What Brides Need to Know About Wedding Planners – With Jamie Wolfer. We discuss when you should book a planner, why they aren’t the same as a venue coordinator, why a family member can’t replace a planner, how to get your groom involved, if a planner does your end of night cleanup or not, and more.
BE SURE TO WATCH OUR OTHER VIDEO ON JAMIE’S CHANNEL ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY:
Video on Why You Can’t Coordinate Your Own Wedding:
Cavin Elizabeth Photography is a modern, luxury wedding photography studio based in San Diego, serving worldwide. Published wedding photographer with a focus on candid images and making you look and feel beautiful.
Buy my book for brides: A Bride’s Guide to a Picture Perfect Wedding –
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Music: Joakim Karud
hi guys welcome back to another video I hope you guys enjoyed the last collaboration I did because today I have another one with Jamie she is a fabulous planner based in Southern California and we are going to be talking about all things that you need to know about wedding planners why you should hire them all the really good stuff but I wanted to start out by telling you guys a little bit about her but I think that you might do that better so tell us about yourself well hi my name's Jamie I'm a wedding planner based in Southern California and and we do most of our business here but are starting to do more nationally and internationally which is super fun for us um I started my wedding planning business because like so many other planners in the industry I did my wedding and that oh my gosh I need more I need to do that more and really just kind of threw myself into it and then about a little over a year ago because I get really nerdy about wedding planning I'm a really nerdy wedding planner I started a YouTube channel for wedding planning tips and tricks and advice and it seems to be doing pretty well and it's been a lot of fun very like here I'm on my tiny Channel she's got this very big booming channel it's full of such good stuff yes it's definitely it's a labor of love and it's something that I'm really passionate about so one of my main focus is how can i educate couples to make it more stress-free and to help them save money yes cuz I think I think being engaged can be so much fun yes if you just know a little bit more of what you're doing and you just know a little bit more of your budget and I'm sure we'll dive into more of those details but yeah sure yeah well that's fabulous and where can they find you like what's your handle for everything like on social media yeah so as far as YouTube is just my name Jamie Wolfer and then for all of our wedding planning related stuff it's um @ JW coordination or Instagram you can find us on Facebook and and Twitter which i don't really yeah like don't touch my I get the automatic like blog posts they go to it and I get once a year not that that's all you get I mean like Twitter and following people fair satis they are a big girl exactly cool so I will link all this in the description down below and if we mention any videos that she's done throughout the video I will also find and link those as well so you guys can go check those out but basically one of the first things that I wanted to ask you was how far out should a bride be booking a planner or coordinator and do you like it when they book you before the venue or after the venue or like what does that look like for them like just tow all yeah so I would say this is probably gonna vary based on different planners for me I actually don't prefer to book anything further than eighteen months in advance I'm the same only because thank you that makes me feel so much better the same because so much can change if you have a two-year long engagement so many things can change within the first 12 months and you may not even have a developed vision until you're about 12 months out so for me personally with long-term planning clients I prefer it to be in that anywhere from 18 months out to even like six months out we do have that happen before and anything beyond that usually I say well why don't you contact me in a few months yeah yes I have lately been getting a lot of increase for couples who are like yeah our wedding is in like a year and a half we don't know what venue we don't know what City and I'm like yeah I don't know how to help you when you know something yeah and piggybacking off of that as far as that a couple having a venue before they come to me it depends on what they feel like they need help with yeah I would be more than happy to help you find a venue if you want to hire me before you start vengo hunting mm-hmm that makes me aware of the fact that I have to be a little bit more flexible with my date just in case you end up booking a different date than you originally wanted because you found a venue that you really enjoyed so that's why oftentimes I get most couples who have already booked their venue but that's not to say that I'm not willing to help them digest what are things I find is that brides are sometimes really hesitant to share their budget with vendors I know for me a lot of brides will say we don't really know our photography budget and I'm like well you should kind of know it before you talk to any photographers but when it comes to budgets do you feel like Brides should be more open and honest about their budget and why yeah honestly I feel like you shouldn't do any planning at all whatsoever other than daydreaming yeah unless you have your budget ready to go because it helps you to figure out who you can talk to right and if you only have two thousand dollars for a photographer you're not gonna want to talk to someone who charge a seven thousand dollars it's a waste of your time it's a waste of theirs and it could mean that you're getting your hopes up for something that you just can't pull off so in fact I've parted ways with a client before because this couple wanted to book things before they even have their budget set and don't do that don't