{october's favorite things}

Despite some scary money issues, in which I was forced on a month long spending freeze, October was actually a pretty good month. I really can't believe it's over just yet, can you? It feels like just yesterday that I was clamoring to put up my fall decorations, and now here we are, well on our way into winter and the holiday season. Not that I'm complaining, of course. The weather is just now starting to feel like fall here in Southern California.  I just wish that time would slow down just a bit so I can enjoy a few more pumpkin spice lattes before I get that first peppermint mocha of the season. 

1 // I didn't get to spend much money this month, which means that there quite a few nights spent at home, cuddling on the couch and eating homemade comfort food. Even though our spending freeze is over, I still have some beef stew on the stove right now, and I can't wait to dig in. It's been nice to actually spend time at home, especially since it's finally starting to feel like home (after two years of living here). Robert and I say nearly every day how blessed we feel to share a home that we love with one another. 

2 // I signed four clients this month (three for 2013 and one for 2014). That has to be a record for me! And it's just getting better from here. I attribute it to my new marketing philosophy (it's all about the client), which I've already gotten a lot of great feedback about!

3 // RED came out, and I read my new favorite book. These two things have kept me pretty busy recently. 

4 // A new blog and website design, along with lots of new ideas about where I want to go from here, have made me almost giddy about the future. I'm having so much fun getting things in order for an amazing new year. 

5 // It got Robert's birthday on Saturday, and we got to spend time with family and some of our greatest friends. It was such a fun day, though all of us (Olive included) are still recovering. 

6 // I get to end October, and start the new month, off from work. It's been nice to recharge a bit, and focus on the things that are really important to me. I've been spending my time preparing for a few things, and again, I can't wait to see what the future brings!

What are your favorite things about October?


{happy halloween}

It's a good thing I wasn't planning on putting up a Wedding Wednesday this week because of Halloween, since I don't currently have Photoshop on my computer. I was using a trial, and planned on buying the full thing when the trial was up. The website wasn't working the other day though, and now I'm waiting on an email from Adobe...needless to say, I can't even write "Happy Halloween" on a picture right now, which is frustrating. So, you get a picture of some jack-o-lanterns. And that's it.


We live in a gated apartment complex, so I plan on spending my Halloween night giving out handfuls of candy to the few kids that come trick or treating and watching a {not-so-scary} movie or two. 

What are you doing for Halloween?


{a week off. kind of}

Life has been a little overwhelming recently, so I decided last month that I needed a week off. That doesn't really mean that I get a week off though, just a week off from my full time job. Today (Monday) was spent in meetings in Los Angeles, visiting venues and getting breakfast with a great new caterer. The rest of the week is dedicated to wading through my backlog of work, getting some business stuff done, and maybe even fitting in a few good books. 

Speaking of good books, I just finished reading the two books in the Divergent series and I. am. obsessed. Seriously, I don't know if I've been as into books like this since the Hunger Games. I can't believe I have to wait an entire year for the next one to come out! I need some good recommendations stat, or else I'm going to spend my week re-reading these two. And seriously, forget about Edward Cullen. I have a massive crush on Four right now, and I don't really know what to do with myself...

Anyway, I'm looking forward to spending tomorrow on my business plan and business documents, creating some new planning documents to use, and working on finishing up my marketing and branding plans. It's exciting stuff, isn't it?

Maybe I'll even get to work on redecorating my office. Maybe not though...

What are you up to this week?


{a halloween birthday}

It was the husband's birthday yesterday, so we used it as a perfect excuse to get everyone together and drink dress up.

We managed to fit seventeen people into our tiny apartment, which is probably more than we've ever had before! I didn't get pictures of everyone or everything (unfortunately), but we had a blind surgeon and injured patient, gladiator, redneck, Peter Pan and Wendy, among others. Carrie and Doug (above) were Bonnie and Clyde, which I thought was absolutely adorable, and my husband and brother decided to be Power Rangers at the last minute. I bet you can't guess what I was...

