Our lovely bride, Tanya, took the time to write a blog post for us because she's just that great. We hope you enjoy Tanya's thoughts about her wedding planning experience and what it's like to work with yours truly.
For gorgeous details from Tanya + Max's wedding, check out our post here.
Congratulations! If you're reading this, you're probably newly engaged. You're also probably newly overwhelmed with all of the information that you now have to absorb—bridal magazines, websites, reviews of vendors, I could go on. I felt the same way when I started the wedding planning process. My first step was to consider hiring a wedding planner. In this guest column, I'll go through why I chose to hire wedding planners, why I chose Noir, and why I'm so fortunate to have worked with Colette and Ashley.
Why hire a wedding planner at all?
1. A planner will save you money.
Let's get the obvious question out of the way. If you're thinking about hiring a wedding planner, and you've done some preliminary research, you've realized by now that you will likely be spending several thousand dollars if you choose to hire one. That's a huge chunk of change. To be honest, I did not believe the many reviews that said hiring wedding planners would save me more than they cost. I was wrong. Here is a small but representative list of what Noir Event Co. saved me:
- $13,000 on venue and catering.
I thought I would save a lot of money and planning time by having a wedding in my sister's backyard. I nearly committed to this plan before Colette and Ashley did the research and told me that between renting tents, linens, and chairs, hiring security, and essentially building a venue from scratch, we'd spend thousands more than we'd save. Colette and Ashley also ran an analysis comparing how much a wedding would cost at four different venues we were considering. I never would have known what expenses to factor in and what questions to ask to get this analysis done alone.
- $1,000 on flowers.
Our amazing florist's original estimate gave me some serious sticker shock. Ashley and Colette came up with an idea I never would have thought possible—our florist sold us loose flowers for centerpieces and Ashley and Colette arranged them in vases themselves. This saved us about $1,000. And the centerpieces looked beautiful because Ashley is a creative genius.
- $600 on paper.
We were about to print escort cards, menu cards, and other paper products from weddingpaperdivas or a similar website, which would have cost around $650. Then, Ashley and Colette tipped us off about some gorgeous templates on Etsy. We downloaded the templates, which cost about $6 total, and then printed everything on shimmery ivory cardstock from Office Depot, which cost about $30. Even our graphic designer friend loved them!
- Travel expenses like gas and plane tickets, which we'd have had to pay to see and screen each of our vendors. The best part of having Colette and Ashley recommend and screen vendors was the savings we got from not going to a million meetings with a million vendors.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Colette and Ashley's experience, their time, their energy, and their knowledge saved our budget. If you're still going on husband #1, and you've never planned a wedding before, it's unlikely you'll save as much alone as you will with experienced help.
2. a planner will save you time and stress.
Chiavari chairs. Don't know what they are yet? You don't want to know. There are items that Colette and Ashley had on their to-do list that hadn't crossed my mind—we needed to rent chairs for our ceremony (I know, duh, but in the midst of planning, I forgot about that whole guests-need-to-sit thing), we needed to measure the aisle for an aisle runner, we needed sand and buckets to make our sparkler farewell end safely, and so on.
Thankfully, I did not need to come up with everything that needed to get done and I did not need to solve problems alone. I knew I could trust Colette and Ashley to (1) remember everything that needed to get done; (2) tell me what to do at a good time (so I didn't have a hundred items to do all at once); (3) send me links for things I needed to buy, so I could just click and purchase rather than searching for hours; and (4) keep me calm along the way.
Apart from managing and organizing, Colette and Ashley took over the role of communicating with vendors. When Colette and Ashley solicited price estimates and detailed quotes from four different hair/makeup salons, two florists, two DJs, several shuttle bus companies, and other vendors, I did not have to sift through the enormous stream of emails alone. Instead, Colette and Ashley followed up with all of the vendors, made all of the information easy to digest, and reminded me of any important deadlines. Also, after a particularly nasty DJ scared me out of talking to him (my family's recommendation, Colette and Ashley would never have recommended him), Colette and Ashley did the dirty work of telling him we were going with another DJ.
Why hire Noir?
Hiring a wedding planner is something most people do only once, so I found reviews to be unhelpful when I first searched for planners (after all, how could the brides know if it could have gone better? Or worse?). What I did find helpful was looking at any work product that was available—the design and organization of a website, the writing on a blog, the photos of a completed wedding day, the communication (are they replying to my emails?). I was compelled to hire Colette and Ashley because their website was well-designed (none of that 90s-monotype-corsiva nonsense), their communication with me was near-instant, their preparation was evident from our first phone call, and photos from prior weddings made me confident they could pull it off expertly.
It turns out my gut was right—Colette and Ashley brought all of the enthusiasm and understanding from our first phone call to each interaction we had. Their website is a reflection of their business and of each of them—professional, cute well-organized, and well-designed. I truly cannot speak better of Colette and Ashley as they are hands-down the best professionals I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I had so many guests come up to me before and after the wedding to ask me "who were those wonderful women?" because Colette and Ashley handled the whole night so smoothly. Not a single thing went wrong. Not. One. Thing.
And finally, I'll end on this: my mother has higher standards for service than anyone I've ever met. We literally had to ask her to leave a hair and makeup trial because she made the poor hair stylist cry (!). She is not shy about voicing her opinion and she expects more of people than she pays them. The highest compliment I can give Colette and Ashley is my mother's unending, relentless, passionate praise for both of them. From her meeting them at our venue tasting, to planning meetings, and to the wedding day, my mother gushed over Colette and Ashley. She praised their organization, their attention to detail, their taste, their enthusiasm, and their sheer stamina. For anyone who has a doubt left in their mind about hiring Noir, I am available and always willing to talk more over the phone or email about Colette and Ashley. And for anyone that has doubts after that, call my mother.
Tanya, thank you for this incredible post and for your high praise. We think the world of you!