One of the things that so many brides tend to struggle with when it comes to planning their wedding is whether or not to take the big leap and hire a planner. Is it really worth it?? Won’t hiring someone else just make this wedding even more expensive than it already is?! Is the idea of saving my sanity really worth the price tag?? Can I trust someone else to get all my details absolutely perfect on this one incredibly important day of my life?! Breathe easy, brides. We’re here to tell you, YES! It is worth it! Because, in fact, no, it is NOT more expensive! You might be surprised to hear that, more often than not, hiring a planner (the RIGHT planner) can actually SAVE you money!! (What?! Really?! That sounds too good to be true!! Please share your unheard of unicorn level secrets with me!!) Well, it’s your lucky day because we know three incredible woman who can (and did) do just that!
We interviewed three of our very favorite super amazing Buffalo, NY area wedding planners to get their personal scoop on exactly why hiring a planner is the way to go. Syrie, Desiree and Lauren are all knee deep in the wonderful world of weddings and they all were kind enough to take a few minutes to share some surprising and exciting insider info with us about the ins and outs of the wedding planning biz! We are so, so happy to be able to share their knowledge and experience with you!! Before we get into the nitty gritty of it, we’d like to introduce you to these awesome wedding loving women!
First up we have the amazing Syrie Roman, owner of Social Maven Event Planning. We’ve worked with Syrie on countless weddings and we must say, she is not one to disappoint. She is incredibly professional, but somehow manages to make the whole process of wedding planning light and fun. She has this uncanny ability to take her couples abstract ideas and turn them into something more beautiful than they ever could have hoped for. I am continually impressed by her over and over, year after year.
“I can honestly say that I stay in touch with most of my clients years after their event, and about 90% of my clients find me via referrals. We rarely advertise. This one particular family comes to mind, it was early in my planning career, the mom came to me to ask me to plan her son’s wedding; I did. Months later his sister got engaged and I planned that also. Then there was a baby shower, and a 60th birthday. I’ve been with that family through so many amazing milestones. That’s what keeps me going, doing that for my clients. I consider it such a privilege to be able to create memories and experiences for people. Its such a responsibility to be included in one of the most important days in someone’s life; I don’t take it lightly. My goal is to exceed my clients expectations and give them memories for a lifetime.“
Next we talked with Desirée Adams, founder of Verve Event Co based in Rochester, New York. Desiree was a high end event designer and coordinator in the DC area before moving to Rochester with her adorable little family. She is so talented, and is very generous with her time. She truly wants to help couples have the best wedding experience possible, and hosts a monthly live video Q+A series called “Ask a Planner” to give people the oportunity to learn about wedding planning for free. How generous is that?! I love her. Follow her on IG at @verveeventco!!
“Many couples think that a wedding or event planner is a luxury and that they should be able to plan their wedding on their own. However, they have likely never planned a wedding before and once they get into it, they realize how much work it actually is. I want my clients to actually enjoy the celebration of their marriage, not be stressed out and happy for it to be over. If you’re curious what a planner does or how they can help, I host Live Q&A sessions on Instagram Live the first and third Wednesday of each month at 8:30 pm. I consider them office hours and jump on to help brides planning their weddings and to help connect vendors in the area.“
Lastly, (and at the risk of sounding cliché – certainly not the least!) we have the super enthusiastic and passionate Lauren Borsuk of Events by Lauren Marie. This wedding loving lady brings with her a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Communications from none other than the infamous FIT! Her four years in the Big Apple, paired with deep love of all things wedding, gave her the eye and the drive to come back to her hometown of Buffalo and start her very own wedding planning business! And we’re so glad that she did! I can’t wait to work with her this season and watch her business explode with success!
“What I love most about being a wedding planner is I get to be a part of a family’s most special day. I learn all about the couples loved ones and hear all about how they fell in love. It becomes a very close and trusting relationship.”
We asked Syrie, Desirée and Lauren three very important questions about what it means to hire a wedding planner. Read on to hear what they had to say!
