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!
Many of you have seen this gorgeous face in + out of the wedding industry.
In the wedding industry she worked at Clarice’s Bridal, 2 Chics + a Photo Booth, TPI, Lost Hill Lake AND ran her own awesome planning company on top of floral design … ps I am sure I am missing something because she is literally so “can’t stop won’t stop” + always willing to lend a helping hand.
A few things I think the world should know: Brittani (Joyce) Miller is a foodie fanatic + an outstanding cook. Secretly we are all hoping she opens a restaurant, publishes a cook book or at least a cooking show one day. Like she’s THAT good.
She is a coffee connoisseur + perhaps a slight addict. You can find her hanging out La Pâtisserie Chouquette because there is nothing a chocolate croissant can’t cure.
Brit has a VOICE + one heck of a stage presence. If you can ever catch her on a Facebook live – it is well worth your time! Brittani actually joined Trixie Delight the night of her wedding to sing out a few tunes!
She is HILARIOUS! Our first meet + greet was after a series of unfortunate events that led us to one another + I couldn’t be more grateful! Brit had just started her wedding planning gig + had a background of event production + a killer work ethic ignited straight from her big ass heart (pardon my French). We met at La Bonne Bouchée (I told you my girl knows what’s up) + we sat there laughing for LITERALLY hours.
I wholeheartedly believe this incredible woman entered my life at the perfect time.
Since that day we became dear friends + she so graciously agreed to help me in a super busy wedding season. And shortly after we dove head first into planning her wedding.
I cannot believe we are FINALLY sharing these gorgeous images on her 4th wedding anniversary as she + Mark snuggle the most perfect baby girl, Maryn. Well, they are worth the wait, just like baby bird!
Brit has assisted + coordinated countless weddings on the SSD Events team. That’s right people, after one season I couldn’t let her go because not only was she super fun to work with, but like I said, she has a heart of gold + that’s a necessity when being a wedding planner!
I am sad + extremely proud (at the same time, I know… talk about commitment issues) to say that Brit is now an honorary SSD team member because she has a stellar career helping people create their happily ever afters…
Say what?!?!?! She continues making happy magic but in a slightly different + super impactful way: by helping couples + families plan for their future financially, showing them possibility + providing a way to get there (because let’s be real, that can be the hardest part).
I can say this because Brit helped me + the hubs get on the right moolah track + it feels soooooo good! Want more info? Or to become besties with Brit? Click here to visit her page.
It is my honor to be friends with this stellar human.
It’s been my honor to work along side of her.
And it was an honor to be a part of her wedding weekend.
Planning an elegant or rustic outdoor wedding can be incredible! One misconception is that a backyard wedding is a money saver. While that is most often untrue, it can be worth every penny if it’s what your heart desires!
Do you want to celebrate in the barn that you played in as a child that holds so many memories? How about on your favorite beach? Both offer a canvas for you, the artist, to design…
or with the help of your talented wedding planner (yeah that was on purpose).
Let’s chat about what goes into one of these beautiful events.
POTTY TIME Let’s just get this one out of the way. If you don’t have the facilities, you’ll need to look into renting portable potties for your guests to use after their frequent trips to the bar.
ELECTRIC Will you have power brought from a building or will you need to use generators to power things like lights and the DJ? Some thought, planning, and knowledge of wattage needs to go into this decision.
RENTALS If you’re creating a venue, just about everything will need to be rented. This may include tables, chairs, linens, china, flatware, even the dance floor.
BACK UP PLAN Yep, it’s the cold, wet truth about the Midwest. If you’re planning an outdoor event, you have to have a backup plan in place. Those anti-rain dances aren’t very reliable. This could be a second venue, having a tent on standby, or something else.
We could keep going, but it would be more fun to chat with you about your vision. Of course, we would love to help you bring all of this outdoor magic to life, so give us a call!
My first conversation with mama bear Karen, went a little something like this: I’m interviewing several planners for my daughter’s wedding … We are moving and she and her fiancé are juniors in college and expecting their first baby … I picked you because you love animals and so do we …. Bridget loves sparkle and shoes and so do you (all these deets she picked off my website) … And well are you available for our date??
Yes my sweet mother of the bride, I am available and I would be honored to be your wedding planner.
Three days later I received an email from Bridget and from that moment on we talked nearly every day all things wedding (and not necessarily hers) so you will find it no surprise that she interned at SSD this spring and is currently working for a fabulous planner in Kansas City.
We did the majority of our planning over the phone and via email since they were all out of town.
Our on their first trip with Olivia (their most darling babe) to St. Louis, we decided to sneak in a quick planning meeting. It was a cold rainy day and as new parents maneuvered the diaper bag, pumpkin seat and umbrella while trying to read the parking meter all the while keeping the rain from Olivia and each other… How could you not fall in love? I sat in the coffee shop window watching with tears welled up in my eyes. I knew this family was officially a part of my heart at that moment.
In the next 18 months we celebrated Olivia’s first birthday, college graduation, several job interviews, Liv’s first tooth and first words, first Halloween and first Christmas, buying a house …
And then moving to KC. My heart ached when they announced the move but I was stoked for their new beginning.
And the wedding, the reason you are all here, so let’s dive right in to the gorgeous details of the day.
The day was incredible. And I wish wish wish I could have seen every reaction and every moment in real life, but I didn’t. You see, a wedding planner’s worst nightmare came true on the Friday morning before their wedding. I developed the flu. For the next 36 hours, my time line and I lived in a bathroom while managing the day via texts, photos and phone calls.
