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Planning a wedding, especially while building a career, attending school, or purchasing a home, is a stressful process. This is especially evident for Seattle residents, where more than 50% of the city is under 24 years old. When encountering this seemingly insurmountable task, it may be in your best interest to look for professional help. To discover more, we spoke to Michelle Culp, owner of Essence of Events, LLC, about her experience with planning weddings in the Seattle area.


Thinking about Hiring a Planner? Here’s What You Need to Know

We asked Culp for some insider information on Seattle-based wedding coordination. Though you may only see wedding planners as professionals to book rentals, their expertise covers everything from budget control to negotiating rates. Here are some of the most important duties, as well as what you should expect when hiring a coordinator:


Enjoyment throughout the planning process—“Planning a wedding is often likened to purchasing a home or any other major life decision. There are so many details involved and it can be an emotional time. Hiring a planner helps alleviate stress, worry, doubt, and responsibility. This allows couples to enjoy the process, keeping the relationship first and, for most, getting needed time to spend with family and friends to strengthen bonds before one of the most important days of their life.”


Checklists and timelines—“We see a lot of couples have no idea where to start or get to a certain point where they aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing. The most common is they become so overwhelmed and confused, they just put things on hold, resulting in a lack of any planning being done. Having a planner to keep you on track with customized monthly checklists can be a life-saver. Bing able to focus on a few tasks a month is less overwhelming and seemingly easy to accomplish. A planner can assist in the creation of your detailed timeline, which is one of the single most important tasks. It allows everyone to know the timing of events as you want them to occur.”


Budget development and management— “Helping couples stay on budget is important because one small purchase can offset in another area and result in difficulty booking the services or getting the items they actually need. Having a planner to keep track of all the expenses and payment schedules alleviates the stress of remembering how much a couple has paid to whom, as well as when their next payments need to be made.”


Recommendations for professional vendors— “This is possibly one of the most important aspects of planning a wedding. To get the best outcome for your wedding, it is essential that you have the best vendors to form a team on your big day. You are relying on their experience, knowledge, and ability to perform services and fulfill contracts according to your vision and expectations.”


Asking questions—“Planners have experience in knowing the best questions to ask of vendors, as well as which questions don’t apply. They aid in the ability to make sure every aspect of the wedding is covered.”


Negotiate and Review Contacts of Service Costs—“Getting the best services for the best price can be difficult without knowledge of industry standards and without a relationship with the vendor. Any time you attach the word wedding to a product, it instantly increases. Having a planner who knows what is fair and what is not fair is crucial to negotiating prices. Contracts can often have terms in them that are difficult to understand, vague, or can be excluded from the contract altogether. Having a planner by your side to review contracts can save you time and allow for flexibility with timing, services, or fees.”


Alleviate stress, worry, doubt, and responsibility—“This is one of the most difficult things about planning a wedding for a couple. Stressing over decisions and deadlines create a lot of tension in relationships. Planners can take on the burden of assisting, guiding, and offering advice to make the process more of a bonding experience than a reason for added worry. With the right planner, you’ll know you have someone to mediate and provide reason on certain decisions.”


Day-of coordination—“Planners are life-savers when it comes to couples’ wedding days. They arrange setup times and know every detail of the day so that the couple, family, and friends can enjoy spending time together. If a problem comes up, a planner has the experience and knowledge of what best to do in order to stay true to what each couples envisioned for their wedding. Planners know what to expect, what is normal, what is not, and what needs to be done to adjust for timing complications or lack of vendor services. They often have a network of vendors they can reach out to should a vendor not arrive. When the wedding is over, they are there for tear-down, ensuring the couple goes home with what is theirs.”


Planning Your Wedding in the Seattle Area

Every region, state, and city in the United States has its own flair. This is true of local Seattle storage projects including planning and hosting weddings. According to Culp, “Most couples in and around the Seattle region are busy with full-time jobs, in school, or simply don’t have the time to devote countless hours to planning a wedding.” Wedding coordinators also have a lot of experience when it comes to local trends: “Couples in Seattle also tend to have several guests traveling from out of town, so it is often important to have some aspects of Seattle in their wedding—from seafood to local candy, favors, and so on.” Culp also told us that wine barrels, café bulb lighting, and the use of blues and greens are popular trends for the Seattle area.


What to Know When Hiring a Seattle-Area Wedding Coordinator

If you choose to hire a wedding planner, Culp advises finding someone who shares your vision and enthusiasm: “Looking for a planner is like hiring a contractor to build a house. You want to be sure they have a legal business, experience, good reviews, a network of vendors, and they you really feel they see your vision. You will want to meet or at least talk over the phone so you can be sure you feel comfortable communicating.” Additionally, if you’ve made the decision to find your perfect Seattle wedding coordinator, consider Essence of Events. Their talented team, diverse backgrounds, and local connections will help you host the best wedding imaginable.