On Wednesdays I’ll be starting a #WeddingVendorWednesday where I invite a new wedding vendor each week to do a podcast audio with me. Because who has time to constantly be physically reading? I’m excited to introduce you to the amazing wedding vendor community, starting with Ohio and Arizona wedding vendors, and slowly making my way to the other states!
Mel: So this is going to be the first episode of the Wedding Vendor Wednesdays.
We have Courtney with LCN Events.
Courtney: Hi guys, thank you for having me.
Mel: I’m so excited. I was like, I’ve seen her in person, I’m going to feel so much more comfortable having her be my first person.
Courtney: I agree. Well, I think this is fun, and I’m really excited that you decided to let me be here with you and talk through some of this stuff.
Mel: And it’s so much easier to meet up on the internet than getting to meet up like 2 hours away from each other!
Courtney: Oh no, I agree. Yea for anyone listening, Melissa and I met because of Instagram. So never doubt the power of social media. And essentially we finally got an opportunity to meet up in Columbus and now here we are just coaching each other on and supporting each other through social media and we decided to take it another step further.
Mel: With podcasts!!
Mel: So my plan for each of these weeks is to just get to know the different wedding vendors because the most intimidating thing, and I’m sure you know this because you plan it with a lot of the girls or guys, its intimidating looking at the hundreds of wedding vendors and not really knowing if you mesh with them or if their personalities are right for you. So I wanted to just take the time to talk with people I’ve already been socializing with on Instagram, or Facebook, or in person and just get to know them more in an audio version.
Mel: So, my first question I have for you is:
In an elevator speech sort of way, who are you and what life events brought you into the life of being a wedding planner?
Courtney: Oh… well no pressure here.
Mel: Yea.. no pressure haha
Courtney: Well everyone, my name is Courtney and I’m the owner of LCN Events I am a full time wedding planner and designer and I travel literally wherever my couples need me and essentially what I do is more than just being a wedding planner but I help couples creative beautiful weddings by first creating beautiful marriages.
So essentially what that means is I work with couples, I personally love when I get to work with couples for full service. I do offer wedding management as well, but essentially what that means is if you’re the couple who recently got engaged and needs to figure out how to get started and what tips and tricks to actually be listening to… and whose opinion, and having a say in things. I kind of get to help coach my couples through that and to help them
Mel: I love that because there’s so many pieces of advice out there that don’t necessarily go to every single couple, so that’s another overwhelming thing. So you’re able to be like, “Nope that’s not you, that doesn’t relate to you.”
Courtney: Yea, and it’s helping couples remember: by starting with the most important thing, and again that goes back to creating that beautiful marriage first because truly a wedding is only as beautiful as the marriage that’s being created in my opinion.
Mel: And you talked about that on your podcast too, the one that you just posted. I was like, “I love that! It’s so true.” Like focusing on the relationship is so much more important than all of the fun details, which are great as well. But it’s like, “hold on, what is at the core? Because that’s the most important thing.”
Courtney: Exactly. Yea! So that’s what I really try to put out there so when couples are looking for planners, heck they might not even know, “what good is a planner… I want to plan the wedding myself why do I need to pay someone to help me?”
Mel: Yea! So many people ask me that and I’m like, “Let me reference what Courtney told me” because I can’t say it as good as you can because I’m not a wedding planner. I just know the things that we get tasked out as for photographers that we shouldn’t be doing. So I’m like, “if you had a planner this would make things so much easier…” haha
Courtney: Yea! No, that’s why I try and tell couples. You know, my job is really to help educate and after being able to talk and help educate couples, that gives them the tools they need to make that decision.
So essentially, why a wedding planner is such a good and kind of going back to your original question, “In an elevator pitch”. Really, I help couples through every step of the wedding planning process from making the tough decisions to finding your voice and saying, “well, as a couple this is what we want to do” and not feeling like there are rules you have to follow just because you’ve been to several weddings and everyone is doing the same thing does not mean that you have to do that. And truly my job is really to save my couples time and money. And even though I’m an investment myself, what I’ve done to be able to serve my couples is to get to know all these vendors in the areas that my couples are in or to save them time by researching and then presenting vendors that match their budget. That match their styles and personalities. So we’re saving time by finding their dream team in a very efficient manner, and truly encouraging my couples to know that, “hey! Wedding planning should not be stressful. It should be easy. And the way to achieve that is by having someone to help you through that process.” You know, nothing is meant to be done by yourself. There’s no pressure to have to do things a certain way. And that’s kind of where I come in, to make sure they feel relaxed and to ask the tough questions, and answer the tough questions. You know, until you go through it once (and hopefully you’re only going through it once) but my point is until you do it once, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Mel: Yes. They might just go off of what they’ve seen, and that might not be you.
