1. Introduction: What's your story?
I had been planning events for well over 8 years when a friend asked me to plan her wedding in 3 WEEKS! I reveled in the beauty, the love and sacredness of the day and knew from that moment I wanted to change my focus to weddings. That was back in 2015 and since then The Gilded Aisle has grown to a team with additional locations in Italy, Southern California and New York.
2. What's your experience as a wedding planner? How many weddings have you planned?
I have 6 years of experience specifically in weddings and more than 14 years total in the events industry. I've planned over 100 weddings and events. I've also received my Accredited Wedding Planner designation from the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC). Additionally, I serve as ABC's State Manager for Illinois.
3. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?
The Gilded Aisle offers are a variety of wedding planning services:
Full Planning & Design: We take our clients through our signature vendor curation process for creating their dream team. For the design component we've developed a multi-page design questionnaire to understand who our clients really are so we can create an event that reflects them. their personalities and their wedding day vision.
Wedding Day Management
Often referred to as month-of-coordination or day-of-coordination, our Wedding Day Management service begins 2 months out from the wedding and entails a timeline meeting with the client as well as the venue final walk-thru. We create a very detailed 15+ page timeline that covers the smallest detail.
Destination Wedding Planning:
We're very unique in the fact that we are credentialed wedding planners and we're affiliated with Travel Quest, an industry travel agency consortium. Our affiliation gives us access to all the travel tools and resources needed to plan a exceptional destination wedding event.
Ala Carte Services:
We offer a variety of add-on services such as rehearsal dinner planning, bridal showers, post wedding-day brunch, guest concierge service, guest welcome bags, wedding favors and much more.
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 full planning is our most popular. Each proposal is customized and is based on a flat fee plus a percentage.
5. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?
Senior Planner | Chicago
Mary Claire Orenic
Lead Planner | Southern California
Mary Catherine Beck
Lead Planner | New York
Logistics Coordinator | Italy
We have a minimum of 2 staff at our events but the number is totally dependent on the extent of the event production, number of venues involved, guest count and size of the wedding party.
6. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of the wedding?
We have a large team for each wedding so the transition is seamless if the lead planner is unable to be present on the wedding day. Additionally, we create very detailed event weekend timelines to ensure the day runs smoothly and no detail is overlooked.
7. How many meetings will you have with the couple and how will they be involved?
For our full planning clients, we accompany clients to venue/vendor search meetings (or Zoom calls) and once under contract we allot up to 3 planning meetings per vendor. We also have regularly scheduled update calls/meetings with each client.
8. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?
For our full planning & design clients, we assist them with the overall design concept and wording of the invitation as well as handle RSVP management. We utilize a planning software that allows the client to easily arrange guest table assignments through a simple drag-and-drop feature. Invitation addressing, stuffing and mailing are available at a small additional cost.
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, we handle all rentals and pass along our discounts to our client. Wedding Day timelines are finely tuned and developed with input from the entire wedding team. Load-in times and loading dock directions are spelled out for each vendor.
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?
Yes, we create custom timelines for each wedding party member as well as each vendor team. We recognize that the catering manager could care less when hair and make-up begins so we give them just the details that are important to them. The timeline is developed with input from the other vendors so they are vested in the schedule for the day. Additionally, we only recommend vendors who we have had a successful working relationship and who understand the importance of protecting the client experience by staying on schedule. Having said all that, we realize life happens and always build some cushion into the timeline to account for elements that may be out of our control.