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By shenandoahweddi731, Aug 6 2015 08:53PM

As a professional wedding planner I meet a lot of brides. When I get hired by a bride, she is usually feeling very stressed and she finally breaks and realizes she needs someone to help her that is a professional. When a bride gets engaged, she starts out excited and then in the midst of excitement she realizes there is a lot that goes into planning a wedding. She then isn’t excited anymore. Here are some common signs I see regularly when a bride realizes she needs a wedding planner.

1. You are excited about your wedding, but no one else seems to be. Your friends seem to be too busy to even help you with ideas or be excited with you. That doesn’t help the bride keep her excitement.

2. You and your fiancé are employed full time and can’t seem to find time to research, look through wedding magazines or even call wedding professionals.

3. You booked your wedding date and venue, but haven’t done anything else since then. You then realize your wedding is in like 4 months and now you want to pull your hair out.

4. You’re planning a wedding in an area where you don’t live, and no one you know does either. When you aren’t familiar with an area it’s very hard to hire the right wedding pros for your wedding day.

5. You’re addicted to Pinterest, and because of it you can’t narrow your ideas to make any cohesive design scheme.

6. You have no idea how much things cost for weddings, therefore do not know what to budget for.

7. Planning your wedding is starting to cause your stomach to ache. It’s not exciting or joyful anymore.

8. You’re fiancé says you spend too much time with planning that you don’t spend enough time with him.

9. Family members are getting too involved with planning that it’s causing conflicts. Hiring a wedding planner can help alleviate some of these issues. She/he would be a great mediator.

10. You’re so far behind you don’t know where to start to get back on track.

These are just some of the most common signs you might need a wedding planner. Planning a wedding should be exciting. It should bring some enjoyment. You can’t completely take all the stress away, but you can certainly get rid of a lot if you hire a wedding planner.

Wedding planners are there to calm you, hear you, help you, guide you etc. Their sole job is to make your life a little easier in planning the most important day of your life. They help you keep things in budget and give honest opinions. You still get to enjoy your day and the planning process without losing your mind while doing it.

Do any of these sound like you? If so, there is a perfect planner just for you. Seek her/him out and you will be so glad you did.

Renee Krejci is the owner of RCK Weddings & Design. She is a professional wedding planner, and has been in business since 2006. She plans weddings and life events in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She currently resides in Stephens City, VA with her husband and 2 children. Renee loves crafting and design and has loved events ever since she was a teenager. She had a special knack for organizing events at her church and people took notice. She absolutely enjoys what she does and hopes to continue for a long time.

By shenandoahweddi731, Mar 31 2015 09:54PM

After the "yes", the first thing most couples do is set the wedding date. Some of the obvious factors to consider when choosing a wedding date are: work schedule, season, and day of the week & location availability.

But, before you send out those save the dates, make sure you've considered all the relevant factors. Use this checklist to help ensure your wedding day is smooth.

• Weather- typical temperatures & precipitation for the wedding city

• Budget (if money is tight, off-season/off day will help)

• Bridal party & family availability

• Significant dates (anniversaries, unique dates)

• Sunrise & sunset times, daylight savings time, lunar phase- all will affect photography

• Sporting events (regional & national)

• Holidays (affect so many factors)

• Conventions (affects hotel availability/price, traffic & parking)

• Traffic/road construction for the area around your desired venue

• Community events (road races, festivals)

• Honeymoon site (is it hurricane season, peak season)

• Length of planning time (too short a planning time means many great vendors will already be booked)

Amy VanMeter
Amy VanMeter

Contributor: Amy VanMeter's business is her passion, born from a love of planning. Always the methodical “list maker,” Amy felt drawn to use her talents to help bridal couples, party hosts and organizations celebrate life’s special moments. This is her full-time job, not a part-time hobby — and she loves it!

By shenandoahweddi731, Feb 17 2015 10:05PM

Here's the deep dark secret no one in the wedding industry wants to admit....

A "Day of Wedding" Coordinator does not exist. Period!

I don't know where the term "day of coordinator" came to be because it's a complete misnomer. It just isn't possible to show up on the wedding day and coordinate a wedding properly.

I receive emails frequently from brides who ‏''‏just need a day of coordinator." They explain that they just want someone to handle the rehearsal and wedding day. I happily explain my wedding coordination services -- why I provide a "Month of" service.

Here's what's really involved for a wedding professional to successfully coordinate the "Day of Wedding" events.

Once booked to coordinate a wedding

- The bride receives an itinerary questionnaire to complete. This form gathers all the essential details for the wedding -- bridal party, vendor, ceremony and reception details.

Approximately one month before the wedding

- Have a meeting with the bride at the venue(s) with the site coordinator/catering manager. The purpose of this meeting is to "walk-through" the details of the wedding day. We finalize floor plan, timing, logistics & all of the fine details.