Courtney: Exactly. And most couples that… when I’m reading about statistics, one of the things that they look back on is wishing that they had someone to help them with that process. That they wish they had someone there the day of. Someone from the beginning. And that’s kind of what I’m trying to do, is help educate people as per why I can help them and why I want to help them.
Mel: Yes! And they’re already so busy! Like that’s always my talk with any of my couples. I’m like, “you guys are already so busy. You’re balancing your regular work schedule. You’re trying to have time for your friends, and your fiancé. And then you’re like adding in wedding planning and trying to meet all these people.” I’m like… “You don’t have time for any of this! It’s soooo much!”
Courtney: Yea! No, and I agree. That’s really what I’m here for. I’m here to make life a little bit easier by doing my part. And really what has been so different about the way that I’ve been doing things is that it starts with the relationship. I don’t care what your background is. I don’t care what your budget is. None of that matters. And the reason I say that is, I can work with any couple and any budget and any state, wherever they want to do whatever they want. If it’s a small wedding, a big wedding. And we’re able to achieve that because again, we stay true to what they want. You know, if someone wants a small intimate wedding in the PNW, awesome. We’re going to do that. If someone wants a really big wedding in a venue in downtown NY, or wherever. I’m just spitballing here. But again, these things are only possible because I take the time to learn about them and what brought them here and we can celebrate that through these milestones and come up with a plan and a timeline of how we’re going to go about booking these vendors and checking these things off the to-do list. And it all happens very very naturally. Because we did the hard work in the beginning of coming up with a plan.
Mel: That blueprint before you even begin any of the other hard work versus like going in and seeing all of these options and being like, “I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m overwhelmed!” You’re already starting from the beginning with the blueprint and going from that blueprint to the creation of the actual wedding.
Courtney: Exactly. Yea. And that’s what has made every wedding to date executed very well. Things go smoothly. My couples are happy. Their families are happy. I’m happy. I mean, it’s truly magic and even my wedding management couples. My couples that come to me a couple months before their wedding like, “Oh my goodness… we need help.” I can still come in and try to do all the same things. The only reason it’s a little more difficult and why in that time I become more of a problem solver, is because you know, maybe they’ve been booking things or they didn’t know what they didn’t know about a certain vendor. Or when they were choosing what time of day for the ceremony, and then the reception and their cocktail hour. They didn’t know how much time they were actually going to need. So at that point we just make it work, and everything will still work out because at the end of the day… none of this would be happening if the couple didn’t come together, if they didn’t choose each other, and if they didn’t love each other. So it’s kind of reminding people… you’re getting married. That is all that matters.
(Christian comes up)
Mel: But um.. back into that timeline and like, them already having these timelines and messing up. I try to do the best that I can from a photographer perspective to like, but like, this is how much time we need for these things. But I don’t get a whole lot of interaction with the other vendors and I technically don’t need to.. because that isn’t my job as the photographer. I go a little above and beyond when I need to kind of get that situated, but really that comes down to an actual wedding planner and coordinators like, “look… this is how much these wedding vendors need for this portion of the day” and having them help coordinate with all of the wedding vendors, because we’re all busy too. So it’s nice to have the planner that’s like… reaching out to all of the other vendors and helping us all get onto the same page.
Courtney: Yea, and that’s kind of why I tell may couples too, “Look, my job isn’t just to make it easier for you and to help you have fun and be relaxed, but I’ve been doing this a certain way for a while. So I understand what other vendors need. So my job is also to make your life easier for your other vendors so that your day does go perfect. So that it does go super smooth.” And really, it just kind of, again, comes down to having the time to do that. Some people know this and some people don’t, just like any other vendor, planners book out pretty far in advance and planners also, depending on how big their team is, can take on multiple weddings a weekend or can decide not to. And something that has always spoken true to me from my experiences before starting my business is:
The experience that I would want is to feel important, to feel valued, and to feel heard, and in order for me to do that for my couples, I only book one wedding a weekend and only so many a year so that I’m able to work with all of their vendors.
Mel: I remember seeing that on your website and I was like, “I love that! That’s so important.” Because I would be like, “yea I’m her one wedding for the weekend!” Like I would feel super special knowing that!
