As you start to plan your wedding day, an important question to ask yourself is whether or not you plan to hire an event planner. Today on the podcast, we have Casey Stamouli, the Owner & Lead Designer of Casey & Co. Boutique Weddings and Events who will help you consider the benefits of hiring a planner. Casey draws from her 10 years of experience in the industry to share how having a planner could be the one difference that keeps your stress level low. Weddings are such complicated events that hiring the right team allows you, your family, and every guest to simply enjoy and celebrate one of the biggest days of your life!
I own Casey & Co. Boutique Weddings and Events, and I plan weddings and events. My company serves all of New England. I’m based out of Rhode Island, but I can travel all over New England for events.
Can you tell us exactly what a wedding planner is?
I think a wedding planner is somebody that is basically insurance for your wedding day. They’re somebody that’s going to be there to put out all the fires that may or may not occur. A wedding planner is also somebody that will help you throughout the entire process to make sure you’re constantly on track and that your vendors all feel up to date on everything going on. Wedding planners take the stress off of your plate and are there to support you and your family so that everyone else can enjoy the day.
30 years ago, that person used to be the best man or maid of honor. Now, couples are hiring someone to be there specifically to help them out so their day is enjoyable and their friends and family don’t have the responsibilities they had years ago. These days, your best man and/or maid of honor already has enough to do between bachelorette and bachelor parties, speeches, and being present the day of your wedding. Why are you going to designate them to have everything run smoothly the rest of the day, too?
Can you tell us a little bit about what planners do and what they don’t do?
For my services (and a lot of planners do this, too), we attend all vendor meetings that will drum up big questions. This helps ensure everyone gets the same answers and that the day goes the way you really want it to. We’re not just there to stand in the reception hall and make sure your linens go up. We’re here to help with the entire day – from start to finish, both big and small details.
I’ve heard of day-of coordination and full wedding planning. Can you break down the differences between both?
Full planning is basically like you got engaged yesterday, and now you’re making a call to say “I have no idea where to start or what to do!”. In comparison, the day-of coordination is someone who has everything booked, but just wants help tying it all in pretty ribbon on the day of the event. The job is basically about making sure everything goes smoothly. The biggest difference is that you have someone by your side the entire wedding planning process with full planning to make sure you stay on schedule and everything is planned.
We talked a little bit about what planners do and what they don’t do, but how about understanding the scope of the services from your planner?
So to understand the scope of services, make sure to review your contract. For me and my clients, I like to list in my contract exactly what I do. It says I’ll attend vendor meetings (and I specify which ones). I also lay out my office hours and availability so that people know I’m not available 24/7.
So with all of these package options and the time you put in, how much can a wedding planner cost?!
That’s a great question. You want to walk into your calls with potential event planners knowing which package you’re hoping to book first. Know that if you book a full event planner, it’s obviously going to be more money for you. Day-of coordination will be less because we really don’t start working with you until about 8 weeks before the wedding. I base my packages on the amount of time I’ll be involved with my clients. I would say the average wedding planner is going to be about $7,000+ and day-of coordinators will start around $1,500 and go upwards. Obviously, there’s different options out there and certainly the option to customize things but that seems to be a pretty good range.
That makes sense! Here’s a fun question… What kinds of personalities do you work with the most? Do you find a certain personality type often hires a planner (or not)?
Oh definitely! I see a lot of type A personalities – people who love to make lists, check things off, and plan. They want a little extra help to keep things organized and then be able to hand them off so they can have a stress-free day. They’re generally the day-of coordination packages! Honestly, that’s what I always hear from couples: they don’t want to worry about a thing on their day (no matter their personality type).
On the other hand, you have those Type B people who are a little less organized, always in a fun way though! They usually don’t know where they want or need to start. These are the couples where a full package makes sense. The full packages are also good for people who are really busy and not able to plan all alone. Wedding planning can feel like a second job – so it’s helpful to know you’ve got support!
What is the difference between an event planner and venue coordinator?
Another great question! Event planners and coordinators have different responsibilities at the end of the day. An event planner is someone you hire that doesn’t work onsite at your venue, whereas the venue coordinator is part of your venue. The event planner is with you start to finish while the coordinator is basically just on site – they may set up your stuff, and “run” your ceremony and reception. But, the event planner is the person who’s helping put out the fires like flat tires and people running late.
Do you find that there’s a difference between a venue and a private home event? Do you see or feel one location lends itself to needing an event planner over just a coordinator?
Yes. With private homes, obviously, there’s no staff on site. So, at the end of the day, you need a team to be assembled to execute every little aspect of your wedding. With a venue, you typically do get a coordinator, but they have different responsibilities and may only do the bare minimum required. I think when you have an event at either location, you’re still going to want someone to help you think about all of those little things for example – like needing a tent, having a band, and figuring out electricity for that band.
As an event planner, are you seeing any trends that you love right now?
I love color! I absolutely love the whites of wedding days but adding in colorful flowers or paper elements can really be fun. I also love the idea of having an escort card table be a guest interaction – like a champagne wall or keychains or something your guests can hold and take home. It’s a great way to tie in something personal to you.
On the day of the wedding, who actually helps a couple if something goes wrong or runs behind?
I do! Throughout the planning process, I’m constantly asking couples what their priorities are and laying out the day accordingly. Do they want more time together or more photos at a specific location? Do you want to be able to enjoy the food? Do you not care so much about dancing? This also helps me understand the priorities for a couple on the day of the wedding! If it comes down to me having to make a quick call on the spot, I can focus on what matters most to them. I then become the liaison for the site coordinator to make sure everything is executed properly. It keeps things streamlined and avoids 12 different vendors asking the couple what they want to do at that moment.
What tips do you have for couples to make their wedding day unique and truly them?
When it comes to ceremonies, one of my favorite tips is to share your vows privately! So many couples are nervous about the spotlight and may not want to read the vows they’ve written in public. So I recommend if they’re doing a first look to exchange their vows privately during that. There’s just such a sense of calmness in that moment. Then, when you go to the ceremony, you won’t be flustered or stressed about what you’re going to say. It’s just something that I feel like is more intimate and can be a part of your story, too.
Do you think more couples are doing first looks now or staying more traditional?
I find a lot more couples are doing first looks now because they understand the timeline of their day better. Couples today realize they can’t attend cocktail hour if they’re doing photos. For many of them, that’s important. It’s a chance to mingle and eat some great food! I also think couples realize that the first look won’t take away from that moment at the alter, either.
What are some key points that couples should be asking their event planning companies when they are inquiring to make sure that they are working with a professional company to ensure that their wedding day is a perfect event?
What is the scope of their services?
What are the differences between your packages and what is/isn’t included?
What experiences do you have and can you share regarding tricky situations with planning and executing a wedding?
What We Discussed
What a Wedding Planner is (3:13)
The difference between full-day and day-of coordination (7:27)
Budgeting for a wedding planner (13:03)
The difference between an event planner and venue coordinator (21:50)
Who helps a couple on their wedding day when things run behind (28:20)
Links Mentioned in the Episode
You can subscribe to this podcast from wherever you’re listening so you never miss an episode. And, we would so appreciate it if you left a fabulous review for our show on Apple podcast! Even better, share it with a friend. It’s a great way to show your support and let us know what you think. Thank you so much for listening!