Wedding Planning Secrets You Need To Know!

Summer camp themed wedding ceremony in Big Bear at Camp Wasegan
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Wedding planner, designer, photographer and creative entrepreneur who helps curate epic events and sparks joy for clients through curated photography art. Let's hang and chat!

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The Top Wedding Planning Secrets From A Professional Wedding Planner

Hey friends! Wedding season is starting to get back to full swing here soon and I couldn’t be more excited! By now, you know all the reasons why I think hiring a wedding planner is crucial and some of things I tackle as your wedding planner. However, after being in this industry for over 6 years now, I have gained some insight into the planning process that I feel all couples should know. Therefore, I wanted to share with you some of my best wedding planning secrets + tips! Check them out below:

There Is No Such Thing As A “Day Of” Wedding Planner

Photo by: Kelsea Holder Photography

One of the biggest myths I feel I need to bust every single day is the “day of” wedding planner/coordinator. It doesn’t exist and we should stop asking for it!! I’m sorry friends, but there is no way someone can simply show up the day of your wedding and have it run smoothly. There is a minimum prep time of at least 6-8 weeks necessary to ensure the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.  Not to mention, your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life! You want someone who knows your taste in décor and who knows your timeline like the back of their hand. This is why we offer a basic management package and charge more, because we need to be involved from the start, otherwise it’s more stressful for everyone involved to play catch up. Trust me it’s worth the money.


bride and groom portrait shots
Photo by: Formwork Photography

Wedding Insurance is one of those items that clients ask, “Is this really needed?” Unfortunately, yes. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. Anything. Wedding insurance helps cover most situations that may arise and keeps you (and your investment) stay safe. 

Marriage License

Photos by: Palms and Pines Photography

Before you say, “I do”, you first have to go to the county clerk’s office to acquire a marriage license. However, there is a time frame and limit to consider. Your marriage license will expire 90 days after it’s been issued. In California, you have up to 90 days to get hitched. Additionally, whoever officiates your wedding has only 10 days post ceremony to return the marriage license to the county clerk in order for it to be recorded. Afterwards, depending on where you live, you will get your marriage certificate mailed back to you. (For more details, Brides has a great article about marriage licenses.) Also friends, if you’re planning to change your last name, check out this blog post where we help you step by step!

Hire Ample Help

A Romantic Forest Inspired Wedding outdoor reception at the 1909
Photo by: Kaitie Brainerd

I completely understand that couples are budget conscious but trust me, nothing will derail your wedding faster than being under-staffed. You want to ensure you have enough bartenders so there isn’t a long line for a drink at the bar. Additionally, you want ample wait staff to get guests dinner before it gets cold (or people get hangry). Even having two photographers so you get more coverage on the day is a great idea! When it comes to budget cutting, staffing requirements are not the areas you want to be frugal on. It takes a village to make an event run smoothly. Your mom or your bridesmaids are not too interested in moving chairs or setting tables on the day of, so hire professional staff! Trust the professionals to guide you on what they need to make your dream day a reality.  

Don’t Forget Tips

A romantic wedding ceremony at Ebell Long Beach
Photo by:  Swanky Fine Art Wedding

While on the subject of staffing, I always remind couples to leave room in the budget for gratuity. Not every vendor will expect a tip but it’s always an appreciated gesture. Need help deciding the amounts? Ask your wedding planner! I have a guide I provide to all my clients.

The *Actual* Cost Of A Wedding

A Fall Wedding ceremony at Calamigos Ranch
Photo by: Studio Castillero

Couples will often Google “average wedding cost” to start their budgets. While I think there is a time and place for Google, using that as a way to build your budget rarely works. The information can be highly inaccurate based on differences in locations and styles of vendors. If you want to really save money, hiring a wedding planner is the best way. We can direct you to vendors within your price range, and keep your budget on track. Not to mention, we’ll help remind you of important payments and look for hidden fees, etc. To see some more tips + tricks on wedding budgets, I offer a FREE downloadable budget spreadsheet that you can get here!

Be Honest About Speeches

Sogno del fiore wedding reception in Santa Ynez winery, bride and groom toasts, all white flower centerpieces
Photo by: Anna J Photography

One of my jobs as your planner is to create a timeline for your wedding day so vendors know when each event is supposed to happen. We craft it together based on your preferences throughout the planning process. However, one thing I know couples can struggle with are the speeches or toasts. And I totally know why! It’s the biggest day of your lives, friends + family are excited for you and some are bound to get emotional. However, as a general rule, you want to keep toasts to around 4 people (or less). Also, gently remind each guest that their speech should be no longer than 2-3 minutes. If you know that your Aunt is bound to make a longer speech, I have two suggestions: Either pad the timeline so speeches don’t push dinner + dances, or you can ask some of your guests to give toasts at the rehearsal dinner instead. Trust me when I say, your guests don’t want to sit through an hour or more of speeches and reminiscing your childhood memories. Keep it sweet and to the point!

I hope some of these wedding planning secrets + tips were helpful! If you’re ready to start planning your big day, contact me on my homepage here and let’s chat!

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Expert Party Planner, Podcaster, and Creative Entrepreneur.

I'm a creative entrepreneur at heart and have been running my business for over 10 years and have planned and executed over 150+ weddings. I'm an expert in this industry and care deeply about my clients and making sure they have the best experience. I just launched a podcast with my work wife, Gabby Pinkerton of Cause We Can Events, called Just Another Biz Podcast! Go check it out!

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