do that if you only have so much money I don't need a specific number I just need a ballpark so even if someone says I have a twenty thousand dollar budget that tells me immediately so much of what I need to know or we think it could be between 40,000 and 50,000 fantastic I know the parameters within which I'm working I'm gonna do my best to make sure we're on the low end of that mm-hmm and help you to save as much money as possible but I just need to have a framework are you $10,000 are you a hundred thousand dollars I mean I'm a hundred maybe one day yeah it is very important and you know sometimes couples will come to me without the venue and they'll ask me like for venue recommendations and I can't really give them research if they've not hired me but I'll say okay well like what you know what's your budget that'll help me know like if you have a you know $30,000 total wedding budget I'm not gonna send you to the Fairmont grand Omar for your video no who sent you deranged a Valencia for even you because your entire budget is what they're gonna charge you for venue and catering probably even more but if you've got you know an honest kind of you know point about your budget then you can be more helpful to that you know and like just because you know their budget doesn't mean that you're gonna try to max it out but you know what you can work with yeah exactly it just gives me parameters I'm more helpful with more information yes I would rather be inundated with information than not have enough of it so having parameters and knowing your budget I don't they see that as a bad thing in fact but my niche is budget brides that's that's a lot of what I work with so I'm not scared of a $10,000 budget yeah I would love to help with one you just have just be honest with me so so I know how to help I personally am incredibly passionate that all Brides hire a dedicated Dave coordinator or partial planner or full-service planner the main point of this is to save you stress and to make sure wedding day runs a lot better I personally am no longer taking on weddings unless they have hired a planner because it's just too stressful but I find that sometimes brides think oh well my sister can do this or my aunt can do this but often times they really can't so what are some of the things that you do that a bridesmaid or a family member really can't do on the wedding day I will say I actually got to mention this earlier I have a whole video that's kind of dedicated to this and it's no not yet you can't coordinate your own and I say this obviously with your subs they don't know me as well I DIY to the heck out of my own wedding and I ran my own wedding day so I started this business one because I'm obsessed with it and it couldn't matter not being in wedding planning after planning my own but also with a fire under my keister because I know what it's like to have a wedding day without a coordinator and that makes me want to just dive in so much deeper and just love on these humans so much harder because I know how stressful it was for me so that video definitely goes really in-depth on a lot of those things but I think probably the most specific one that I love to highlight here is something called the five minute rule and that is five minutes before the next portion of your event I will run around and I'll talk to the deejay I'll talk to the photographer and I'll talk to the caterer but whichever vendor might be affected by this next movement in the timeline so let's take Grandin let's take grand entrance for example so let's say the photographer has taken a couple minutes off they're getting ready for the grand entrance I will go to the photographer and say hey they're coming through that set of doors they've been directed to go this direction so you know where to set up to shoot I will then go to the deejay and say hey I'm gonna let you know but in about five minutes and we're gonna do the grand entrance I'm gonna take you over so you can get all the pronunciation of everyone's names correct because oftentimes there could be more unusual names or what names they are more difficult to pronounce and then the last set of people that would let know would be the caterer because your food temperature is extremely important and the reason that I use as an example is most the time your family members your friends your bridesmaids aren't wearing watches or aren't looking at them so um basically adhering to the time line making sure everyone's aware I'm almost like this little Tasmanian devil of a swirling around the room and continuously letting people know here's the next activity here's what we're doing next and then there's also the flip side of that of knowing when you kind of need to toss the timeline out and just read the rules so I would say those two things are very difficult for someone who you're close to to do simultaneously while enjoying your event because I'm not there to enjoy your event I'm there to work I got a little sweaty we get into it um so that's my sole focus and that's my sole purpose and anyone else who's there could get caught up in conversation and get distracted as they should so yeah there's the whole wealth of stuff that I could say but I think that's probably one of the most points so in my book I actually have an entire page dedicated to why a venue coordinator is not the same thing as like a wedding planner or wedding coordinator so I know that you are super passionate about this as well so I would love for you to just briefly talk about the main differences yeah a couple would experience from either one or from only having a venue coordinator yeah so first and foremost it's important to note that I value of Nu coordinators a whole lot they have a full-time job and what they do is very important and I will say that the best-run events have both a day or a month of coordinator and a venue coordinator and heck you toss in a catering manager in there as well and I am happy as a clam because you just know that everything's gonna be really smooth so this isn't shade