Oh, and how adorable is that cake! There was a martini on top that you can't really see in the pictures, but everybody loved it. It was chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting from one of my favorite wedding cake bakers, and I was so happy with it. Robert was definitely a fan!


{five things: swifty edition}

I've been getting a lot of questions about my thoughts on Red (since you all know I'm her biggest fan, of course). Here it goes. 


1. In a lot of ways, the album is much more mature than any of her albums. Not only are her lyrics more grown up and less whiny, but her voice is constantly getting better. Also, I think it's safe to say that T. is no longer a virgin. #justsayin

2. As much as she's getting more mature in her music, I feel like some of her songs are a lot more immature, which makes me sad. These are the songs that she cowrote with the same people who wrote I Kissed a Girl and Hit Me Baby One More Time. As much as I love me some Katy Perry, I love Taylor Swift as much as I do for a reason. I just can't get behind Never Ever (ever ever ever...), 22 (ugh.), or I Knew You Were Trouble. I know that her fan base is primarily tweens, but one of the things that has always drawn me to Taylor was the emotion and realness in her songs. I don't like feeling like she compromised that to make a hit pop song and appease a whole bunch of people who don't love her as much as I do. Because there are a lot of people like me, and we are perfectly happy with who she is.

3. All Too Well is one of my favorite songs. Ever. And after reading a few reviews (I love this one), it seems like that's the general consensus. I think it beats out Dear John in the break-my-own-heart department (which always makes me cry). My other favorites are Treacherous (coming from Taylor Swift, this song really amazes me...), the Lucky One, and the Last Time. 

4. I wouldn't normally like Stay Stay Stay. It's a little too bubbly for me, and I'm not really a fan of the lyrics. But, it's nostalgic. I don't want her to recreate her other albums, but this is the only song that even sounds like it might belong on one of them. And I guess this would be number 4, part two: I'm really disappointed that there isn't a clear "anthem" on this album. Long Live (Speak Now) and Change (Fearless) are two songs that I listen to whenever I need a little inspiration. There's nothing like that on this one. 

5. Overall...it's growing on me. I almost cried when I started listening to it and I realized that this was a different Taylor. Eventually, I came to accept that different isn't necessarily bad. She's growing up, and becoming a much more...fulfilled person and singer (does that make sense?). I've read a lot of criticism about her, calling her too girly and innocent and naive, and I really don't know that's the case anymore. She definitely admits to the blame in some of these songs, and isn't afraid of some of the things that she shied away from in her previous albums. 

What are your thoughts on Red? What's your favorite Taylor Swift album?

Oh, and for those of you suggesting that Starlight is about that time that she supposedly snuck into a wedding (which I don't believe), I'll have you know that her "secret message" in the lyric book writes out "for Ethel." I think that's really sweet.

{a beautiful ranch home wedding}

I don't even know if I can tell you how happy I am that I finally get to share this wedding with you. Paula and Mark got married all the way back in June, and it's still one of my favorite weddings from the year! Not only was this wedding absolutely beautiful and filled with so many personal touches, but the bride and groom really got what it was all about. They were just happy, and it made my heart fill with such joy to see how in love they were. At the end of the night, Paula came up to me, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and told me she loved me too. It was the sweetest thing, and I knew that they had their perfect day. That's always my goal, after all!

You can just see how happy they are in these pictures, can't you? It was Paula's second marriage, so her only bridesmaid was her daughter, and her son walked her down the aisle. I usually measure the success of a wedding by whether or not I cried. Yeah, I cried at this one.

photographer :: beaux arts photographie // venue :: mccormick home ranch // floral design :: yamaguchi nursery // dj :: wedding music djs // cake :: skiff's cakes

Do you have a wedding that you'd like me to feature on Something Charming? Check out my submissions page for more information! 


{sponsor spotlight: kv's confessions}

I announced last week that I redid my blog design, which I'm SO excited about now! I didn't mention, however, that I've been working on my website just as hard. And the other day, I had an epiphany as to the direction I need to start going in. Definitely take a look and tell me what you think! Would you hire me if you were looking for a wedding planner?

