Category Archives: nh wedding planner

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Why You SHOULD Hire a Wedding Planner – from a Client’s Perspective

One our recent couples wanted to share their experience working with us and wrote this lovely post. I hope it helps you understand the importance of how a wedding planner can allow you to enjoy your day and what makes us stand out. Enjoy!

Written by Meaghan & Justin Williams

All images courtesy of their {fabulous, amazingly talented} photographer, Callan Photo

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What made you choose to look for a wedding planner?

We didn’t start this process thinking we would need a wedding planner. We were confident and even excited to do all the planning on our own, so whenever the idea of a wedding planner came up we more or less brushed it off as an unnecessary expense. In addition, our venue came with a wedding coordinator, so we felt like we were well supported in terms of planning.

What we learned, however, is that wedding planners – or at least Tracy – provide so much more than just “planning.” Tracy describes herself as a Wedding Fairy Godmother, but what she doesn’t say is that she is a Fairy Godmother, therapist, friend, confidant, peacemaker, strategist, and event planner extraordinaire. We initially reached out to Tracy after spending a weekend talking through the details of the wedding. We had all the big pieces down – the vendors were hired, the venue set, the colors chosen, but it suddenly occurred to us that there were a million little details that built off of each other and tied the larger pieces together and someone had to be responsible for being the glue that held them all in place. We wanted to enjoy our day, not be worried about orchestrating it – so that’s when we started looking.

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But if you already had a venue coordinator, why do you need a wedding planner?

Our venue coordinator ended up not being there on the day of our wedding, which, as it turns out, is a common situation at venues. If we hadn’t had Tracy with us, we would have been trusting the biggest day of our lives to someone whom we had never met. Hiring a wedding planner ensures that you have a consistent point of contact throughout the process – no matter what!

In addition, our venue coordinator’s priority was making sure that catering, bar, tent, tables and chairs were all in place. Tracy prioritized these things too, but her main priority was us. Our meetings with her were always full of personal details and she truly took the time to listen to our feelings and concerns and helped us build the best wedding for us. Tracy also has experience with multiple venues and vendors, so she isn’t stuck in the bubble of one venue and was able to provide suggestions that she had seen from multiple venues.

What were the most important factors to you when you were looking for a wedding planner?

Budget and availability were the initial eliminating factors, but most important to us was the reviews from prior clients, which we found via The Knot and Wedding Wire, and the initial interaction we had with them. We wanted someone who could empathize with the excitement and the nerves, while still being calm and in control of the big day. If you read Tracy’s reviews, you’ll see glowing after glowing review of the impact she has had on her couples and we can only echo those!

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How did you decide on a wedding planner?

We reached out to a total of six planners and talked to four of them. We found that every wedding planner had a different personality and way of introducing themselves to us. What stood out to us about Tracy amongst all the others was how personalized her response was to us. Where other coordinators had an automated email response with pricing, Tracy had clearly written a personalized message in response to our inquiry. In addition, she was extremely transparent about her services and pricing and wanted to schedule a consultation call and meeting with us before either of us made a decision to move forward.

On our initial consultation call, Tracy truly took the time to just listen to us. She wasn’t interested in pushing our plans in any particular direction, she just wanted to know what our needs were, why were we reaching out, what we wanted to feel like on our wedding day and why. She explained her services but never pressured us and was the only wedding planner that made us feel like we were hiring a person – a person who could understand, listen, empathize, negotiate, and consult – and not just a “service” that would make sure the flowers were in place on the big day.

After our call, we agreed to meet Tracy for a drink to discuss further details. We were shocked when we got there to see that Tracy had a binder already made for us with every detail we had mentioned on our call. What we really loved, however, was that our meeting was a conversation. It was clear that Tracy knew what she was doing, she asked questions that we never would have thought of – and she truly listened to our answers. She didn’t run us through a checklist of standard questions, she took the time to let us tell our story and ramble about little things that we were anxious about, all the while taking notes on everything from what kind of water we like to drink to our plans for the honeymoon.

