Frequently Asked Questions
Interview with Melissa Martin, Owner and Lead 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 couples 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 couples avoid all the mistakes I made. I also did this because I realized how much I loved helping the couples 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.
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, our couples. 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.
As you read through our reviews you will see the word "calm" throughout them. We stay very calm so that we can keep you calm and stress free!
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.
Also, when you meet with one of our wedding planners that is the planner that will be there on your wedding day. We feel it's very important that we click. Some planning companies have you meet with the head planner and then assign your wedding day planner closer to the date so you don't get to work with them through the entire process. This way we really get to know each and become familiar with each other so that on the wedding day you are able to relax more and know you can trust your planner to take care of all the wedding day details.
This all sounds so wonderful. But, it also seems expensive. Are we going to be able to afford this?
Yes! The average couple (without a wedding planner) spends over 300 hours planning their 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.
Also, 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 Do you work best with?
Almost everyone. We offer 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 and beyond! We've also worked with international couples (we've had two living in Italy) that are coming to the states to get married. 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?
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 check out our Love Notes. And of course check out our fabulous reviews on The Knot and Wedding Wire (we have over 100 on each!!)! If you would like more info I can put you in touch with some of our past clients.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
Our job is to make sure that the wedding day and entire planning experience is stress-free and exactly as you’ve imagined it. We begin by creating a timeline to keep you on track during the planning process. We also create a custom wedding budget for you. We love getting a great bargain and work hard to make sure you get the most for your money, aiming to come in below your budget. We recommend vendors that we trust and that we have a history of working with and have consistently provided amazing service. Many offer discounts or complimentary upgrades, which we always pass on to you.
You will be busy enjoying your engagement parties or wedding showers, pinning away on Pinterest, looking through wedding magazines for ideas, and planning your honeymoon. So let us worry about keeping the planning and details on track throughout the process.
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 email@example.com at any time. I can’t wait to hear from you!