-What is the average wedding cost in the greater DC area? It varies depending on the suburb you are in vs the capitol city itself, but expect to come in from $35,000 to $60,000 for an average wedding of 100 - 150 people. With careful planning and choices, you can have a 'perfect for you' wedding at almost any budget. -What is the best advice you can give a couple who is in the beginning phase of planning? Make an honest assessment of available funding, a list of your wedding wishes and determine your 'must haves' vs 'nice to haves' right from the start. Couples often come in $5000 - $10,000 over by skipping this important step. -Which vendors should you choose first? We recommend that you choose your venue first followed by your planner and caterer. If you would like your planner to assist with the venue selection, get them on board first. These three categories in general will be the most time consuming to narrow down, so start early and get the basis of your team established. By hiring your planner early in the process, you have one more person on your team to guide you through a lot of things you will not know out of the gate! You can actually start saving money right away if you know some of the inside scoop. -Should you try to bargain and negotiate with your vendors? Our advice is to explore cost savings strategies rather than blatantly ask for a cut rate. Asking your wedding pros to slash pricing with no discussion of how to mutually achieve that goal can be a mistake. Don't rush to dismiss a vendor because they would not discount, it often means they want to make sure they can deliver quality of service. -Do you ask for vendor discounts on behalf of the client? We do when it is appropriate. For instance, we will always inquire about a military discount or any running specials. We are also happy to ask for or suggest a possible adjustment in packages, for instance if a photographer might be willing to do a 6 hour package instead of their normal 8 hour package at a reduced rate. -So, how do you save your clients money? This is a complicated question and our go to answer is this - we know people! Planners have usually worked years to build solid connections and friendorships in the local industry. We can prevent unnecessary spending, sometimes by simply telling you to wait before you start collecting your decor items. For example, your florist may have great inventory to loan or rent affordably. Your DJ may include uplighting at an affordable fee. We may make suggestions on getting the right time block with your photographer. We can also point you to the best sources to purchase ordinary items such as candles. We know many generic cost saving tips, such as advice on purchasing your own liquor, or tricks such as doing away with favors *not one person will notice* Reviewing your contracts carefully can prevent duplication of services and we know the local vendors who will work with you on delivering great value. There are many other ways we can assist with budget and most good planners will easily earn you back more than their planner fee. -What services should a planner provide? Ideally, a planner will be a great tour guide for your wedding, but since each celebration is different there is a lot of customization. The basics are organizational and etiquette advice, along with lots of research that keeps everything on the right track. We typically assist in building your vendor team, review your contracts, relay information between vendors and are present on your wedding day to handle issues so that you can fully enjoy your wedding experience. We keep in close communication with status reports and other updates. Keep in mind that some planners are more logistically oriented, while some are more decor oriented. Many are right in the middle and expert at both. Be sure you are clear on your preferred style. -What do you charge for your wedding planning services? Our full planning services usually fall between $5800.00 and $6500.00 but more complicated events such as out of town clients, private property weddings or holiday weddings may involve more customized pricing. We are happy to discuss adjustments for small, intimate sized weddings. -What is your experience in the industry? I have twenty years as a designer and small business owner, thirteen years of those solely in the wedding business, with the first few years spent as a florist and learning the ropes to becoming a full wedding planner. For this reason we are able to fluidly incorporate and provide decor, design and floral services as well. The team is built on many levels of experience in the design, wedding and hospitality industry. -Do you have a team or is it just you? I have an excellent team of coordinators and designers who receive ongoing training to be among the best in the area. Along with those trusted team members, I still personally plan and design each wedding and attend as many as the schedule will permit. Due to the solid communications and excellence of the Wedding Muse staff, my personal mark on each wedding is very strong. My team is great at executing according to the standard I have worked hard to set, as revealed in our consistent reviews. -How many weddings do you have per weekend? Our preferred goal is to have only one wedding per weekend, however most wedding pros have to consider taking multiple weddings on peak weekends. With the right combination of weddings, it is easy to do by having a sizable team of excellent coordinators and floral designers. Our standards for team members are very high and coaching and training is an important part of our intern program. We extend that training beyond on-the-job and attend workshops, wedding shows, seminars and online classes to keep us current in the business. We never take on any wedding that we cannot perform at 100%. -What is your best asset for your clients?With wedding planning, fit is about the perfect mix of chemistry and expertise - oh, and a bit of magic wedding fairy dust. Our most valuable asset is simple - our years of experience with many different kinds of weddings and clients, from casual to high end and small to large. After spending some upfront time getting to know you, we follow up with a thorough and committed job, and to treat you as though you are our only couple. We learn a lot from our clients about what makes a great planner and we consider that one of the best things about our job. -What is your specialty or area of specific expertise?Where do you stand out in performance? There is nothing that substitutes for experience and a longstanding track record. Staying power is based on the ability to please clients and have people who have complete confidence in referring us. We are proud of our strong relationships in the industry based on performance, reliability and accessibility. We are also proud to match our couples with those vendors we can trust to be exceptionally talented, reliable and honest. -How do we hire you? Catch us on social media, read through our reviews and let us know you are interested. Once we have discussed your vision in detail, we then provide you with a contract which explains how to reserve your date with Wedding Muse. -Best advice for the wedding day? 1. Get some good rest the few nights before and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate 2. For each of you to prepare a really silly riddle for one another, make funny faces at each other or other goofyness before going into the reception. It takes the pressure off and nothing is better than shared laughter. Go into the room as very best friends! 3. From the beginning, think about how long the actual wedding day is and plan your timeline sensibly with that in mind. 4. In our experience, always making your wedding about your guests, rather than about you makes both come true. 5. Eat something! Even if you don't want to, eat something.
Feel free to contact us with any more questions you might have for the WM planner team @ firstname.lastname@example.org