How is it that people can actually save money by hiring a planner?
Syrie: “A legitimate wedding planner should have a lot of industry contacts and partnerships with service providers and vendors. Those vendors usually extend us wholesale or ‘planner pricing’. That alone is a huge savings. I always say that when you hire me I end up paying for myself. Not only in vendor discounts but also in all the time I can save you figuring out logistics and foreseeing issues that normally you wouldn’t think about.“
Desirée: “Time is money. Some people think they need to do all the research themselves in order to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing their vendors. But planners can save you a lot of time by narrowing your search for vendors that are specific to your tastes and what you are looking for in your big day. Moreover, they already have templates for budgets, timelines, and task lists that they will customize for you so it includes everything you need and nothing you don’t need. Before you even see a proposal from a vendor, a good planner will have given it a thorough review and probably sent it back to the vendor at least once for updating before it’s ready for you to see. They know the right questions to ask and will be more efficient. Planners understand the value of items and know what things should cost. If they can get you a better price on something, they will. If they receive a proposal and it seems too good to be true, they will know the proper questions to ask to ensure you get what you are looking for. The same is true for the opposite. If they receive a proposal and it contains items that you don’t need or aren’t good value, they will negotiate it for you so that you don’t overspend.
Example: Maybe you are debating between two off-site properties, like your family’s farm and your fiance’s private country club. You receive a proposal from the country club and think it’s too expensive. You can’t afford it, so you decide to have the wedding at your family’s farm instead. What you don’t think to account for are the myriad of items that are included in the country club price that you would have to contract separately for your farm: restrooms, trash service, tenting, lighting, valet service, tables, chairs, and linens, etc. A good planner can help you compare apples to oranges.”
Lauren: “Once a wedding budget has been decided on by the couple I will build them a personalized budget and breakout where the dollars should be spent. Most brides these days spend a lot of time planning their wedding via Pinterest and start buying and renting unnecessary items. Before you know it, the budget is blown and the couple just realized they need to still book shuttles for their out of town guests or their guest list just went up by 50 more people. Your Pinterest wedding is a possibility. By providing a personalized budget for couples I know what items to scrap and what to keep that are going to have the biggest impact. Having a trusted arsenal of wedding vendors at your fingertips is going to save a couple money. If a couple has their heart set on working with a specific florist or DJ a planner is there to negotiate the best price for their couple. Often a planner will be extended a discount. Remember that you’re bringing a vendor business only once but a planner can bring them business multiple times in a given wedding season, making them more inclined to negotiate with the planner. You will be steered in the right direction when it comes to choosing vendors for your big day. Choosing the wrong vendor can often end up costing the couple even more in the end.“
What service do you provide that you feel gives your clients the most value?
Syrie: “I take a lot of the guess work out of the equation. Instead of spending hours doing research for specific vendors or services, clients can just ask me. In the case we do not have an answer, we will do the research for them. I also get a lot of out of town clients, which is always great. Most of the time they do not have the time to come to Buffalo to meet with vendors. Many times I’m able to ‘FaceTime’ them in and we can all meet and make those decisions remotely. I consider peace of mind to be one of the best services I offer. Personally, my contacts list comes in handy. Because I have worked in many aspects of the hospitality industry (and I will talk to anyone who will listen), I’ve accumulated a very healthy list of people and business my clients can have access to. For example, if you wanted someone to come set up a soft serve ice-cream / Belgian waffle / espresso bar for dessert at your wedding, I got a guy.“
Desirée: “I prefer to work with clients from the beginning and build their event from the ground up. I provide them a full-service experience and it really is the best value because they can take advantage of my expertise and connections with vendors from the beginning. If they are envisioning something that isn’t feasible due to their budget or constraints of the venue or time of year, I will tell them up front so that their time is being used efficiently.”
