Ask Andrea! The Knot has featured my wedding planning tips on their expert blog
What's the best reason to hire a planner?
It's less about hiring a planner and all about hiring the right planner. Your wedding planner is the person you'll speak to the most from the day they're brought on. The right planner will be your advocate and help you articulate and find your voice in a way that no one else can. Essentially, a wedding planner will be your guide, your designer, your alarm clock and your best friend.
What are the biggest mistakes you see couples make when they start planning?
First, a lot of couples underestimate what their wedding will actually cost. They go online and find averages that aren't always reflective of the market where they're actually getting married. The best way to combat this is to sit with a planner, go over your wish list and then work on a realistic budget together. Secondly, I find that people have a very hard time curating a look. To avoid this, create an inspiration board—that way every idea is set against a specific design. Lastly, wedding planning isn't a team sport. Too many couples share too much, ask for too many opinions and assign too much value to what others want. I encourage couples to create a "board of directors": a small support system that they can share wedding plans with.
What are your best tips for couples who want a fabulous wedding without busting their budget?
Cut the guest list! Every person you invite carries a cost with him or her that goes well beyond the menu. By cutting down the guest list, you have the ability to spend more per person and give your most loved guests an over-the-top experience.
What should couples keep in mind when choosing a venue?
Would you live there? If there's an element that makes you feel at home and comfortable then that's a big indication you've found the right space.
What's the biggest piece of advice you find yourself telling couples throughout the whole process?
Too often I see couples getting wrapped up in what they've seen in the media and they lose touch with how certain things make them feel. Planning is supposed to be fun! If you feel drawn to something and it moves you, it deserves a place in your wedding day. If a certain color or song speaks to you, find a way to include it. Let people know whom you are through the things you do (and don't) include in your wedding.
I also encourage my couples to commit themselves to planning as a team. This way, when a friend or future mother-in-law has an unwanted suggestion, you can say, "That's so interesting and we appreciate how excited you are. We'll talk it over and surprise you at the wedding!"
Anything else you'd like to add?
The wedding industry is a business and a profession, but it's fueled by passion. We truly want the best for you, so when we make a suggestion or give you advice, please know that we're doing it because we really care about your experience and want the absolute best for you!