Celebrity planner, Donnie Brown, star of Whose Wedding is it Anyway? wrote a great article last week…definitely a ‘must read’ for anyone who is considering hiring a wedding planner. This is a philosophy I have been true to for many years…nice to have it validated by a celebrity planner! Below is his article in its entirety.
Less Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Cheaper!!!
There are few things in the world as exciting and confusing and frustrating as planning your wedding. Endless are the vendors, the options, the details… And, that is when everything goes well. What if you are hiring someone who isn’t telling you the whole truth???
Having been in the industry for more than 30 years, I have seen it all. I have placed myself front and center for every cause you can imagine. And for those of you who know me, you won’t be surprised to hear that I have my opinions. My opinions are not based on loose information either. But, rather on years of experience visiting and revisiting every scenario at one time or another.
Today’s blog is focused on a topic that has come to my attention recently which has me completely perplexed. A professional wedding planner (not naming names so don’t ask) that I know who has come on the scene the past few years has taken it upon themselves to create a business plan which is completely misleading and unethical. They are demanding wedding vendors such as floral designers, photographers, invitations artists, cake designers, etc. to pay a kickback under the table of 15% of their contracted price with the client back to the planner as an additional fee. The planner then charges a ridiculously low “full service” fee to the bride. The bride is under the erroneous assumption that she is getting a great deal and discounting other qualified planners who work ethically and transparently because of the ticket price difference. What they don’t realize is that the vendors who are forced to pay the kickbacks are marking their services up an additional 15% to accommodate the loss. Therefore, the bride is paying the money anyway. They just don’t realize it. Plus, many talented and ethical vendors will refuse to pay this fee and are therefore never an option for the planner’s bride. This narrows the field and eliminates many excellent options for the client.
I have seen a lot of things in my professional career, but this takes the cake.
My suggestion: Ask the important question when booking your wedding planner. Make sure they are charging you exactly what is in your contract with them and not receiving kickbacks or referral fees from vendors.
I have been offered commissions before by vendors who wanted my referral business. My vendor selection process is based on criteria that has nothing to do with my financial gain, but rather for expert services for my client. That’s what really matters. What I charge my client is all I charge my client. I always tell these vendor inquiries that they should offer any such discount or extra perk to my client. That plus taking very good care of them is payment enough for me!
Just a little food for thought from my soap box!
Dinner: Dining Room
Dancing: Living Room
Photos courtesy of Binary Flips Photography – Video courtesy of Sean Morris Video
This beautiful video will take your breath away!
This beautiful, Chanel inspired, wedding was held at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. The palette was blush and black…even the ceremony arch was a soft blush and included a crystal chandelier!
Cocktails: Rose Garden
Dinner/Dancing: Healing Garden
Destination weddings continue to be a hot wedding trend, and Sarasota, Florida has become one of THE places to get married. Whether your style is lavish, elegant, traditional, or understated, Sarasota is a location that offers so many breathtaking options that it’s no wonder I plan weddings for couples from all over the world.
Located on the west coast of Florida, Sarasota has over 35 miles of spectacular beaches with the whitest, and finest sand, in the world. Siesta Key Beach ranked #1 most beautiful beach in the nation last year.
Upon visiting Sarasota couples realize, almost immediately, that their greatest challenge will be in choosing which one of the many breathtaking sites they want. From a lavish affair at one of the many historic waterfront mansion, to a wedding on a spectacular white sand beach, a couple can vow eternal love in the paradise of their choice.
Renowned for spectacular sunsets that paint the sky into a canvas of intense colors, it’s no surprise that Sarasota draws couples from all over the country and the globe.
If marrying on land is not for you, consider hiring a boat for a ceremony at sea. Celebrate your vows on the Gulf of Mexico at the moment of sunset or under a starry night. You can choose from large yachts with a full gourmet dinner, to a more intimate event on a small-chartered sailing vessel.
I recently had the pleasure of choreographing a surprise marriage proposal for the beautiful Savannah Wise, one of the stars of the TV show SMASH. Her boyfriend Tony, (now her fiancé…she said ‘yes’) wanted a proposal that reflected her personality. He was willing to go the distance to surprise Savannah with a beautiful and personal proposal.
Executing a marriage proposal is something amazing and beautiful…it’s heartwarming for me to help a couple begin the adventure of spending the rest of their lives together.
I was so honored to be able to plan this very special event! A big thanks to the terrific team that helped to pull it all together: Hotel Indigo, Tiger Lily Flowers, Eri Vincent, and Artisan Cheese Company.
This beautiful outdoor wedding took place in December…the weather was perfect! Pashminas not required. The venue is exquisite…historic mansion on the water.