So you hired her?

Heck yes we hired her! We weren’t pressured or sold into her services – but rather by the time we were done with our in-person meeting with her, we were basically begging her to work with us. Since the day we hired her, she’s truly become our go-to when it comes to wedding planning and moreover, she’s become an incredible, thoughtful friend.

How often do you meet with Tracy?

Ultimately we will have five in-person meetings before the big day. However, we can’t even begin to count the emails and texts that have taken place in between those meetings. Our communication ranges from long, planning focused emails to quick panic texts “I can’t remember if I told you this, but…” Our communication with Tracy allowed us to sleep at night knowing that every detail was being managed by an expert.

What advice do you have for other couples in the planning stages?

Well, first, obviously hire Tracy – you’ll thank us later! Secondly, be willing to admit how you’re feeling and know that it’s okay to ask for help. Do you really want to spend an extra thousand dollars on chairs? Do it. Do you not care about flowers? Don’t have them. Are you stuck between two songs for your entrance? That’s okay! Tracy has made us realize that there are no rules, just plans. No matter how absurd our ideas have gotten, Tracy takes them in stride and works them into the plan. When we’re stuck on an idea, we email her and ask for her opinion because we know that it will be honest, unbiased, and coming from someone with experience.

How do you think the planning process has changed now that you have a wedding planner?

It’s so much more enjoyable! Knowing that we have Tracy on our team allows us to let go of fretting over every detail and wondering if we’ve forgotten something. Tracy keeps us in check and reminds us what we still need to do and when we need to do it by. Having someone take the reins on the logistical pieces has allowed us to focus on the more meaningful pieces – we can think about writing our vows and practicing our first dance rather than trying to figure out a backup plan if we’re running late and it starts raining during the first look.

In addition, Tracy has provided multiple recommendations, she makes us laugh when we’re panicking, she keeps us organized, and she’s really been a neutral voice of reason that has helped us stay grounded during the planning process. Tracy is more than willing to help us incorporate anything into our wedding, but she’s also ready to give her honest opinion and the pros and cons of an idea when we ask her. We trust her judgment and experience more than anyone else in this process and she has yet to steer us wrong!

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How do your vendors feel about having a wedding planner involved?

Everyone we’ve ever met that has worked with Tracy loves her. One of our vendors even emailed us to thank us for introducing him to Tracy because she’s been so great to work with. Ultimately, working with Tracy means that all of the vendors receive the same coordinated, perfected timeline, they all have a point of contact that is guaranteed not to be emotional that day, and they all have the opportunity to work with a professional, which allows them to focus on doing their best work as well.

What does a wedding planner do on the day of the wedding?

Apparently everything, but the most important thing that Tracy did was allow us to enjoy ourselves. Tracy was on site by the time we woke up making sure everything was in place. She unpacked our car, set up the décor, checked in with all of our vendors, made sure the venue looked exactly the way we envisioned, managed the timeline, kept our wedding party on schedule, and, most importantly, kept us calm! Throughout the wedding, she was remembered every small detail and managed every curve ball that came her way. When we wanted to make a change last minute, we simply told Tracy and she communicated with the rest of the vendors to make it happen so that we could get back to enjoying our day.

Are wedding planners really worth the money?

We literally laugh every time we hear this question. What’s the price you would pay to feel calm on your wedding day? How much would you spend to hear someone tell you, “you don’t need to wear a watch on your wedding day?” How much is your sleep worth? We can’t speak for every wedding planner, but we can speak for Tracy. She has made our engagement enjoyable, organized, and stress-free; that is worth every penny and so much more.

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Thank you Meaghan & Justin for this heartfelt & informative post from your perspective on how I helped you enjoy your wedding. I truly put so much time, love & work into all my couples wedding day. This made me blush when I read how much it helped you both really enjoy your day and the months leading up to it. I was honored to be part of it and so happy to witness your love and the next chapter of your lives, but especially can now call you both friends.