Courtney: Yea! Well and again, you know it’s something that’s always been important to me, and being able to serve people well and give them the time that they need and the time that they want, and all of that is just my magic process I guess you could say, that makes everything work out well. So again, by making it about the couple and getting to know them and spending… you know some of my couples I spend over a year with. Look, it does not take a long time to plan a wedding. However, the more time we have to work together, the better. Because you aren’t going to feel rushed. Your bookings and deposits aren’t going to happen at the same time, and then you’re going to be like “Oh my gosh.. where did all my money go?” By starting a little early, but starting when you feel like, “Oh I have too much time, I don’t need to talk to Courtney right now”
Mel: They’re always amazed by how fast it goes by! Every single one.. like I have a wedding, they booked me last year. We just did their engagement session. So it’s almost been a year since they booked me, we just did their engagement session, and their wedding still isn’t until next year. And it’s been so nice because you get to know them so much more the longer ahead the book you. So you get an even more personal… like I already have a personal relationship with my couples, but like, when you’re with each other for that long of a time period on social media and regular interactions, it’s just so much more natural!
Courtney: It is natural. I completely agree. And again, I tell people, “yea I’m here as a wedding planner, but I’m pretty much here to be your friend. I’m here to be that person that can help you every step of the way and can be your confidant, and all of these things. Because again, time flies, and life doesn’t stop and it should be enjoyable and by doing my part it makes me feel great, it makes my couples feel great, and we become friends. And their friends become family, and long after the wedding is done, we’re still in touch. We still see each other. We’re still friends and supporting each other on social media, and in real life, and with everything that we’re doing! I get to know what’s going on in their lives, when “Oh my gosh! They’re making a change with their job!”
Mel: Yea! Or they just redid their house or got a new dog!
Courtney: Yea! Having them start their family! That’s what’s important to me. Because planning a wedding, even though as soon as it’s over people feel like “oh my gosh.. now it’s done” but the relationship doesn’t have to end there. To me it isn’t a transaction, it’s a relationship.
Mel: Well that’s like such a huge thing with whenever I look through reviews or comments couples have told me. They’re like, “you were the friendliest of the wedding vendors” because there are so many wedding vendors there, there’s a lot of amazing ones obviously, but there are so many that are still in this business mindset and so like, the couples feed off that. And they’re like, “well you were the only one that was personable.” And I’m like, “that makes me really sad.” I shouldn’t be the only one that’s personable you know?
Courtney: Yea, I totally get that. And I think that each day we put ourselves out there and talk about that. Regardless of who’s out there and who’s watching, but just truly putting that out there, that is helping change the industry, and change the way that couples see planning a wedding and hiring their vendors. That again, you know, you’re going to get the team that you want. You’re going to have the day that you want. Everything is going to work out and you might as well enjoy that process. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re wishing, “I just wish the wedding was here because I want it to be over with, this is so stressful” because, no…. At one point in time you were SO excited to get engaged, and then you got engaged and started planning. Don’t just wish for the wedding to be here and be over because as soon as the wedding is over it’s going to be like, “Oh my gosh!” You know?
So I want my couples to be able to relax and enjoy what’s going on right now and being able to appreciate what’s going on right now. And you know what, I have some couples that we’ve just been smooth sailing and meeting up to meet up, and grabbing lunch just to grab lunch, and talking every day just to talk, because again.. we’ve become friends. I know what’s going on in their lives and they know what’s going on in my life. But we haven’t had business things to discuss and what I mean by that is, you get to a point in the planning process where you just kind of have to wait.
Mel: That’s especially for photography, because outside of planning the engagement session, there’s like a huge lull in the business needs, so that’s when it’s so important to have that personal relationship, even if it’s just commenting on that Instagram picture or being like, “that drink looks so good! Where was that at?” Just the small little things to show that you still care and that you’re still there even if you aren’t doing anything business related at the time.
Courtney: Exactly. Yup. And that’s what I tell my couples. I’m here for all of it. The good. The bad. I’m here for.. when you’re stressed out because you’re buying a house and planning a wedding all at the same time. “Preach. I gotchu. I’m here!” Even if you just need me to text you motivation quotes in the morning. I love motivation quotes, I think anyone that knows me knows that I’m all about that.
Mel: I’ve been slowly starting to share them more on my instastories except instagram redid their thing so now I can’t share things directly so I have to screenshot it and I’m just like… it’s fine.
