“I want a Pinterest wedding but I want it to be unique.” Sounds contradicting, I know, but hear me out.
You’ve been building these boards + dog earring bridal magazines for months… ok let’s be honest, years.
If you are anything like me, you had so much envisioned before you had a fiancé. A song list of first dances, recessionals, cake cutting, heck you even had cocktail hour covered. You knew your bridal party. Your flower girls. Depending on the season, a color palatte and decor theme to match. After all, once you met the person of your dreams, you would give them a few options to choose from right? No shame in that game friend!
So heres the thing. Seasons have come and gone and so have the trends, yet you are still hopelessly devoted to nuetral shades and fluffy cream and blush flowers, accented by mixed metals and loads of candle light (or insert whatever your heart desires here). Amiright?
You’ve attended weddings that had that feel. You’ve been in weddings with that same look. It’s like those couples hijacked your best day ever before you had a chance to make it happen.
There is nothing wrong with wanting something that’s already been done. In fact you drew your inspiration from somewhere and so did they. It’s a sign of flattery that those beautiful designs get to live over and over again.
So how can you take a classic, already done wedding and make it your own? There are plenty of ways to do this. We suggest telling your love story.
Where you met. How long you’ve been together. Your fave foods. Places you’ve traveled. Weekend hobbies.
Starting with your invitations. Be clever. Inject your personalities into them. Carry that feel throughout the day with welcome bags, programs, cocktail napkins, menus, seating charts, signature cocktails, pet themed favors.
Have interactive experiences for your guests. Sundae bars and snowcone stations. Salsa lessons, caricature artists, karaoke, magicians disguised as guests.
Create a menu that screams these are our fave foods: build your own pizzas, fruit sushi, barbecue stuffed ravioli, champagne popsicles. Culinary crews love to customize your menu from flavors to presentation. All you gotta do is ask!
Have unique seating layouts. Long harvest tables, big squares, high ball tables and stools. Incorporate a lounge area with love seats and poofs for your guests to take a break from the dance floor.
Floral and plant installations make a jaw-dropping welcoming impact, not to mention photo op! Whether it’s a ceremony altar, staircase, entrance to your reception, seating chart, dance floor centerpiece or suspended arrangements that hang above guest tables, the sky is the limit (or ceiling rather).
The options are endless. Need some guidance or not sure how to get that wow, that personality, that punch incorporated into your day?
Ask your planner, florist, stationery creative, and/or event designer team how to add some sass, fluff, mod, flash, even drama to your event. Something that will make it memorable and still flow with some of your favorite pins. They’ve got you. They’re picking up what you’re throwing down. And trust me, they have some cool ideas up their sleeves.
So if you want that Pinterest wedding, you get that Pinterest wedding!
On the flip side, if you don’t want a Pinterest wedding and you want something completely out of the ordinary, with a talk of the town guest experience, again, consult your wedding day pros, they love to create the unexpected and they are dang good at it!
The important thing is that you love it. That when you look back on your wedding day, it makes you happy. After all, in 5, 10, 25 years, will it matter to you if you picked a popular or classic or trendy or out of the box wedding? Probably not. I’m 3 years out and let me tell you, proteas are still a showstopper in bouquets, people are still cutting the cake as a traditional event at their reception and hearing my dad’s voice on my wedding film is one of the best parts of having a videographer. Bottom line is, you will look back on this day as the day you said I do forever and ever amen to your best friend. The color of the bridesmaids dresses won’t matter. What will matter is that you are looking back on that day and celebrating your relationship!
Wedding planning is just a hobby for organized girls who like to decorate, right? Maybe for some, but for the countless lady bosses we work with, it’s our living. It’s our passion. It’s our love for people, for service, for celebrations.
So why is it so expensive if we enjoy it so much?
First off, expensive is a perception, + sometimes an uneducated opinion. Not in a bad way uneducated, but legit not knowing all the work + time that goes into our jobs.
