July 23, 2020
I’ve been a professional, Nashville Wedding Photographer for over five years. As a photographer, I have received questions from couples pertaining to wedding dresses (I love getting a sneak peek), other vendors, ceremony questions, what type of alcohol is most popular and if I could write their timeline (most popular question). When there is no planner, the timeline often falls into the hands of the photographer. Since lighting plays a huge role, I’m happy to make suggestions. However, your timeline should be crafted with your coordinator or whomever is in charge of your wedding day logistics. Your timeline should also reflect the type of flow you’d like your day to have. My clients are my top priority. This means that wedding photography and telling their story is my number one focus on their day.
In the wedding business, the role of the wedding planner/coordinator is underestimated. The amount of preparation, work and detail that is involved with wedding planning is incredible. The planner is often the first to arrive and the last to leave. For this reason, I’ve invited four Nashville wedding planners (Emily Humphries with Simply Yours Weddings, Lauren Schaefer with The Get Together Events Co., Gabby Pinkerton with Cause We Can Events and Elaine Roberts with Events by Elaine) to provide a better understanding of what they do.
Events by Elaine was the planner on Matthew and Melissa’s Tennessee wedding.
EH: I care about cultivating a hope-filled environment in this unique season of life for engaged couples. I want them to be able to focus on planning for their marriage and not being so overwhelmed by the ins and outs of wedding planning. I’m very passionate about helping couples keep their eye on the prize, which is their relationship and preparing for marriage.
ER: I love seeing all the details come together from the linens and flowers to the food and music. It’s about seeing generations of family get together and create new memories.
GP: Adventurous couples I work with want their wedding day to be more than an eight hour event in a ballroom. We’ve developed friendships and it’s pretty special to be invited into one of their most important days.
LS: Whether it’s 25 or 250 – if you have vendors coming in (catering, officiant, tech for zoom, DJ) you are going to want someone other than yourself or your family to organize it so you can truly celebrate!
GP: It depends on how stress-free the couple wats to be before and on their wedding day. Some couples have a family member who volunteers for the ‘planner’ job, but unfortunately they are off enjoying the party like the rest of the guests. A planner needs to be available for vendor questions, guests requests and of course anything the couple may need throughout the entire evening. The month leading up to the wedding is heavy with details and questions. This is really where I encourage couples to hire a planner so that they can focus on themselves. Even for small elopements, our packages include WAY more than just coordinating services. We provide an arch, rug, music and even champagne to celebrate. We want the elopement package to be a one-stop-shop for couples and to make it as stress-free as possible.
ER: I think every wedding needs a planner (or at the least someone to coordinate). Without a planner, the couple and their parent/s get asked questions all day during the wedding. The photographer and DJ end up creating and adjusting the timeline instead of focusing on their tasks. A planner allows everyone to relax. I have helped couples plan and execute weddings from 20-300 guests. Managing all the logistics and timelines means that nothing is overlooked. Even a small elopement can benefit from a few hours or help from a planner to make things flow smooth and seamless.
ER: I offer everything from full planning to month of coordination. I create a custom proposal for each client to best fit their planning and design needs. I charge a flat fee for my services. Even for my smallest packages, I offer timeline creation, vendor confirmation and wedding day management. All of my contracts and invoices are digital and part of the online planning portal.
LS:My company offers solely month-of wedding coordination. We offer our services in Nashville, Chicago and New York. I have multiple managers in each city so we can work for multiple clients at one time. We charge a flat fee based on guest count and wedding locations.
GP: We specialize in full planning but also do partial planning (month-of coordination) and elopements. We have starting flat fees for all packages, but most packages are custom priced since we do a lot of destination and international weddings.
EH: I offer final details planning, which is the eight weeks leading up to the event. There’s also another version of that which provides four hours of consulting time to be used. There’s a traditional, all encompassing collection and one other collection that provides rehearsal dinner planning and RSVP management. All collections have a set cost.
GP: Creating a whole experience out of a single inspiration photo.
LS: Logistics, logistics and logistics. Load-in, load-out, room flips. All the crazy details are my favorite.
EH: Getting to know the couples and walking with them through this season! It’s so rewarding!
ER: I love planning small intimate style weddings with less than 50 people. They still have all the details and logistics of a large wedding, but everyone seems to have a relaxed time just being in the moment.
EH: While working together I try and accommodate people’s personalities and preferences. I’m happy to help manage all communication, contracts and payments or some variation of whatever works best for the couple.
GP: For full planning clients, we do a deep dive into their wedding. We talk about the budget, the contracts, we do vendor research and even go to catering tastings with them. For all of our clients, regardless of the package, we are with them on the rehearsal day and wedding day. We’re typically the first ones there and the last to leave.
LS: We cover anything within the last thirty days. Mostly this is vendor communication and organization, creation of a timeline, floor-plans and logistics. We are also there on the wedding day.
What are the most common questions you get asked?
ER: What is your approach to weddings? I think weddings should be relaxed and laid back where the couple can savor their experience. I encourage all my couples to pretend the timeline doesn’t exist and to just enjoy the day. Their focus should be on the one that stole their heart, their family and their friends. How do you help with our budget? Everyone has a budget and my job is to help with it. I start by creating a rough estimate of what I think a couple will spend on each category of their wedding based on venue, food style, music, etc. Using that information, each couple can decide whether to change their expectations, their budget or a combination of everything. The biggest goal is to make sure that I reduce surprises and they feel comfortable with what they are spending.
GP: How much will my weddings cost? This is a doozy because there are so many variables, but for those adventurous couples who want a weekend festival-style weddings, we’ve put together a FREE BUDGET BREAKDOWN that has been really helpful. Most will vary from 30K-125K.
EH: How much does the average wedding cost and Pinterest questions? The honest answer on cost is that ‘it depends’. I realize this is maddening, but it doesn’t make it less true. Pinterest can be such a blessing or a curse. It can be a fantastic visual tool for me to get to know someone and their vision and also a builder of unrealistic budget expectations. Most questions after that are about addressing specific issues, expectations, dream possibilities and vendor recommendations.
What is the best way for couples to get in touch with you?
EH: firstname.lastname@example.org or 615.427.5166
ER: www.eventsbyelaine.com or email@example.com