Courtney: But I think that’s what’s super important and what couples don’t realize either is that you get out of it what you put into it. So if you want to find these people that are your people, just trust in the process and ask questions and reach out to people. If you don’t know what they do, ask them what they do! Because chances are, you know, everyone loves talking about themselves. But there’s a difference of when someone tells you what they do because that’s just what they do or they can give you an experience.
And um, another thing that couples, I don’t think really know either is… aside from their spouse, when they’re planning their wedding the most time they’re going to spend is with their planner. Um.. and, you know.. making sure that planner understands them so when they’re booking their vendors they’re picking… they’re finding those vendors that speak to their soul too because when it comes to the photography side of things —
Mel: I was going to say, it’s so funny you say that because I was updating the copy on my website and I literally wrote, “just so you know.. not necessarily literally but almost literally.. I’m going to be the person next to you the entire day of your wedding” So I was like, make sure you vibe well with whoever you choose to be your wedding photographer.
Courtney: Exactly, and that’s why I tell couples, “look you know.. I love starting earlier because it might take a couple weeks to come across that perfect photographer” and that’s why I tell couples, “I spend so much time trying to get to know everyone that I can to make the process a little more seamless.” But again, it’s almost impossible to know everybody.
Mel: Yes… there are so many people.
Courtney: When I spend that time getting to know them, that’s when I can link them up with the best vendors for them. Photography is so important, and I would argue that it’s one of the more important things when it comes to planning a wedding because the photos are what you’re going to have when it’s all said and done.
Mel: Yes, because if you’re going to spend this money on the details, you need to spend the money on a photographer who will capture them the right way.
Courtney: Exactly, and again, someone you vibe with, that you trust, that you don’t feel like, “Hey I need to micromanage you, here’s a list of all the shots I want” versus the photographer knowing you and your personality and what you like because all the work has been done prior that you can go into the day just being in moment and the photographer is going to capture everything that you wanted and everything you didn’t even know you wanted because you didn’t know how to ask. Because you’re trusting and you have faith and confidence in who you hired that they’re going to go above and beyond. And that’s what I try to do with all of my couples with every type of vendor because I spend so much time getting to know vendors and what they do and how their business operates so again, I can bring them the best people. And like I said, that’s what makes it magic. Like I said I don’t think there’s a better word for it it’s just magic for everyone truly.
Mel: He only bothers me when I’m doing something important. “Hold on, mom’s talking to someone. I need to go bother her ten times.”
Okay so I know.. through this whole thing you’ve kind of answered this question, but what’s been your favorite part about being a wedding planner? I know you’ve pretty much answered that just through this conversation.
Courtney: Yea, yea no! I mean I’m trying to think of like.. other ways to answer it too. But again, it really does come back to the relationship because you know I think that’s what’s so cool about it. I know my couples and I know their families. And they kind of welcome me into their families so I’ll get texts from mothers of the bride mothers of the groom, dads, bridesmaids, groomsmen, whoever. Just kind of saying, “hey I was thinking of you and wanted to ask you this” or “hey I know this has nothing to do with the wedding but do you want to come to this?” Or you know, anything like that. I think that’s my favorite part. Being there for people —
Mel: That’s the one thing that’s different than like the normal 9-5 job or just a lot of companies. You don’t get to have that one on one relationship with that many people, or that intimate I guess.
Courtney: Agreed. Yea, no I completely agree. And I think that’s really what’s so cool about it. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the wedding, when you know everyone is dancing and laughing and having a good time, you know… there has not been a wedding that I’ve helped with and not gotten emotional about because again.. when you see everything come together and everyone laughing and having fun and the couple is finally married. Like that… just makes you feel sooo good. Like I don’t have words for how that makes me feel. And again that’s because you know, we created magic and we got to know each other and I get emotional because these are my friends now. They’re families are my family. They’re people I’m going to remember for the rest of my life and I hope they remember me too. Just because again, people are never going to forget how you made them feel. And—-
Mel: Oh absolutely. More than the products themselves, it’s how you made them feel.
Courtney: Exactly! Yea. And that’s what I think is so important when it comes to this industry too is.. you know. We’re in the industry of creating relationships and creating lasting memories and everyone can conduct their business how they want to. I’m not saying there’s one wrong way or another just like I’m not for everyone maybe people are like omg —-
Mel: Yea, not everyone wants to have a friend from their wedding day and that’s fine.
Courtney: Yeaaa, exactly! Yea you know… and everyone has their personal preference and they mesh with who they mesh with and people run their businesses how they run their businesses, and people have the personalities that they have and I think it’s all—
Mel: We all have our person.
