1. Introduction: What's your story?
Hi, I am Luba Gankin, and I’ve loved weddings and happy gatherings since early childhood. I attended my first wedding at the age of 3. I still remember the bride in her wedding dress and the glass of Champagne I was trying to get for myself, fascinated by all these bubbles!
I am a certified international events and weddings planner, a certified luxury wedding planner, and a certified wedding & events design specialist. My specialty is the local weddings in the greater Boston area and destination weddings in Italy. I’ve won multiple awards, such as the Couple’s Choice Award 2018 - 2021 from Wedding Wire and The Best of Weddings by the Knot from 2018-2021, as well as some international awards and certifications. I am an eager learner and actively participate in seminars, conferences, and remote meetings relevant to the wedding industry. I am a member of professional events organizations and keep in touch with many talented colleagues across the US and Europe.
I love my couples and cherish the relationship of friendship and trust we create along our planning journey.
I was born and raised in St Petersburg, Russia. Before becoming a full-time wedding planner, I did my Ph.D. in Chemistry in Paris, France, worked on multiple research projects in Boston’s universities and companies, including MIT. I speak English, Russian, French and Italian, which I’ve found helpful when planning destination and international events.
2. What's your experience as a wedding planner? How many weddings have you planned?
I have been a planner from birth. I have been planning all kinds of events for as long as I remember: at school, university, and work. I am a scientist by vocation and was always involved in planning scientific conferences and meetings while conducting research, simply because I liked it. Even now, in the pandemic, weddings create an unforgettable feeling of joy. We cherish them even more. I love celebrations: they help us balance daily routines and the sad news we hear daily.
Weddings, to me, are an epitome of a happy, beautiful, emotional, and meaningful event for the couple and their guests. My job allows me to be a part of the process: to help my couples make this day (or even several days) and then to be a part of it, share in this feeling. When dealing with postponements, I am by their side, and I see how it helps. All together, it gives me a lot of energy and satisfaction, especially when I see that my participation was worthwhile.
3. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?
I am offering full-service planning and partial, a la carte, planning to my couples. I always customize my offerings to reflect each couple's particular needs.
The details can be found on my website, and at the beginning of the working process, we have a meeting where we get to know each other, learn about each other, and define the scope of work we will do together.
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?
My most popular package is full-service planning, which usually starts with help of finding and selecting the venue.
Most of my couples are very busy people, many live far away from the area where their wedding will take place.
My fees depend on the complexity of my work, the logistics, and some extra activities, which I might be doing.
As a rule of thumb, my charge equals 10-12% of the budget, but it really depends on each particular situation and there is a minimum fee I require.
The payments are split into 3 installments: 30% at the contract's signature, 40% three months before the event, and the balance 30 days before the event.
5. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?
It always depends on the number of guests and the logistics. I can be working alone for small-size weddings or when we have limits on the number of people due to safety restrictions.
Most of the time I have an assistant and in some cases 2-3 people helping me to coordinate the day.
6. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of the wedding?
So far I was lucky and never had this problem. But of course, I have assistants and fellow planners who are in agreement with me to mutually help each other.
7. How many meetings will you have with the couple and how will they be involved?
It depends on the time we have to prepare for the wedding and the complexity of the event. Usually, we have regular meetings scheduled once a month/two months with multiple email/text exchanges in-between.
Closer to the wedding day, we have more frequent communication and site inspections. We also occasionally meet in person with some vendors, for food tasting, florals, dress fitting etc.
We also use a few online platforms to help us plan the wedding's activities, timelines and keep all the information handy. We also work on the budget together.
8. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?
Most of the time my couples do that independently, especially because they know their guests much better. On rare occasions, I am handling this aspect of the planning as well.
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 what I always do!
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?
I am quite good with timelines! I use the platform Timeline Genius, and it allows all the vendors, the couple, and some of their relatives/friends to be a part of the timeline creation process.
The timelines and contacts are then distributed to everyone involved and depend on each vendor/person's tasks.
My assistants and I keep checking and verifying everyone/everything to make sure we are sticking to the schedule. If something unexpected happens, we do our best to adjust to the situation and continue the wedding celebration.