on venue coordinators I personally think it's an injustice to them to expect the same things that you would require of a day of coordinator yes it's not fair venue coordinators are there to represent the venue it comes down to the simple analogy of just think of where their paycheck comes from at the end of the day they have to make sure that the venue is protected the venue's taking care of the venue's in the same condition that has at the start of the event as it is at the end of the event that people are being safe that they are adhering to the rules they are not there to run your rehearsal right they're not gonna be the person that you're gonna call two days before yeah because you have a panic about your timeline and things need to be adjusted they're not gonna be the person that you pulled aside and say hey someone's a little intoxicated we're worried they're gonna grab the mic for a toast that's not the person you go to and it shouldn't be the person you go to a day of coordinator is there for you and I'm not saying that a venue coordinator isn't there to help you but it's almost like obviously our paycheck comes from you at the end of the day your priorities are my priorities I want to make sure that we get done what you need to get done so just really understanding the focus the main components the main tenants of our job I write the timeline a venue coordinator says hey that looks great or hey can we make adjustments to it your venue coordinator second-rate your timeline no I'm gonna email it out then I'm gonna maintain the timeline that's a huge component is understanding the timeline running it also knowing when to toss it out the window yes and one thing too that I have noticed if I am working with only a venue coordinator and they're kind of doing the timeline they usually don't care as much about the photos as a planner or the planner understands because they've been working with a couple how these photos are so a lot of times when I get timeline pushback it is from a venue coordinator which is unfortunate because they care more about the schedule of the catering and this and that and kind of being more rigid with it whereas the planner understands that the timeline should often be more flexible to accommodate what the couple really wants yeah so it's something that I have noticed and you know I've actually had some brides where I will sometimes take my past Brides out to lunch and they'll ask each other cuz some are future brides and we're past brides I'll say what are some of the food I don't know why I need to do it again but they'll say oh like you guys have already been married what are some of the things that you know you regret from your wedding and I remember one of my sweet Brides said she regretted that she did not have her own planner there was a venue coordinator there and the venue said you don't need your planner we've got the venue coordinator and the bride was setting up decor on the morning of her wedding oh because no one else was there to do it and she knew how it was supposed to be set up and she said she wished she if she had gone back that she would actually hire a dedicated planner we love any coordinators mm-hmm because they do the job that they're supposed to do but I think the intent here is to make sure that you're not misconstruing them as day of coordinator yes and even when a venue offers them as a day of coordinator be sure to look into what yes um because sometimes they use that terminology so that's something to be very aware of do they do setup do they do teardown do they run your timeline do they develop your timeline those key details that you'll see only from an actual outside day of coordinator that you probably will not see from the venue coordinator and if the venue offers that you hold on to that person like tiny little gold nugget because that is very very very rare and very unexpected so I'm noting venue coordinators don't do that kind of stuff out there but they're very few and far between us you mentioned cleaning up and kind of breaking down things a lot of brides will just sort of assume that it's the planners job to do the break down tear down everything up tell me if that's true yeah and if it's not true how do they make sure to have somebody in charge of actually breaking down great question really glad we're covering it was actually because this is like this is one of like grinds my gears kind of situation and this is one I'm very clear with all of my clients about if it is normally set up by a professional vendor on your wedding day we don't do it so that's your centerpieces that's your DIY Photo Booth that's if you decide to put together your own an appetizer table if you think through the process of hiring different vendors obviously you typically hire a florist to do the center yeses and the reason that we structure it like this is not because we hate setup it's that it's sometimes it's fun sometimes it's not that's why we wear all black you know because it's a sweat but it's more so because we want to make sure that we're being the best coordinators that we can be on your wedding day and we're very expensive set up people right you don't want to be paying us to do that setup especially because you'd be surprised how long it takes to set out each and every centerpiece so for us that's our general rule of thumb if it's normally done by a professional vendor on your wedding day we don't touch it right now if we will make allowances to this if you want to you I will bring on an additional assistant again it's gonna be more expensive right and you're gonna have to pay for that but you still want the service that I've promised you that I would provide and do my best to provide I'm and in order to do that I will bring on an additional person mm-hmm your wedding planner is not the be-all end-all setup to tear down the crew especially if it's really DIY heavy and I draw a very clear line with my clients but I also do my best to support them and figure out a saline right so that would be coming up the list