*     *     *     *     *

Now for the important stuff. I have a fabulous blogger and designer for all of you to meet today! Kristen is one of my dear friends in this crazy blogging community, and I'm really excited to have her here today. 

Miss Kristen, or KV, is a graphic designer from Salt Lake City, Utah, and she has one of the sweetest blogs you'll ever find. I promise! Plus, she's absolutely gorgeous and a complete sweetheart. Definitely go check her out on KV's Confessions. I promise you won't regret it! 

Are you interested in sponsoring Something Charming? Check out my sponsorship page or email me for more information!


{wedding wednesday: using pinterest}

I joined Pinterest over a year and a half ago, when it still required an invitation to sign up. Now, however, it’s a mainstream (and very popular) tool used by nearly every woman that I know (as well as quite a few men). I’ve been told by a few of my brides now that they use Pinterest when planning their weddings, which can be both a good and a bad thing. It’s definitely a great source of inspiration. On the other hand, however, it can be really overwhelming. This concerns me, since I don’t think wedding planning has to be stressful at all. So, I’m going to talk today about how to use Pinterest as a source of inspiration during wedding planning without getting overwhelmed.


It’s about inspiration

I think the biggest issue I’ve heard about using Pinterest for wedding planning is that people tend to try and copy the things they see on Pinterest rather than use it as inspiration. It’s great to find pictures that you love, but don’t copy everything you see. It’s really obvious when you don’t come up with any ideas on your own, and just bring together a whole bunch of elements that really aren’t cohesive at all.

Pick who you follow carefully

Most (if not all) wedding blogs have a Pinterest account. The thing is, they pin everything on their sites. Following these blogs can be a great way to see what’s out there and discover your preferences and style. Following them on Pinterest, however, can be a disaster. You know how you feel when you see hundreds of wedding images flooding your Pinterest feed? It’s overwhelming, especially if you are trying to figure out what you want for your wedding. Following every single wedding blog means that you are inundated with every element from every type of wedding.

Instead, I would suggest following only a few wedding blogs, those with a style that you really love. Also, try to find those bloggers or pinners (like me!) who follow these blogs and curate their pins for you. That way you are exposed only to the best of the best, rather than every wedding on the internet.

Create multiple wedding boards

If you look at the Pinterest boards of those in the wedding industry, you’ll see individual boards for each piece of a wedding, like flowers, the venue, colors, and the dress. I’ve noticed with those who plan their weddings that they typically have one board dedicated to weddings.

Now, every wedding has multiple elements to it. Some of these relate to one another, but for the most part, you’ll want to separate the pieces so you don’t get overwhelmed when you see everything on one page. Once you get a basic idea as to what you want, create a single board to put your final decisions on. That way you can see the bigger, finalized picture in one place.

Find patterns

For those of you who look at all the pins on a wedding board and who still can’t figure out what you want in your wedding, try looking at the bigger picture. Look for the patterns in all of those flower pictures. What do they have in common? Are they the same color, same flower, same style? Figuring out what made you pin them in the first place can really help figure out your style and might actually get you somewhere!

Choose your theme and stick to it

Now, this is something that everyone will go through during their wedding planning, but Pinterest just makes it that much worse. Once you choose the style that is perfect for you, and yes, you will have to choose eventually, stick to it! Pin things that only fit into that theme or style, or else you’re just going to have a mess on your hands. It’s okay to love something in a different style, but realize that you’re just making things that much more difficult for yourself if you don’t stay consistent. You’ll never be able to make decisions if you continue to pin other pretty things that don’t fit into the vision that you’ve come up with.

The myth of the “pinnable” wedding

It kind of kills me when people blame Pinterest for things. We really need to take it for what it is, which is a new way to curate images. It is not an original source for content. What I mean by that is, Pinterest didn’t create the things you see on the site. It’s just a place to store it. There are plenty of really bad ideas and styles on Pinterest, you just may not see them because you follow only quality people.