Want us by your side at your wedding & enjoy your wedding? Visit our website to check us out.

Cheers!
~Tracy

New England Weddings – Steampunk Inspiration Styled Shoot

I always love to do styled shoots, it’s a way to tap into my creative mindset and get together with some of my favorite wedding vendor peeps. I’ve wanted to do a Steampunk shoot for quite some time now and it’s been on my back burner for the last few years. Now, I know why, I had to meet the ‘right’ people in order to create just the right look.

This year was the time to do it and I had the pleasure of bringing together a team of incredibly, talented New England wedding professionals to create it. I had a blast designing it and allowing the others to tap into their creativity as well to help give you ideas that bring in authentic steampunk elements with an elegant twist into your wedding. This shoot has been under wraps for months {sad to say, it wasn’t picked up to be published}, so I’m quite happy to finally be able to share the stunning images from EAS Photography and the creative awesomeness of the whole team! I hope you enjoy….

A Tale of Two Dreams: How you envision your wedding and how your parents do are completely different!  Written by Kelly Belt

Lets face it, Steampunk is becoming more mainstream, but when you tell your parents you want a “Steampunk Wedding”, they look at you like you’re crazy. As much as you try to explain your ideas, they just don’t understand it and may revert to Google. You know that may not be the best place for them to look since we all know what pops up. Images of people in leather arm pieces adorned with brass and crotch revealing skirts. Who knows, they may even come across the man pictured from this photo shoot breathing fire.

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Truth be told, you can still have a steampunk inspired wedding that you love and your parents are willing to invite their friends to. Your wedding theme, colors, location and décor does not need to be all black and brown, set in an abandoned mill and dimly lit with a bunch of Edison bulbs to feel authentic.

There are not many true Steampunk venue locations where you can have a wedding besides the occasional bar or diner. There are other great options to have your wedding such as barns, rustic themed restaurants and your very own backyard where a tent can be pitched. The photo shoot featured here was done at the Nevins Memorial Library on a lovely Sunday afternoon. The architecture of the library fit with the appearance we were trying to create, but how your wedding style comes to life falls in how you decorate the venue and what elements you bring in.

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In the steampunk world, almost nothing is used for its original intended purpose. For example, antique couch springs can be used to hold the flowers. Centerpieces can be made out of tea lights and thrift store finds of old large medicinal and tonic bottles can be used to hold loose flowers. Antique keys and price tags can be used as the escort cards and favors.

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It’s a wedding, so there is bound to be cards and gifts and what better way than using old luggage to hold the cards. Another great idea to use for a card box is an antique birdcage from a thrift store that can add a Victorian feel. For the flatware and glasses, you can bring in the key steampunk elements that have character too add a vintage feel or incorporate types of metals that your guests will see that will tie into the décor.

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This is a great way to keep things whimsical by using daisies and other types of flowers. If flowers aren’t your cup of tea, you can make a bouquet of buttons and paper flowers. As you can see below, color was used to bring in a different aspect to the overall look and feel. Rich tones and petals that remind you of velvet will bring back a feeling of yesteryear and Victorian luxury.

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Truthfully, it’s usually all about the dress! Using colors of ivory and oyster can add an antique feel to your wedding. The dress featured here is made of fabrics from ivory to golden pink brown. Yes, it is 100% acceptable for you to wear a corset. The key when you’re shopping for a dress is to keep an open mind. If you are a smaller dress size and short in height, you may find a great vintage dress at an antique shop. Also, don’t forget this could be a good excuse to have something custom made that you can use over again.

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You also want your beloved to be looking spectacular as well, so having them in a corset is a good option to keep them “looking their best”.

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Your wedding is about whatever you choose it to be and should reflect your personality. Above all, make your wedding day; a day you will remember and others will talk it about fondly.

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We all had a blast creating this shoot for you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Want to see what else I’ve done? Check out our gallery to see the weddings we’ve been part of.

