Baltimore area wedding planners discuss their trade

Baltimore area wedding planners discuss their trade

What's the advantage of hiring a wedding planner for your big day?

Lisa R. Nelson: "Basically to have things move smoothly. Most people don't know how to orchestrate such a big event, so hiring a planner saves time and money."

Samara A. Mendoza: "We streamline the process of interviewing vendors. We serve as the go-to person for any needs, plus negotiate the cost of hired services."

Marie Earlington-Crawford: "Planners are the repeat customers of vendors, so we know the best and most dependable businesses."

How do you charge for your services and what's the cost?

Lisa R. Nelson: "I basically have three packages: day-of, partial and full service. When it's a huge wedding, we work on a percentage."

Samara A. Mendoza: "We charge based on a percentage of the budget. We can also customize packages. Our services start at $1,600."

Marie Earlington-Crawford: "I charge $65 per hour or a contract fee. Each couple is different, so I offer a free consultation to discuss their needs."

Do you personally attend every wedding and rehearsal? If so, is there an extra fee for this?

Lisa R. Nelson: "Yes, I go personally. It's included in the package."

Samara A. Mendoza: "Each client is assigned a planner, but I'll gladly attend. There's no extra fee for this."

Marie Earlington-Crawford: "Yes, I personally attend. If I'm not able, I'll send one of my senior assistants."

If you become unavailable on the big day, do you have a backup?

Lisa R. Nelson: "Yes, but I've never had that happen. I've gone to a wedding on crutches."

Samara A. Mendoza: "We most definitely have a backup planner available and ready."

Marie Earlington-Crawford: "Yes, and a backup for my backup!"

Can you describe one funny, horrifying or memorable experience that happened at a wedding you planned?

Lisa R. Nelson: "My assistant had all the wedding reception materials in her car, and her car broke down. Before I knew it, she was already at the church. She had hitched a ride with a stranger to get there on time."

Samara A. Mendoza"The bride's father started having a diabetic episode on the church steps. The ambulance techs checked him out and we sent him to the hotel to rest. The father daughter dance later that evening was really special."

Marie Earlington-Crawford: "I always tell my wedding party to get plenty of rest the night before and to make sure they eat breakfast. One wedding, the groom didn't heed my advice and fainted while he was waiting for his bride to come down the aisle."

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