That being said, I hate hearing people say that they want their wedding to be “pinnable” or “Pinterest perfect” (and yes, I’ve heard both these things). As a wedding planner, I feel the need to let you all in on a secret, and something you may not want to hear…


Your wedding is not going to be perfect. Something will go wrong, or it may not turn out the way that you want it to turn out. That’s okay! I guarantee that something went wrong at every wedding featured on Style Me Pretty.Your wedding isn’t about the flowers or the hand painted invitations or the custom cocktails. It’s about a marriage. As long as you two get married, that’s all that should matter.

It’s fine if you want your wedding to get onto a blog (which I think is what people say when they want it to be “pinnable”), but that shouldn’t be your only motivation for getting married.

Trends will come and go

I admit that I fall into this trap every day. I see something on Pinterest, and I want it! But you can cut your hair or redecorate your home as many times as you want. You only get one wedding (hopefully). You don’t have a chance to redo it again if it didn’t go the way that you want the first time. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

I always tell people, and I have to tell myself this sometimes too, that weddings are a reflection of who you are, as a couple, at that point in your lives. We change as people. Our tastes change, and trends change. It’s easy to look at a wedding from the 80s and say, I would NEVER have done something like that.

Newsflash: you are. Any trend that you follow today will be dated someday. But again…that’s okay! It’s supposed to be that way!

So, if you’re married and suffer habitual wedding-redo syndrome from looking at Pinterest, just stop. Because you could do it all over again today, and will want to redo it again in five years when the next latest and greatest idea is born. It’s a never ending cycle, and Pinterest just perpetuates it.

How do you use Pinterest in your wedding planning? Have you found yourself overwhelmed because of it? What other tips do you have for using the site for your wedding planning?

Remember that this week's Wedding Wednesday link is the last one until November 14th! You'll have a chance to link up your handwriting posts on November 5th instead!


{a halloween post}

Maybe it's ironic that I'm posting this as I'm watching the original Halloween, or maybe it just inspired this post. Or, maybe because it's finally starting to feel like fall (it got down to 60 degrees today), but I thought I'd post a little about Halloween. Which, for me, isn't always all that exciting...


I can watch Halloween because it isn't really all that scary. I'm actually a big fan of old scary movies, like the Amityville Horror, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and anything Stephen King (of course). A few others that I love: the Omen, Scream, Silence of the Lambs, and the Ring (not necessarily old, but still newer classics). Put me in front of something made today, however, and I'll shield my eyes and cover my ears. I love the complex stories and psychological components of these old movies. Now, it's all about blood and guts and gore, which I'm not a fan of. 

I don't do haunted houses. The last time I tried to go in one, I was fifteen and ran out the emergency exit crying. I've stayed far, far away from any "haunted" place since. But here's something you may not know about me: I LOVE those terrible shows on the Travel Channel that feature the scariest haunted houses in the country. Seriously, one of my favorite parts of October, hands down! It's probably because I hate going into haunted houses, but I still want to see how creative people are and what they put inside. At the same time, I can never understand why someone would actually want to scare themselves so badly. It just doesn't seem like fun to me. 

What about you? What are your favorite scary movies? When was the last time you went to a haunted house?


{write it down and link it up: coming soon}

I've had this thought for a while now, ever since this post (and this one too). You all know that I love pretty handwriting. I've spent the majority of my young adult life practicing my own handwriting, and it's really paid off. I always find it interesting to see the handwriting of other people as well. I really think it gives some insight into the type of person that they are, don't you think?

So, I'm excited to announce...

Write it Down

Just a note: since next week is Halloween, and we'll be linking up our handwriting posts the week after that, this week's Wedding Wednesday link up will be the last one until November 14th. That's all!


{swifty pt. 2}

What a strange week this has been. A good week, kind of, but weird. Oh, and about yesterday....I know a lot of you are wondering, so here it goes. 

