Thursday, June 9, 2011

Who Really Needs a Planner- Margaret & Todd

As we approach their one year anniversary, I have their interview to post on the blog.  Margaret & Todd did the full planning package with All Events Planned and we enjoyed every minute of working with them.  Here is the feedback from the bride & groom (husband & wife) and, as you can see from the feedback, they are a wonderful, detailed and thorough couple, which is the greatest kind of couple to work with when you are a planner!

First a few photos courtesy of Julie Hahn of Sugar Bush Design

Here is what Margaret & Todd Boyland had to say- 

Q: What made you decide to hire a wedding planner?
A: We recognized that we were getting married and having our reception at two reputable places that independently would be able to service all of our needs.  Our wedding ceremony location was University Circle’s Cleveland Botanical Gardens, (CBG), and our reception was at Signature of Solon both employ event planning professionals.  While we had confidence in their abilities we were concerned about the “transfer” between the two venues.  
Our number one priority while planning the wedding was to ensure the day of went smoothly and was an enjoyable memory for all.  As soon as the wedding festivities began and guest started arriving in town, we wanted to be able to enjoy their presence and not worry about a single detail, make any more decisions, or handle any unexpected problems.  
Having All Events Planned apart of our team ensured our wedding weekend would be a success.

Q: What types of things attracted you to each planner that you interviewed?
A: Brandi is honest and sincere with every aspect of her actions and words.  It was apparent how genuinely invested she became into all the details of our day.  Brandi might have asked a simple question, but heard the history and background that lead to the complete answer.  
Brandi was easily distinguishable among the other planners we interviewed.
She did not charge the outrageous $10,000 retainer fee that truly exists in the Cleveland market.
It should also be clear, All Event’s Planned does NOT make a percentage of each vendor’s cost.
Her price was set before ever meeting with us and hearing about the ‘level’ of our wedding.  
Have you ever had a big party at your home?  During that time did you spend much quality time with your significant other?  Were you committed to see that the food was served on time and warm.  For that matter were you the one in the kitchen coordinating the timing of dishes – and not apart of the actual party – but rather worked the whole time.  

Q: What was something that made you NOT want to hire a particular planner and on the same note what was something you found that made you WANT to hire a certain planner?
A: Meeting with the wedding coordinators, we didn’t know what to expect.  We were not prepared with a list of questions or concerns.  Our objective was simple: We want to plan our own wedding, we know we would need professional guidance along the way.  After all the planning work was done, our ‘job’ was to enjoy the wedding weekend.
Starting my search for a planner nearly a year out – I found several were book for our July 24th date.
One wedding planner clearly had a full time 9-5 job.  Her availability was immediately questionable and I  did not pursue a formal meeting.
A highly regarded Cleveland wedding planner made clear that his $10,000 retainer needed to be paid after the initial meeting to continue any type of service.  

My experience with All Event Planned was different from our first contact.
Brandi is a Full Time Planner who is available days or evenings.
Brandi responded to immediate timely and were well thought out and well written responses.
Brandi had excellent follow up after our meeting
During our interview, Brandi laid out her abilities and asked about our expectation.  Brandi included every person in the conversation and did not focus too much attention on just one person.
The strongest tie breaker in the decision process was a personal – gut feeling.
Brandi and I possess many of the same character traits.
Brandi understood my expectations so clearly she was able to act as a ‘second me’ the day of the wedding.  

Q: What was the best thing your wedding planner did for you?  
A: Since Brandi was so involved with how decisions came to their resolution, she gave me confidence to stick to those decision when other vendors started to re-create new ideas.  The ideas and possibilities are ENDLESS – a florist will re-inspire and re-create a look that might influence the cake… all the while impacting the linens.  Collaborative efforts are a wonderful, but Brandi’s encouragement to continue to move forward once a big decision was made saved everyone from going back to the idea board.

Q: What was something your planner did that you would never have thought of doing?
A: Brandi allowed me to work a wedding with her as her assist.  This was incredible to see Brandi in action.  Every wedding is bound to have a ‘behind the scenes funny tale.’  This one involves handling unexpected wedding guest behavior.  During the dinner hour, the bar closed.  The bride and groom were paying for the wedding themselves and found this to be a cost saving measure.  One wedding guest was so appalled that she wasn’t able to drink a glass of wine during dinner, she decided to take the entire bottle of wine back to her table.  As expected this was displeasing to the bar tender who had explicated wishes of the bride and groom to follow.  Without a moments hesitation Brandi was able to quietly intervene and defuse the escalating situation.  Moments later Brandi was again challenged at the bar when a guest brought his own bottle of liquor and wanted to do shot- needing the help of the bar tender for shot glasses.  Again, Brandi’s professionalism and ease in these uncomfortable situations was reassuring how vested Brandi was in executing the bride and groom’s wishes. 
You can’t control the actions of others – and you never know what guests might do… Having someone else to professionally handle the unexpected gave me unbelievable confidence in Brandi’s abilities.

Q: Did you feel that your wedding planner was worth the cost?
The wedding industry as a whole capitalizes on “once in a lifetime memories” that often tip the pricing scale just a bit.  Brandi’s price is beyond ‘Fair’ when I consider all of her time.
Brandi was agreeable to meet at various locations for appointments with vendors.
She was the first to arrive to every appointment – and the last to leave.
Emails and phone calls were immediately responded – and were very thorough.
All Events Planned is a full service professional company with the values that only an owner/operator can possess.
It never crossed my mind that Brandi had other clients or personal obligations.  She was available and ready … Brandi often said “You are my client and I will arrange my schedule to meet your needs.”  She meant this with fullest sincerity.

Q: Was there anything you would have changed about your experience with your wedding planner?
A: I’ve only appreciated the services we received more and more with each wedding we attend as a “guest.”  Once you been through the planning, your eye will magnify all the tiny details.  When you see your friends and family struggle to make their day a success, it is sad.  The bride and groom should love every moment of their day.  When they have people to pay, problems to handle – anything but perfection and bliss is unfortunate.  This is reassuring that we selected a true professional wedding planner in Brandi Hamerstone to handle all concerns on our behalf.

Q: What was something you wish you would have known before hiring your planner OR what was something you wish you would have hired your wedding planner to do?
A: I might consider those with large families or bridal parties to include Brandi on the bridal shower or other pre-wedding festivities.  While Brandi could handle planning this event as a supplemental service, it allows Brandi to see the family dynamics and get to know important family members.  The inter-personal relationships among any family are important facts a good wedding planner will ask – and plan accordingly.

Q: Is there any situation where you could see why a bride would NOT want a wedding planner?
A: My parents were the ones who strongly encouraged having the help of a wedding planner.  At first I took this as a personal insult that I would fall short of pull off a great party.  Stepping back, I could see that I had one shot at making it great.  I needed to tap into all resources – just like any good business person.   Surround yourself with the best professionals and knowledge and you will succeed.  

Wonderful clients, with wonderful feedback.  Thank you both!
Here are some more spectacular photos from their incredible wedding! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a wonderful Q&A with your client! And Brandi is so eloquent, congrats on a job well done!