Here at Happily Ever After, we specialize our packages to your needs; meaning we offer a variety of packages ranging from Wedding Coordination to Full Service/Full Planning (there is a middle tier package we call “Partial Planning” – another post on that later!). Most people have a general idea of what Day Of Coordination is (however, our basic package is more involved than most, hence why we call it “Wedding Coordination” and did away with the “Day Of” verbiage). With that said, we’d like to shed some light on our Full Planning package, and why we think you’ll love it!
Pinterest makes life look so easy and attainable, right? How to make you a house fairy with lists of cleaning hacks, how to decorate your built in book shelves like Miss Joanna Gaines, and how to spice up “Meatless Monday” with endless recipe ideas. With a little determination and a lot of pinning, you can do just about anything! But wait, that’s not all! Now you’re engaged (or about to be)… and Pinterest has a whole black hole of all things WEDDING (ok let’s be real, you’ve been working on a secret wedding board for years); but either way, you have a lot of board organizing to do! One can’t simply get by with one fail-swoop board labeled “Wedding” (we’re confident you came up with something more creative); alas, you must create sub-category boards: flowers, decor, ceremony ideas, wedding dress, etc. Moreover, you could go even crazier and come up with somewhat of a flow chart of boards. “Wedding” gives way to sub-categories, and sub-categories give way to sub-sub-categories (if that’s not a word, we’re making it one!). You can’t just have a flower board, you must have a personal flowers board, a ceremony flowers board, and a reception flowers board. Do you see the insanity? Maybe it’s just us, but we tend to get a little carried away with the organization of it all. So, with 5,290 ways to fold a dinner napkin, what’s a girl to do?
Enter: HELP. “Alright”, you say with a deep exhale, “I might need some help to make this into a reality”. You tap your pen on your notepad and stare out the window… but who? Who is up for this task? Lord knows you haven’t even made a list of bridesmaids yet! You know they’ll help at some point, but in order for that to happen, you have to pin some cute way to ask them first, of course. And your mom? “Ha!”, you say, without even meaning to, while cupping your hands over your mouth. Well, we know you love your mama, but she got married 30 years ago and her centerpieces were paper mache swans with silk flowers coming out the top. Do you *really* want to put all of your eggs into that design basket (or swan in her case)? And besides, the biggest thing on your mind when you think about your mom right now is how to bring up the budget conversation to her and your dad. Your palms start to sweat just thinking about that. It’s not that you’re worried they won’t help with the wedding, you just aren’t sure how much they can contribute. “Hold the phone, what does a wedding cost these days anyway?!” you think as your fingers start dancing away on Google. You enter: “What is an average wedding budget?”, only to find the variation is so vast it might as well be the Eastern Hemisphere. While scrolling through links on the first few pages, something catches your eye, the words “WEDDING PLANNER”. You pause and think about J. Lo rubbing super glue on a statue’s *ahem* private area. After a 60 second bunny trail goes on in your head about how hot Matthew McConaughey was in that movie, a light bulb goes off and you open up your Gmail account. You copy and paste the same generic greeting into about 10 emails sent to local wedding planners in your area. It said something like this:
“Hi! I am recently engaged and feeling a bit overwhelmed about all that goes into planning a wedding. I have an idea in my head about what I want, but have no clue how to execute it or where to even begin. Please help!”
– Signed, Frantic Fiance
A few days go by (even a few short hours from some planners – one of them would be from us, just sayin’!), and you start to get some response. But with the response, came more questions such as, “Have you chosen a date, a venue, set a preliminary budget?”, and so on and so forth. You plan on responding back with a big, fat, desperate “no” and explain you need help from the ground up. But before hitting reply, you can already weed some contenders out due to their unenthusiastic response and over all robotic demeanor. Funny how words on a screen gave you all the impression you need. But you also did something else, you utilized some of the tools given in their email signature including the “read our reviews” and “follow us on Instagram” links. After spending some time reading a multitude of reviews and scanning Instagram feeds, you cut your list of candidates even more. So now, you hit send to your top 3 choices. Next you have a meeting (either in person or via phone/FaceTime) with all 3 hoping one of them will be your golden ticket to blissful wedding planning paradise. Upon meeting with them, you discover there are different package options, but after hearing your cry for help (and having no plans at all yet) they determine Full Planning is perfect for you!