I saw a tweet from the Ellen show last week about Taylor Swift. Since you all know how I feel about T., I'm sure it comes as no surprise that when I emailed them as soon as I saw that they were collecting an audience for an outdoor concert on the show. I went on Ellen's website after that, trying to see what other information I could find, and sent in a message about how much I adore Taylor. 

I didn't think much of it, but I was ecstatic when I got a phone call last Friday about the show. They had guaranteed tickets for me for the concert only (not the actual taping of the show), and I was so excited! I made arrangements with three of my friends to go see her, and that was that. Until I got another phone call on Saturday. 

This time, they were interested in that other email I sent, the one where I talked about my story and why I love her so very much. The lady from the show and I talked for almost an hour, and she asked me to send her a few photos of myself. She also asked if she could give me information to her supervisors, and even looked at the Taylor Swift posts I have on my blog after we got off the phone. 

I was a wreck on Saturday, wondering what was going to happen, but I didn't hear anything again until Monday. This time I got a call while I was at work, and it was two other people from the show. They asked me the same questions, and said that I answered them very articulately. I took that as a compliment. We talked again for another half hour or so, and they ended the call asking if they could call me back again if they had any other questions for me. 

I was kind of out of it all week, occupied by my thoughts of potentially getting to meet my favorite performer and artist ever. Yesterday came, and I went between hope that they just wanted to surprise me, and hopelessness, knowing that they were no longer interested in me. My friend Margaret, who works in television production, told me that they would obviously want the element of surprise for their show, so I shouldn't rule it out just yet, even as we started entering into the concert area. 

In the past, every time Taylor has gone on the show to promote a new album or product (like her perfume), they've brought on her "biggest fan" to meet her. This is what I was hoping for, but it never happened. I know that I should be grateful that I got to see her at all, which I am, but I so wish they wouldn't have called me at all. I was so preoccupied with what might happen that it was difficult to be in the moment yesterday. But then Taylor came on stage and I cried. She sang four songs, and I sang along. It was magical and amazing, and I know it. I also know that it would have been even more so had I not even considered what it would be like to actually meet her. 

I don't know if they actually brought someone else on stage yesterday, since we didn't see the actual interview with Ellen, but I guess we'll find out next week, when the show airs on Thursday, 10/25. 

photos from my friends Carrie and Margaret



Guys, today is a good day. You know why?



I get to see Taylor Swift perform on Ellen. Enough said.


{sponsor spotlight and giveaway: the find sac}

I am SO excited to say that I'm finally getting closer to a blog design that I actually like. If you're reading this in a reader, I'd really appreciate it if you'd hop over to view it in your browser and let me know what you think. Too simple? I'm just having such a problem these days!

Anyway, I have a great shop and giveaway for all of you today! The Find Sac is an Etsy shop, where you can find eco baby and wedding pieces! They have some really adorable things, like wedding invitations, ceremony programs, and beautiful rose garlands. 

To make things better, Kathleen from the Find Sac is giving one reader a beautiful felt rose garland, valued at $28, and perfect for your wedding! 

She's also offering a 15% discount off your entire purchase, just enter "somethingcharming" in at checkout. Good luck!

Are you interested in sponsoring Something Charming? Check out my Sponsor page, and enter "ilovefall" at checkout for 25% any ad space!


{wedding wednesday: the wedding day timeline}

As my husband said when I asked him to review the document I put together, I'm giving away some valuable information today. One of my biggest responsibilities as a wedding planner is to put together the wedding day timeline. It's an art, really, and is really dependent on the priorities of the couple, the expectations and needs of the vendors, and the feel of the guests. 


I've created a basic wedding day timeline for you to print out and use when planning the order and timing of the events on your wedding day. I didn't include the time it will take you and the members of your wedding party to get ready, since that can differ for everyone. Be sure to ask the person/people doing your hair and makeup how long it will take to get everyone done, and plan accordingly.

Also, I didn't include time estimates for the individual parts of the reception, since it's pretty self explanatory. What really matters is the order, and I gave you a general order for the day. Obviously, the order can change according to your own preferences. For example, you may want to do your first dance after toasts, and you may not do the bouquet or garter toss at all. 

