I was so excited when Felicity Carmody, wedding planner and owner of Felicity C Weddings, agreed to an interview! First of all, Felicity has been planning events since high school! She also spent years doing corporate event planning and eventually found her niche in wedding planning. She started her own company in 2009 and has been planning weddings ever since. I couldn't wait to ask my many questions about the planning process and the planner-client relationship!
Can you tell my readers some of the reasons why hiring a wedding planner is so important?
- A stress-free wedding day: "Day of coordination (DOC) is my most popular package and for good reason. Even if couples have time, energy and a desire to plan their wedding by themselves, no couple wants to carry the stress of all the details on the actual wedding day. My DOC package essentially ensures peace of mind that every detail was accounted for and my day of timeline ensures that the family, wedding party and all the vendors are on the same page."
- Ideas and personalization: "And since ideally I come in a few months ahead of the wedding, there is also the added bonus of having an industry perspective as part of my job is to stay current with wedding trends and ideas. I love personalizing each wedding, from hiring a bagpiper to honor the groom's heritage, having a snowball cocktail hour or creating an interactive guestbook."
- Budgeting help and vendor liaison: "For couples on a tight budget, with very busy schedules, planning from afar or are just overwhelmed by the wedding industry, a wedding planner is a key resource throughout the planning process. From budget tracking to vendor meetings, planners are client advocates in many areas and help move the planning along."
"The package determines the expectations the bride should have for her planner. I offer day of coordination, partial and full planning packages, all of which vary in the amount of assistance I give to my clients. Beyond package specifics, the planner is expected to be a professional, organized and experienced wedding resource for the bride throughout the planning process. Couples hire planners for various reasons, its important that both planners and couples clearly communicate their expectations from the beginning."
How soon in the planning process should a bride come to you?
"As soon as couples realize that they need a planner, they should contact me for a free introductory meeting. I have taken on DOC clients 3 weeks before the wedding but please remember that there is no such thing as 'too far ahead of time' in wedding planning! A lot of clients don't think that they need a DOC if they have a site coordinator, but their role is completely different from mine. As obvious as this sounds, the responsibility of a site coordinator is to coordinate the site, NOT the wedding. Basically, they ensure that the site completes the contracted responsibilities- that the venue is clean and operating well, the staff is competent and on schedule, the site resources (chairs, tables, lighting, temperature) are available, etc. It is rare that the site coordinator has contact with every other vendor before the wedding, creates a full vendor timeline or is available to the couple the whole day. Even if brides are unsure of what they need or what I offer, that intro meeting allows me to understand the vision of the wedding. I can let the bride know what my style is and what I bring to the table."
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Part 2 of my interview will post tomorrow, including great information about how to work within your budget and advice for planning your own wedding. Felicity is based in Delaware, but 70 - 80% of her weddings are in Maryland and Baltimore. "I am from so I know & love Maryland, not to mention that I'm only an hour from downtown. I have amazing relationships with MD vendors which have really benefited my clients."
You can find out more about Felicity C Weddings on her website. Initial consultations are free! Better yet, Felicity is offering my readers a special discount! Contact Felicity by the end of this year (12/31/11) and references Inspired Details: A Blog for Baltimore Brides and receive a 15% discount on any package.