Thank you to my awesome assistant, Megan and our amazing vendor team, and of course a bride who lives and breathes weddings that tried to convince me “Ash, I got this,” a bride who was more concerned that her wedding planner was ok than what time it was.
When I say my work has blessed me with the best clients who have become my friends and extended family, it’s an understatement.
Bridget is a classic bride- all sparkle all romance. This girl after my own heart had a love for Leonardo Dicaprio which flourished into a gold dipped feather Art Deco theme.
Bridget’s dear friend and college roommate, Taylor, who also has an affinity for wedding planning, created this handmade guestbook. It was perfect. So thoughtful and sentimental.
These gorgeous linens from An Affair to Remember were the most splendid addition to the equally amazing centerpieces she created. It pulled in the Art Deco theme with the sequined blush patterned underneath candlelit feather and floral decor.
Blake’s parents built this beautiful arbor that now has a home in the newlywed’s back yard. We originally planned to have the ceremony outside but a quickly approaching a storm had our bomb.com vendor crew racing to reset the ceremony inside just in time.
Custom designed cake designed by the sweet Sugarbelle Cakery.
The crew got ready at the Magnolia Hotel – famous for its breathtaking chandeliers from the original Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas and the Cary Grant suite (did you know Cary Grant started the trend of putting chocolates on pillows?).
And our former pageant queen bride had her favorite hair stylist fly in for this classic updo! Emily Miller Hair and MakeUp Artist did Bridget’s make up as well as the hair and makeup for the gals in the bridal party.
And a first dance with your daddy? Of course!
And what wedding night is complete without a confetti grand exit?
And if these stunning photos by talented Amy Meyerott of Shadow + Light Photography don’t satisfy your every need then definitely watch this video by her stud muffin husband Andrew who documented the day … And I’m still crying. Song choice = perfect. Can’t wait for the vow renewal.
Bridget + Blake are still in KC building their own house for their two beautiful daughters + their pup Hogan! And we are still connected at the hip. On their 2nd wedding anniversary, Bridget planned a surprise dinner for 2 on the Caramel Room Terrace and I SURPRISED them by serving that dinner!
I wrote this on the morning of my 35th birthday and posted it on facebook. The editor of St. Louis Bride Magazine called me + asked if they could publish it. Of course I said yes!
So this is 35
Morning belly rubs with this spoiled fur baby and a sleepy eyed kiss from my husband (whhhaaaattttt? Still getting used to that). It feels calm and relaxed and just right, kinda like the first bite of cream of wheat when it gets cold. You know my dad sings this song in a deep baritone voice about cream of wheat every winter and it’s one of my favorite feel good memories.
Ten years ago I had all these goals, ideas of how life should be each year, what should be accomplished, what should be in the bank, what I should look like, when I should be married, where I should live, what my house look last like, how many kids I should have. Oh and that I would have an amazing yard, every year I think I’m going to grow beautiful things.
And guess what, life does not work like that. You don’t reach a certain age and all of a sudden it all just happens easily. Life flies by. Opportunities show up, and you take them, leading you down another path your 25 year old self didn’t plan on. And ten years later I still buy plants when spring hits with this idea that they will flourish and I will have a green thumb… even bribing them with miracle grow and a fancy new hose. This year is no different.
Friends become distant with careers and growing families and new friends show up. I love them all dearly no matter how far the distance or how long since the last chat.
Material things become less important and seeing the world becomes a priority.
Staying home in jammies is much more appealing than a night on the town. And my will power to avoid sugar and carbs gets weaker every day. I’m not sure if it’s really weaker or if my body and mind is just tired of yo-yo dieting to become something I’m clearly not built for. And because cake and pizza is really fucking good! And even better is putting on a pair of old unflattering jeans because they fit is a damn good day! (That’s usually when I have to treat myself to the aforementioned cake and pizza … in that order please followed by more cake… with all the icing)
I used to see the world as a wonderland and strangers as friends, that we all have good intentions and over the years I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not as sparkly and happy as I once hoped for. People aren’t always who they say they are and that’s because they are still figuring it out and might be struggling to find their path. Which in all honesty is not totally a bad thing, just means I hold my goodies a lot closer to my heart, that I protect them even fiercer than before. It doesn’t mean I don’t love any less, but I do know that there is something (even the tiniest bit of) good that comes out of every crazy.
I trust things work out as they should in most circumstances but admittedly having faith is something I struggle with everyday. When I’m not trying to control everything or run through “what if” scenarios or worry about how to protect everyone around me, some really great things happen.
When I allow the right clients to show up, they do. They are my gifts. And nearly every single one holds a special place in my heart, you all know who you are and your first dance song still makes me tear up. Gosh I am so grateful for that because it still brings me so much joy!
When I don’t bend over backwards and force the sale, or short change myself because I worry about not having enough or being enough, choosing from fear, that’s when wacky shows up. So I’m constantly working on that. Not every match is a match made in heaven just like every potential client is not my client. And that is ok.
Life is now about being present. Adulting, but not every day, that would be too serious. Getting married. Omg I’m married. Never thought that was happening. Ever. But like I said before something good (in this case something perfect and amazing and thoughtful and kind and hilarious and handsome) shows up in the midst of crazy and all of a sudden your life makes sense.
So this is 35. Still wearing my 13 year old race shirt (no really the year is on there so I’m not exaggerating), babies (human or animals) still light up my life, still love wrapping presents and not good at receiving them, still love LOVE and still figuring out my path and what lies ahead, but I know and trust this, it’s going as it should and I am surrounded by love and people that I love, and that’s all that really matters.
Happy Birthday to me! Cheers! And here’s to another cup of coffee! ❤️