This beautiful wedding was at The Oaks Club in Osprey. The ceremony was held on the lawn, cocktail reception in the ballroom, dinner and dancing under the stars in a gorgeous clear span tent and the ‘after party’ in the Tavern.
Baby Grand piano on the lawn…just beautiful
How adorable is this little sweetie?
The fireworks display was amazing!
The fabulous ‘City Lights’ kept the dance floor packed all night
Bins of flip flops to soothe sore feet!
The getaway cart
Off to join guests at the ‘after party’ in the Tavern
In some ways, the proposal is bigger than the wedding itself, and it’s the groom’s chance to knock it out of the park! No pressure. Once she accepts, she will describe every little detail…again and again…to everyone she has ever met. She’ll email it, text it, blog it, Face Book it, Twitter it. No worries, we have your back..just follow our tips for ‘Popping the Question’
You should not be surprised…
Like a good lawyer, don’t ask the question unless you know the answer. Make sure getting married is something you both want. It’s better to know the two of you are on the same page before you buy the ring and start planning the proposal.
…but she should be.
One of the things that make a proposal great is that it isn’t anticipated. You must surprise her…that the game. Even thought you’ve talked about marriage, you can still make the actual proposal a surprise.
Create the proposal of her dreams…not yours.
This is your moment to show her how much you care about her and that you pay attention to details. Make it original…a bride doesn’t want to have the same proposal story as any of her friends. With that in mind, create a proposal that will blow her away. Unless she is the world’s biggest Bucs fan, proposing during halftime is not the way to go.
Ask her family’s permission.
It may appear outdated, but asking parent’s permission is respectful and honors tradition. And it’s still appreciated in today’s modern times. It’s also the way to stay in a family’s good graces.
Don’t risk the rock.
It’s amazing the number of grooms-to-be that hatch a creative plan that ends up with the ring getting lost. Hiding it in food is a tired idea…plus, it’s just not safe. We wouldn’t want your future bride choking on her ring now would we?
Take a knee.
Even in our modern world, a little old-fashioned romance is appreciated. By taking a knee, you fulfill the vision that she’s had since she was five. Also, her girlfriends will specifically ask whether you got down on a knee. Let her answer the right way.
Do tell her why you want to marry her.
At the very least, ladies want their proposal to be more than just, “will you marry me?” This is a huge moment…for both of you. Take some time and think about why you want to marry this girl…and tell her!
Keep it a secret.
As the saying goes, ‘loose lips sink ships’, and when it comes to getting engaged it’s absolutely true. The surprise is important, so limit who you tell. You never know if someone is going to slip or start acting weird around her.
This is it. This is the one moment that belongs only to you and your future wife. Make it last. This is one of the most intimate memories that you will ever share with anyone, anytime, anywhere. This is the calm before the storm…before the hundreds of phone calls begin to family, friends, and wedding vendors. It is the final truly quiet moment until your wedding. Savor it.
Best of luck and congratulations in advance!
Ready to Pop the Question?
Men Preparing To Propose Will Get Help With Creative Ways to
‘Pop the Question’
at the Gent’s Open House
To help anyone considering a proposal, Martin Freeman Clothing is holding a Gent’s Open House Event, from 5pm to 8pm on December 12th, at their store located at 75 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. Wedding planner Maria Brady, of Choreographed Events, will be on hand to offer tips and some important dos and don’ts. Gemologist, Amir Chokr, of the Diamond Vault, will also be available with tips for buying an engagement ring she’ll love.
“This is the most popular time of year to get engaged, but many guys need help coming up with proposal ideas that work” said Maria Brady. “Asking another person to join you, for the rest of your life, is not an easy task on the best of days. While the bride-to-be anxiously waits for the day she will walk down the aisle, the man agonizes over planning a flawless scenario.”
“There aren’t many resources for men” adds Brady, “and they only get one chance to create a memory that she will be talking about for years to come. Anyone preparing to ask the big question is invited to drop by for a cocktail and ask questions of our proposal experts.”
One lucky gent will win a ‘Pop the Question’ Package which includes:
- · A proposal, that reflects the personality of the couple, designed and executed by Maria Brady
- · Romantic dinner for two, in a private Gulf-front cabana, at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Beach Club
- · The proposal captured in photos by Naomi Chokr Photography
- · Presentation bouquet provided by Tiger Lily Flowers
- · Free style consultation and 10% off any purchases at the event provided by Martin Freeman Clothing
- · Hair and makeup provided by Ana Molinari Salon
- · Save-the-Date cards provided by Write-On Sarasota
- · Dress for engagement photo shoot provided by La Mariee Couture Bridal Boutique
If you’d like more information about this event, please call 941-350-9403 or e-mail Maria at email@example.com