Wedding planning

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed during your wedding planning process. Along with organizing, researching, and finding the best vendors for your budget, it also comes down to negotiating costs, ensuring that everything is done on time and that the big day runs smoothly – all the while ensuring that your guests are happy and enjoying themselves!

On top of all of this, many of us work full-time jobs and trying to juggle a job with a social life and wedding planning – well something’s gotta give! This is where a wedding planner saves the day.

Why hire a wedding planner

Choosing A Wedding Planner

There are 3 different types of services that wedding planners usually offer:

  1. A wedding planner only for specific tasks, ie. to help you with the catering or with the florals for the wedding
  2. A wedding planner only for the big day to ensure that everything runs smoothly so that you can relax and leave the day in the hands of a professional
  3. From the moment you begin wedding planning to help with every detail of the wedding

What To Look For In A Wedding Planner

After choosing the type of service you require, apart from your budget, below are six things to consider when choosing your wedding planner:

1. Personality and Trust

It’s important for you to find a planner that you instantly get along with. There are times when you may send 20 emails in 1 night to the wedding planner with details of your wedding, and there are more stressful times than others where the ‘Bridezilla’ in you might come out. This is where you’ll need the wedding planner to stay calm and really listen to you.

You need to also ensure that you’re able to trust the planner as there are times when planning can get difficult. Even if they may be incredible at what they do, ensuring that your personalities click and that you trust them 100% is key.

View wedding planner portfolio

2. Portfolio

Ensure that you take a look at the weddings that the wedding planner has done previously not only to be inspired for your own event, but to also ensure that their style matches yours.

Questions to keep in mind are:

  • Are the weddings small simple affairs, or are they more extravagant and luxurious?
  • If you’d like your wedding theme to be focused around colours and florals, see if the planner has done similar themes in the past and if so – to what scale?
  • Do they specialize in a certain type of wedding?
  • Are they familiar with the wedding location?
  • Do they have vendors that they currently work with? If so, would this wedding planner be able to get you a discount for your wedding?
  • What size of weddings do they usually work with?

Wedding planners are able to work to ensure every aspect of your wedding is amazing, but they each have their own skill set that they bring to the table whether it be the visuals of the wedding or the food, you need to ensure that it matches what you are looking for.

What is your planner's specialty

3. Communication

Communication is integral to planning the wedding of your dreams. This leads to considering the response time between when you call/email/text the planner and when they get back to you. Is this planner too busy? Do they take a long time getting back to their clients? The planner needs to keep you up to date with the preparations and ensuring that you know exactly when to expect a reply will help to lessen the stress.

What is your wedding planner's pricing structure

4. Pricing Structure

Every wedding is different and whether you only want the planner for specific tasks, on the big day itself, or if you’d like the planner to be with you from the beginning will, of course, make a difference in the price. The pricing structure could be any of the following:

  • A flat fee
  • A base fee plus extra charges depending on vendors and needs
  • An hourly rate

If the planner charges a flat rate, find out what exactly would be included in this. Also, find out if there is a payment structure and what the billing method is. It’s essential to be upfront with the wedding planner when it comes to the budget to ensure that both parties are happy.

5. Other Weddings

Be sure to find out how many other weddings the planner is working on, as well as if there are weddings they are planning that happen during the same month as your wedding. If the planner works for a large wedding planning company then their firm may have other weddings in the pipeline- and they will also have a large team to work with. If they are independent wedding planners, then it would be best if they could be focused primarily on your wedding.

You want your planner to be devoted to your wedding to ensure that that the planning and the big day run seamlessly.

eck your wedding planner's references

6. References

Make sure to get references of recent weddings that the wedding planner has done. It’s vital to call and check how these customers’ wedding planning and big day went. If the wedding planner does not want to give out references – it’s most likely a red flag and best not to work with them. This also ties in with building trust with the wedding planner and giving you peace of mind.

After the big event, enjoy a honeymoon financed by your Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

Bio: Neha Oberoi is the blog manager for the London based international luxury Asian and South Asian wedding planning service Think Shaadi. Originally from Canada, and also having lived in London for a few years, Neha is currently based in Dubai, and loves fashion, travel and beautiful beach days!