Courtney: Yea! Absolutely! So it’s like you just gotta put yourself out there and be true to what you believe in, and that’s how you find your people.
Mel: I love that. Um, okay so I have one other question because the ones I have written down we’ve pretty much already gone over. But one of the questions I have is, what are a few questions a couple should be looking for when choosing a wedding planner? Which we’ve kind of already… like a relationship versus not and things like that. But if they were to go on a website and be like, “Okay… so we need a planner.” Like what would you say would be the most important thing to be looking at when they’re choosing who to have as their wedding planner?
Courtney: Yea, um, I would definitely tell people, “Look at..” Ask them, “who’s going to be there?” Whoever they’re talking to right now, that’s awesome. But who is going to be there the day of? How many people are going to be helping them throughout the process? Pay attention to the services and what you’re wanting. If you want someone to help you with full service, make sure you’re asking those questions about what does full service mean. Each planner is different just like each photographer or each florist, everyone is different with what they offer. So figuring out what it is that you want and being able to ask that and see if that vendor can do that and um.. see how many weddings they take on a weekend.. you know just like some bakers—
Mel: Like if they have a team of people versus just them. Because I know there’s been times where people were like, “Oh we got the team I didn’t know there was going to be a team”
Courtney: Yea, absolutely. It’s.. it’s asking, you know, again, what that experience looks like, what those services look like. Does that align with what the couple is looking for? Figuring out if you’re going to be working with one person, with multiple people.. will that same person be there the day of your wedding. Um..I know that sounds silly.
Mel: Yea because it’s… it’s some people will, you know they really want to work with one particular vendor and they’re like, “well if I have people booked for that particular wedding I’m going to send out my assistant.” And I’m like, “Well that stinks. Because you build up a relationship with one person and then the day of the wedding an assistant shows up or something like that.”
Courtney: Right. Right! You know, those teams are extremely talented and—
Mel: Oh! Absolutely!
Courtney: These companies that are doing this are doing great things and again really it just comes down to the couple like I always encourage people—
Mel: Like some people might not care, like “Oh it’s fine. We trust them.” But if people were head over heels for Courtney and Courtney can’t make it and Courtney has someone else going because they booked another wedding that weekend or that day or three weddings that same day, I know it can be a little disheartening. So if you choose a team just know there’s potential of not always having that same person I guess?
Courtney: Yea. And again, I think a big part of it too is really being able to have that conversation but also talking to multiple people. You know, if you have a conversation with a vendor doesn’t matter what category and you just aren’t in love or you’re not sure, talk to someone else. Just like when you go car shopping or insurance shopping or any big purchase or any big investment. Your wedding is by far a huge milestone in your life, you’re probably going to get a second opinion. Right? Unless you know them personally or you saw an awesome referral from a friend that worked with that person.
Talk to multiple vendors. Figure out you know, “that phone call with them was awesome, I feel really good. I feel really good about this decision” or “that phone call just left me more confused. I’m not sure what to think”. Take the time to make these decisions too. Because the vendors that are truly listening and truly there for you are going to give you time to think through it I feel like. No decision should ever be rushed because at the end of the day you need to be getting what you truly want. That’s what’s most important. So I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.. I’m just that person. Just kind of relax and see where the conversation goes. Make sure you have questions you want to ask. But when you hang up the phone, did you.. do you feel better after talking to that person? If so.. that’s probably a good indicator that you guys are going to get along really well and work well together. Just kind of let it go from there. You know, just because someone has an awesome review or a bad review. Even just one opinion of one person… that doesn’t —
Mel: They may not have vibed well with that person or that person might now have chosen who they needed. If everyone has good things to say about that person, maybe that person just didn’t happen to choose who was good for them.
Courtney: Yea so it’s like, get an opinion for yourself. Talk to that person. See what you think um.. and once you find that person, and trust me you will find that person… don’t feel like you have to keep looking. I… I relate this back to dress shopping right? So that’s something I work with my brides on too.. like hey if you want me to go gown shopping with you, 100% because especially if I know your budget —
Mel: Yea! I even share that for like reactions. Like if you know or you want to show off that dress, I’m like “take me with you! We’ll get the reaction of them seeing you in the dress” because it’s just a fun experience or like the bachelorette.. like bachelor / bachelorette party. The little photos people might not think about that they might want to have later on to add into that experience.