You have walked away from these meetings with a head full of knowledge and shoulders that feel 10x lighter. Here is what you have learned about Full Planning:
– You will receive help with every facet of planning, all while remaining in full control
– Unless you’re the daughter of Richie Rich, you will be assisted with establishing an overall budget (whether rigid or flexible) based on contributing factors (i.e. help from parents) and given resources on how to manage that budget. Better yet, usually with this package your planner tracks and maintains your budget for you and you have access to it any time
– Your planner begins researching venues that fit your needs (style, guest capacity, location are just a few factors). This entails finding out availability and pricing. They would then present you with some great options and you both would begin touring venues together, which is wonderful because she is coming with her “planner that has seen countless wedding” eyes, where you will be sporting your “I’m so naive about all of this because I’ve never done it before” eyes. She’ll be able to give you realistic advice on whether the venue truly fits your vision and will also alert you on certain topics that may have gone unnoticed to you (i.e. noise ordinances, vendor options, additional fees, restrictions, etc.)
– Once a venue and date are selected, your planner gets the ball rolling in every other vendor category in a methodical way that is practical. We know you’ve had your heart set on a 4 tier marbled wedding cake with gold detail for about a year now, but trust us, your favorite baker isn’t going to get booked up this far out. Besides, bakers and cake artists can handle more than one event in a day. So your planner will help you put on the fondant brakes and steer you into the direction of priority vendors that need to be booked first (like photographers and DJs/Bands to name a few). Phone calls will me made, emails will be sent, all on your behalf to find out about availability and pricing, and appointments will be scheduled (per your previously discussed availability). You’ll get to have 100% of the input, but you don’t have to do all the boring stuff that goes into the backend of lining up vendors. You’ll show up to meetings with your planner, have fun with chatting with vendors, and then make your decisions according to who you love. Simple! Not to mention, your planner will also review all of the contracts with you to make sure everything is “kosher” and your best interest is always at the forefront! If your planner has any questions, she’ll be sure to address them and make sure everyone is on the same page.
– In addition to all vendor selection, your planner will help you with a multitude of other tasks not limited to: setting up hotel blocks, scheduling transportation needs, assisting with design, assisting with rehearsal dinner, delivering hotel welcome items, invitation and RSVP management, rental selection, and basically anything you need help with, within reason of course 😉
– Lastly, your planner will draft up a lot of documents to make sure your wedding goes off without a hitch (but if it does, she will be prepared for it!). Per your instruction, your planner will put together a master timeline, layout(s), to-do lists, checklists, vendor contact information, ceremony diagrams.. and the list goes on! Every planner has her preferred documentation style, but in the end, these documents are what help keep the wedding wheels spinning and are a reference for her and all vendors on the day of your wedding.
– As an added bonus, your planner is most importantly your advisor (and hopefully, over time, your friend!). She will be there for you every step of the way; willing to answer any email you send her way – like the one you might send inquiring how to handle your aunt who will throw a conniption fit if she doesn’t get a corsage. She is there to listen, and guide when needed. But above all, she is working for YOU. You are the bride, you make the decisions, you are the star of the show. A great planner will never overstep her authority, but also isn’t afraid to speak up when necessary.
We hope you can see the benefit of considering a Full Planning package. Now, we understand this package isn’t for everyone; such as you’ve already planned most of the wedding or your budget doesn’t allow for it. But we do advocate for having a planner/coordinator involved with your wedding day in some regard, even if it is Wedding Coordination. Having someone there on your day making sure all of the details are executed with precision so you can actually be a bride is a huge blessing. We want you to have butterflies because you’re eagerly anticipating marrying your sweetheart, not because you’re nervous about your DJ not showing up. We’ve pulled some of our reviews from Full Planning brides directly from our Wedding Wire page. We’ll let them do the explaining!
“Full wedding planning with Jessica was the best thing I bought during the wedding process. I was stress-free the week leading up to my wedding and also on the day of. Jessica was so organized and prepared on my wedding day and knowledgeable about the entire wedding industry throughout the planning stages. I would 100% recommend Jessica and happily ever after to any bride looking for a help on their wedding day or in the planning process.”
