This story originally appeared in the 2015 Kitsap Wedding Guide.
Wedding planners are the professionals who can make certain everything happens as it should on the big day. And that’s why they are so needed.
Just ask one.
“Sure, you can ask your mother or your sisters or your friends to help out,” said Rebecca Neal, a wedding planner with Ramblin’ Rose Events. “But why put that stress on them? They want to enjoy the day too.”
Darla Vieyra, wedding planner with Red Door Designs, agrees.
“The bride and groom should be able to just enjoy their day,” she said. “If you have a wedding planner, then you know all the details are taken care of. And on the wedding day, if there are questions, there’s somebody to go to, so the wedding party can stay relaxed.”
Wedding planners offer a variety of services. Most offer “day-of” service, which can cost from $400 to $1,000.
Full service begins nine to 12 months before the wedding and ranges from $1,500 to $2,600. Planners say once you get engaged, you should begin to shop for a wedding planner.
“Most of the brides who come to me have found their venue and have their date,” Neal said. “What comes next is setting the budget.”
Vieyra’s experience has been that engaged couples come to her and want help finding wedding professionals.
“Get with a planner as soon as possible,” she said. “There’s so many details that need to be taken care of.”
Both planners can help brides with venues, caterers, florists and photographers. They work with local companies and can suggest the best match based on the size of the wedding.
And, when setting a budget, it’s the size that counts.
“The typical cost for a smaller weddings in and around Kitsap County is $12,000,” Neal said. “The average cost, however, is more like $18,000. It all depends on how many people attend.”
Planners suggest interviewing several wedding planners and deciding on who’s the best match.
“Make sure it’s somebody you are comfortable with and can be honest with,” Vieyra said.
Once the decision is made and the budget is set, planners generally keep in touch with the brides through email. They often meet face-to-face once a month.
A planner who works with the couple pre-wedding generally helps with the selection of vendors and takes care of confirming all dates with the vendors and overseeing the contracts. They can make suggestions of ways to save money, if needed. The planner stays in touch with the vendors throughout the process, updating them of any changes in plans. They also keep a timeline of when things need to be done, such as securing the wedding attire, selection and sending invitations and confirming the menu with the caterer.
They assist with the wedding day itinerary for the couple, the wedding party, family and vendors and they review and coordinate the rehearsal and ceremony with officiates, the wedding party and vendors.
On the day-of, planners assist the bridal party, distribute payments to vendors, organize and set up photos, distribute flowers, oversee the venue and decorations, provide for emergency needs and troubleshoot when needed.
Many planners also help in making the decorations and planning the theme and the decor for the event.
Planners say that, in general, it’s the bride that makes the call.
“Generally, the only thing the groom really gets involved with much is sampling the food and cake and deciding what’s going to be served,” Neal said.
And, one of the best parts of having a planner is they handle after-the-ceremony duties.
“After the wedding and reception is over, nobody, especially the parents of the bride and groom, want to stick around and clean up,” Neal said. “That’s part of what we do as planners.”
Planners also ensure cake and meals are boxed for the wedding party to take with them and they load gifts and keepsakes into the designated cars.
Vieyra said brides and grooms need to keep in good communication with their planner.
“Don’t be afraid to be assertive,” Vieyra said. “It’s your wedding. I’m here to keep things calm and make sure everything is happening as you want it to.”
Vieyra became a wedding planner after she planned her wedding. She was married in October 2012. She and her husband, who is in the Navy, moved from San Diego later that year to Port Orchard when he was assigned to Bangor. She has a background in interior design.
“It just seemed like the perfect career for me,” she said. “I love being behind the scenes and making things happen. And I’m a crafty person.”
Her goal is to make each wedding unique to the couple.
“Extreme attention to detail and a cohesive overall picture is so important,” she said. “With me I’m a planner and that’s the key.”
Services at her company, which she named Red Door Designs because red is her favorite color, include full service, day-of, partial service and an a la carte menu. But even the day-of service starts about two months before the event.
Vieyra likes doing outdoor weddings but will work in any venue. She has found that summer and fall are the most popular times for weddings in the Pacific Northwest.
Recently, the vintage or rustic wedding decor has been the most popular. She also specializes in making stationery, invitations and signs for weddings.
She also does other events. Find out more at www.RedDoorDesignsNW.com.
Neal began her business, Ramblin’ Rose Events, after returning to the area from Colorado in 2009. Her mother had a flower business and she decided that doing events would couple nicely with that.
Today, the business focuses on events for groups smaller than 100. They offer a barn and meadow for outdoor weddings and parties on five acres near Port Orchard.
Neal will plan weddings at any locale, but offers up the Ramblin’ Rose Barn and Meadow for consideration. Rates range from $1,000 to $1,800. Birthday parties, work parties and anniversaries are welcome.
Besides the barn, she’s managed weddings at the Kitsap Conference Center, at Catholic churches, state parks and at Port Gamble. She even was invited along for a two-week wedding in the Bahamas.
Generally, she takes on about four weddings each season, and hopes to grow her business. She and her husband and daughter live on the property as well as her mother and grandmother who help with events at Ramblin’ Rose. Her mother doesn’t do flowers anymore, but make special balloon arches for weddings and parades.
She’s found barn weddings to be popular.
“We’ve done them where guests sit on hay bales instead of chairs, and where the aisle is decorated with standing logs covered in flowers,” she said. “Anything rustic — either antique-like or with a country-cowboy theme fits well with the barn.”
Her advice to couples is to never scrimp on the photographer.
“Everything else will fade away,” she said. “You won’t remember what the food tasted like, or what the cake looked like,” she said. “But the photos will be with you forever. They are the only thing that truly lasts forever.”
For more information, go to www.ramblinrevents.com, or email Neal at Ramblinfirstname.lastname@example.org.