Wedding planners make for fantastic plot drama, but in real life, they offer a drama-free option: pay me to do the work for you. Did you — or would you — opt to pay for professional wedding help? If so, tell me how you got what you needed out of the arrangement while maintaining control of your wedding vision and your budget.
Alison Hotchkiss, the creative director of Alison Events and the author of Destination Wedding Planner, took some time out of her busy wedding planning schedule to offer CasaSugar readers some words of advice on planning their weddings. If you, or a couple you know, are planning a destination wedding, I highly recommend Alison's new book to help lend a guiding hand in your planning process.
CasaSugar: Congratulations on the book! I love the tone and the fun look of this planner.
Alison Hotchkiss: Oh thank you! I thought that the imagery and the lighthearted tone would encourage people to enjoy planning their weddings.
CasaSugar: What was your experience with working with Chronicle Books [the publisher of Alison’s book]?
Alison Hotchkiss: It was fun to work with Chronicle. They were really open to all of my suggestions and it felt like a very collaborative project. It felt really good, and they treated me like family. Chronicle is very supportive. They’re very cool people over there. I feel very happy to have them as my publishing company.
CasaSugar: How did you get started as a destination wedding planner?
Alison Hotchkiss: I’ve been an avid traveler since childhood, and my initial goal was to be a meeting planner, since my understanding was that they could travel all over the world. So a couple years after doing that I fell into the right situation helping with someone doing day-of event wedding planning. I realized there was a need for destination wedding planners; there were only a small number of us. The cover of my book shows the first wedding I planned. The bride on the cover is Emily Nathan, who got married in Kauai. I gave that wedding 150 percent of my energy, and I realized how much I loved it. That was seven years ago. So now, I’ll travel pretty much anywhere, but my specialty is tropical locations or mountainous locations. I love going somewhere new and learning about the place, the culture, and making new friends. It’s a blast.
To hear about some things a couple should consider when planning a destination wedding, read more
You may not be a DIY bride but you probably enjoy being involved in most of the details of your wedding day. There are some engaged gals, though, that leave it all (invites, floral arrangements, color scheme, tablecloths, etc.) up to a wedding planner (or their moms). Take this poll and let me know where you fall in the bunch.
If you're anything like me, you like to keep a firm hold on the reigns when it comes to planning and organizing events. Like the saying goes, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself! Although I have nothing against professional wedding planners, I personally would want to know what is going on behind the scenes at all times — especially when it's an event as big as my wedding. So even if you're going the traditional route for the big day, indulge your geeky side with a great wedding planning program to help you stay focused, on time, and within budget.
For my PC users out there, I've found an exceptional program called IDo ($30) that has tons of features to keep you on track. From contacts, invites, and flight info that you'll need before the event, to gift lists and thank you cards for after, it covers everything. IDo even comes with a budget tracker to keep you from overspending, and task lists and time lines to remind you that the wedding cake flavors must be decided by next week — or you'll end up with an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins! Not that I would complain about an ice cream cake any day of the week. . .
For my Mac comrades, I have a great solution to your wedding planning nightmares. To find out what it is, just read more
One place where I splurged when planning my wedding was designing and ordering custom postage stamps. Since I'd put so much time into designing my invitations, I didn't want to muck up the pretty envelopes with the pink, overly saccharine Love stamps that were my option from the USPS (plus the pink stamps would clash horribly with my celedon green envelopes). Instead, I decided to design postage stamps through Zazzle, which has partnered with the USPS to provide stamps to folks who are interested in designing them to mark special occasions or to just add a little bit of fun to a letter.
To see how to make your own stamps, just read more
Who was responsible for TomKat's wedding arrangements? Andy "Pressure Is My Middle Name" Dick, of course! He's no ordinary wedding planner, but more of a "matrimagician" and for that reason, Tom "Galactic Space God" Cruise hired him to plan an out of this world occasion. Luckily, Andy snorts enough airplane glue to send him beyond the moon and back, so he didn't disappoint. Or did he?