Name: Christine Steffes
Business Name: Get Christine Event Planning
Industry Category: Planner and Coordinator
What common mistakes do you see couples making?
Not hiring certain vendors soon enough. Especially with regards to venues, which results in disappointment that their wedding date is already booked.
What's the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?
Decide what is the most important thing from the beginning, and try to stay true to it. For example, if budget is most important it should be decided on from the moment the couple gets engaged. And, if budget is the most important factor, remember that number of people in attendance will most drastically affect the cost of the event. Aside from that, I of course recommend hiring a coordinator. They can bring things to your attention that you hadn't thought of, and they really can make the day of less stressful for both the couple and their family.
What don't couples know about your business category that they need to know?
I, as well as many other coordinators, offer an hourly fee if you don't want a day-of or full service planner, but do just want someone to bounce a few questions off of. They should also know that there really isn't such a thing as "day-of" coordination because in order for your coordinator to provide the best possible service, they need to gather tons of details. By not getting your coordinator involved with at least one month notice before the wedding, you are doing yourself and the coordinator a disservice.
What questions should couples be asking that they don't know to ask?
Couples should ask the venues that they tour what all is included in their pricing. Many couples do not seem to know that they can save a fair amount of money by hosting their wedding at the more inclusive venues. They should also ask what days of week or seasons are more reasonably priced. A couple can save a lot of money by hosting their wedding during the slower months of the year, or even for hosting their wedding in the morning/afternoon.
What's your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?
To set a budget and stick to it. While a big extravagant wedding is always fun to host, going into debt for years after because credit cards were necessary to pay for it, is really not worth it. Not to mention, if you did spend more than you planned and are suffering later because of it, you don't ever want to question whether your wedding was "worth it".
What's the most unusual wedding you ever did?
I don't think I have worked any unusual weddings yet, but I have worked some very culturally different weddings. My husband and I have worked a few Moldovan weddings, and during the ceremony the couples did not have a kiss. I think most people would consider that unusual, but I think it is just different culturally because we're used to the traditional first kiss. Though the ceremony was different then what I am used to, I did not see a lack of love represented throughout their wedding day.
What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?
This is hard to answer because I have worked so many beautiful and unique weddings. But since I have to pick one, I would say the Moldovan weddings I have worked have been the most memorable. This is because, as I said before, they are culturally very different then what I am used to, but there was still so much love ever present. At the receptions for these weddings, it is so clear that the family and friends of the couple put tons of effort and work into the wedding, including the endless food that is served.