What geographical area do you cover? All of Northern California, although basic travel fees & lodging requirement may apply for locations 30 miles or more outside of Oakland.
Do you travel? Yes! I love to travel. I travel to New York City for a flat rate of $250, and Los Angeles County for $150. Anywhere else in the world I'll travel for cost - there are never any nebulous "travel fees" - just the actual expenses.
Why do I need a wedding planner? Well, the real answer is, you don't. Wedding receptions (the part where planners tend to come in the most) are really just big, albeit special, parties, and I firmly believe that anyone can throw a good party. That said, there are some reasons you may want one, including: you've never planned a large event before and don't know where to start, you feel overwhelmed by all the decisions to be made and want some guidance, you don't really care that much about details and just want to show up and have a good time, or you want someone to blame decisions on when your mother/future mother-in-law starts second guessing your choices.
Why do I need a day of coordinator? I think the first time I really realized the value of Day Of Coordinators (DOCs) is when, at the end of a wedding I had coordinated the mother of the bride came up to me and thanked me incredibly wholeheartedly for being there because she felt that she had been able to truly enjoy her daughter's wedding because she knew I was taking care of things. My general approach to DOCing is that no one will bother you with anything all day (note: except possibly your friends & family. They're hard for me to control.) I'm the first vendor at the venue and the last one to leave, meaning that I make sure that everyone else involved is doing what they're supposed to be doing at the time it's supposed to be done. My clipboard almost never leaves my hands, and my eye stays on my watch, meaning that I keep things running on time, while always allowing for flexibility (the whole crowd is having a blast dancing? Let's move the cake cutting back 20 minutes.) I carefully evaluate any issues that come up, figure out a solution, and decide if it's worth bothering you about (almost always: not.) I'm a person who has a naturally calm head in a crisis - it's just how I was born. And remember: real crises almost never happen at weddings (small issues, on the other hand, come up. They are much easier to handle.)
What makes you different from other event planners? I'm not an "event designer" or a "bridal consultant" - I will never tell you what your wedding should look like/be like/cost. I like to think of what I do as collaboration with the couples I work with. I do come from a design background, but while I'm more than happy to help you design your centerpieces (and figure out how to make them affordably,) I'm also there to tell you that your centerpieces aren't the most important part of your wedding.I work with my clients to help them create the weddings that they want with as little stress as possible. This means that I'll probably encourage you to simplify things, not add them, and instead of asking you to gather lots of inspiration images I'll talk with you about what you want your wedding to feel like. Weddings by nature are often stressful - because almost anything involving money, family, and expectations is often stressful. I am here to talk you down from the ledge, to tell you to ignore your cousin/high school friend/brother-in-law who's questioning your decisions, and to ask you four days before your wedding if you really want to spend eight hours covering your table numbers in glitter. If you do, then I'll be right there with you (I am great with glitter.) And if you don't, then I'll encourage you to put down the glue, and go have a glass of wine with your soon-to-be spouse.
What will you do? It's honestly more a question of what won't I do. Things I will do include: help you scout venues, pick and word invitations, pick a color scheme, assemble favors, attend catering or cake tastings with you, give you band recommendations, set up decor, handle day of payments to vendors, break down at the end of the night, sew up the seam you ripped on the dance floor, pass you lipstick when you need a touch up, load gifts into cars, hold your dress while you pee (it's happened!), help calm your overly tense mother and have the bartender cut off your drunk uncle. I will raise a glass to you during toasts and, time permitting, maybe get out there on the dance floor with you for a few minutes. I won't: do anything you don't want or need me to do. There is no pressure to include me in a decision if you don't want/need to.
My goal is to help you create the wedding that you want. Not the wedding that your mother wants, or the Wedding Industry wants, or your best-friend from college insists you have to have. The only wrong way to do a wedding is to do it in a way that doesn't make you happy. Because while it may not be the happiest day of your life, it should be pretty a killer one.
Do you do events other than weddings? Yes! Birthday parties, anniversaries, New Year's Eve, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, retirement parties, benefits, CD releases, graduation parties, Arbor Day parties - if you want to throw it, I will be happy to help.
Can we meet you before we hire you? Yes! In fact, I won't sign a contract with a potential client before meeting with them. When possible, I strongly prefer in-person meetings, although I am happy to do phone or skype meetings for out-of-area clients. I offer free one hour initial meetings to all prospective clients.
What kind of weddings do you work on? While I work on every size and type of wedding, I'm going to be honest and say that my favorite weddings tend not to be typical-hotel-ballroom-affairs (an aside: I have been to more than one *truly awesome* hotel ballroom wedding.) I love backyard weddings, weeknight weddings, barbeque weddings, church weddings, weddings done on tiny budgets, cocktail party weddings, park weddings, giant guest list weddings, restaurant weddings, museum weddings, beach weddings, courthouse weddings, and tiny weddings, just to name a few. (Yeah, I pretty much just love weddings.) Above all, my favorite weddings include people who are bursting with joy and love.
Are you going to make us work with certain vendors? Absolutely not. While I do have a list of vendors who I love to work with because they share my philosophies and I've had great experiences with them on other events, I don't get kick backs from any of the vendors I work with, so am not invested at all in you working with people and/or companies who I recommend or have worked with before. I will only recommend people/vendors who I love and think will be a great fit for you/your event.
Do you work with LGBTQ couples? Oh hell yes. I'm a firm believer in marriage equality.
Can you do an [insert specific faith/tradition here] wedding? Most definitely. I have a deep respect for and interest in rituals and traditions of all types (I'm personally a practicing Episcopalian, which is not a church you end up in if you're not into ritual and tradition.) Faith (or, non-faith) traditions that I'm particularly familiar and thereby very comfortable working with include: Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian, Quaker, LDS/Mormon, Jewish, spiritual-but-not-religious, and completely secular/atheist. Belong to one of the many other religious or cultural traditions in the world? I would really welcome the opportunity to become more familiar with your religion or culture's specific wedding traditions (I'm a big reader. Once you point the way I'll be three books deep.)
Do you work with interfaith couples? I love working with interfaith couples (you get two sets of traditions to pull from!,) and have found that I can be particularly helpful in helping them figure out ways to blend their religious and cultural backgrounds into both the ceremony and the reception. It's probably worth saying that I never go into working on any part of a wedding with any agenda other than to make it work for both members of the couple.
Do you have a minimum budget that you'll work with? I've worked on weddings with budgets that range from $3,000 to $90,000, and everywhere in between. You don't have to spend a lot to have a beautiful, and more importantly, incredibly meaningful, wedding, but you also have to be realistic and realize that if the wedding you want involves a formal multi-course meal for 200, it isn't going to be cheap. I can help you figure out what a realistic budget is for the wedding you want, or how to create a wedding you'll love with the budget you have. I don't believe that you should go into debt to pay for your wedding, but I also don't believe that you need to wait until "you've made it" to have enough money to get married.
Are you going to make me buy/do/include things I don't want to? Um, NO. My general style when working on events is this: if you ask, I will give you my opinion/suggestion. But it's *your* wedding, and what really matters that you're happy with it. This is why I don't have "packages" - what's the point of including favor assembly if you're not going to have favors? You may want to deck out the entire event in a color that I hate, and I will happily help you pick the best shade of it.
Do you blog every wedding you work on? I try to! Occasionally a wedding won't get blogged because of two reasons a) I have some clients who ask me not to put images of them online because they're particularly internet-private (which I totally respect) or b) occasionally photographers don't get images to me (which I have a harder time understanding.)