– Emily & Luke // October 29th, 2016 // Merrimon-Wynne
*Annie Watts Photography
“When I contacted Happily Ever, Jessica called me within a matter of a couple of hours. I let her know that I wanted to meet with her as soon as possible so I could begin the wedding planning process, knowing that wedding venues and vendors can book up over a year in advance. Even though Jessica’s schedule was already pretty full, she was able to make time to meet with me that week. We booked the mother and daughter team and began looking for vendors right away. Within a couple of days, Lynn and Jessica were already sending me preferred wedding vendors and options for a wedding venue. As the wedding planning continued, Jessica and Lynn would go out of their way to meet or talk with me whenever I needed something or had a question, answering emails promptly. On the day of the wedding, I couldn’t be more pleased with our wedding planners. I was very emotionally overwhelmed during the day of my wedding and Lynn and Jessica did a great job of keeping me calm (I’m sure I was a handful). When my eye lash extensions were starting to fall off prior to the ceremony, Jessica came to the rescue and ran to the store to get some lash glue. When I walked down to the reception area right before photos began, the decorations and set up looked amazing. I remember wondering how in the world people have a big wedding without a wedding planner, as if everything magically falls into place. After the wedding was over, Jessica and Lynn continued to help. Jessica even dried out my flowers for me while we were on our honeymoon. Would definitely recommend this duo. Thanks Lynn and Jessica!”
– Jackie & Brandon // May 27th, 2016 // Mims House*Krista Joy Photography
“Where to even start. First off Lynn and Jessica are amazing women and I couldn’t of ask for a better company to have plan my wedding. From our first meeting to the last they were there 100% of the way. Every vendor they suggested was fantastic. They worked with our budget and allowed Phil and I do be stress free during the planning process and the day of. Every bride just wants to have the perfect wedding day and I had just that. There is no way it would have happened without Happily Ever After. Every step was planned out, all the vendors worked together to make everything run smoothly. I was able to give Lynn all my pictures and decor for my venue and they ran away with it and turned the Mims House into a perfect example of who I am and who Phil and I are as a couple. I will never ever forget our day. It was more I could have even hoped for. Lynn and Jessica made that happen. Love you both :)”
– April & Phil // May 7th, 2016 // Mims House*Annie Watts Photography
“We used Lynn and Jessica for Full Planning. When I first started looking into venues, I got overwhelmed and needed to find a planner. I looked into a couple, but Jessica was so responsive and kind, that it was a no brainer. They even scheduled venue visits/meetings before we had “officially” booked them! Jessica and Lynn helped me book every single vendor. They knew exactly what we wanted and gave us fabulous options. They met me at every single vendor meeting and advised me afterwards on pros and cons. I trusted them so much! After booking my photographer and florist (I met with 2 vendors each), I trusted them so much that I booked my other vendors with just one option. We had lots of meetings but LOTS of emails and texts. They made my job SO easy and kept me on top of the tasks that I had, while I trusted that they completed “their” tasks. They were responsive within the day and always helping problem-solve if they didn’t have answers right away. On the day of, Jessica and her assistant made my life impossibly easy. Jessica gave me a timeline early in the week and a list of all my vendors with contacts. I never heard another word. I woke up on the wedding day and didn’t worry about one thing. My sister was in touch with Jessica a bit for small details, but everything went off without a hitch. My guests actually told me how perfectly organized the wedding was!! They also complimented my decor details which I have to thank Lynn and Jessica for too. I used their chalkboard door for seating with Jessica’s writing and it was great. They even ran out mid-ceremony to pick up fresh Krispy Kreme’s as our party favors! Rob and I both adored Lynn and Jessica. Rob (my husband) came with me to most of our meetings since my family and friends were all out of town and he loved it! I would highly recommend HEA to anyone. They made my wedding easy and perfect… and fun. I could not have done it without them. Definitely use them!”
– Whitney & Rob // October 24th, 2015 // Bay 7*Six Foot Photography
Sound like something that peaks your interest? Contact us to find out more, and we’d LOVE to get together with you to help plan your Happily Ever After!
P.S. The first bride to book a Full Planning package in 2017 will get a beautiful Southern Weddings gift set which includes their latest magazine issue, a gorgeous wedding planner book, and a journal. Yippee!