Courtney: Absolutely. 100%. Yea and that’s kind of my point. Like when you go gown shopping, it’s good to have an idea of what you feel comfortable spending in mind and the people that are working with you are not going to pull gowns that are above that budget because I truly believe no matter what your budget is. Your style, your preference, we’re going to find the perfect fit for you, and it always happens.. like always!
So if there’s anything anyone can take away from this, it’s that:
Whatever you want and whatever is perfect for you is out there. Let us help you find it.
And so.. it’s the same thing with wedding vendors. Once you find that dress that makes you feel so good that makes you feel all the ways you’ve dreamed of feeling… you don’t have to keep looking. And it’s the same thing with wedding vendors. If you talk with someone and you’re like, “Oh my gosh.. so and so is AWESOME! I can’t wait to work with them!” Don’t question if you need to keep looking.
Mel: Yea.. yea that’s a good point. I like that one. Because they can be like, “is this the right person” and then get even more confused or taking up even more of their time.
Courtney: It’s like, you know, I don’t know. I relate this back to when and were shopping for our first house. As soon as we found the house and knew it was the one, we stopped looking and granted we had to go through a lot to end up getting the house, but we stayed true to what we wanted and we just had faith that things were going to work out and—
Mel: That was the same for mine! Well even I had been apartment searching before because my lease was ending and I was like, “these are the specific things that I want” and I found an apartment or two that kind of had what I needed, but then I found this house and was like “omg this literally has everything to a t I was looking for” and I was like “alright.. here we go. That’s it.”
Courtney: Absolutely. But yea it’s like once that happens and you feel good about that decision, you don’t have to keep looking. And every vendor charges differently too. So it’s up to you when you have that conversation too. Like, “okay.. this person is charging too much. I didn’t have a good conversation with them, and I feel like they’re not going to give the value I need” versus if you talk to someone else, maybe they charge more than that person, maybe they charge less than that first person you talked to, again.. it’s whatever that experience is. And if you need to take some time to think about it, look at reviews, see if you know anyone that’s worked with that person because chances are —
Mel: And even consider having a second conversation with them because maybe you get them on an off day or you guys were both busy or like..
Courtney: Absolutely. Because again, it’s like: Ask the questions that you want. Go after the people that are going to give you that experience and if it feels good, it’s going to be a good investment. 100% of the time it’s going to be a good investment. If there’s something that you’re questioning or you’re just not sure… ask the questions you need to get the clarifications you need but if it doesn’t feel right then just don’t do it. You know? Like, your wedding is still going to happen, you’re still getting married, that’s what’s most important.
Mel: I say that all the… I swear I say that like half of the wedding day! Because the couples are always like stressed about their timelines or they’re not meeting it and I’m like, “look, the ceremony can’t start without you guys.” Or “look, you’re still getting married it doesn’t…” like it matters but…
Courtney: To an extent
Mel: I was like, “it’s your wedding day. You paid all of us. We are here for you.”
Courtney: Yea. We’re going to show it. That’s something that’s funny too because I’ve been working with some upcoming weddings and timelines and stuff and I always add extra time in the timeline so, you know, you don’t really think about it but like… I do everything in 5 minute intervals, nothing more.. sorry, not nothing more, nothing less. So like a dance is not going to take 5 minutes, generally speaking. So, all of that extra time ends up.. you know, maybe you get to slow down and take a bit of a breather maybe you actually get to go to the bathroom because.. no one works in a bathroom break for the couple, no one! I try to at least.
(Something I should have mentioned, is when timing is off in the timeline the actual day-of, like in the moment (lol), whether its early or ahead, I always write down the exact time when the events are happening so I have that info to adjust future timelines!)
Courtney: I know what you need y’all! And that’s what I try and help with. But truly, you know, if we.. and you know knock on wood but again I just know my process and I know my couples and I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t do what I do and take the time that I take but we’ve always ran on time or a little ahead and if we do run behind it’s okay because that time has already been worked out and—
Mel: Yea it’s always normally right before the ceremony and then we catch up during the family photos or some portion in the day and then we’re ahead of time. And I’m like, “I don’t know how it happened, but it worked!”
Courtney: Yea, again, everything works out. And when I try to tell my couples too is like, “I know the timeline, your vendors know the timeline, and maybe you and maybe your bridesmaids and maybe your family, none of your guests have any idea of what’s supposed to be happening..”—
Mel: They don’t know that at like 1:45 you’re supposed to be finishing family photos, they just know that dinner starts at 6:30 like..”—
Courtney: Yea! And that’s what I try to say, like “hey, it’s still your wedding day. If something doesn’t go perfectly… don’t let it get to you because again, your guests have no idea and no-one knows other than you..” And so it’s just like, “Let go and relax, like we are.. you hired your vendors because you trust them. We’re going to do the best possible job and you’re going to have a fantastic day. And we won’t let it happen any other way, like.. that’s what we’re here for.”
