1. Introduction: What's your story?
I'm Valentina, owner and lead planner at Valentina Weddings & Events. I was born in Switzerland and I grew up on the beautiful Lake Como. My family always had my back so when in my late 20's I decided to press the reset button and I looked for a work experience abroad, they were happy and excited for me. I was hired as a trainee by a luxury hotel in San Diego and there is where my interest for events and weddings all started. In a couple of years I went from being the new foreign receptionist to managing corporate and social events and, of course, weddings were part of it! I loved executing weddings so much that after spending more than 5 years working for events in luxury hotels, I decided to open my own wedding planning company to design, plan and execute flawless events for my couples.
My most valuable asset is my background. I know how venues operate, having worked on the venues' side of things gives me the knowledge to ask the right questions and tackle whichever problem that may arise before it is actually too late. On top of that, I have a true passion for design and for turning my couples' vision into reality. I love mixing classic elements to new ones, I feel like it creates continuity and flow to the design. I take joy in creating a timeless look with touches of modern while telling your story with personalized details.
2. What's your experience as a wedding planner? How many weddings have you planned?
I have been working as a wedding planner since 2017; before that, I worked in Italy and in the US as event coordinator and then manager in many different hotels where I handled the organization and coordination of both corporate and social events.
3. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?
Each wedding is different and unique so we tailor the experience based on our couple's requests, however we like to group our services in 5 different packages:
-wedding management (coordination): our smallest package that starts 2 months before the wedding
-wedding management (coordination) + design lite package
-full wedding planning
-micro full wedding planning (for weddings up to 30 guests)
-Lake Como destination weddings
4. How do payments work (a percentage of the wedding budget, a flat fee etc.)? What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?
Our most popular packages are the wedding management+design package and the full planning.
With regards to the payment, the wedding management and design package have a flat fee while the full planning and destination packages are based on the extensiveness of the event, the overall budget, travel and expenses associated with it etc.
5. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?
We have a small team and we take a limited number of weddings per year. I will plan and coordinate each single wedding we book. From the point of view of the client, this means that they will only talk to me from signing the contract to the wedding day, without any risk of being "passed down" to another planner or coordinator. On the day of the event the team is composed by the lead planner (myself), the team captain (Ben) and based on the extensiveness of the wedding we might bring in 1- 4 assistants that will have a specific role on the wedding day.
6. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of the wedding?
The great part of being husband and wife team is that if, for any reason, I can not be there, Ben can totally take over the wedding and manage the team! In the unlucky event Ben is not available as well, we will reach out to our circle of planners in the area.
7. How many meetings will you have with the couple and how will they be involved?
This is depending on the package they chose, every package includes not only meetings and phone calls during our office hours but also different questionnaires, "homework" for the couple. We created a step by step process for each package so that our couples know what to expect from the beginning!
8. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?
With the full planning package, we will help our couple with the design of the invites, sourcing the right calligrapher and we will provide wording but we will not handle the coordination and RSVPs. This is a service that some calligrapher also provide. With the coordination package, we only provide sample wording and our preferred vendors list.
9. Do you handle rentals? Will you coordinate delivery, arrival and set up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians and the caterer/banquet manager?
Yes, this is our bread and butter, we do all of that and more!
10. Can you create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process (other pros, members of the wedding party, to-be-weds and families) what to do and when to do it? How will you make sure everyone sticks to the schedule?
My goal in creating the timeline is to make sure everybody knows what they need to do, when and how and to answer everybody's question before they are even asked! We do create a very detailed timeline for vendors that we all review the week before the wedding and then again on the wedding day (to make sure there are not last minute changes). We also go over each guest's "duty" during the ceremony rehearsal, in fact this is a great moment to get to know them and remind them anything important!