Your Perfect Texas-Style Wedding
But the reality is, we are fun, passionate, enthusiastic, admittedly geeky, boy-band loving, food craving, margarita tasting, concert going, chick flick watching, karaoke singing fools. And we are wedding planners!
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Stefanie and I opened Your Wedding, Your Way in March of 2008. My team is one of the highest rated coordination teams in Austin, TX. The fine print reads that we are multi-year recipients of Best of Weddings on The Knot, Couple's Choice Awards on Wedding Wire, and the coveted "People Love Us" sticker on Yelp! We've also been published in the New York Times, Style Me Pretty and Martha Stewart Weddings, just to name a few. But the reality is, we are fun, passionate, enthusiastic, admittedly geeky, boy-band loving, food craving, margarita tasting, concert going, chick flick watching, karaoke singing fools. And we are wedding planners!
How did you become a wedding planner?
After planning events for a major airline, I left the event world for a "regular" job. A trip back to Ohio for my best friend's wedding, and the chaos that ensued in the days leading up to it, made me realize I LOVE events... even if it means working nights and weekends! I started YWYW in 2008, and by 2010 I quit my full-time job, and have been planning weddings in Texas (and beyond!) ever since! My favorite part of every event is the hour before the ceremony. Regardless of how much I share with some vendors ahead of time, they have questions. The wedding party has questions. The family has questions. And the guests arriving have questions. During that time, questions rapid-fire in my direction. That is my moment to shine, as I rapid fire the answers everyone needs, right back to them... and sometimes, before they even ask them! It's a rush knowing that my quick answers keep everyone at ease during the most stressful part of their day!
If you could ask one thing of the grooms and brides that would make your job at their wedding easier, what would it be?
Be honest with your budget when you've hired a coordinator to manage your money. Somewhere along the way, a common misconception came about that coordinators will purposely push you over your budget. So couples started under-reporting how much they were actually willing to spend. The problem with this tactic is that your coordinator will refrain from giving you recommendations that can take your event from good to GREAT, out of respect for your budget. We make recommendations for vendors and splurges, based on your reported number. If you tell your coordinator the truth, they can recommend the responsible way to spend your money, to allow for some of those "would-be-awesome-to-have" items, while keeping the "must-haves" in mind!
If you tell your coordinator the truth, they can recommend the responsible way to spend your money, to allow for some of those "would-be-awesome-to-have" items, while keeping the "must-haves" in mind!
Which portion of the process keeps you busy the most, and what takes the most energy?
While there is always the unexpected, our years of experience ensures we can handle it all!
If we've done our job right, our day at your wedding is quite easy actually! We've conveyed to the vendors well in advance, what is expected of them. We've made sure everything is worked out in advance. While there is always the unexpected, our years of experience ensures we can handle it all! The most time-consuming part is coordinating the vendors ahead of the wedding day. Each vendor has their own "method" of organizing and their own questions that need to be answered. And while we are able to anticipate and answer most of them, we spend hours combing through the details with them, to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch! We do this, so the day of the wedding, we're there for YOU when you really need it!
What is your advice for couples that want to plan their own weddings?
Listen, I'm not going not going to lie... what we do is not rocket science! You can plan your own wedding! But here's the deal... leading up to your wedding day, you've invested thousands of dollars, and countless hours, making decisions that you have become very passionate about. Don't you want to protect your investment? Having an experienced Month-Of Coordinator is a way to do just that. We know how to identify unforeseen holes in the planning and patch them up, well in advance of your wedding. And on the day of, when you should be relaxing with your family and friends, we're checking things off lists, putting out those sentimental items, and directing vendor, guest and wedding-party traffic, so you don't have to! Getting a Month-of Coordinator, at a minimum, can make the actual wedding experience, exponentially better! And if you really want to (or need to) do it yourself, with zero help from a coordinator... do yourself a favor and do not hire friends or family as your vendors.
What is the average price of a wedding planner?
This varies drastically from market-to-market, and even among coordinators in town. Coordinators with our level of experience, typically run $2500+ for month-of and $6000+ for Full Service. We have priced ourselves purposefully below this, to help ease the burden of cost to the bride and still be able to run a successful business, while putting food on the table for our families. Our Month-of coordination starts at $1595 and full-service starts at $3995.