In fact, the cost of wedding services for all parts of the industry surprises many of our clients. “The flowers cost what?” Well the flowers are grown in California (or in another part of the world) which means someone takes care of that land, fertilizes it, waters it, carefully picks the flowers + packages them. Then they are flown here. They are picked up at the airport usually on Monday or Tuesday. They are processed at the design studio. Then they become these gorgeous bouquets, centerpieces, installments (not by magical fairies, but by real people mind you- but we think they are pretty magical). Next they are hand delivered carefully + thoughtfully to your event. Unloaded + set up. All the while keeping them alive + pretty! Look how many people played a role in making that beautiful centerpiece you have been eyeing on Pinterest!
Just like anything, time is money honey! And we would like to shed light on the popular topic of why wedding planning services cost what they do.
What made you reach out to us? Was it our portfolio? Our pretty, easy to navigate website? Our social media feed? Someone referred us? We showed up on Google or a wedding planning site?
Those beautiful, super detailed weddings you see in our portfolio took a countless hours creating + coordinating with a team of vendors + plus our own staff to execute that weekend starting with rehearsal + ending when the last vendor leaves the event. (But wedding weekend sometimes starts as early as Monday, depending on when load in begins)
That website cost money to build. That social media feed takes time + thoughtfulness to create. To rank on the first few pages of google starts with SEO (search engine optimization) + most likely paid advertising. Same if you found us on the Knot, Every Last Detail, or The Perfect Wedding Guide. Yup, we paid to be there so you can find us.
If you heard about us from a friend – chances are they can tell you exactly what is was like to work with us, how hands on we are, what a peace of mind we brought, that we know all the right people + how to manage challenging situations so that the couple + their families could be present + enjoy their day.
In addition to our time, here are just a few expenses that come with running a wedding planning business:
Insurance (business and staff)
Attorney to write contracts
Customer Relationship Management systems
Education + training
Printer ink, staples + paper
Domain registration + hosting
Those cute hats + red heart sunnies that are a part of our brand
The scissors, sewing kits, deodorant, breath mints, the blister blocks that save many a tootsie with that fill our wedding day emergency kit along with loads of other things we’ve learned are needed on wedding days
Time to meet you, answer emails, design, edit, work on your behalf communicating with vendors
Office space, internet, phone, electric
Desk + chair
Vehicles to get to your event + gas + insurance
Staff on Wedding Weekend
And on top of all of that, we have to pay for the most un-fun thing ever: taxes which is roughly 25-30% of what the biz brings in.
Let’s talk about hours invested. We typically have 3 team members on-site on wedding weekend. That is approximately 45-50 hours alone.While most of our weddings, are between 100-150 hours, at an absolute minimum we spend 40 hours planning a wedding. So nearly 100 hours of time is invested into one wedding.
“Why so many hours?” “Can’t you cut that down?” “I’ve done all the planning myself, I just need an extra set of hands on my wedding day.”
The easiest way to explain this is: think of your finals in school. They cover a semester or even a year of learning. As your planner, we can’t be responsible for your whole year of planning + be expected to know it front to back, just by showing up on wedding day with a clip board. Although that would totally rule + allow us to book lots more weddings a year! We have to review everything you’ve done, learn your vision, develop your time line, run through your checklist to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything, communicate with your vendors, develop lay outs + get answers to the questions that you haven’t thought of since you haven’t planned a wedding before. All of that takes time.
To break it down even further, you are paying for our experience + service. My 16 years spent learning + working events is worth more than someone who planned their own wedding + started an instagram account for their business. Although I am super happy that they discovered their passion in life + started a business. Live your dream sister! I am merely saying that there is a difference as to why we charge differently.
The countless stellar reviews on the World Wide Web + Wedding p\Planner of the Year awards are why we cost what we cost.
Whew! It all adds up pretty quickly you see.
Keep in mind we are also in business to make money. While we love people + giving back + our work is very joyful, we still want to make a living from it. We have rent + mortgages, car payments + car insurance. We need to feed our families + go on that trip to the Ozarks.
As much as I would like to say we are all millionaires in the wedding industry, we aren’t. Most of us are regular folks, making the magic happen because people + their happiness is our passion. We work through out the week + long hours on the weekends (missing soccer games + family dinners + birthdays + sometimes holidays) because we seriously LOVE what we do so much.
I do know this though, we definitely charge what we are worth, we charge for the value of our service + the time invested in your wedding day. If you don’t believe us, check out our testimonials. Two common lines you will see are: best money spent + worth every penny.
