In recent years, the average American wedding has cost more than $23,000. Most brides, and their mothers, are juggling full-time jobs and school or both while trying to plan a wedding. Is it any wonder then, that the concept of “bridezilla” gained popularity in the media recently?
One sure way for brides to avoid this designation and still have the wedding of their dreams is to hire a wedding planner. Linda Byassee of Marion is one option for a wedding planner. Linda is a certified wedding specialist, certified via a division of the National Bride Service.
For about $25 an hour, Linda will help brides and their families with any or all aspects of the wedding planning. Linda has been planning weddings since 1993.
“One of the things that seems to always happen is that the bride and her mother both need people to vent to. I become the person that is the go-between and tries to iron out the different opinions. The funny part is, that before the wedding is over, there will come a time when they will both turn on me. However, once the wedding goes off without a hitch, they are happy again.”
The problem for many mothers and daughters is that they cannot figure out how to communicate their different opinions and still arrive at the dream wedding they both want. A wedding planner can help avoid those conflicts.
Linda understands that the parents should have some say in the wedding if they are funding it. Even if the bride and her husband to be are funding the festivities themselves, Linda likes to remind them that they have a responsibility to their guests and their families.
“Traditionally, weddings have been the coming together of two families, two fortunes, or even two nations. In addition to the fact that your guests will be bringing gifts, these are the people that you love, and they are giving up an entire day to celebrate your happiness. As a bride, you have a responsibility to make sure they are as comfortable as possible,” Linda said.
As a wedding planner, Linda can help the bride figure out how to do that on her own budget and in a manner that makes the wedding day as memorable as possible and as happy as possible for everyone involved.
One of the first suggestions that Lynn offers brides is that they avoid outdoor weddings, if at all possible. “Outdoor weddings will always cost more than an indoor wedding,” she said.
With the cost of the reception hall, the church, and the decorations, many brides mistakenly believe that they will be saving money by planning their wedding outdoors. The problem with this plan is that the weather is unpredictable. So, there is always the expense of having a backup plan in case the wedding cannot be held outdoors. In addition, most outdoor venues do not provide seating or covered shelter or even tables that can be used as part of the wedding. That means the bride must include the cost of tents, chairs, tables, and her decorations, which can quickly add up to more than if she had chosen an indoor locale.
Part of the job of the wedding planner is to think of all of those details and keep the bride and her mother from stressing about them.
However, she said, for brides who truly prefer an outdoor wedding, one of the sites that she suggests is the park in Pittsburg. During the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration, a beautiful park was constructed, complete with archways that make it great backdrop for any wedding. For a relatively low cost, the bridal party can have its reception at the local community building.
Linda said that many people assume they should not contact the wedding planner, because they want to keep the price of the wedding as low as possible. She said one of her goals is to dismiss that notion. “I can work with any budget and can help people find the best deals to get exactly what they want,” she said.
For example, she said, people sometimes spend more on centerpieces for the reception than is necessary. Great-looking table linens, in the wedding colors, can add a touch of class to the reception at a much lower price. Table linens can be rented inexpensively, and then accompanied by a less expensive centerpiece for an overall more appealing look.
She has also suggested that brides save money by renting matching chairs for the reception rather than renting chair covers. The average cost of renting white chairs is two dollars each, and the average cost of a chair cover is $5-$7 each.
Another way a wedding planner can help the bride to have a less stressful day is via coordinating with other contractors. Linda said her family learned this lesson the hard way after the photographer failed to show up for one of her daughters’ weddings and another daughter had a florist, who forgot the wedding until the morning of it, resulting in thrown together and substandard floral decorations.
Using a wedding planner helps remove much of the stress for the bride and her mother and helps keep the wedding on track. Linda said that many people planning a wedding fail to realize how early various stages of the planning should take place. According to most wedding planning advice, the wedding site and reception hall should be booked a year before the planned wedding.
Another place, the wedding planner can help is putting the bride in contact with various contractors. So that she may find not only the best deal, but the best fit for her wedding. Linda works with several different wedding contractors, including bakers, photographers, and more. She can help arrange entertainment, insurance for weddings which have an open bar, and the decorations.
Linda’s favorite job as a wedding planner is helping to coordinate the decorations. Given her preference, and her creative side, Linda is happiest when she is designing and decorating for weddings. Through her business, Dreams Do Come True, Linda offers rental of most items necessary for decorating and she is more than happy to do custom decorations for her customers.
She is also willing to help with the coordination of RSVP lists, seating arrangements, and more. For people who have never planned a wedding before, one of the reasons to have a wedding planner is to avoid social faux pas. With the wedding planner’s assistance, family members will be seated properly at the church and at the reception.