Mel: Yea like some of my couples are a little more overwhelmed because they know… like they know going into their wedding day this is going to be them surrounded by all of these guests.. but when it actually gets to the day they’re like, “I just want a minute to breath” and I’m like, “let’s take a minute to breath. I won’t take photos of you, I’ll just hang out here with you guys or like be off in the distance… like, take your breather because this is your day and as soon as we’re done with these photos you’re going to be right back to like interacting with all of the people that came to your wedding day.” So it’s just like, “this day is yours, if you realize that you overcommitted to photos that you didn’t want or you just want a breather like.. we’ll do it!”
Courtney: Yep, exactly. Exactly. But yea I mean again it’s just staying true to what you want and it all kind of comes together from there. But yea I don’t know. I think in short that’s pretty much… that’s the magic of it.
Mel: Yea I had a couple other questions but I was like, she already answered them like throughout.. like pretty much from the first question like what brought you.. or, or like what.. being a wedding planner, I was like well she answered all the things like the full service versus like managing or…
Okay I guess I do have one other question. About a day of coordinator and whether you think it’s beneficial or if they should go with more of that managing prior to. So I guess you could go over a little bit about what exactly solely a day of coordinator is and the benefits or the pros and cons of that.
Courtney: Sure. Um.. well. The way I’m going to answer it is based on how I do things because everyone does things differently. Anyone can tell you that there’s no such thing as day of, no one is just going to show up the day of your wedding… and so that’s why I try and educate couples on what a coordinator is and when they actually start. And again, every couple is different. Every wedding is different. Every vendor is different. So when I’ve had “day of coordinating” couples I call them wedding management. And the reason being is because we start no sooner than three months out. And I know three months out seems like a lot for some people. I know some planners that do month of coordination so again that’s not three months out, that’s the month.. or whenever.
I think it’s so important to have a hired professional there the day of your wedding. So if that means hiring someone one month out, three months out, please do it. You owe it to yourself and to your family and to your wedding to be a guest at your wedding. For your family and your bridesmaids and your groomsmen to be guests at your wedding. So you know, your mom, your sister, your brother, your aunt, whoever, should not be running around—
Mel: Oh yea.. you can see that so often.
Courtney: That’s what a wedding coordinator, manager, or planner is there for. 100% everyone should have one. People ask me, “Oh Courtney, when you have your wedding, are you going to plan it?” And I go, “yea, probably. Because—
Mel: It’s something you enjoy.
Courtney: I know what I need to do, but if I have a big wedding, absolutely I’m hiring a day of coordinator or wedding manager. 100% 100% Everyone needs one. Truly, because again, you know.. it’s your wedding day, you should be able to enjoy it. So should your family and your friends. That’s why everything’s happening. So really the biggest difference between someone that does day of or wedding management as a lot of us call it versus a full service planner is a full service planner is helping you from the very beginning. So when it comes to my wedding management—
Mel: Once they’ve already had their wedding vendors versus the day of coordinator is managing it a couple weeks to a couple months before the wedding day to like finalize all the details and then making sure… like. Like the day of like if something doesn’t go as planned or if like something happens that went wrong, like your family doesn’t have to worry about it, you have your day of coordinator that’s going to get that sorted out with that vendor.
Courtney: Exactly. Yep. So in short that’s what I tell my couples. I’m like, “if you need help finding the vendors, making a budget, knowing who’s right for you, all of the things… you’re going to want to go with full service and I promise that investment is going to be worth it and you can break up payments however you want to break it up, but think about all the time and the money you’re going to be saving by having someone help you.” It’s.. it’s something I recommend but maybe it’s not for everyone. That’s why I tell couples. I’m like, “if you want to be hands on planning your wedding, I am 100% going to let you do that. I am not going to take over, and you’re going to be a part of it just as much as you want to be.” But some couples are like, “noooo, we got it. We’ll do it ourselves.” And that’s when wedding management comes in because when they decide to book with me, that’s when all of their vendors are booked, and if they’re not we’ll talk about it and figure out how to come up something so I can help them obviously. But, wedding management is more so you booked everything yourself, you just need someone to look over the details, to confirm deliver and setup times, to finalize the timeline, and then be there.