making sure you have all of your DIYs listed out on a piece of paper printed out at your wedding where they go who's bringing them to the event and who's taking them away because it may not be my job to do the setup but it's my responsibility to make sure it looks good sure so and oftentimes if I have some available time during teardown I will start tearing that stuff down even though I haven't committed to doing it I'll start doing it to make other people's lives easier if my friends are idle I'll go ahead and do that but then I have that handy dandy list to refer to so I know what cars are going into so having a dedicated set up crew also is a great idea and make sure they know the extent of what they're doing yes if I have a nickel for every time I was told that volunteers would be handling a specific area of an event and those volunteers didn't handle the entirety of what they were supposed to I'd have a lot of nickels yeah so it's letting them know from start to finish what's expected of them and be very clear about that so it's not impossible you could totally do it we don't do all of it for you I have very clear limitations but as long as you have a good crew who's well informed who has happy hearts about it it really is it works out yeah good to know so definitely make sure that you know who is gonna be doing here cleaning up who's gonna be breaking down and have that set in stone don't just assume that your planner or someone's gonna do it because if it doesn't get done you don't want to get slapped with a huge fine for not cleaning up because I sad yes which by the way didn't touch on this at all but if you'll humor me for a second or get someone to bust your tables please thank you very much I mean which I thought this is that's actually the line that I use more specifically I'm like I'm a very expensive busboy yeah you do not want to be paying my hourly rate for me to pick up your tables even if it's disposable stuff people leave it on the tables all the time and they'll get hit with a cleaning fee so even if that means warning your bridal party ahead of time and it's like the most minimal thing that you should do to let them know that they should run around and clear up the tables or cousins or aunts or uncles or whomever it happens to be someone needs to bus your tables in case brides aren't totally sold yet on hiring a planner I would love for you to share if there are any potential disasters that you have saved a couple from where if you had not been there would have happened and been tear yeah well aside from the casual more minimal like drunk person gets ahold of a microphone and we catch them before they start talking cleaning up stuff lots of gross stuff that the clients wouldn't have to deal with especially in a white dress I'd say one of the the bigger ones that sticks out to me is we had an event relatively recently where they had ordered the alcohol through BevMo and I was not aware if I was more month of coordination for this one and I wasn't launched in planning otherwise I'd walk them through the Short Hills it's more eye shot towards life and glean the details from them and I wasn't aware that there was no one on on the venue property to sign for the alcohol well ESMA won't leave the alcohol without someone to sign Frank so the driver leaves and he calls me after he's left and he lets me know hey I've got a couple of deliveries to make I can't be back til 5:30 and for me knowing how shilling of beverages works sleeping of entry I know that you need to have it in a cooler in an ice situation or in a refrigerator for about an hour and a half ideally two hours beforehand if it's room temperature and the cocktail hour started at 5:00 so that means that he wasn't showing back up with alcohol until 5:30 and who knows what temperature it would be at so I mean you could bet your bottom dollar that I was good talking people and just I mean I have no idea what they would have done they would not have had alcohol and even when it got there wouldn't been cold so I called the distributor I was calling the driver back and forth I kept saying stuff like I know it's not your fault yeah I'm aware of that I'm not mad at you but clearly I hope you can understand how frustrating the situation is I wasn't aware of the fact that there was no one on property I will do my best to rectify this is there anything that we can do to get this there sooner and they agreed and they got it on the property at 4:30 so 30 minutes before cocktail hour started and some of the beverages were already chilled so like more golden there but I didn't know that fact beforehand so all of this panic but I mean it was probably 30 minutes back and forth phone calls with dispatch with the local store that was delivered from with the driver I mean that would have been a lot for a guest to handle sure sure and then they probably wouldn't have known how to handle yeah might not even know that that was happening until I got to talk to her and suddenly they're like where's the alcohol and no one knows what's happening the clients still don't know that that happened maybe if there was no planner the client might have put down themselves as the contact while the client probably doesn't have their phone with them yeah I know I didn't really have my phone with me during the wedding cuz like why would I have it so that could have been terrible like so bad yeah I imagine the Cal soul-crushing to get to your reception and realize that no no I had a drink because it didn't show up how'd you feel oh my goodness so what are some of your recommendations for getting through more invested in the planning process making him feel like more of a part of it or making him excited to be helping out what would you say to those grooms who aren't really pulling their share in but should yeah I would say first of all as their future spouse no other skill sets this is not gonna automatically turn them into the most crafty of humans they're not gonna know how to handle a miter saw out of nowhere it's going to be they're