- The bride brings the completed questionnaire and copies of all of their vendor contracts to this meeting. We review the questionnaire and fill in any blanks so there are no surprises on the big day!

Two weeks prior to the wedding

- The vendor confirmation and itinerary creation process begins! This involves calling all vendors to: confirm contracted product/service to be provided, contact details, arrival/departure times and much more. using the questionnaire and the information gathered from the vendors,

- A detailed wedding week itinerary is created which includes all vendors’ contact information, bridal party information, a detailed timeline and floor plans.

- Wedding week itinerary is sent to all vendors. I follow up the day after it is sent to confirm receipt and accuracy of the itinerary.

"Day of Wedding" duties

- Actually begin the day BEFORE the wedding with the rehearsal.

- I, along with the officiant, conduct the rehearsal.

- On the event day, I arrive 3+ hours prior to the wedding depending on the amount of setup and when the vendors will begin arriving.

- My job on the wedding day is to ensure that the day runs smoothly and is stress-free for the couple and their families. In that effort, I setup client-provided decor items, assist vendors, double-check that everything is as it should be and handle any issues that may arise.

- When ceremony time arrives, I direct the bridal party, officiant and musicians.

- If needed, I transport decor items to the reception site.

- When it's time to get the reception party started, I coordinate with the venue/caterer, photographer, entertainment, etc. to ensure that the evening flows and is enjoyed by all.

- After the couple leaves the reception, I assist in gathering all of the couples belongings, gifts, cake, etc.

From the month-before site meeting until the last item is cleaned up, this job requires approximately 25 hours. Every one of them is necessary to ensure that the wedding day is the joyous celebration that the bride wants it to be. All of the time and effort that goes into this process is the reason that my service is described as Full-Service Wedding Coordination.

So, there really is no way a wedding planner can help ONLY on the "day of" the wedding. Would you want someone to just show up and handle your wedding day without doing all of the work beforehand?

Contributor: Amy VanMeter is an award-winning event planner serving clients in the northern Shenandoah Valley, Leesburg, Middleburg, Purcellville and Warrenton areas.

Amy VanMeter Image Courtesy of Julie Napier Photography
Amy VanMeter Image Courtesy of Julie Napier Photography

By shenandoahweddi731, Feb 3 2015 09:06PM

You’re engaged! Now WHAT!?!

Tell the world – you know you want to yell from the rooftop! Once you’ve told your parents, family, friends, co-workers and announced it on just about every social media platform there is – yeah, it’s best to let your family know BEFORE you put it on social media <grin>… that excitement may turn to overwhelm.

Where do you start?

This may be the day you’ve been waiting for but once you’re actually engaged reality sets in and suddenly you’re frozen in analysis paralysis not knowing what to do first. B-R-E-A-T-H-E

Breathe. Seriously. Deep breaths.

Relax and remember the ONLY thing required to get married is two people and an officiant. That’s it. The rest of the stuff is fluff. Nice fluff of course. “Fluff” you may have been dreaming about for years, but in the scheme of things, it’s all just extra so RELAX and BREATHE.

Exchange ideas with your partner. That means have a dialogue! Remember, there are TWO people getting married. Share ideas so both of you are in agreement about the ceremony and reception. It won’t do any good to start planning if you each have different ideas for how this big day is going down!

Ask around for referrals to find vendors you can trust. Once you decide to spend some hard-earned cash on the “fluff stuff” you want to make sure you are getting a good value. Shenandoah Wedding Professionals is a great resource for couples who want to plan their wedding in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley. You’ll find ideas for wedding services, receptions and a list of event-tested vendors – complete with links and contact information -- anxious to work with you.

Tell your families about any dates you are considering. It’s best to make sure there’s no other major family event you have to plan around. Aunt Betty may be planning the BIG family reunion or maybe there’s a high school or college graduation you need to plan around. Better to find out BEFORE you start all the planning.

Have the “TALK” with your parents or close family members. You know…THE talk. It starts with a “B.” It’s a liitttllleee late for the Birds & Bees talk. We’re talking about the BUDGET talk. Have an open discussion to find out who may be pitching in funds to help pay for the wedding. Paying for it all yourselves? Your parents will be thrilled to hear that! If you will be relying on help from family members, make sure everyone understands who is paying how much for what. It makes the whole process so much easier and less stressful.

Enjoy your engagement! Give yourselves some time to let it all sink in.

Now that you’ve taken the time to BREATHE you’re ready to start the wedding planning process! There are dozens of reliable, professional wedding vendors waiting to answer your questions and provide helpful information to make planning your big day a little easier! Congratulations on your engagement!

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