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Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? | Interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Whether you are at the starting line of your wedding planning journey or have all of your vendors booked with no idea what to do next, this episode of Wedding Secrets Unveiled! is for you! Today we have Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on the mic with tips and tricks for any engaged couple. Ariana is here to provide some of her wedding planning wisdom, help you decide if a wedding planner is right for you, and discuss some 2024 trends we are seeing! So sit back, relax, and tune in to today’s episode of Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

And this week, we are so excited to partner with Korie Herold of Blue Star Press for a very special GIVEAWAY! Korie has designed two beautiful pieces of art for your wedding day! Her Wedding Guest Book and Wedding Vows Book Set are masterfully crafted to store your wedding day memories for years to come! Check out @SaraZarrellaPhotography on Instagram for your chance to win these showstoppers! The giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 24th. Links to purchase these items can be found in our full show notes!

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? Learn tips  in an interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast!

Meet Ariana.

I’m the owner and lead event specialist of AMC Weddings. I’ve been in business for 6 years and I do full planning and design, as well as event management for couples getting married. AMC Weddings serves all New England, but I specialize in Newport RI weddings – as it’s my favorite place to be. When I was little, I absolutely loved weddings. I was always begging my parents to attend weddings with them. Of course, there were no kids allowed at any of these weddings, but it was just like a fascination of mine. Throughout, high school, I never thought that this was a real job – turns out it is a real career that you can have. So, when I was in college, I started working for other vendors in the industry. I absolutely fell in love with the entire wedding industry. Then, when I graduated college, I launched my own business and here I am 6 years later. 

Tell us why do you feel that couples even need a wedding planner?

So first of all, most couples getting married have never planned a wedding before. That is the first thing to take into consideration: you’ve never done this before and you might not know where to start. And even if you do, there’s so many little details to worry about along the way. Having someone there to guide you through the whole process and do things on your behalf is truly the best way to plan. It allows you, your family, friends, and parents to really be guests at your  wedding and let everyone enjoy themselves.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself but I bet there’s some people who think, “well, I have an event coordinator so I don’t need a planner”. What would you tell them? 

This is a big question because there’s a huge difference. Although venue coordinators and I work hand in hand, there’s a big difference between our jobs.  I always say the biggest difference is the venue coordinator is there specifically for the venue or the caterer (if they offer in house catering) and we are there for the rest of your vendors – and you. Your venue coordinator is not going to be there at 6am when your hair and makeup artist arrive. They’re not a part of any of that and they won’t be helping you to plan those details.  A wedding planner is going to be there with you through everything on your wedding day. 

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? Learn tips in an interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast!

What about the cost of a wedding planner? 

It’s definitely a luxury, but it’s a luxury that is sometimes a necessity. Even though we are a bigger dollar sign in your planning process, we can help you save money along the way… not to mention the amount of stress we’ll save you. 

Time is money, too! You have to think about how your time is best spent. If your time is better spent doing other things, then maybe having a planner is the better option for you. 

You’re absolutely right. Wedding planning is a full-time job. So if you as the client are doing your wedding yourself, that’s perfectly fine – if that’s what you want to do, but you’re taking on another full time job.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I feel like there’s two types of people who hire a wedding planner. One who is super Type A and has everything they want laid out – and then there’s someone who has no idea and feels a bit scattered. 

My clients are pretty much half and half. Half of them are that Type A who really want to be involved and they know exactly what they want. That’s great. I also have the other half of clients who don’t know what they want – and that’s okay too. We’re here to help you reel it in and figure out what you need or want on your wedding day. 

Do you have different types of packages that you offer? Can you educate us on what the cost might be for someone who is looking for a wedding planner?

I offer two standard packages. Package one is the full planning and design, which really covers from the moment you get engaged to your wedding day. I’ll be there with you for your venue search, hiring your vendors, creating your budget and design plan. I’m really involved in every single aspect of your wedding planning and execution. 

My other package is event management. That’s for the client that thought they wanted to do all the wedding planning by themselves. They’ve done a lot – and done a great job, but now they want help in those last 6 months (or so). They might be struggling to put the final pieces together and want someone to just take over for the rest of the planning process. I focus on tying up all of the loose ends at the end of wedding planning!   

How about people who are have planned their wedding and are in the home stretch? Maybe they realize they just need day-of help. Do you do anything with that? 

I don’t. So that is more what I consider my event management package, though. I used to offer a day of service. However, I don’t feel like there’s enough quality for me in that. It’s like showing up to a party where you know nothing that’s going on. I prefer doing the event management where I have more time to get involved and become more hands on. 

So the takeaway here is that if someone wants a wedding planner’s help, they need to look for them sooner rather than later. 

Yes, I get so many messages on Instagram of people reaching out and not hiring me. Then suddenly, they reach out to me after their wedding and say they wish they had hired you. So, definitely take the time to look for and hire the people you want before your big day! 

I want to chime in. I have seen day-of coordinators that have been fine, but I totally see why you want to come on earlier in the process. And then I’ve seen clients who have a friend be the event coordinator and it just isn’t what they wanted. Sometimes they’re just more in the way than helpful in those moments. You have to pay for that quality! 

Absolutely. It’s funny that you mentioned having a friend do it, or maybe a bridesmaid or someone like that, I’ve come across so many stories of brides telling me that a friend is going to do it. When the wedding day comes, that friend is not helpful. They’re not truly knowledgeable leading up to your wedding day – knowing what needs to be done when and it shows. 

You mentioned the Instagram messages and I think that’s the name of the game. Everyone’s budget is allocated differently and the vendors you choose are important. But, vendor regret is real. 

