1. Introduction: What's your story?
Hi, I'm Sacha Patires and the owner and master wedding planner at Whimsical Weddings & Events for 17 years.
I realized my love for weddings when I was a little girl. I was obsessed with all of the details of any wedding that I attended. I often would keep little things (like the birdseed from the sendoff or party favors) and would keep them on a shelf at home with my wedding Barbie that was much to special to play with.
I was in my senior year and about to graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering when I realized that I really wanted to be a wedding planner. Although I finished my schooling and worked a few years in that field, once I had my first child I decided I was going to go for it so I could follow my dream and raise my child simultaneously. I had the name of my company already picked out before I even had a business. From there I got my certification in wedding planning and I was eager to get some experience under my belt. I reached out to a few local wedding planners with no success. I took matters into my own hands and after hearing that a friend's daughter was getting married, I offered to be their wedding planner for free to gain the experience. And boy, did it not disappoint me as a learning experience! The wedding was a success and just further fueled my passion for weddings. From there I slowly grew my business and now I'm 17 years in and a seasoned pro!
2. What's your experience as a wedding planner? How many weddings have you planned?
I have no idea how many weddings I've planned in 17 years...countless. But also I have helped brides in general with the many phone calls that I receive and offering advise that way. In my time as a wedding planner, I've worked with celebrities, done events that cost as much as half a million dollars, and planned weddings for 500+ guests.
3. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?
I offer hourly help (examples: consultations or decorating on-site), month of wedding planning, design-only planning, all-inclusive wedding planning, and with the changes 2020 brought we now offer virtual wedding planning packages for all of the above.
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?
I charge a flat fees that is payable half upfront and half one month prior to the wedding day.
The packages I offer for in-person wedding planning (traditional):
Month of Wedding Planning (Our second most popular package)
All-inclusive Wedding Planning (Our most popular package)
Virtual wedding planning packages as follows:
- Jump Start
- Double Check
- Month of Wedding Planning
- Mini Wedding Consultation
- Wedding Consultation (1 hour)
5. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?
It depends on the size and scope of the event. At most, I've had a team of 6. For most events, I will only have a team of 2-4 to assist with set-up and tear-down and for the rest of the event I run it solo.
6. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of the wedding?
I've never had this happen in 17 years. In the event that this did happen, I have a few qualified professionals I can call upon to fill in during my abscense.
7. How many meetings will you have with the couple and how will they be involved?
It depends on which package you choose. For month-of clients we will have two meetings in person prior to the day of the rehearsal. Then I will be there for the rehearsal and the day of the event.
For all-inclusive packages we meet as needed. There isn't a standard number. I really try to keep the wedding planning process streamlined so we don't have meetings just to meet. Since I do most of the legwork in finding vendors, decor, etc. we save a lot of time by only meeting with the vendors that we are considering hiring. I am always a phone call or text away if my clients need to reach me at any time.
The vendor selection process is pretty easy for my clients. After discussing their wedding with them and getting an idea of what they need, I bring vendor suggestions to them. We don't always meet the vendors in person before hiring because my clients trust my recommendation. For example, when selecting a photographer, I recommend a few to them, they check their pictures and packages out online, and then I contact the photographer they choose to get the contract set-up. For other vendors, it is necessary for them to meet. Examples of those vendors would be cake, food and beverage, venue and attire. Regardless of how the vendors are selected I am always the main point of contact on behalf of my clients. The contracts are sent to me and reviewed by me before I forward them to my clients. I do my best to make sure that the bride and groom are not inundated with unnecessary information. By being their point of contact they only have to worry about returning my call and I can take care of all the business with the vendors.
8. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?
For full-service clients, I help them pick out their invitations by selecting the ones that fit their style and sending them options. When it is time to order I often assist by helping to choose the wording and all details (usually this is done over the phone as the bride is ordering them online. If we are in a store ordering them then I would be there in person.) I will handle the assembling and addressing of the invitations if the clients requests that. Sometimes they want to do it. I don't address the invitations because we either have the envelopes printed or a calligrapher does them. I almost always manage the RSVP's and the guest list.
For month of clients, they are responsible for handling the invitations but I am a phone call away to answer any questions they have when ordering them.
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, I handle rentals in the sense that I coordinate their delivery, set-up, and pick-up. I do coordinate with all of the vendors regarding details, arrival times, set-up times, and strike times. I also have a timeline established that the vendors are to follow and I will make sure that we stay on track throughout the day.
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 try to keep everything as simple as possible but create a very detailed timeline for every event down to the minute. The vendors usually appreciate it and do their best to adhere to the timeline. Especially, the ones that I work with frequently because they know it will be a seamless transition and create a really well-planned event by staying on time. I make a master timeline for me and my staff, each vendor gets a timeline that is tailored to the info they need to know, and the bride, groom, and their teams get a timeline of things they need to know. Other involved people such as mothers and fathers will just be told a time they need to arrive and where to be at the rehearsal.
To keep everyone on time, I stay in contact with the vendors. A lot of times, the vendors I work with a lot that know me well will just shoot me a text or keep me updated only if there is a problem. Otherwise, if I see that I have a vendor that is not going with the problem (which usually happens when it is someone the bride has hired on her own) I will go and get the bride and groom and take them where I need them to be so I can keep my schedule. I have only had a few vendors that were just horrible to work with and didn't want to follow the schedule. They were a dj and a photographer. I deal with them the best I can on the day of the event to get the stuff done we need to and then I make sure that I never have to work with them again! You have to be a very interesting combination of fluid and rigid at the same time in order to make the event flow the right way. You need to know when you can be a little flexible and when you really have to move!