Whether you're a self-confessed control freak who believes the beauty's in the details or you're a delegator extraordinaire who wants someone to take your idea and run with it, Columbus' consultants have you covered.
One of the primary reasons many couples choose to hire a wedding consultant is that the partnership comes with seemingly endless benefits, from insider know-how to vendor relationships. The relaxation that comes from knowing someone is in your corner, ensuring your big day goes off without a hitch, is a perk.
"The biggest benefit is peace of mind-and less stress," says Lauren Lawson, president of VIP Management. "Would you go to court without an attorney? The professionals know what to expect; this isn't my hobby, it's my full-time job. I'm always doing research to stay on top of the trends, find best practices, look for deals and more."
Companies such as VIP Management know that couples are busy enough with the day-to-day details of life-and that wedding planning should be fun, not an obligation added to the to-do list. And one of the most attractive perks of working with a consultant or wedding-planning company is access to their network of wedding professionals.
"We're a little unique in that we have in-house vendors, including a DJ, photographer, videographer and a photobooth team," Lawson says. "You don't have to hire these people, but nine times out of 10, couples will. It's an option that a lot of brides appreciate because it gives them a starting point."
For many brides, working with vendors like florists, caterers and hotel sales managers is a new experience. Consultants help couples ask the right questions at the right time and ensure a couple's needs are met.
"I provide each bride and groom with a list of questions prior to their vendor meetings. You need to make sure that you know what questions to ask, and you need to be prepared with an idea of what you're looking for and an idea of your budget," says Kasey Skobel-Conyers, owner of Bliss Wedding & Event Design. "We also work to educate our couples. Very often, people have no clue about price points, when to send invites and so on, and we're here so you can ask questions."
Most consultants really get involved on the day of the wedding. "What we provide is a lot of day-of coordination, for which planning begins about three months out," Lawson says. "That's when we start getting involved with the nitty-gritty details."Designing Your Dream Day
"Most of our clients want us to help not only plan their wedding but design it," Skobel-Conyers says. "We're looking at big-picture things: the color palette, the room layout, the flowers, the food, the stationary design."
Companies like Bliss Wedding & Event Design can help you focus in on what you love-specific colors, flowers, music and more-and bring everything together in a cohesive aesthetic. They can help you see a space in an entirely new way-an impressive feat when one considers the fact that many of Columbus' most popular venues host weddings constantly throughout the year.
"When we walk into a reception space, we try to look at it with fresh eyes every single time. Maybe it's the shape of the tables, the layout of the room, the colors … through flowers or linen or lighting," Skobel-Conyers says. "At Bryn Du Mansion, for example, many weddings feature the tent on the back lawn; we always put ours on the front lawn. It makes for such a unique experience."
As for themes, opinions are split on the importance of an overarching motif for the day, but most experts agree it's important for the wedding day to feel unified and consistent, from the ceremony to the reception.
"If a couple has something in mind, they can incorporate a theme," Lawson says. "But I don't think anyone should stress over a theme. It can be fun, and if that's something you love, do it. But if it's something you're striving to figure out, you don't need one."
Lawson recommends incorporating personal elements into your big day-where you met, your hobbies and your favorite foods and music.
For example, a couple Lawson worked with met in Indiana. He was from Chicago, and she was from Ohio. As favors, the couple gave wedding guests buckeye candies, Chicago popcorn and Indiana honey.
"Incorporate things that are 'you,' " Lawson says. "Make it your own."The Logistics
Lawson says when it comes to deciding when to begin planning, "the earlier the better." When you start planning your wedding can dictate many decisions, including your budget, when you get married, where you get married and what you'll serve for dinner.
"Already we have people talking about 2015 weddings," she says. "After all, time does fly."
Skobel-Conyers typically works with clients for about a year, executing the plan and designing the wedding with their vendor partners.
As for budget, it's important to be honest with your wedding professional about how much you truly have to spend. "Often, people will come in to meet me, and they won't want to tell me the budget right away," Skobel-Conyers says. "My fee is my fee. It doesn't shift if you're having a $20,000 wedding or a $120,000 wedding."
If you can't afford a full-blown planning and design team, you can still squeeze in help at the end-month-of coordinators can help you wrap up odds and ends and become the point of contact for any problems on your wedding day and during the weeks leading up to it.
Skobel-Conyers has a company dedicated to wedding-day coordination. Oh So Lovely Events offers services to brides with smaller budgets who know they need some assistance toward the end, to relieve the stress of last-minute details. The service starts at $1,700.
Says Skobel-Conyers, "My goal at the end of the day is for couples to leave their weddings saying 'this was the best day ever.' "