Are You Feeling Like You Need a Wedding Manager?

Bride and groom at dance party reception

Photo by Martim Thomaz

There’s a common wedding planning misconception that you only have two options for professional help—working with a full-fledged planner who will hold your hand every step of the way (amazing, but usually not cheap), or hiring a day-of coordinator who you’ll need to bring up to speed on alllll the things that you’ve, you know, spent months planning, smack dab in the middle of the last-minute crunch. Because #Weddings. God forbid we have our cake and eat it too, amiright?

But the good news is, it actually doesn’t have to work that way. Think about it this way—how would you feel if you were totally left out of the loop of a wedding that you’d agreed to DOC until you got an email with a timeline spreadsheet and no other information the night before? Would that be enough preparation for you to walk in feeling confident that you wouldn’t let the couple down, or would you, ahem, panic? That actually happened to me and it was the latter, so let me just get right to saying you shouldn’t want someone—even, or rather especially, a bona fide professional—to just show up and run your wedding on the day itself. I don’t care if you’re a CIA-trained debrief-er and your spreadsheets are airtight. No one wants to take your wedding into their hands with no prep work. Instead, the best kind of day-of coordinators out there are the ones who insist you loop them in early and often so they will be able to do their best work for you when the day in question rolls around.

And the best of the best wedding coordinators is Meg Hotchkiss of LVR Events (formerly known as La Vie En Rose). Meg’s been around APW for as long as it’s existed, so trust us when we say that when you work with Meg, not only your wedding day, but your sanity in the months leading up to it, is in expert hands. LVR is based in NYC (but don’t worry—they travel! More on that below), and day-of coordination packages begin at $3,000 and partial planning begins at $4,000.

Wedding ceremony in industrial space with brick wall

Photo by L & L Style Photo

Wedding ceremony in large church

Photo by Love Me Do

outdoor wedding ceremony under pergola

Photo by To the Moon

Meg is so adamant about couples realizing what a fallacy the term “day-of coordination” is that she’s throwing it out in favor of “wedding management,” which means that when you book her, you get about a billion more things than someone who just shows up on the day of with a clipboard:

The term “day-of coordination” is really doing a disservice to couples by convincing them that a coordinator’s job is just for a day, when it’s SO MUCH more than that. We’ve renamed day-of coordination. It’s now Wedding Management, in an effort to kill that whole “just day-of” fallacy.

There are so many things that people don’t realize go into coordination. A lot of it is document review and logistical planning. Things like making sure in advance that the load-in and setup schedule makes sense and gives everyone involved enough time to do their job (i.e., that the catering staff will be onsite and know to put linens on the tables before the florist comes in to place centerpieces). It’s not rocket science, but weddings have a ton of moving pieces, and it’s important to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Having someone with a ton of experience with their hands on your event can make or break the flow of the day. I know how long it takes to move people from cocktail hour to dinner… I know that no matter what you tell them, nine times out of ten your speech givers are going to go over their time limits and we’re going to have to make adjustments. I know how to put together a realistic timeline that balances “having all the moments” with a natural flow and not feeling like you’re running a marathon. I’m always making sure that you have all of your bases covered for whatever situation may arise.

It’s probably obvious that I live for putting the logistical pieces together and putting everyone’s mind at ease about the flow of the day. Especially for APW couples! APW couples are my unicorn clients because they are somehow chill AF even when they’re stressed out. Yes, we should plan the shit out of a kickass party, but ultimately, it’s about love, commitment, and community. APW readers also think outside the box, and they aren’t afraid to embrace who they are and what they want (and don’t want) their weddings to be. Also, APW weddings are always the most fun.

bride dancing with young girl

Photo by Martim Thomaz

overhead of people toasting with champagne glasses

Photo by Inbal Sivan

Entire wedding (party and guests) at reception in industrial space

Photo by L & L Style Photo

Q: So what exactly can LVR can help you out with?

A: A lot. (TL;DR you can email LVR alllll the time. We are not kidding.)

What LVR Helps You With

• Finding vendors: LVR Events have already researched (and worked with) tons of great vendors so you don’t have to. Booking LVR early in your planning process means getting access to their list of trusted sources and the peace of mind of hiring vendors who’ve been vetted by someone you trust.
• Handy planning tools: Love those APW planning spreadsheets? Well you’re in luck, because LVR has a worksheet for everything including their own planning guide, a master to-do list that won’t overwhelm you, a vendor manager, and more.
• Saving money: Part of what LVR does best is find all the ways they can save you money, so the math of budgeting for a planner will actually work out in your favor. They’ll be up front, gentle, and honest with you about which expenses are bad ideas or unnecessary.
• Everything else: No really. LVR offers unlimited email communication the entire time beforehand, from random etiquette Qs to a gentle nudge that sometimes there are more important things than personalized cocktail napkins. Seriously, the earlier you book, the more emails you can send, and the more support you’ll receive.

Services LVR Offers

When you work with LVR Events you get to create your perfect custom package for exactly what you need, and none of what you don’t, but when here are the basic services that will provide the foundation of your package:

WEDDING MANAGEMENT: A bit like six weeks of coordination with a little bit of planning thrown in. LVR not only coordinates the heck out of your event, they help you hit the ground running and provide you with all the resources and advice you need to plan a kickass wedding at the start of the planning process. Pricing depends on your exact event, but most couples can expect to be in the ballpark of $3,000.