still gonna be the same person right whether you're planning a wedding or not they're still gonna have the same skill sets as well so being aware of that and using that kind of hedge and or direct the types of questions that you send towards them could be really helpful so if your groom or spouse to be is not interested in beautiful details put them on put them on invitation stuffing right it's manual labor it needs to get done it's very tedious but it also frees you up from doing something or maybe you guys crack open a bottle of wine and throw on a movie and do it together good idea that and really assess what they are into like for me my husband loves desserts yeah I could talk him into desserts no problem he did not care about centerpieces yeah he did not get me he kind of cared I think about the color of his suit yeah but I gave a suggestion he's like yeah cool that sounds great I picked it within like his three Comfort color she has but I let him take ownership of the desserts yeah you just pick like you let me know what you enjoy yeah so my husband actually handled all the DJ stuff I said here's three people that I know from the industry I want you to do the phone calls they can emailing I want you to pick who to choose don't even ask me question don't bother me yeah whatsoever I don't want to know and then he would talk to her you dick what do you think I'm like I don't care you pick I told just pick now that was fantastic I got to take that weight completely off my shoulders and I didn't have to make the choice between three people I knew he made the choice so it's really nice to have him help where he could help you guys you know you can't always do it off you want to do it all that's great but sometimes you need somebody else to contribute whether that is your groom or maybe it's your mom or your maid of honor or you know whatever it is it's nice to have some help so if he can't do it or she can't do it then find somebody else you can yeah because you should not be handling this alone at all I mean I'm a wedding planner I trained this is what I do for living and I still don't plan every detail from start to finish right I don't do this alone and so I can't imagine anyone who's not experienced in the field should do it either but I do love what you said about telling the groom to not ask questions yeah yeah like I literally like beta might whip up okay yes because if you are gonna direct him just be like this is your baby don't talk to me exactly this is your little nugget yep your thing don't bother me I asked you to do this because I don't want to do it I want you to do this just do it tell me when it's done and tell me what happened and that's great that's all I want to know so yeah I think that was a good decision on my part and it worked out really yeah wrap up here I want to know what your best piece of advice is for couples who are in the beginning of their planning process one thing that I asked even before I get to the budget portion of things there's what are your priorities because your priorities will strongly indicate where we should allocate portions of your budget so if food is really important to you you can bet that I'm gonna make more room in that area of the budget to make sure that we get all of the bougie booty stuff that you've want at your wedding so I think the first and most important step is setting your priorities whether that means that you sit down with your spouse to be or you both sit down separately and write down your top three priorities each and then get together and compare so photography is the most important thing to a bunch of my clients so that makes that helps me to know okay so not only do we need to make sure that they pick an excellent photographer yes they have to gel with them and and we definitely do engagement photos yes and I need to make room in the timeline yep so while it may not be a monetary thing so yes we're making more room for the budget for a photographer that tells me as their planner their time I needs to have more grace where photography is concerned we need to make more space for this whereas if a couple said our main focus is to hang out with all the people that we love we can't wait to get to the dancefloor right I'm gonna be firmer on the timeline I'm gonna let the photographer know ahead of time hey they really want to get to the dancefloor that's one of the main components of this I want to honor the time that you need to get photos done to let you know that their entire like what they really want to get to you today is the dance floor so hearing the priorities and setting your priorities is one of the most important and most overlooked part of wedding planning and you have to start there because that's your foundation and without that you might just be like yeah sure we'll spend $5,000 on florals but and then I can be like I but I don't really like them ya know so maintaining your priorities it provides a good foundation that helps you to communicate with your vendors better and helps you to get the best out of your wedding day prioritizing and really communicating those to your vendors is going to be one of the best things that you can do to get the best out of both your engagement and your work and your wedding day Ashley well thank you so much we're having on my video we also did another video on Jamie's channel all about photography so you guys can go check that out as well but again remind everybody where they can find you yeah absolutely so here on YouTube you can find me just through my name Jaime Wolfert and then if you want to follow us on Instagram we're definitely more active there than we are on Twitter that's @ JW coordination also my website is JW coordination comm yeah I think that's basically it you're so fun I hope you guys loved this other collaboration that I've done I'm gonna keep doing a couple more in the future for different vendor categories but this was so much fun and I'm gonna link everything down in the description below for you guys and I'll see you guys next time