Has the role of the wedding planner changed in the last few years?
Yes, it has grown tremendously. Ten years ago, this role would have been considered rare and only for the elite, but now it's quite common to hire a wedding planner. Wedding planners are designed to ease the stress of the bride, offering time, resources and expertise to make the planning process smooth and enjoyable.
What's the most important piece of advice you can offer a bride?
Make every effort to enjoy the planning process. Take time to be with your fiancé without talking about the wedding. Don't let the planning of one day cause you to lose sight of the marriage that is to last for the rest of your lives.
How do you help brides who are on a tight budget create their dream wedding?
If the bride is open to an outdoor location (and weather permits), I suggest searching for a venue that offers natural beauty (trees, flowers, views, etc.). The more beautiful the location, the less you need to add to it! Lighting is also key to creating a romantic, beautiful atmosphere, but if you can't afford to hire a lighting company, candlelight can be just as effective for a fraction of the price. My job as a wedding planner is to help you save money by preparing a realistic budget, offering money-savings tips and referring you to trustworthy vendors in your price range.
What is the biggest trend you're seeing in weddings?
Incorporating photos of your guests into the guestbook by either renting old-fashioned photo booths or using instant Polaroid cameras. It serves as a great way to capture both the faces and the good wishes of your wedding guests. The photo-booth pictures also act as a nice favor for your guests to take home.
How do you think brides today are different from brides of even 10 years ago?
Today's brides have access to the best wedding-planning tool yet: the Internet! She's tech-savvy and utilizes the Web to access an endless amount of resources, from researching vendors to comparing Web sites and wedding photo galleries. She can order almost anything online: invitations, favors, bridal gifts, decor items and so much more! She will likely create a wedding Web site for her guests to check her registry, find directions to the wedding and other event details. Some people are even opting to RSVP online now! And the most recent trend is blogs and chat rooms, where brides share their experiences and likes and dislikes with other brides across the nation.
Bonus question: Do you see the roles and participation on the part of the groom changing?
I have more and more grooms who take an active role in the wedding planning. They might not be involved in every decision, but they often have strong opinions in certain elements such as musical entertainment or the food and beverages. Overall, I think they have become more supportive and helpful.