Cheers,
~Tracy

Vendor Love:

Planner/Designer: Inked Events
Florist/Designer: OUTBloom Floral Design
Photography: EAS Photography
Hair: J. Scott Salon
Makeup: Katherine Macdonald Beauty
Dress: Kelly Belt of Voltaire Design Studio
Suit and Corset: Jane’s Corset
Rentals: Peterson Party Center
Venue: Nevins Memorial Library
Model: Sarah Maillet
Model: Charlie Hayes

New England Weddings – Bohemian Wedding Inspiration

I’m always excited when a vendor asks to collaborate on a styled shoot, so when my friend Nancy of Makeup by Nancy reached out to ask if I was interested in collaborating on a styled shoot, of course I said yes! It’s always a pleasure to work with some of my friends to create a bohemian inspiration wedding styled shoot that was featured in Seacoast Wedding Magazine.

If you don’t know me {yet} I like to beat to my own drum and do things a wee-bit differently. So, when Nancy approached me to help design this styled shoot, she wanted me to put my stamp on it. I did my research on what this style represented and how I can add my twist to it.

The traditional bohemian theme focuses mostly on neutral, cream and pink color palettes. During my research and diving deeper into it, I found descriptions such as “eclectic mix of hippie, nomad & gypsy lifestyle with an artistic flair”, whimsical, mix and match flowers and dish-ware. Now, we’re talking about what speaks to me. I decided to go with the artistic flair and brought in that pop of color to the natural element.

I went with a purple, white and cranberry color palette. For the decor, I wanted to focus on arrows, wood, vintage and soft, romantic feel. All images are courtesy of the amazingly, talented, fun guys at Black Thumb Studio.

I absolutely fell in love with the purple ‘leafy’ and textured linens from Peterson Party Rentals when I saw them, so when I spoke with my new found friends at Free Range Floral about what I was envisioning for the florals, they fit right in. I told them I wanted a woodsy, colorful and flowy feel…boy, they did not disappoint and captured what I was looking for.

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I did the stationery in-house since my one of my assistants, Maureen is super talented with graphic design!

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We had to have a gorgeous bouquet to go with the stunning dress from Pure Bliss

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..and a little something for him too!

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When the florists mentioned they wanted to “try” out a floral wall as a nice background, who am I to say no?!

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And it looks so pretty with the hairpiece….and check out Makeup by Nancy’s amazing job on the makeup!

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Can’t have a styled shoot without a pretty venue to show off. We had the pleasure of the Ferncroft Country Club allowing us the use of their newly renovated space to capture these details! It was such a gorgeous venue and the grounds were absolutely stunning for pictures!

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You can’t have a styled shoot without some yummy dessert. The cupcakes were graciously made by Nicole Locke at Bucciarelli’s Butcher Shop & Deli. Yes, they are more than just a butcher shop!

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Lastly, when you think of “hippie”, you instantly think of a VW Bus. So, when Nancy found out that one of her past clients had just restored one, she immediately called Bud at Salem Five to see if we could use it! He graciously said yes….

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OH WAIT, there’s one more thing….as with the weddings I am part of, I’m always about it being personalized. Nancy & I both wanted to use our family china to bring in the personal element.

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I had a blast working with my vendor friends before the craziness of wedding season began and it’s always a good way to get the creative juices flowing! Allow all of us to be part of your wedding and you won’t be disappointed either!

Want to see what else we’ve done? Check out some of our work in our gallery.

Cheers,
~Tracy

Top 5 Wedding Planner Checklist

Hello there!

Trust me, when I tell you there will be many items on the wedding checklist you will be checking off throughout your planning process. In my experience, I find the ones below are the 5 most important on my wedding planner checklist.

Top 5

1. Set your wedding date

Honestly, you would think this would be the easy part and for some it is, but it also could be very daunting to a newly engaged couple. No need to fret over it, there are a few ways to help you determine the perfect date. Do you have a favorite month or number? Do you have an anniversary date of when you starting dating? Those are at least a good starting points.

