FAQs: Client Interview with Melissa Martin, Wedding Planner and Event Coordinator
How long have you been doing this and how did you get to be a wedding planner?
I started out in the wedding industry by going with a local photographer and helping to direct the weddings. I would also occasionally meet with him and his clients and found that often the brides would ask me for recommendations on flowers, reception venue, and more.
Unlike many planners who decided to get into this business because they loved planning their wedding, I actually got into it because I did not enjoy my wedding! I made all the typical wedding planning mistakes – we hired a friend to do the photography (and ended up with very few good pictures to look back at), we didn’t interview our DJ very well (so I spent half the reception directing our DJ on what to do), we went with a chain florist (and ended up with wilted boutonnieres), our original cake person fell through about a month before the wedding, and more! After my wedding I decided to look into how I could have avoided all of the issues we had. That’s when I decided to take the Professional Bridal Consultant Courses through Education Direct in 2005, so I could learn how to help other brides avoid all the mistakes I made. I also did this because I realized how much I loved helping the brides when I would go along with the photographers.
In 2008 I had surgeries for both cervical and thyroid cancer and have been cancer free since. After going through all of that I realized life is short. It was time to do what I love…help people to plan events! So I formed Stylish Occasions. I coordinated my first “official” wedding in June of 2008 (thanks Lindsay and Jonathan!) and have been going strong since then. So strong that I now have a team of great professionals working with me!
Will I still have some control over my wedding if I hire your team as my planner?
Definitely! We will do as much, or as little, as you want us to do during the wedding planning process. We always ask you what you want and we then make our suggestions to you.
We love your services and portfolio. Everything sounds great. So, can you tell me how you’re different from all the other wedding planners out there?
Stylish Occasions Wedding & Event Planning is a full service, full time wedding planning company. This is what we do, love, and enjoy every day!
When I first started planning weddings I thought it was all about creating a beautiful design for the wedding, making it one of a kind. I now realize that while creating a beautiful design for your wedding and making it one of a kind is important, the most valuable thing that we do as wedding planners is make the planning process fun and relaxed for you, the bride and groom. We do the planning, budgeting, and coordinating so that you get to focus on the exciting parts of designing your wedding like the food and cake tastings, trying on gorgeous wedding gowns, and selecting the perfect invitation.
Also, when our vendors offer us discounts we always pass them along to our clients. We do not keep the money for ourselves. This means you will never have to worry about us “forcing” you to use a particular vendor.
When we first meet you will find that we ask a lot of questions about YOU. We will get to know you and your likes and dislikes so we can plan a wedding where your personality will shine through. This is your big day so we will make sure it is customized to fit your style.
Do you take on more than one wedding per day?
No, we will never take on two weddings in one day. We typically don’t even take on more than one wedding per planner per weekend. This is another thing that sets us apart from other wedding planners. While doing your research you will find that many wedding planners will take on more than one wedding per weekend. We do not. This allows us to only focus on you, not another couple, in the days leading up to your special day. Plus, wedding days are exhausting for wedding planners. We are running from one end of the venue to the other, up and down stairs, directing vendors and guests, and more. It would not be fair to you for us to have a wedding the day before yours. We would not be in top shape to focus on you and your needs.
This all sounds so wonderful. But, it also seems expensive. Are we going to be able to afford this?
Yes! The average bride (without a wedding planner) spends over 300 hours planning her wedding. Much of that time is spent looking for vendors and then meeting with one after the other until you find the perfect one. As wedding planners we have already done the homework and have formed relationships with quality vendors. By getting to know you we can then direct you to one or two vendors that match your personality as well as your budget. This service alone will save you many hours. You can then use those hours to work (make more money), spend with your fiance, spend with your family, and more. Plus, we are often able to find vendors or venues that couples have never even heard of. For example, one of my former clients wanted a unique wedding, different than any of her friends. I showed her the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster and she fell in love. None of her family or guests had ever heard of it and all were amazed by it.
Plus, as stated in the above question, we always pass on our vendor discounts to you. We have vendors who offer discounts on cake, photography, favors, gifts, and more.
Here’s an article Do I Really Need a Wedding Planner that may help.
Who do you work best with? What personalities to you work best with?
Almost everyone. We offer both full wedding planning as well as day of coordination and everything in between. Everyone at least needs a wedding day coordinator. They make your day run smoothly by being there to handle all of the things you haven’t thought of. For example, if one of your bridesmaids dresses tear, we always have a sewing kit in our emergency bag. If you forgot the wedding rings we will get them (actually we wouldn’t have let you forget them in the first place…).
We also work well with couples that value the wedding of their dreams but they don’t know how to get there. We love to work with positive people who are truly in love and realize that your wedding is more than just the decorations and flowers. It’s about celebrating your love and starting your new life together. And then we’re here to help you do this in style!
We also work well with those that have already planned their wedding but want to make sure it all comes together and runs smoothly. You’ve spent all this time and energy planning your wedding and now you want to be able to relax and enjoy it. You want us there to deal with the stress of vendors and timelines.
Who is not going to benefit from your help with planning their wedding?
If you don’t see the value of someone helping to plan your wedding, or at least to pull it all together at the end, then we’re not for you. We are very flexible people and can work with most anyone, but if you’re a whiner, pessimist, or chronic skeptic then we may not be the best fit for each other. Of course, if you were any of those you probably wouldn’t be getting married, right? I am a very positive person and love when others are too.
We’re getting married in PA but live in another state. Can you still help us?
Yes, we actually work with quite a few couples across the country. We’ve had clients that lived in NY, DC, TX, CA, and even Hawaii! Having a wedding planner is quite beneficial in that situation since you most likely don’t have the time to fly in often to meet with vendors, etc.
Do you do destination weddings?
Yes! We love destination weddings. See here for more info.
What form of payment do you accept and do you have a payment plan?
We accept cash, checks, and Paypal. We do require an initial down payment to hold the date. We will then work with you to create a payment schedule that will work for you.
This sounds exactly like what we’ve been looking for. So how does this process work?
The next step would be to meet in person to make sure that our personalities mesh and that we would both like to work together. If we find that we are a good fit for each other then we will sign the contract and start planning your fabulous wedding!
May we contact some of your former clients to see what it’s like to work with you?
Definitely! I highly suggest you do your homework on me before we start working together. You can read my Love Notes as well as notes from those that wish they had used a wedding planner or coordinator. If you would like more info I can put you in touch with some of my past clients.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
We have a few more questions before getting started. Can we call or email you to discuss this further?
Yes. Feel free to call me at 717-669-1961 or email me at StylishO@ymail.com at any time. I can’t wait to hear from you!