Planning: Polling the Pros
We checked in with area wedding planners and asked them what they’re doing throughout the planning process. Beginning with two months prior to the “Big Event,” we asked each planner to comment on their own activities during a certain time.
Tasha Bracken of SD Events
With offices in Newport and Boston,Tasha Bracken of SD Events has the coastal wedding scene covered. The Newton, MA-based planner has owned her business for ten years, but was organizing events for years before going out on her own.
Two months from the wedding, what are you thinking about?
Our biggest concern is finalizing the timing and flow of the event so we can make sure we have all the pieces in place. Many times couples have special requests and we want to make sure the band has time to learn the song.
What are you encouraging your clients to work on at that point?
The biggest thing is getting their guest list together. Also, getting the bridesmaids dresses fitted and finalizing the menu if they have changes to that.
Are you envisioning how the reception will look at that point?
Yes! If there are any other elements of décor or design we want to add, this is when we try to finalize all of that to ensure we can still obtain everything.
Ann Gardner of Fancy Pants Event Planning
After years of working in advertising in New York and San Francisco, Ann Gardner was looking for something new. Merging her skills with her sister Margaret Murray’s party planning knowledge, the pair started Fancy Pants Event Planning three years ago.
What is your biggest priority a month from the wedding?
We are in full execution mode at that point. Your biggest focus is determining the final counts and how that will impact execution, centerpieces, linen rentals and number of guests’ welcome packages.
What do you have your clients thinking about a month away from their big day?
We guide them to keep things organized, what final payments are due and when, and start to give advice on gratuities. For the most part we have them focus on the personal details.
Anything you have learned to remind your clients of just four weeks before their big day?
We advise that any part of the health and beauty regimen—facials, hair color and cuts—be done a month out.
Alexis Eliopoulos O’Mara of Unique Weddings by Alexis
Years of producing large corporate events for a venture capital firm showed Alexis Eliopoulos O’Mara that she was ready for an environment where she could focus on long-term projects. “I started focusing more on social events so I could build a better relationship with clients over a longer period of time,” says O’Mara.
What are you thinking of a week before the wedding?
The “Plan B”-rain plan or bad weather plan–and make sure it is in place and decide on it with a couple days before the wedding date.
What do you tell the couple to think about at that point?
The couple’s focus should be on sharing the wedding day schedule with the wedding party, confirming honeymoon details and packing. The bride should wear her shoes around the house to break them in!
What do you concern yourself with so the bride and groom can just enjoy themselves?
My biggest concerns are the weather and rain plans as well as sufficient set-up times for all vendors and guest cancellations.
Wendy Joblon of Wendy Joblon Events
South Dartmouth, MA-based event planner Wendy Joblon has had her own company for 15 years, but worked in the business for seven years before that. Having planned spectacular weddings from Cape Cod to Newport, she knows how to make a good impression.
What is running through your mind the night before a wedding?
I hope by the night before that everything is in order, but I do a lot of tent weddings and you have to be very cautious about the weather. In New England, the weather can change in an instant and you have to have a rain plan in place.
What do you love most about what you do?
My favorite part of planning a wedding is taking it from the very beginning when the bride has a vision of what she wants and seeing it happen on her wedding day.
What do you tell your bride and broom to keep in mind?
I tell them to relax and enjoy the day. I have everything covered and they have nothing to worry about except to have a good time.
Colleen Kimmel of Classic Weddings
Franklin, MA-based Colleen Kimmel of Classic Weddings knows that a successful wedding takes the ability to keep up with the unexpected. “Every bride and groom wants their wedding day to be perfect,” says Kimmel. “We realize even the best laid plans can run into snags and problems. It’s how our team reacts, and corrects those snags, that is important.”
How do your priorities differ from the couple’s on the day of the wedding?
We try to focus on what we need to do in the next half hour to an hour and make sure the bride gets her hair and make-up done, gets her dress on and we get her to the ceremony on time. We try to keep her focused on the task at hand and this all leads to a calmer bride.
What is one go-to item you always have with you at a wedding?
We like to have a half-dozen very colorful umbrellas with us “just in case.” I’ve even had a bride use them in photos when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!
How do you prepare for each wedding?
As I am getting ready to go meet the bride-to-be at the salon or her hotel room, that is the time I like to take a big deep breath and get ready for phase two: making sure the day runs as smooth as possible.