes a filter and will only show you the best possible options to suit your requests, unlike Google. With regard to saving money, sometimes we receive special industry discounts with businesses whom we work with regularly, or we know where to send you for the best price, of course without compromising quality.

modern elegant wedding photography photographer

If a bride has already chosen some of the details for her wedding, for instance venue and photographer, how can a planner be helpful?
A professional wedding planner does so much more than proposing and reserving suitable vendors for your wedding. For example, a wedding planner is helpful in educating couples on wedding etiquette, timelines, and design. The scope of what we do varies from each wedding to the next as our services are particularly personal so that they best suit the needs of our clients. Some couples find the planning portion of some of the key areas easy because they have had their hearts set on a particular venue, or have fallen in love with a photographer’s work; others require a little more assistance. Some clients also want to explore and immerse themselves in the design aspect and often find themselves a little lost, so that’s where a designer becomes beneficial.

Do planners work exclusively with some vendors (ie. a bride books planner, do they have to get photographer A or B)?
To me, it isn’t a matter of exclusivity, but rather familiarity. I often work with a selection of the same floral designers, stationery providers, and cake artists, for example; however, it is not a matter of working with one specific vendor from each area. I have a preferred list of colleagues whom I am happy to refer my clients to because I have come to know the quality of service that will be provided.

Photography is honestly the most difficult area for me to determine a preferred list, because there are so many photographers in Edmonton. While the photography community is immense, there are truly so many talented photographers whom I have been thrilled to work with and still so many that I have not yet been so fortunate to. Photography is one of the trickiest parts because it is truly determined so heavily on a couples personal style. I always provide my clients with a list of approximately five different photographers whom I think will be most suitable for them — this list changes from each client to the next and is designed with careful attention to their requests, style, and budget.

It is important to consider if a wedding planner is truly suitable for you and your needs; as a wedding planner is not a necessity, it is a luxury.

Tips on finding the wedding planner that is best for you:
1. Determine a wedding style. Once you have an idea of what your style is, you will be able to find a wedding planner or designer with a style that best suits you.
2. Meet with the wedding planner for an initial consultation to see if this individual is the right fit. Because this is such a personal service, even if whomever you are meeting with is excellent at what they do, you must have a bond, a connection. This may not seem important, at first, but your wedding planner will be one of the people whom you speak with most throughout your planning process and will be at your side on your wedding day. You must find a level of comfort and trust in whomever you hire.

Next week, we will be providing a few tips on how you can become organized as you begin to plan your wedding.

A collaboration between High Culture & Shandro Photo.

Comment (1)

  1. Gorgeous pictures, I don’t know how couples ever managed without wedding planners, just to have one there on the day to coordinate the various tasks and personnel is a God send

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