This article is part of the Ask the Expert blog series, serving up expert wedding planning advice for couples anywhere in their planning stages! See the rest of the series here.
Meet the coordinator:
Meet Hannah, the founder of Bridal Path Weddings & Events! Hannah’s dream of becoming a wedding planner sparked when she was a little girl. And that dream fueled so many decisions in her life, from her college majors (Business & Entrepreneurship) to her college internships. Hannah’s professionalism and experience is paired well with her passion and sincerity. She treats every wedding - no matter the budget - with the care and attention every wedding day deserves, and she has fun doing it!
How do you recommend a couple determine their budget for their wedding?
In 2018, the national average cost of a wedding was around $33,931, according to The Knot. Of course, location of the wedding will have an impact on the budget you set. Since I am a wedding planner in Kansas City, I have an idea of what most of our local vendors’ price points are to help recommend the best estimate to fit our clients' budget.
We have had weddings with budgets between $5,000 - $110,000 taking place in various parts of the country. Our average wedding budget is around $30,000.
First, we need to determine where you want to get married, be it locally or a destination wedding.
Our second step is figuring out how much money you have to spend on your wedding. Consider all of the financial contributions that will play a role in helping bring your dream day to life:
1. How much money do you have saved for the wedding?
2. Will you be receiving any additional contributions for the wedding, from parents, grandparents etc.
The guest count will also play a huge factor in understanding your budget and how far your dollars can go. A $40,000 budget with 50 guests will have a vastly different cost per guest than that same budget with 500 guests. (Guest size will effect your venue size, cake/dessert, catering costs, bar service, and so much more.)
Our third step is finding out what is most important to you on your wedding day. It could be jaw-dropping flowers, a live band, a certain venue, or anything else you can dream up. We need to first understand your vision and priorities for the big day. This will help me seek out vendors that meet both your vision and priorities to create a realistic budget.
The final step is to let the reality of the budget sink in. You know that part in every House Hunters episode when the couple tours different homes to understand what their budget can buy them? It’s a lot like that.
This is where we walk through each vendor category to set the expectation of how much each vendor will cost. We usually give our couples three vendors from each category with different prices so they can compare the cost and quality. We want to help educate our couples on what can be realistically achieved before setting the final budget.
What are some tips to differentiate professional’s styles and specialties when selecting your vendors?
First of all, keep true to you! This is YOUR wedding day. It is a day for you and your fiance to enjoy and share with all of your family and friends. Be unique and be you! Make your dream wedding about you and your one true love for your big day. We love seeing all the tiny aspects of our client's weddings represent their love story. Everyone's love story is different and one of a kind, your wedding should be too.
What's the one thing you wish every couple knew at the beginning of the planning process?
Planning a wedding can get overwhelming. Most of our couples are working full time jobs and juggling a million other obligations on their calendars. Planning a wedding will take time and effort, which is why we are here for you! Here are some things that every couple should start with when they are in the beginning stages of wedding planning:
1. Set a budget and keep track of where your money is going.
2. Figure out what is most important to you for your wedding day (live band, food, etc.).
3. Create a guest list - this will help narrow down your venue & budget.
4. Narrow your vendor search to those whose styles align with your vision for your wedding. Then select the ones that you feel a strong sense of trust and connection with. They’re helping make your dream wedding a reality, so trust and rapport is key!
5. READ READ READ every contract you are going to sign. Don't forget to double check the date and times on the contract too!
6. HAVE FUN!!!!
When you work with Bridal Path Weddings & Events you will have access to our online client lounge that offers numerous tools like the Master Checklist, Budget, Guest List, Vendors, Timeline, Ceremony Details, and so much more. This really helps everyone stay on the same page and keeps everything organized.
What are the most important information a couple should take away from a consultation with you?
We are here for you! We really strive to be the best for our clients and build a long lasting relationship with you. When I first started this business I wanted to make sure my clients would come back to us even after their wedding. This is why I added the events side to my business. We have had brides that have booked us for their bridal shower, wedding, and just recently their BABY SHOWER. We love to be a part of each milestone in our couple’s lives.
Another thing that they need to feel is relief after they meet with us. We are here to take the overwhelming amount of planning ahead of them off their plate and assure them that it will be the best day of their lives. Most importantly, we want our couples to know they are in great hands and will not have to stress about a thing.
What are your most common FAQs from clients, and how do you answer them?
“How did you start your business?"
Well, it has always been my dream to do this since I was a young girl. I have always been very determined and very driven to set out and achieve what I wanted to do. I graduated from the University of Missouri - Kansas City with a Bachelor in Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. During my senior year of college I took an internship under Stephanie Hopkins of Pretty + Planned to learn how to run a business and gain experience planning weddings. During the fifth month of my internship I launched Bridal Path Weddings & Events in July 2017. Ever since then it has been amazing and I encourage women to follow their dreams. It is scary to do it, but once you do it you will be so thankful you did!
“What services do you offer?“
We offer Day-of, Month-of, Custom/Partial, and Full Service Wedding Coordination, Destination Weddings / Elopements, Showers, Graduation Parties, and Corporate Events.
“What’s the difference between a Venue Coordinator and a Wedding Coordinator?”
A venue coordinator is responsible for the venue and its employees the day of the wedding. They are there to manage the venue and staff members that are on site. The venue coordinator will oversee setup and tear down to make sure everything follows the venue's procedures during this time. They will help direct vendors as they show up and leave throughout the day too.
Wedding coordinators are responsible for you. We will make sure everything is flowing according to the timeline the day of the wedding. We are responsible for all the details of the event, cuing the DJ, cutting the cake, setting the place settings just right, ensuring vendors arrive on time with the services they promised, creating a Master Timeline and confirming it with every vendor, and so much more! We will know every detail of the entire day. We are here for YOU!
Special thanks to Hannah for participating in this interview and blog :)
You can find out more about Bridal Path Weddings & Events, and contact Hannah here!