Austin area wedding planners talk about creating special moments for brides
Austin wedding planners
Laura Shenault, owner
Simply Romantic: A Wedding Chapel
Kathi Thomas, owner
Kathi Thomas Designs
Victoria Hentrich, owner
What's the advantage of hiring a wedding planner for your big day?
Laura Shenault: "The bride doesn't have to worry about the many details that come up on a wedding day."
Kathi Thomas: "The coordinator takes on all that stress. It makes the day a lot less stressful for the bride."
Victoria Hentrich: "It's the piece of mind along with making sure you have a fabulous time on your wedding day."
As a wedding coordinator, what are some of your job duties?
Laura Shenault: "We're all-inclusive. We provide the chapel and reception area. All they have to do is buy the dress and bring the bouquet and rings."
Kathi Thomas: "We can budget the wedding, set up the church, and organize the vendors and reception - just about everything."
Victoria Hentrich: "We do everything from the invitation to the cleanup. The only thing they have to do is buy a gown and come up with a guest list."
How do you charge for your services and what's the cost?
Laura Shenault: "I charge a flat rate for the ceremony. It's typically around $1,275. That includes everything."
Kathi Thomas: "It depends on the event. The amount of people is a factor. For day-of service, it's $800. If it runs the full gamut, it's between $2,000 and $5,000."
Victoria Hentrich: "We have three ways: either 20 percent of the bottom line, a flat fee or at an hourly rate of $150 an hour."
How do you help a couple manage their wedding budget? Is this difficult, especially if a bride has her heart set on a specific plan?
Laura Shenault: "Since it's all-inclusive, there's no budget to manage. We charge a flat rate up front, which includes everything."
Kathi Thomas: "I prioritize everything. What's more important: the flowers or the band? It's not difficult; I'm not a dragon lady. As long as the bride has the budget, everything works out."
Victoria Hentrich: "It can be hard. The first thing I recommend is cutting the guest list. Then we can go into materials or other things. I have several tricks that can bring down the cost while keeping the right look."
How many years of experience do you have?
Laura Shenault: "I've been a wedding planner for three years."
Kathi Thomas: "I started when I was 18 years old, so more than 30 years."
Victoria Hentrich: "For 25 years. I'm also an event planner."
How do you handle difficult brides or family members?
Laura Shenault: "I've never had one. All of my brides have been a joy to work with."
Kathi Thomas: "I've been so lucky (knock on wood) - I've never dealt with one."
Victoria Hentrich: "There's always a root problem. I try to get to what's really bothering the person and solve it. "