Planning a gorgeous wedding that’s both memorable (for all the right reasons) and stress-free, requires a high level of organization, flexibility, and knowledge. It’s a great idea to bring in an expert who’s dedicated his or her life to creating stunning events — then you can relax and enjoy this exciting time in your life. We recently sat down with luxury wedding planner, Jenny Chang (JC), founder of both Jenny Chang and Rock N’ Events, to discuss the all-important flow of producing a flawless wedding.
First and foremost, she says you should begin planning your wedding nine to twelve months in advance. That’s the time to choose your very first team member: your planner. When selecting a planner, consider their style and how well you connect with each other. JC helped construct this “Wedding Planner Checklist” to give you an expectation of flow and aid in making sure your event is on track.
1) Establish Rapport
A planner is someone with whom you’ll be working closely for a year leading up to this important day in your life — feeling at ease with each other is key. JC initially focuses solely on establishing rapport. “Our first consultation revolves around learning about the couple and how they make decisions together,” she says. In fact, she often pops champagne for this get-to-know-you session and doesn’t delve too much into actual wedding plans, though she does discuss ideals and dreams for the event. JC says she strives to find that sweet spot where “experience meets vision” — focusing on the experience for the couple and their guests while fulfilling the bride and groom’s vision for the celebration.
2) Set Expectations & Budget
A good planner will lay out a clear plan at the start. JC’s clients have demanding careers and planning their wedding is not their full-time job, so she’s really clear about setting expectations and defining next steps so as not to waste any of their time together. She’s developed a digital platform called “The Journey” that allows for quarterly tracking of the process which also acts as a gathering place for every detail from the bridal party and guest list to the budget line-up and tally of expenses.
Expect your planner to break down every financial estimate, from invitations to florals, venue to photographer. “I make sure their funds are well-guided by knowing the relative costs and averages of every element so they can choose to spend in the areas that matter to them. They’re only doing this once and it’s my job to guide them into knowing what the journey and their investment are expected to be from start to finish,” says JC.
3) Choose Venue & Service Team
“I like to first find out my bride and groom’s ideal destination — whether it exists in reality or not — and allow that vision of a perfect space to guide everything else,” says JC. If you’ve already booked a venue, allow your planner to take over as your representative. Once the venue is locked, it’s time to choose the other key service providers, from caterers (which is often tied to the location you choose) to a DJ and/or band, photographer, etc. “Who they choose as their photographer gives me an idea of their style for invitations, signage, website and so on,” she adds.
4) Book Design & Experiential Vendors
When choosing design and floral professionals with her couples, JC narrows down the design choices to two for each category. She curates the list because “we already have a vision set and want to work with trusted and proven designers that can bring that to beautiful life.” Next, in concert with the design team, comes flourishes from experiential vendors like live peacocks or elaborate ice sculptures — these details that contribute to the feel of the overall event, but are creative add-ons once the core team is in place.
5) Produce the Event
In the month leading up to your big day, every little personal detail should be attended to by your planner. Behind the scenes, they will be consolidating production boxes, tending to logistics, creating intricately-detailed floor plans, and introducing design vendors to the space — to name just a few things! JC says, “This is the time for the bride and groom to retreat, relax and build the momentum.”
On your wedding day, your planner should be fully accountable for the orchestration of the production, people and timing leading up to and throughout your celebration. For JC, this means having a minimum of five planners on-site tending to every aspect — with someone responsible for details as seemingly small and specific as the chairs to someone overseeing the large floral installations. This level of attention is what elevates events. Your planner should be the center of the hub of work activity, leaving you to fully immerse and enjoy your day.
“It’s critical to prepare the wedding planning journey with as much love and positive energy as they hope to experience on the day of their wedding. It goes hand-in-hand: the process and the day. And both must be filled with a healthy energy, positive thoughts and memorable experiences in order to create and live the wedding day of their dreams. It’s my vocation to create that energy — from the moment we begin to the moment they say ‘I do,’” says JC.
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