I think that’s another important piece of what I do for my full planning and design clients. You don’t want to regret not hiring someone or hiring the wrong person. So, we’re going to help you hire the right vendors. Whether they have a personality that matches yours or they’re the best fit for your budget, we’ll help you take everything into consideration to make sure they’re the right person for you.

Speaking of vendors, which vendors is it most beneficial to get your planner’s input on?

So the vendors that I would love to help you hire are the ones that will be present at your wedding. That would be your photographer, videographer, band or DJ, and caterer. Any vendor that will play a huge part in your actual wedding day physically on site and that your guests and the couple will be around.  

Those are the important vendors for a wedding planner to hire for you because we know who works well together and who will work well for you.

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? Learn tips in an interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast!

So how do you know if a vendor is a good match for you?

I always get to know my clients in the beginning stages of our planning process. Then I take into consideration their budget and style along with their personalities. I also take into consideration who else we’re working with for this wedding. Maybe one vendor doesn’t always mesh well with another, and I want to be sure you’ll have a smooth and seamless wedding day. 

I really want to talk to you about trends for 2024 weddings. What are you seeing these days? 

I am seeing a lot of color!  I know in the past we have seen a lot of blushes, whites, neutral tones, which is really beautiful. But this year we’re in for the color. We are seeing bolder colors that are a lot of fun and really bringing a couple’s personality into everything related to your wedding. 

How much do you think the Pantone color influences weddings? Do you think that people pay attention to that or not? 

I don’t think anybody else is really paying attention to that, truly. I think it’s just us because I see it a lot on other wedding vendors pages, designers, and people like that. But I don’t think that couples are

I am also seeing a lot of florals – really big floral installations, and using the venue as much as you can for like photo ops. Couples are really dressing anything at the venue that you find appropriate. Maybe the venue has a fountain that you really want to have floral spilling out of which could be really, really beautiful. That is your photo op rather than a more traditional greenery wall.

I’d really like to just see using more of your venue utilized. You did pick that venue for a reason – you loved it, the scenery, or the structure. Use it. 

The other thing that I’m seeing is more interactive pieces of your wedding. Anything that allows your guests to eb part of what’s going on – like a champagne wall, or an installation that someone can grab their card from. 

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? Learn tips in an interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast!

I love it. Back to the subject at hand: what are some steps that couples should follow to start the wedding planning process?

You get engaged, and you’re excited to start the wedding planning process. Some people jump right in and just start hiring vendors and pick a venue. To be honest, that’s the wrong thing to do! You need to take a breath, enjoy your engagement for a week or two and then start with your guest list. Once you know how many people are going to be invited, you can start thinking about venues. You don’t want to fall in love with a venue to find out that you can’t fit everyone – or that it’s too much space. 

That’s such a good piece of advice! 

So, that is first and foremost thing you need to do. It really goes hand-in-hand with determining your budget, too. The second thing you need to do is set your budget – again, include anyone who is paying for the wedding (you, fiancée, and families). If you realize your budget isn’t too big, then maybe that 300 person invite list has to be adjusted. But setting a wedding budget is first and foremost: don’t hire any vendors before you know what your wedding budget is.

Absolutely. And know that your budget will probably change – at least the way you divide it will, as you decide your priorities. 

This is actually a huge thing that I do for my full planning and design clients – we talk about their wedding budget. Then the next thing we talk about is: who is important to you, what vendors are important to you? Do you want a photographer? Do you want a photo and video package? Then we can organize the budget from there. I know exactly who to speak with for those services because I know the budget and their prices. 

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? Learn tips in an interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast!

Full circle! Using a wedding planner can save you money – even early in the process. 

Here’s another little budget tip. When you set your wedding budget, take $10,000 and set it to the side because you’re going to want to tip your vendors and there will also be small vendors that pop up who you may want to hire. Set it aside and know you’ll spend it, but that’s going help in the long run. 

We have a whole podcast episode about tipping your vendors here! Long story short? We recommend tipping your vendors.

Anything else couples should think about when starting to plan their wedding?

Once you have set your budget, then next thing you need to do is figure out who is contributing to your budget. You also have to decide how much say they have in the wedding planning. They’re tough conversations but they need to happen before you really start planning. Because you do not want to take money from someone and then have them expect to have a say in things that you didn’t expect. 

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? Learn tips in an interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast!

Wrap-Up Question 

What are some key points that couples should be asking wedding planners to make sure that they are working with a professional company, and to ensure that their wedding day is an absolutely perfect event? 

Ask your wedding planner how much experience they have. Obviously, everyone has to start from somewhere but if you have a more intricate or involved wedding, you want someone with experience. 

Look at their reviews and talk to someone who has worked with them. Word of mouth is a great way to find planners! 

Third, ask how many weddings the planner is servicing. Someone who is doing 3 weddings in one weekend is probably a no go. I do one wedding a weekend because I’m there for everything. So making sure that they are available for you on your whole wedding weekend, if that’s what you want. 

We are also pleased to announce we are doing a giveaway on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! this month. We’re giving away a beautiful guest book and vow booklets from Blue Star Press! The Giveaway will run until 11:59pm EST on April 24th. Winner will be drawn and announced April 25th!

giveaway for Guest Book and Vow Booklets from Blue Star Press on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! podcast
giveaway for Guest Book and Vow Booklets from Blue Star Press on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! podcast

What We Discussed

Meet Ariana (2:39)

The role of a wedding planner (2:55)

2024 Trends for Weddings (16:18)

Wedding planning basics (27:49)

Etiquette of wedding planning (37:08)

Wrap-Up Question (40:16)

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner? Learn tips in an interview with Ariana Cappalli of AMC Weddings on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast!

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Find AMC Weddings at Website | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Wedding Vow Booklet from Blue Starr Press

Guest Book from Blue Starr Press

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