Another big alternative for the timeline is doing a first look. Most wedding vendors, myself included, prefer when a couple does a first look, for a variety of reasons. Regardless of sentimentality and tradition, first looks reduce the amount of time you need for pictures after the ceremony and let you enjoy your cocktail hour or reception with your guests earlier. If you choose to do a first look, you can choose to do all of your photos before the ceremony and go straight into the cocktail hour or grand entrance, or you can do only some of your photos before. You'll want to talk to your photographer about how much time they like to allocate for a first look. 

Whenever I meet with a new client, I always tell them how I handle the reception. I definitely put timeframes for reception events, but I make it clear that the times, and even the order, can change. It's all about getting a feel for the atmosphere and the guests during the actual event. For example, there are times when a reception can feel like it's dragging, like if some guests are done with dinner but others are still eating. In cases like this, I may decide to start toasts early to keep guests from sitting in their seats, bored. You may not realize when your reception is dragging as the bride or groom, so it's important that you are open with the DJ as to whether or not you want them to make these types of decisions. 

Once you go through and create this timeline for the day, be sure to send it to your vendors to get their input and approval. You'll want to include their contact information (including a phone number that they can be reached on the day of the wedding) and their arrival times so that you can all be on the same page. Send the completed timeline to all necessary parties once it's confirmed. You can create a simplified timeline for your wedding party and family as well, to make things easier for everyone. 
Click the above image to download the two page document.

Do you have any other questions about your wedding day timeline? Leave them in the comments and I'll answer them!


{i can't handle this week}

Please excuse me for the next day while I stress...
...about my lack-of-blog design. I think I went too far with a new design on Saturday, and then I tried to triage. And now I'm just overwhelmed. 
...about the three phone calls I've received from a certain talk show about a certain singer that I adore. I can't stop thinking about it, and it's driving me to an almost panic attack.
...about my lack of organization when it comes to everything.
Also, this is me being melodramatic. I think I just need a day. Or five.

And now, because I need a picture for this post, I bring you a vampire dog. Or really, just a dog with vampire teeth. You're welcome.



{monday's mantra}

I am having a serious problem with my anxiety these days. It's getting to the point where I can't concentrate on what I need to do now because I'm so focused on what I need to do to get there. I also have a problem wanting to get everything done right. now. Which is impossible. 

I'm usually really good at writing down the steps, but I'm getting impatient and it's stressing me out. So this week I'm going to focus on just taking one step at a time. I need to prioritize, and just get shit done. 

What's your mantra this week?


{five things}

Guys, I'm SO excited right now! Because it's finally starting to feel like fall, and I couldn't be happier. I'm looking forward to a productive weekend, at home, in my pajamas and drinking lots of hot apple cider. But before the weekend starts, here are five things to get you through your Friday.


I really loved that outfit above, and I may try to recreate it when I'm finally able to shop again. I think this dress would be perfect.

I'm loving Mrs. Lilien's Five Elements of Ladylikeness! It makes me want to go buy prettier undies.

How to let go of what other people think. I definitely needed this this week.

If I have time, I think I may start reading The Casual Vacancy this weekend. Have you read it yet?

I just can't handle all the pretty I'm pinning on my wedding attire and beauty board this week! So many talented designers and photographers, that's for sure.

Happy weekend friends!


{fall etsy finds}

Along with this whole decorating my home thing, I've been really rethinking my seasonal and holiday decor. I already know that I want to get a new Christmas tree this year, but I'd really love to use more intentional decorations for all seasons. Most of my current inventory has been collected from sale items after the holidays, or Big Lots finds when I couldn't afford anything nicer. In my perfect world, most of my new pieces would be handmade, local, or authentic from other places and countries. I know that it will take time to build a robust collection of holiday decor for throughout the year, but I can at least start right now! 