Our Month-of coordination starts at $1595 and full-service starts at $3995.
How to plan a big wedding on a small budget?
Regardless of budget, however, whether you have $10,000 or $300,000, the best thing you can do to maximize your budget (and keep yourself sane), is to be realistic with your budget.
These terms are very subjective. What is small to you, could be big to someone else. And what I consider big, may not be big enough for you! Regardless of budget, however, whether you have $10,000 or $300,000, the best thing you can do to maximize your budget (and keep yourself sane), is to be realistic with your budget. Hiring a coordinator to create a detailed budget for you, whether you use them for full-service coordination, or not, can help you tremendously! Our company offers a "Jump Start Package" for this exact purpose. It's designed to create a customized budget based on your specific wants and needs. It then provides specific vendor recommendations based on your budget, and a planning checklist to get you across the finish line. With a package similar to this, you can help yourself fully understand what you can get for your money, and find a way to use it to get the most for your money!
Hiring a coordinator to create a detailed budget for you, whether you use them for full-service coordination, or not, can help you tremendously! Our company offers a "Jump Start Package" for this exact purpose.
What are some of the most creative wedding themes that you have seen?
As guests entered the cave for the reception, there were band members dressed as a Puppy, Unicorn and Owl, frozen on the stage.
We once did a wedding for a couple who watched a documentary about Showtime Pizza (what is now called "Chuck E Cheese") on their first date. For their wedding reception, they recreated a Showtime vibe in the belly of a huge cave, right outside of Austin... complete with an "animatronic" band! As guests entered the cave for the reception, there were band members dressed as a Puppy, Unicorn and Owl, frozen on the stage. About 20 min into the reception, the music started piping through the speakers, and these animals came to life, pretending to play the instruments in front of them. After their performance, they went back to being statues!
How to decide on the wedding's guest list?
That's so hard to say because no one knows your family and friend dynamics better than you! So to tell you to simply mark certain people off, while keeping others on, is much too difficult. Here's what you should do though, when creating your guest list:
- Sit down as a couple, and create the list of people.
- Don't get bogged down with addresses quite yet! Instead, make 2 columns next to the names on the list.
- The first is your "Total Invited" list. In other words, how many people from each household, could potentially come?
- The second column is the "Anticipated RSVP" list. This is the actual number of people you expect will RSVP from this household.
Maybe the couple has a college-aged kid that likely won't come because your wedding is in the middle of finals. In this case, the total number invited is 3, but you actually anticipate 2. Perhaps your aunt and uncle historically never come to family weddings, but you have to invite them anyways. In this case, you're inviting 2, but anticipating 0. Your goal is to figure how many people from your group, will actually come. Who you invite, and who will actually come, are two entirely different numbers. And while you should plan and budget for the "anticipated" part, you can't ignore the total number invited... because what if they actually come? Once you see these two numbers, you've spent enough time with your total guest list, to understand who you should eliminate, if you need to.
What was the most memorable wedding you planned?
But if I'm being honest, it's the people and couples we get to know during the planning process, that make everything so memorable.
Memorable is hard! There are many things that make it memorable! Perhaps it was an awesome couple, who celebrated their 10th anniversary and got married on 10-10-10?! Perhaps it's the ridiculously fun, elaborate dance party with the Spazmatics in Laredo?! Or the Storm Troopers and Darth Vader, interrupting an elaborate downtown wedding?! Maybe it was the drag queens who lined a hotel lobby for the send-off, for the bride + groom, just because they happened to be passing by at that exact moment. But then again, having a caterer not show up and subsequently cancelling 30 minutes before guests arrive was pretty memorable. And so was finding a last-minute DJ when the out of town band got stuck on the side of the road.
But if I'm being honest, it's the people and couples we get to know during the planning process, that make everything so memorable. It's randomly seeing a white pumpkin and thinking about Lauren who loved them. Or seeing a container of big bright balls in the toy section, that reminds me of Ms Bright and Mr Ball's wedding and the laughs we had because of it! We have over 10 years and 500 weddings of memories just like these! And they hit me randomly out of the blue... and make smile! (Or make me reach for the wine, ha!!) But either way, I can say with 100% certainty... these are memories I would be missing, had I still been working for the State! <3