PARTIAL PLANNING: When you’re in between wedding management and full-service planning, partial planning is for you. You’ll receive the full Wedding Management package plus more in-depth planning help that’s completely tailored to your specific needs and requirements. Most couples who opt for partial planning spend between $4,000 and $8,000.

FULL-SERVICE PLANNING: Basically, you’ve found the love of your life, agreed to get married, then LVR swoops in and makes it all awesome. This is for the couple who wants to have someone take care of every single detail, from logistics (think venue scouting, budget planning, out-of-town guest management, vendor research, contract review and negotiations, rehearsal coordination, and way, way more) to aesthetics (color palettes, decor guidance, design curation, flowers, etc.). Full planning rates start at $10,000.

CONSULTING SERVICES: LVR knows that having a planner isn’t in everyone’s budget, so they offer a la carte help options that range from hourly consulting to mini venue and logistics planning options, and an awesome DIY DOC Package, where your volunteer wedding stage manager can get some professional-level wisdom imparted upon them. Consulting services are available worldwide and range from $300 to $945.

APW-Only Discounts

But now for the good part! Because Meg loves you guys the most (she wasn’t kidding!), anyone who books a 2018 Wedding Management package before October 15, 2017, will receive the following add-on services, complimentary: Custom Budget Consultation ($200 value) and Ceremony Blocking Consultation & Day Prior Rehearsal Coordination ($200 value—travel fees may apply for out of town rehearsals). Mention discount code APW400 when you book.

Also! While most people assume wedding planners don’t travel, Meg totally does! There are no travel fees to the U.S. West Coast, Mexico, the Caribbean, or the Gulf Coast for 2017–2018 weddings booked before December 31, 2017. Mention discount code APWaway when you inquire!bride and groom kissing beneath bridge

Photo by Love Me Do

Wedding party on steps of garden

Photo by To the Moon

groom holding bride, kissing

Photo by Inbal Sivan

Meg told us the best things she hears from her couples are, “Oh, I feel so much better now,” “I’m so much more relaxed,” or “I was freaking out but now I’m not,” after every phone call or meeting. And after their wedding they say things like:

Don’t decide. Just book Meg! Meg was my fairy godmother. We would not have been able to pull off our wedding without her. She was amazing to work with. She dealt with our annoyingly last-minute questions and our need to always meet after work. If I could somehow integrate Meg into my everyday life-planning, I would. Thank you Meg! —Denise

I truly cannot say enough good things about Meg and her team. We booked her a year in advance for “month-of coordination” but in the many months in between, she was incredible—emailing us back and forth, meeting with us in person to discuss our vision for the day, recommending vendors, and just being a source of calm and sanity in the chaos that can sometimes accompany the wedding-planning process. The weeks prior to our wedding, Meg was a total blessing—in constant email contact, reviewing all of our contracts, organizing EVERYTHING with our vendors, attending a bunch of pre-wedding meetings, and providing us with the most precise wedding timeline I’ve ever seen. Throughout the entire process, she was warm, lovely, and precise to a T. (Also her husband is an incredible graphic designer who made our invitations/wedding programs/menus and did a beyond phenomenal job.) —Megan

tablescape from above

Photo by Love Me Do

Bride looking at bouquet

Photo by To the Moon

bride and groom high-fiving in front of red brick wall

Photo by Chaz Cruz

Finally, can we talk about dedication for a minute? I almost didn’t want to include this story, because there’s a line where you’re so dedicated to your work, you’re almost… too dedicated. And girl, Meg and LVR Events are walking it, but you guys are the beneficiaries. As she told us:

I’m not sure how many other planners could legit break their foot during setup, get to the ceremony, manage the processional, pop over to urgent care during ceremony/photos, be back at the venue on crutches before guests arrive, and stay through breakdown. This literally happened to me last year. Upon seeing me at the venue after photos, the bride was like, “Hang on a minute, you didn’t have those crutches this morning!” So yeah, that’s my kind of dedication. And a big shout-out to my associate coordinator, Julia, who after working a morning wedding, came and served as my feet for the night. Also, dedicated.

So if you thought no one could possibly care as much about your wedding as you do, think again. Sure, it can be hard to ask for help, and it can be even harder to convince yourself to allocate hard-earned dollars to pay for help. But when said help cares about your wedding that much? It’s priceless. And wouldn’t you rather have that person on your side from day one instead of the day itself? Don’t make this whole wedding planning thing harder than it needs to be, if you’re planning to hire a coordinator, do it well before your wedding day and take advantage of all the help they have to offer!

BOOK LVR EVENTS BY OCTober 15, 2017, AND GET $400 of ADDITIONAL SERVICES FOR FREE, PLUS NO TRAVEL FEES to the U.S. West Coast, Mexico, the Caribbean, or the Gulf Coast for 2017–2018 weddings booked before December 31, 2017!

The post Are You Feeling Like You Need a Wedding Manager? appeared first on A Practical Wedding: We're Your Wedding Planner. Wedding Ideas for Brides, Bridesmaids, Grooms, and More.

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