I got this custom banner on Etsy, and I just love it! We put up our faux-mantel a few weeks ago, but it's been pretty bare so far. I think this is the perfect start to making it ready for fall, don't you think? Here are a few other things I've found on Etsy lately that I'd love to decorate my home with for the season:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4


{take a stand}

Remember this post? Well, here it goes.

I believe that all people have the right to love, and that if we allow some to marry, then we need to allow everyone to marry. Not only do I believe this, but it absolutely baffles me that some people don't consider all people equal. Because I'm sorry, if you don't believe that everyone should have the same right to marry, then you don't believe that all people are equal. 

I don't believe that any church has a place in our government. I am Christian. I am not religious. I don't believe on imposing my beliefs on anyone else.

That being said, I think that all people have a right to believe what they want to believe. I believe that people are inherently good, and I don't believe that any religion is better or worse than another. 

Going with all these points, I don't believe that allowing everyone to marry restricts anyone else's beliefs or religion. Because if you don't believe in same sex marriage, then don't have a same sex marriage. But not letting other people other marry does restrict their lives and their ability to feel like they are an equal part of this community. Big difference. 

I believe that the whole Chick Fil A debacle is ridiculous. It's a chicken sandwich. Let's be adults people.

But that doesn't mean that I have to eat there. And me not eating there has nothing to do with wanting to restrict someone's free speech. It has everything to do with not wanting my money to be spent on things that I vehemently oppose. 

I believe that my body is my body, and nobody has a right to tell me what to do with it. End of story. Non-negotiable. 

It's all simple, really. Let's take responsibility for ourselves, and stop passing judgment on others. I don't believe that there is any right answer. I just know what I believe, is all. And that's all. 


{wedding wednesday: hiring a planner}

From now on, I'm going to take Wedding Wednesday in a different direction. I've noticed that a lot of planning resources these days seem to be out of date, and most popular blogs focus on design only. I really want to start providing more planning resources for all of you, and pair that with wedding styling and design. That being said, a few weeks ago I talked about why you should hire a wedding planner. Today I'm going to talk about how to find and hire a wedding planner. 


Where to look

Wedding Wire: Wedding Wire is one of the biggest vendor networks out there. Most wedding vendors will be on the site, and a lot will have reviews right there. You can search in your area, but know that the first few that show up, the ones with pictures, are paid advertising. 

Wedding blogs: Some of the hippest wedding planners get their work featured on blogs, such as Style Me Pretty and Green Wedding Shoes. If you see a wedding that you really love on one of these blogs, definitely check out the location and vendors that are listed. 

Personal referral: If you've been to a wedding for a friend that seemed to flow really well and had a lot of attention to detail, definitely ask who they hired to coordinate the day. 

Planning options

Even if you don't think you can afford someone to help you plan your entire wedding, there are other options available. I would highly encourage at least a day of coordinator.

Full service: A full service package by a coordinator will include help throughout the wedding planning process. This includes assistance in finding a venue, contracting and working with your vendors, coming up with an overall vision, as well as coordinating the day of the wedding. 

Partial service: If you need something in between full service and day of, partial planning is probably best for you. Good planners will often offer packages that are customizable according to what you need, so you don't have to pay for a la carte services. 

Day/month of: The most popular type of planning package is a wedding day coordinator. This type of package typically includes everything I mentioned in this post, though all planners are different. You'll want to compare the services that different planners offer. 

A la carte: Many planners offer individual services that do not need to be attached to a package. These services can include hourly consultation, RSVP management, and budget assistance. 

Setting up an initial consultation

Once you find a planner that you are interested in potentially working with, email or call them and ask if they offer a complimentary initial consultation. Depending on where you live and where they work from, you may not be able to meet in person, but definitely ask if you can have the meeting over the phone or Skype if possible. 

Understand that initial consultations aren't planning consultations. Most planners will be wary about offering too many ideas or advice at a consultation, since we typically get paid for this type of information. I may have really big or great ideas for a potential client, but I always run the risk of them working with someone else and still using my ideas. So, don't be offended if they decline your request for specific ideas regarding your wedding.