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This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

All Weddings are Fusion Weddings

I have been planning weddings for over 8 years now. I can truthfully say that I have never planned the “same wedding” twice. Even in the most basic of ceremonies and standard of receptions, there is customization and culture infused into every single one of my events. Some more than others.

All weddings are fusion weddings

What Are Fusion Weddings?

A fusion wedding is one that blends two distinct cultures or religions from each marrying party. Sometimes this fusion is completed within one ceremony or event, and sometimes it is carried out through separate ceremonies or events all occurring under the same “wedding.” There is no formula for fusion weddings, although for the purpose of this blog we will focus on those that share equal representation of each culture or religion throughout the ceremonies.

Blending cultures

How to Plan a Fusion Wedding

Consult the Elders

Before any planning takes place, figure out from both sides which traditions, customs, and ceremonies absolutely MUST be included in your wedding. Most parents/grandparents will understand that there will be concessions and allowances from both sides in both ceremonial and celebratory aspects of the event. By determining what your “must haves” and “would like to haves” are well in advance, you can work to create something that fulfills requirements for both sides.

Respect tradition

Get a Master Plan

Once you have determined the customs and traditions that must be included, start putting pieces together. Try to get at least an outline for the day(s) including ceremony(ies) and guest movement. Will you be able to perform all necessary ceremonies in the same space? Will certain guests need to be at one event and not another? Having an overall picture of how your wedding events might flow will assist you in selecting the right venue(s) and getting a budget in order.

Have a master plan

Speaking of Budget….

With a fusion wedding, the lines of “who will pay for what” might not be as cut and dry as they can be with traditional weddings. When establishing a budget, it might make sense to have families pay for the venues, food, and décor needed for their particular events, while splitting the cost of shared services such as photography and videography.

Consider your budget

Identify Where You Can Share Resources

In an effort to keep the entire wedding as cohesive as possible (even with the different influences), try to share resources and services where possible/appropriate. For example, using the same florist (or even some of the same centerpieces) between a post-ceremony luncheon and an evening reception will save money and bring continuity to the event design. Using the same photographer will keep the albums looking congruent, even if there are multiple events taking place in multiple locations.

Share resources

Consider “Branding” Your Fusion Wedding

Your love is unique, and that should be reflected in your wedding. One way to keep continuity in a fusion wedding is to keep a constant in various design aspects. For example use the same color, surrounded by different accents, in various ceremonies. Create a unique symbol or motif that blends your cultures and display that on everything from your invitations to your dance floor to your cake topper. Find ways for your event to be branded as a reflection of you, not necessarily as a collage of contrasting cultures.

Brand your wedding

 Variety and Options Are Your Friends

When scouting venues or planning a menu, the more flexibility a space or vendor can offer the better. Does your significant other come from a non-meat eating culture? Find a caterer who can provide completely animal free (including fats and oils) vegetarian options as well as a meat dish for your reception. Do you need a prayer room? Find a venue that can offer a smaller, private, space close to the reception space for this function. Working with a custom invitation designer can help you sort out how you will invite groups of guests to different functions. The bottom line is that it’s a lot easier to accommodate various needs when you have more control, flexibility, and options.

Incorporate diversity

It’s OK to Separate Guests for Ceremonial Functions

While some guests might not understand WHY they are not invited to a female family member-dominated pre-ceremony event, you have every right to leave them off of the list for certain functions. Perhaps it would be easier to complete your individual ceremonies with just the requiring side of the family in attendance. That is perfectly OK! Just make sure your invitation suite allows for customization to ensure that each guest receives the proper invite and information for each event.

It's your wedding

Most Importantly, Be True To Yourselves!

Never forget that this glorious occasion is forthcoming in celebration of YOUR love. The inherent headache of fusion weddings will be much more manageable if you can be assured that you are doing exactly what is right for you both. Happy planning!

After the wedding , celebrate your love on a wedding trip financed by your Honeyfund wedding registry.

Bio: Miranda Meisenbach is a Professional Wedding Consultant certified by the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants who has over 8 years of wedding and event planning experience. She is the owner and operator of MIRA Events + Design, a boutique special event coordination and design company serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Phoenix, Arizona markets. She is a mother of 2, an average ice-hockey player, an outdoor enthusiast, a closet musician, and her heart belongs to a Navy pilot.

For more information, visit her website at http://www.mira-events.com/ 

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