I’m there for the rehearsal, and I’m there for as long as they need me the day of the wedding, but that’s the difference. If you just need help finalizing things and someone there the day of, wedding management is going to be the way to go. If you want someone helping you with all of the things… literally all the things, you’re going to want to work with a planner. 100%
Mel: That totally makes sense. Yea, and because I was like.. there’s no way people can literally be a “day of coordinator” because there’s way more that goes into it cause.. working with the timelines like way before. But people think like, “oh it’s just a day of coordinator, we’ll just hire someone to be there the day of” and I’m like, “that’s not really how it works” but I never really know how to word that so..——
Courtney: Yea, no.. absolutely. I can’t imagine someone because again..
Mel: Just at a random wedding…
Courtney: Yea, yea… because even when you hire someone for that. Or you appoint someone for that, you’re not just going to show up the day of your wedding and pull someone out of the crowd and go “hey, you’re doing this” you know? It needs to be planned out in advance. So.. you know, I cannot imagine not knowing a couple and then showing up at whatever time they tell me to be somewhere, meeting them and learning everything about their wedding, and figuring out what their day’s supposed to look like, who the vendors are… no. Just no! (Laughs) I just can’t put it nicely. NO. It doesn’t happen like that. And again, the magic of everything working out and things going well, is preparation. And that’s where I feel like I wouldn’t be serving my couples well if I didn’t give them three months when it comes to wedding management.
And when it comes to full service planning, I don’t care if you got engaged yesterday, if you know you’re going to want to work with me, that’s awesome. We don’t have to get started right away. But let’s at least lock in your date and secure it so you have the peace of mind that you have someone and we’ll just get started when you’re ready.
(Mumbled accidental interruptions.)
Mel: Yea, one of my brides for next year she booked her venue and then she booked me and I was like, “well let me know like when you want to start planning engagements or anything like this” and she’s like, “I’m taking a break for the summer” and I was like, “then do it. Take your break.” I’m like, “You tell me when you’re ready to start doing the rest of it.” Because it is overwhelming. Like, there’s a lot that goes on at once. Seemingly.
Courtney: Yep. And not everything has to be done all at once. But we can get as much done in whatever timeframe. And that’s what I tell couples too. I have couples that you know.. booked me over a year in advance but depending on what their occupation is, we couldn’t get started right away. So they basically tell me like, “hey. Check in with me at this point in time. I’ll be in slow season.” Or, “I’ll be off for the summer” if they’re a teacher. Whatever. And we make that planning timeline however it needs to be. However, that does not mean I’m not doing stuff in the background for them. And that’s why a planner is like under utilized I feel like, until the planner explains what all they can do. Because even if my couples, you know, can’t be actively working on things, I’m actively researching for them. Creating their budget. Figuring out some of these things so that when they are ready to make decisions, they have the tools that they need so that —
Mel: And you already are like, “here you go this is what I’ve been doing while waiting for like you to go over all of it.”
Courtney: 100% yes. The day of the life of a wedding planner—
Mel: The secret life!
Courtney: I am constantly working on things for my couples whether they know it or not. And I try to keep them updated like, “hey just letting you know.. this is being worked on” Sometimes I don’t necessarily let them know unless they ask because I don’t want them to be like, “Oh my god I didn’t even think about that… do I need to do something?” No.. I just want you to relax. But again that’s kind of what happens. So people will check in with me being like, “hey! I was just thinking about this.” And I’m like, “Oh girl! I already gotchu. Here you go. Here’s the information,” and make sure they have the information they need when they need it. But not in an overwhelming way.
(45:34 – christian interruption)
Courtney: But yea, that’s kind of me and what I do in a nutshell. And I appreciate the opportunity to talk through it.. and I think what you have going on here is going to be very beneficial for a lot of people.
Mel: Yea, I’m honestly really excited because it can be hard to—
(Christian interrupts / laughing)
Mel: Okay. Yea I think that pretty much sums up everything and the questions I had. Thank you so much for—
Mel: Hopefully all of this turns out well. I don’t know what happens when I hit the stop recording.
Courtney: No no it’ll all be good. And like I said, people want
Mel: The real.
Courtney: This is the real y’all. This is what we do.
Mel: Like I’m trying something new because if you’re like me, you don’t have the attention span to just read all day. So… here’s the audio. But okay let me go ahead and press “stop recording” and see what happens.
Courtney: Yea, sounds great!
Headshot photos of LCN Events were taken by Tim & Kylee Photography.