Lauren: “Couples value me sharing my expert opinions and real-life experiences. I was once in their shoes on the other side of the altar. Couples often ask if there anything I wish I could have done without, but the number one question I’m often asked is would you have done anything differently. My answer is yes, I wish I hired a planner. Once a couple gets engaged their life doesn’t stop. They still have jobs, families, and social obligations. The last thing they want to do is throw more stress on their plate. Couples should enjoy being engaged. There is a special and different feeling about being a fiancé compared to being a husband or wife. There’s a different kind of excitement and anticipation with this title. You miss that completely being bogged down each day with the millions of details that go into a wedding. As a planner I’m here to keep your vision and big day on track. Vendors appreciate working with a planner. They would rather tackle the last-minute details with a planner then the couple who already have enough on their plate in the weeks leading up to the big day. Spend your engagement and wedding day living in the moment and building lasting memories with those you cherish. Leave the stress and dirty work to someone else. Besides, this is what a planner lives for.“
What are your couples generally most appreciative of?
Syrie: “My couples appreciate how little they have to stress about the process leading up to and on the day of their wedding. They know we have discussed all the details and have plans a, b, c, and d for any possible situation that might happen. I always get a million thank you’s when it comes to the day before and day of. The peace of mind the couples feel knowing that someone will take care of every single detail so their vision is met is invaluable. “
Desirée: “I take time to develop personal relationships with all my vendors and understand their business process, style, and personalities. I then assemble the best vendor team possible based on my clients’ style and vision. Because of this, my clients appreciate that I don’t recommend the same vendors every time and know that when I am recommending someone, it’s because I know they are a good fit for their specific event and their personality. They really trust me to only recommend viable options because I respect their time and the vendor’s time.“
Lauren: “I always ask my couples, ‘how do you want to remember your big day?’ The response is always more or less the same. ‘We want to spend the day laughing and dancing with all our friends and family. We just want to have fun with everyone.’ No one has ever once told me that they want to worry about getting all their flowers from church to their reception for setup or to come up with a last-minute plan for rain that’s rolling in at their outdoor reception. Planning a wedding is a daunting task. For a lot of couples, it can be overwhelming even knowing where to start. Often, I’ve been asked by newly engaged couples is it worth hiring a wedding planner? In my expert opinion it’s the one wedding expense you will never regret.“
Lauren was very candid with us about her own big day to help put everything in perspective:
“My number one advice to couples is always stay absolutely present at your wedding because it’s going to go by in a flash. I wish I had headed my own advice but I was too focused on all the little details. Let’s face it every bride wants to look back and remember her day being nothing less than perfect. Without a planner though, how much will you really remember?
I had a very calm wedding morning. Everything was on schedule. We arrived at the church with 20 minutes to spare. I lined up in the back of the church praying to God I didn’t trip on my dress. I can clearly remember my now husband, Tom, looking back at me with a flood of tears in his eyes as I approached. He escorted me up the altar and then my mind shifted to, ‘well what’s going on at our reception space?’
I remember being so focused on where are we going next for pictures. Will the family remember to stay in the church for photos? Did the flowers arrive on time? How do they look? Was the venue able to set everything up accordingly to that overly detailed diagram I sent them? (I should stress now that there are certain limitations to what your venue can do for you. At the end of the day their focus is to ensure your guests are receiving their hors d’oeuvre and entrees on time, not those tiny favors you spent weeks assembling or those handwritten place cards. That’s all after that nightmare of a time you had deciding where your 200 plus guests were going to sit five days out from the big day.) I broke my number one rule. I wish I had entrusted these worries in the hands of another planner that day. It still would have been my vision but I would have stayed in the moment the entire day like I had planned all along. You cannot put a price on making memories with your loved ones. This is the most expensive celebration you will ever throw, you deserve to enjoy it just as much as the guests.”
We hope that this little Q&A with a few of Buffalo’s best helps to put things into perspective for anyone out there who recently got engaged or knows that a proposal is in their near future. Even if you are considering adding on a planner at the last minute just for some assistance on the day of, reach out to one of these talented and passionate ladies! The peace of mind they will bring you is worth every penny and then some. Tell them Ayres sent you. ;)