A little story about when I was picking my own wedding date, I knew I wanted to get married on a Saturday and wanted to make it an “anniversary” weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the actual date we started dating that fell on a Saturday for a few years, so I went for the next best thing, the following day! Both dates have a special meaning to me in different ways and now every year, I honor both and have an anniversary weekend.

Don’t be afraid to allow a number or month that has a special meaning to the two of you to be a factor.

2. Set a budget

Money is always hard to talk about, but this by far is the most important item on the wedding planner checklist. Determine what you can afford and how much you want to spend on your wedding. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have the wedding of your dreams and there are many ways to have the wedding of your dreams without the huge price tag.

Also, during the budget discussion, I’d advise to make priorities on certain areas and items that are important to you where you couldn’t imagine getting married without them. It will help you know where you want to spend higher and lower amounts of your budget.

3. Determine who’s paying what

After you’ve determined the budget, you need to decide whether any family members will be helping you out paying for the wedding. In this day and age, most couples are paying for the majority of the wedding themselves, but their parents do want to contribute something to help.

If the parents are making any type of contribution towards your wedding, its best to ask them what the specific amount is. The reason being, it will help you know the best areas to allocate that money towards. It’s always easier to know an exact amount you’re able to work with than wonder how much you have to spend.

4. Decide on what type of wedding you want

You’ve set the date, determined your budget and even who’s helping out, now let the planning fun begin! I’m sure you’ve looked at countless Pinterest boards for inspiration {it can be wonderful, but also overwhelming!} and now the time has come to decide what type of wedding you’re envisioning.

By deciding this, it will help set the tone of your wedding and will let you know which direction to go in. There are many options to consider, so do what makes you happy and works for you and your budget.

  • Do you want a traditional, non-traditional, outdoor/indoor ceremony and reception?
  • Do you want formal, semi-formal, backyard or laid back kind of wedding?
  • What type of year feels right to you: fall, summer, spring or maybe even in winter {nothing wrong with a little snow for a New England wedding}.

I promise once you decide what type of wedding you want, it will ease your mind and let you determine whether you want a specific theme and color palette.

5. Select and book your vendors

The date and budget is set, you’ve set priorities based on what is important to you and your fiancé, now I would highly recommend you start looking at vendors that fit your budget, style and personality. There are vendors that do book out at least a year {or more} in advance, especially the ones who are incredibly talented at their craft. By setting priorities, it will help you determine where you want to spend more or less of your budget for those particular vendors.

During your research, keep a few thoughts in mind: do you admire their work, understand what value they bring to the table and most importantly, when you meet or talk with them, do you have a connection with them. Listen to your gut feeling. Trust me, you will be spending a lot of time with certain vendors, so you want to make sure you have a good connection with them.

I hope my Top 5 most important wedding planner checklist items helped you prioritized things. I leave you with a few parting words…
Have fun planning your wedding & make it your own!

Are you feeling overwhelmed with your wedding planning? Check out our services to see how we can help elevate some of that anxiety. I can’t wait to hear from you and talk weddings! 🙂

Cheers!
~Tracy

NH’s A-List Best Wedding Planner Nomination

We’re excited to announce…. we’ve been nominated for the second year in a row as NH’s A-List Best Wedding Planner!!

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I’m truly humbled and honored to have been voted as the 2015 NH’s A-List Best Wedding Planner and jumping up for joy that we’ve been nominated again.

I strive to bring our couples the best, friendly, efficient and relaxing wedding planning service I can. I know my couples personally and take the time to understand their wedding vision, what is stressing them out and of course, elevating any stress or anxiety they have. Our goal is for our couples to wake up on their wedding day and know everything is being taken care of.

If you’d like to help us reach our goal of being voted the 2016 NH’s A-List Best Wedding Planner, please vote for us here. Voting begins on April 25th…I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you!
~Tracy