When you do meet with a planner, and I encourage you to meet with at least three, even if you feel confident about only one (it's best to compare packages between planners), come to the meeting prepared. Make sure you have a list of questions that you want to cover during the meeting. A good planner will let you do most of the talking, and ask a lot of questions. 

Topics to cover

Here are a few things you'll want to ask and consider when meeting with a potential planner:
  • Experience: Don't be afraid to ask how many weddings someone has planned, and what types of weddings they typically plan. Banquet weddings are much different than DIY weddings, or those where you have to provide everything (often including event staff). They may not know how to coordinate a wedding that involves a lot of rentals and outside vendors, so definitely ask. 
  • Work load: Personally, I only do one wedding a weekend. I don't even do weddings on consecutive weekends. I like to make sure that I am available for my clients the week before their wedding, since that's a pretty stressful time. Definitely ask how many weddings they do in a month, and if you'll be the only wedding for that weekend. 
  • Planning style: Finding a really amazing planner with a great sense of style can be great! But be careful...their aesthetic may be too strong for your taste. Good planners will take their clients' vision into consideration when creating an event. Bad planners will use their own preferences when planning, and disregard yours. 
  • Planning opinions: I've met quite a few planners that have very stringent ideas as to how a wedding "should" be. If you don't want to follow wedding etiquette or tradition, then no one should force you. There are plenty of planners who know etiquette well, and advise you on proper etiquette, but they shouldn't make you feel bad if you decide to make a different decision.
  • Coordination specifics: Every planner is different, and every planner has created planning packages and services that fit them. You really need to ask what is specifically included in their package, and evaluate whether or not you need it. And don't be afraid to ask if they will include other services in the package if you feel like you need it. They may or may not agree with you, but it's really important to get all of your information and options up front. 

Ask most wedding vendors, and they will tell you that negotiating is bad etiquette. It leaves a really bad taste in our mouths, and it really makes us not want to work with you. I was somewhat appalled to see advice on other wedding planning websites suggesting that you ask potential wedding planners if they can get you deals with other vendors. Please don't do this. 

Speaking of vendors, definitely ask if a planner accepts commissions for vendor referrals. Some do, and some don't, and it's really your preference. But know that the practice exists, and you need to make up your own mind as to whether or not you want a planner who is paid to refer you to vendors. 

What it really comes down to...

...is that you like your wedding planner. More often than not, they are the ones that you work with most on your wedding. If you just don't feel it, then chances are they aren't the person for you. Liking someone isn't overrated, and definitely trust your instincts. 

*     *     *     *     *

I know this was a lot of writing, and I'm sorry! To make it up to you, I'm going to start offering wedding planning worksheets that you can print and bring with you to your vendor meetings. Here is the first one, full of questions that you should ask when meeting with a potential wedding planner. 

Click the above image to download the two page document.

Are there any other questions that you have about hiring a wedding planner? Leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them all!

{on my heart}


It's a strange time. Do you ever feel as if you're trying to find this balance in your life, but that just the smallest thing can come and topple you over? The past few days I've felt like this, and I really don't like it. I guess I'm on the edge of this next chapter, and while it's going to bring about some really amazing things, there are negatives that come with everything. No matter how well I do, there will be someone to tear me down. I don't know that I've ever realized this more than now. 

I've felt in somewhat of a daze these past few days. I can't explain it, but I'm struggling to get it all done and be happy doing it. I've never before been so self-conscious of my work, probably because I've never before been so wanted. I'm constantly wondering...when will they all realize that I'm a fraud. Because I feel like a fraud sometimes. How is it possible that these amazing things are happening to me? How is it possible that these amazing things are happening to me, without something else going on behind the scenes? Is it possible to be successful without feeling this way? Am I ever going to feel like I actually deserve this? Are integrity and good intentions enough? Or do I need to be even more careful with the things that I post and the work that I do? It's all so confusing, and I so wish I had someone in "real" life who knew what all of this feels like.