10 Questions with Taren Schwarz

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most experienced and a highly sought-after wedding planner from Florida, Taren Schwarz of Diamond Receptions. Orlando based Taren is the founder and owner at Diamond Receptions.

Diamond Receptions

Planner - Taren Schwarz

10 Questions with Taren Schwarz

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hi! I'm Taren

My passion for weddings & events came from the time I spent with the Chamber of Commerce. I was originally hired to increase the membership, but quickly found out that putting on events was truly my passion. So, I became the Director of Special Events and Membership sales.

After leaving the Chamber, I was hired to run and manage several non-profits to which I had to raise money, and putting on events, fundraisers & galas worked best. In 2007 it was time for me to step out on my own and start my company, Diamond Receptions. Today, I am honored to be the Founder and Lead Planner of Diamond Receptions Wedding Planning & Design. Since starting my company, we've proudly done over 300 weddings, events & galas, all of which I'm extremely proud of. Aside from doing only events, I'm also a licensed Real Estate Agent. I feel that since we spend so much time together planning your wedding or event, you may also need to find your first home, and who better to help you, then someone you already know and trust.

On a personal note, I LOVE to travel and have been to many unique destinations such as Hawaii and Cabo San Lucas. But, one thing I've learned is that walking through this journey of life, there is nothing more gratifying then spending time with my family. God has been blessed me with three children, and four grandchildren, who I totally adore.

It's been said that if you love what you do for a living, you'll never work a day in your life. That must be true, because I truly LOVE what I do...and what I do is help people like you have an amazing time with your friends and family to create memories that last a lifetime.

2. What's your experience as a wedding planner? How many weddings have you planned?

I've learned after 300 plus events of all types and sizes, that you can't plan a wedding without a direction. My couples provide me with the road map. It takes a vison and a lot of discussion to go down the right road which finally gets us to that destination.

I find that asking the right questions usually gives me the direction I need to meet or exceed my couple's vison for their wedding day.

On wedding day, I always take my couple in to see their room before their guests see it. That way they see an undisturbed room. However, if something isn't quite right, it allows us to correct the problem and keep your guests comfortable in cocktail while we take care of what's necessary.

3. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?

As with ALL of our packages, you are able to communicate with us from the minute you sign your contract. We believe you shouldn't have to to "wait" until a month or 2 prior to your wedding or event if you have a question. We feel the more communication we have with you during your planning, the better we get to know you; which means the better job we can do for you and your family.

We offer the following packages:

*Day-Of
*Some Planning with day-of
*Full Planning with day of

You can also add à la carte items from a wide range of items. Prices depend on what services/products you would like.

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?

Payments for our packages are very simple. We charge a 50% non-refundable retainer at the time you sign your contract and the remaining 50% isn't due until 30 days prior to your wedding or event. We charge a flat fee for our services up to a guest count of 300, and a single day event. For larger events, we charge a percentage of the event. We also take a wide variety of payment options.

Our packages are:

1) "Day-Of Planning"

2) "Just Celebrate: is our partial planning package, and it is our most popular package.

3) "Concierge" is our "full service" package. You basically just need to show up and enjoy your celebration.

5. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?

Our team is designated by your vision and guest count. For intimate celebrations, we may need only 1 or 2 coordinators. Average celebrations usually will have 2-3 coordinators, and larger celebrations depend on what is actually needed after the schedule is written. Whatever the case, we can cover your wedding or event efficiently and with professionalism.

6. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of the wedding?

I get asked this question a lot. In my 30+ years of creating weddings and special events, I've been blessed to not have missed any due to illness.

However, we have learned in the recent past, that some circumstances aren't always in our control. For those times, we offer to reschedule your wedding or event at no additional charge to you, providing we have the date available. We will also reschedule all of your vendors and your venue for you. Unfortunately, we cannot control what others charge for their contracts or services.

We have been fortunate to overcome several difficult periods between the economy and pandemics over the years and thankfully we have survived each one during our 15 years in business.

7. How many meetings will you have with the couple and how will they be involved?

Again, we're available to communicate with our couples anytime they have something they would like to share with us, or if they have questions. If it means a meeting, then we will either schedule a zoom or in person meeting, depending on what's needed.

As for up-charging, we try not to charge additional money unless it's not within our area, then we'll charge a travel fee.

We try our best to make certain that our couple are involved in every phase of the planning process in one form or another. That is, unless they themselves choose not to be.

8. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?

This is one of our à la carte items, unless they've purchased our Concierge package. We always offer to proof read our couple invitations. As for wording, we'll offer some ideas and suggestions if we're asked.

As for guest list coordination, we'll offer advice to get the best counts, but they will need to purchase that item if they don't have the concierge package.

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?

The answer to all these questions lies within our schedule and time-line. Yes, we will handle ALL coordination of every vendor, the venue, room lighting, linens, etc. Our schedule also comes with a full room design. This package is purchased separately, except for the concierge package.

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?

Our event schedule is minute-by-minute precise. We start from the day of rehearsal and go through the end of the wedding. Every vendor, the venue and the families all know where to go, what time to be there, and what they will need.

Our schedule also includes a full diagram of each room or event space, from ceremony, cocktail, reception and any other time or space the couple has planned. Our schedule us usually no less than 8-10 pages long.

And...once approved by our couple, we also take care of notifying ALL your vendors and email them the timeline well in advance of the wedding or event.

As for photo & video, we ask that they have a quick meeting with us on wedding day or before to ensure we are all on the same page for the best position for the couple's formality photos; such as, first dance, cake cutting, specialty dances, etc.

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Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2022