3 Hartford area wedding planners guide you through the process
Who we talked to
Elissa Fallow, owner
461 Cooke St., Farmington
Allison Salvati, owner
Something Blue Special Events
Tina Messenger, co-owner
A Bride's Best Friend
What's the advantage of hiring a wedding planner for your big day?
Fallow: "It takes a lot of stress off the bride, and all of our vendors have special rates the bride can benefit from."
Salvati: "Time and the ability to enjoy the planning process."
Messenger: "It's going to save the bride time and money."
As a wedding coordinator, what are some of your job duties?
Fallow: We do as little or as much as the bride wants us to. We pick locations, menus, and everything from beginning to end."
Salvati: "I do realistic budget analysis, detail management and the choreography of the wedding weekend."
Messenger: "We prepare a time line and go over their budget. There are so many things we do including meeting the couple at the reception venue to finalize details."
Are you a member of any major bridal or special event trade associations?
Fallow: "The organization is a member of Meeting Professionals International and International Special Events Society."
Salvati: "No. People want to see pictures of previous weddings. That's all the resume I need."
Messenger: "The Association of Bridal Consultants."
How do you charge for your services and what's the cost?
Fallow: "A full wedding takes 25 percent of the costs. Day-of-service packages start at $1,500 for 100 guests. Everything else we do is a la carte."
Salvati: "A full-service package is 10 to 15 percent of the couple's budget. A middle package is between $5,000 and $7,000. A month-of package is between $3,000 and $4,500."
Messenger: "We charge a flat rate. A full-service package is $2,000, a ceremony package is $350 and a day-of package is $500. Rates will increase in 2008."
How far in advance before the wedding should a couple book your services?
Fallow: "I would like a year or a year and a half in advance. The further out you do it, the cheaper it's going to be."
Salvati: "It doesn't hurt to call a planner right after you get engaged."
Messenger: "We've booked a wedding in as little as a month ahead, but we have brides book a year and a half in advance."
How do you handle difficult brides or family members?
Fallow: "You lay out the pros and cons and find a middle ground."
Salvati: "Everyone goes through stress, and it's about being solutions-oriented."
Messenger: "Brides are easy. We just put ourselves in their shoes. We listen and calm them down."