Interview with Tobey Dodge

Nista Weddings

Under a Budget but need Help?
WEDDING PLANNER DEFINED!
Photos are of weddings planned by Tobey Dodge

According to wedding planner Tobey Dodge of The Wedding Connection you can have the benefits of a full service planner without a full service price tag if you use them wisely.

Tobey says: “I’ve sat across from many coupleswho don’t have a clue about the time it takes to plan a wedding that entails creating a theme or specific ambience, research and selection of vendors, importance of understanding contracts, and create the budget that reflects their taste and style before anyone signs on the dotted line.

Many couples feel once they have found their location and selected their main services, that most of the hard work is done and don’t need a Wedding Planner. Well, they are half right.”

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Tobey further states: “The other large pieces of the pie are logistics and coordination. Logistics in creating a schedule of events for the wedding that will work not only for the wedding party, family, but all the services and sometimes multiple sites involved over a wedding weekend. Logistics involves“speaking” the language of the wedding services; understanding what set up and breakdown terms and conditions need to be addressed for a smooth running event. Coordination is making things happen with good communication and follow up calls. There has to be someone that says, it’s time to start, move the guests, let the kitchen know the wedding party is lined up and ready to enter the ballroom etc, etc, etc.”

“It’s easy to see how one can become overwhelmed with the details and grunt work needed to plan a wedding. Often getting married brings with it many lifestyle changes like setting up housekeeping, and perhaps a change in jobs or relocating to a different city. There is a lot to think about, stress about, and frankly pay for within a relatively short period of time.”

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With all this to consider, Tobey breaks it down for you here on ways you can use a wedding planner to help make your day perfect with minimal stress to you and without breaking your budget.

  • Figure out your role in the planning as a bride and groom and where you need help to plan and execute the wedding day.
  • Make a list of all the duties, tasks, and responsibilities leading up to and including the wedding day. Have your planner help and/or review your list.
  • Once you have that list, divvy up the list between the bride, groom & planner.
  • Task the planner to keep the bride & groom on their “list” like the difficult ‘guest list’. Listen to the planners suggestions as to how best to proceed in the decision making process and lighten up the level of stress for you so you can get through some of the tough decisions without losing sleep or having family arguments.
  • Having expert help at pivotal moments can really make the difference in enjoying the process of planning a wedding rather than dragging each other through it. Getting the help at these essential times is a cost effective way to utilize your planning dollars.
  • Have your planner give you recommendations for sites and services once you sit down with him or her to discuss your level of taste and style.
  • Make sure the planner is with you for three major meetings. #1) the budget and service recommendation meeting. The 2ndis the tasting where your caterer and/or event manager will discuss the food, flow of the event and take a general walkthrough at the site for where the events will take place and the physical set up you are planning for your guests and wedding party from pre ceremony entrance to end of the evening departure.
  • The 3rd meeting is a ‘comprehensive conference’ where you go over the time line for the wedding day, discuss all the major events within the wedding day like getting ready, first glance photos, arrival of family and bridal party, and finalize the ceremony components like the processional and recessional orders with music cues for the ceremony through the end of the event including cocktails and dinner reception. In order to get ready for the comprehensive conference, the planner will have received and reviewed your signed contracts from all the major services.
  • Have the planner make the final follow up calls to the sites and services to make sure all the numbers add up, guests needs are addressed and your vendors are confirmed on their arrival and set up or delivery times as well as their part in the wedding day activities.

According to Tobey: “It should be the planner’s responsibility to facilitate the rehearsal or at least be present if there is a religious representative or officiate to lead the rehearsal. It is so beneficial to have a rehearsal and a chance for the planner to meet the wedding party and parents so on the wedding day, there is an established rapport and comfort level among the principals in the wedding.

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Depending on culture and religious preferences, the wedding day coordination may entail more than just the planner to coordinate the entire wedding day. It may be necessary to have multiple assistants to carry out the set up and running of the event which also may increase the budget but helps to create a smooth wedding day.

Obviously there are many variables in the size, scope, and complexity of any given wedding, but the components outlined above will go a long way to giving the bride and groom the expert help they need without the full service level package price which would entail many more meetings with various services and complete design services.

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Also having a professional to talk to along the way and present at important junctures in the planning and execution of those plans will take a load off your mind and provide comfort in knowing that there is someone who is professionally trained to handle the unknown, prepare you properly for decision making and can offer lots of suggestions for making your wedding day be the best it can be.“

Happy Wedding Planning, from The Wedding Connection by Tobey Dodge
Author of recently released book “The Other Side of the Aisle”.

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Sasha Avani

Sasha has been writing about fashion for 7 years. She is also a style expert with a keen eye on fashion trends and looks for your body type. "Fashion is an expression of your individuality; you don't have to follow trends to know what looks good; as long as you feel good and confident in what you are wearing, that's all that matters." Special thanks to mesonista for the opportunity to be part of your fashion community. YOU'RE SO NISTA!

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