Boxwood Avenue

The Best Pieces of Advice from a Wedding Planner

livingChloe | Boxwood Ave.2 Comments
The most honest advice you'll get: from a wedding planner | Boxwood Avenue

Truth be told, Deborah and I met on the internet.  Instagram to be exact, but when you live in the middle of nowhere, you've gotta get creative when making new friends, and friends we've become!  If you follow me on instagram, you might already be following Mrs. Stachelski, and if you aren't, then do yourself a really big favor and head over to her account and click that follow button.  She is absolutely hilarious, and will have you rolling on the floor laughing, and no, I am not exaggerating. In addition, Deborah has just started a new blog focused on women being awesome, that includes the writing from ladies all over the world, and I am lucky enough to be a contributor.  

Besides the fact that she is a total girl boss and has a kick butt personality, Deborah is the woman behind Deborah Stachelski Events, the Austin based event styling & planning company.  She was gracious enough to be interviewed, and served up a serious helping of honest advice for all of those brides to be out there.  


"I became an event stylist and planner to use my creativity and skills to help brides and corporate clients who need an outside perspective to assist with their special event."
The Best Pieces of Advice from Wedding Planner: Deborah Stachelski

What are some of the key reasons that a bride needs a wedding planner?  Couldn’t I just hire a friend to make sure things look good and timing runs smoothly?

"You can absolutely hire a friend to help you with your day if you have someone who is very detail-oriented and has some experience with logistics and event coordination. The wedding day is even overwhelming for professional wedding planners, so a friend may be in over their head. Some things to keep in mind; however, is no friend will ever live and breathe for your day as much as you, or as a paid wedding professional will. I see time and time again, frustrated brides who are not getting the help they really need from friends, because there is nothing more overwhelming and personal than planning a wedding. I equal it to having a baby. You prepare for it for months and months, and you really need someone to care deeply about your baby! A wedding planner will, because well, we are paid to care deeply, and it’s our name on the line! A friend will not be able to predict cues for the photographer to get that perfect little moment on film, make sure you have a champagne flute and a microphone in your hand at the proper times, a handy tide pen for emergencies, make executive decisions without bothering the bride, all the while signaling the Dj that he needs to loop that background song so uncle Bob can finish his long speech."

What factors make for the best client?

"My favorite clients are brides who know what they don’t like. Typically brides like A LOT of things, but strongly dislike a few very specific things. A wedding planner has so many visions going at once and knowing what the bride does not like helps narrow down the style of her day. An awesome bride is also one who knows and realizes life (and a wedding) is imperfect, and she is focused on the marriage more than the wedding. A PERFECT bride, is one who can tell me her top 5 priorities in the order of importance, and then trusts her planner and other professionals to make her day perfect and doesn’t change her mind too many times!"

What factors make the worst client? 

"I would say the most difficult client is one who keeps changing her mind, or is the extreme price shopper. In this industry, you really get what you pay for. Cheap photography will give you cheap, grainy, dark photos and missed moments. A cheap florist will give you wilted flowers or the wrong vision altogether. A cheap friend hired to do your music will equal songs being played at the wrong times, awkward silences and a choppy flow at your event. So my point is, make sure to prioritize, and not price-shop on items 1, 2, and 3 of your list!"

 Can planners help you save money?

"Planners often pay for themselves by helping the bride and groom find better prices on rental items, catering, or by referring other professionals they trust. We can quickly look at a quote and tell a couple if it’s too high, and offer up another suggestion that is more cost-effective. We know the ins and outs of catering, photo album deals, print shops, alcohol and linen rentals, and we know when local companies go on their yearly sale, so we can advise the couple on when to book their items. Planners that also offer styling services, can suggest more cost effective ways to decorate a space without using expensive florals, repurposing items, diy’ing and even having connections with other professionals they can borrow items from."

How much should I tip my wedding planner?

"My rule of thumb is you don't need to feel pressured to tip business owners, but if your wedding planner is part of a bigger company, it's always a nice gesture ($50-$100 for junior staffers, assistants, and non business owners is a great amount!).  Opulent wedding budgets will sometimes tip a couple of hundred dollars to a planning company, but I wouldn't say that's the norm. I should add, planners expect to be able to use your wedding photos, and that is a super nice gesture to share those.  Wedding planners would take a nice and sincere online review and referrals over any amount of money!"

 Will I regret not hiring a videographer?

"My view on this is maybe biased, since I had one myself. I had lots of family that could not come, and I wanted them to feel like they were there. That is often the reason a lot of brides hire one. However, my general advice is, if photography occupies the #1 spot on the priority list, you’ve done a ton of research and put most of your budget into your photos, and you trust your photography team 100000%, skip the videographer! If you hired a so-so photographer, and are worried about their experience, definitely hire at least a so-so videographer as well. It’s easy for even an experienced photographer to miss important moments that video would capture, and you will be kicking yourself for not spending that extra money to have the special moments on video that you can never relive again."

What is the one mistake you see brides make the most? 

"The number one mistake is no doubt, obsessing about invitations.  Think about it, do YOU remember any wedding invitations? I don’t either. I know what it’s like, trust me, but put that energy to better use and focus on something the guests will actually appreciate and remember. Like cake."

Does hiring a wedding planner mean the bride doesn’t get to plan anything herself? 

"Absolutely not! With every bride, there are different levels of involvement. Even with the full planning and styling package I offer for example, often brides have a vision of what they want but don’t know what to call it, but as you get deeper into the planning you find that they know exactly what it is they envision. My job is to just make it sure it happens. Other brides could not care less, and they just tell you they love purple and to run with it! This can be a lot of fun too. With those brides I usually will spend time with them, observe the clothes they wear, ask for pictures of their home, and over time get an idea of what their style is and implement that into the design."

What factors of a wedding should be splurged on and what factors should be saved on? 

"This is very personal to every bride. I would say as a general rule, food should be the main splurge. Invitations, menus, programs and favors can hang out at the bottom of your list."

 What do you think makes for the most beautiful wedding? 

"A happy bride and happy groom! I think it’s important for couples to remember the whole point of the wedding – to get married! The reality is, you will be so happy that day that none of the details will matter, and a beautiful wedding is one where they couple is focused on their future, and are sincerely making a commitment for a lifetime. I can spot that a mile away, and I always, no exceptions, cry at those weddings from behind my iPad and folders."

 What are your best tips for the bride?

"Choose an awesome MOH. Don’t commit to any decorating the day of. Don’t stay up too late the night before. Don’t drink more than 1 glass of wine while getting ready. Do a first look – you won’t get much time with your husband once the ceremony begins. Set time aside to do something normal that day to calm your nerves (a Starbucks run, go to lunch with one of the girls, etc). Stop and look around at your reception, take it in. Try to actually taste your food. Don’t feel bad for not spending more time with guests, they will understand. Do take a special moment to sit with your parents. Eat cake. Dance. Go to the ladies room once by yourself and look at yourself in the mirror and take in that moment – it’s your wedding day!!"