And while we are always so excited when an inquiry comes through or when we schedule consultations, we know that we are not the best fit for everyone. We may not be your style, you may not jive with our overly excited personalities + we may not be in your budget. I suppose that is half the fun: finding our couples, creating + executing their happily ever afters + staying best friends forever. Because if there is anything you have learned about SSD from our website, social media or reputation, it’s that we are all about family + you are stuck with us even after the wedding!
Krystyna and Paul had my dream winter wedding. Fur, snowflakes, sparkle, twinkle lights… Everything about it is comparable to Kenny Rogers singing “A few of my Favorite Things.”You all know my love for Kenny and Dolly so need to go there or talk about how often I listen to their Christmas album through out the year. Cue the flannel jams, hot cocoa and baking because truly those are some of the most joyful simple pleasures.
On our first phone call we spent the majority of the time talking about our dogs and then another hour after about photography, decor, and everything under the sun. Two days later I received a card in the mail that said they were so excited to meet me. It’s stuff like this that warms my heart.
My favorite part about this wedding was the very thought out homemade items. Krystyna and Paul picked pine from their own backyard to make the garland that decorated the aisle. They made fake snow … If you knew how heavy fake snow in tubs was…. They raided after Christmas sales for twinkle lights and gathered as many tall green trees from tree lots so that their first dance was amongst the forest.
All the children who played a role in the wedding were kids Krystyna had nannied. She had grown so close and loved this family so much like they were her own.
Krystyna and Paul kept us involved for several decisions but one that sticks out in my mind was what shoes to wear with her wedding dress? After she sent me several options we decided the best one suited for her big day would be the blush ones covered in tiny crystals. Reminded us of cotton candy dreams and since then thats what we called them: the cotton candy dream shoes. We got so much joy throughout the planning process talking about those pretty pink shoes.
It’s no secret when you start scrolling through these pictures that these two are a fan of penguins. Allow me to elaborate. Their very first date was to see March of the Penguins and from then on Paul called Krystyna his ducky and she called him her penguin. Their first dance song was titled You’re My Penguin by Christina Perry. I bet you haven’t heard that one. But it is great + listening to the words will give you goosebumps. Their engagement pictures were taken at The zoo so you guessed it, they could include the penguins. Every guest that came to the wedding received a porcelain penguin figurine.
Their reception held at Ces and Judy’s Le Chateau was a beautiful and intimate affair with gorgeous linens from BBJ. Icy green centerpieces and fluffy white blooms by An Affair to Remember.
plus this screen shotCAPTION FOR CEREMONY – Paul and Krystyna made the greenery on the mantle from the trees in their backyard!
Another very cool thing was that their photographer was June Hallowell. I worked my very first wedding with June and several after. She’s incredibly talented, super fun and I was so excited the minute Krystyna and Paul said we haven’t booked anything yet except our photographer because I just had to have her. That speaks volumes about somebody’s work.
Hello friends! With the rise of intimate weddings comes the rise of at home weddings.
I have to tell you, we had my sister’s wedding (11 years ago …. holy cow time flies) in my parents back yard + it was not only dreamy but so so so sweet. I’ll admit I’m a sentimental sap but walking down an aisle where you used to play ring around the rosey as kids gives me all the feels.
We had family gather about an hour before the ceremony for cocktails + hors d’oeuvres. And when the time was right, we processed to an arbor my dad made followed by our family pug who sat promptly on my sister’s train. God bless him. The last person out the door didn’t latch it all the way, so he marched his nearly blind self right into the center of it all. It was all too fitting that he sat next to me during the rest of the ceremony, like a proud brother.
The ceremony was followed by more cocktails (what can I say, my family likes to celebrate) + photos in our orchard + then on the swing set of our grade school. The principal at that school (also one of our teachers) still has that photo in her office.
The nostalgia of it all makes my eyes sweat, especially since we recently sold our family home. Those memories will live in my heart forever.
At home weddings seem easy breezy but if you’ve ever hosted a big party at your home, you know it’s a lot of work… now imagine adding the details of a wedding.
