Richmond wedding planners make brides smile with service
Richmond Event Planners
Maxine Thompson, owner
Special Occasions by Max
Andrea Huntjens, owner
1 North Belmont
Jennifer Eschback, owner
Historic Old Towne Petersburg
As a wedding coordinator, what are some of your job duties?
Maxine Thompson: "My duties involve turning their dreams into reality. It's also contacting and scheduling vendors and finding the perfect location."
Andrea Huntjens: "We talk with the couple to determine theme and style, then we work hard to make their day perfect."
Jennifer Eschback: "I do everything from directing the entire event to helping with the rehearsal, ceremony and reception."
How do you charge for your services and what's the cost?
Maxine Thompson: "I charge $1,500 for weddings. I don't charge per hour because a flat rate makes it easier to keep on track."
Andrea Huntjens: "I charge a percentage of the budget. Day-of is $50 to $75 per hour, so it changes depending on their needs."
Jennifer Eschback: "I do everything by packages. They start at $900 and go to $3,000."
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?
Maxine Thompson: "It's not difficult to help them manage. I remind them it's a special day, but it's only one day, so they don't need to go over their budget."
Andrea Huntjens: "We start with establishing a budget. You have to rein them in a bit, especially when the couple is paying. I'm there to protect both my clients and vendors."
Jennifer Eschback: "It can be difficult, but I help identify vendors within their budget. I give them options. If there's a strong desire for one thing, we have to cut from somewhere else."
How far in advance before the wedding should a couple book your services?
Maxine Thompson: "As soon as they get engaged they should book a planner."
Andrea Huntjens: "At least eight to 10 months, but we can whip it together in a couple of months if necessary."
Jennifer Eschback: "Depending on the package, three months to one year."
Do you personally attend every wedding and rehearsal? If so, is there an extra fee for this?
Maxine Thompson: "Yes. It's included."
Andrea Huntjens: "Yes, I do. That's' included."
Jennifer Eschback: "I do. There's no extra fee."
Can you describe one funny, horrifying or memorable experience that happened at a wedding you planned?
Maxine Thompson: "One wedding, my watch had lost a hand and I thought I was on time, but the bride was actually late. It worked out just fine."
Andrea Huntjens: "The caterers lit candles on the buffet, but a huge bouquet was hanging over it and caught on fire. We put it out before the guests got there."
Jennifer Eschback: The worst thing was a groom who arrived an hour and a half late. It was tough getting the musicians to stay later than planned."