A wedding which is a huge moment in your family’s life with lots of moving parts. A wedding that you want to be flawless + perfect + everything you imagined it to be because you only have one shot, one opportunity to get it right (Yes, we quote Eminem on occasion).
We’ve chatted with a lot of couples lately about having backyard celebrations. There is a tiny (sometimes large) misconception that hosting a wedding at home is cheaper + less work. Your friendly neighborhood planners are here to tell you, that’s not always the case.
Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about bringing your wedding home.
Noise ordinances – make sure you research this in your city/county
Permit – do you need one? 👆🏻 again get in contact with your local govt.
Approval from an HOA or running it by your neighbors? Even if you don’t need a permit or have an HOA, be courteous + let your neighbors know your plans
Treating your yard for bugs/pests (no one likes those pesky mosquitos).
Landscaping – some folks use at home weddings as an excuse for a Beyonce upgrade + listen we totally get it!
Parking + transporting guests. Is there a nearby lot where you can shuttle guests to + from? Be sure to ask permission. Or perhaps valet might be a smarter plan.
Additional restrooms + sanitation stations because you probably don’t want everyone going in + out of your house.
Rain plan – listen friends, I know it’s not gonna rain on your wedding day, but you have to have a back up plan.
Rentals: a few things to consider are a tent or two (depending on set up, your caterer may need one), tables, chairs, linens, heating + cooling, place settings, etc.
Guest flow: you will want greeters + signage directing your guests from parking to the actual location of the party on your property.
Power. Do you have enough for the caterer, DJ or band, heating + cooling systems?
Have an on site point person/team for all the vendors (like us) so you can be a guest at your own wedding!
Budget – be realistic. Write down your wish lists + get quotes. Decide what are your priorities. And again, you know we can totally help with that!
But don’t let this long list discourage you because like we said, we love at home weddings + we would love to guide you through the planning process to make sure you can enjoy every ounce of this magic.
Holler atcha girls, we are ready to get this dream wedding at home planning party started!
All of these gorgeous images are from a wedding we coordinated in about 10 days this past June. Huge props to An Affair to Remember + The Social Affair for working around the clock that week to create such an incredible celebration for Tyler + Bri!
Sure there is always two people committing to one another (or 3 if you’ve seen the Tiger King) + someone to marry them.
Usually refreshments of some sort + loads of happiness.
But there is plenty of opportunity to make your day be a reflection of your love story!
What are your fave foods?
What is your cultural background?
What do you like to do for fun?
We loved that Elena + Patrick opted for a Sunday afternoon wedding followed by fancy mocktails + Puertorican themed appetizers (complete with appetizer flags)! Elena’s father is Puertorican so representing their culture was something we knew we had to do! 23 City Blocks worked with us to create a mouthwatering menu to include tostones + empanadas.
But it didn’t end there…
There were countless things that made this wedding personal.
Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start). Elena got ready at home where she grew up surrounded by family heirlooms while mama + papa bear laughed with the bride squad.
She had her first look with her dad there + read a beautiful letter from Patty that had us all in tears.
The bride + groom opted for the traditional route of not seeing the bride till the minute she walks down the aisle which we love!
Even the recessional song had meaning: You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall + Oates! Elena listened to this on her way home after hanging out with Patrick for the first time!
Once you entered the doors of Lumen, this guest experience was wow from every angle.
Not only was the decor STUNNING!!! Hello look at those flowers! But the delicious food + presentation by 23 City Blocks blew us all away (per usual)!
Since bingo was one of Elena + Patrick’s favorite things to do in college, we had bingo cards at each seat with winning baskets full of their favorite hobbies like movie night, game night + baking!
After dinner, Carlos with Mambo Revolution taught salsa lessons to our guests! This was probably my favorite thing we have ever done at a wedding!
And this wouldn’t be a blog post without me telling you how much I adored my mama + papa bear! Michele + David were such a delight to work with + I loved that from the very beginning David said: whatever makes my girls happy. I am pretty sure his girls were happy! Look at that face!
At the end of the evening the Sobrino men shared cigars with the newest member of the family: Patrick!
Every minute of this wedding so thoughtful!
You know that is part of the SSD Events planning experience: helping our clients imagine events that standout because they represent the couple. We are all about the creativity + special nods to their love story.