After five years as a director producing nearly 150 events per year in the Dallas Design District, Molly opened her own full-service wedding and event planning company — Pop Parties. Fully dedicated to helping clients host perfectly planned celebrations, Molly and her team work tirelessly to create once-in-a-lifetime occasions for their clients.
Molly was kind enough to offer up her expert advice as to why every bride needs a planner, how to rightfully evaluate the price point of a wedding venue and its services, and the three issues brides-to-be struggle with most. (You may find you are not alone!)
The Laurel:Why should brides have a planner?
Molly Rasmussen: I believe every bride should have a qualified planner for at least the month prior to the wedding. No bride should have to be running around setting up table linen or placing escort cards with her hair in rollers. Hiring a planner, no matter the budget should be a priority for clients so they can enjoy their day and really be able to celebrate with family and friends, while we worry about the details and timeline.
TL:What do you see brides struggling with most within the wedding planning process?
MR: The three most common struggles I see are:
1. Dealing with family. That seems crazy to say, but there are a lot of emotions and decisions that go into wedding planning. I find that most of my clients’ stress comes from aiming to please all parties involved.
2. Guest list. Maybe this goes hand in hand with family, but a lot of times I see that the guest list starts with the number of guests the bride and family want to have and ends up different (usually higher) by the time the invitation goes out. This can be frustrating for both the bride/family and the budget. For every 10 guests you add, you are also paying for 10 extra plates of food, bar packages, one more centerpiece, more linens, and chargers, etc. Most wedding items are per-person based, only a few items have a fixed cost regardless of count.
3. Education. For many families this is the one and only wedding they will plan in their lifetime, and it comes with a hefty price tag. Having a planner on your team adds value to the overall experience by helping brides and families understand why certain services cost more than others, and how to effectively compare products across various vendors. Understanding the breakdown can be a struggle for some clients.
TL:Since education helps make the process more understandable, can you explain what you are looking for when you help your clients select a venue?
MR:For any referral we provide, we are always looking for value. That seems a little like a no brainer, but let me break it down for you.
Venue A is cheaper (hey, cost savings!) and rents for $10,000.00 but only includes tables and chairs. Also, there is no bridal suite, you only have three hours to set-up your decorations, can host only a four-hour event, and have only one hour to clean up which you are responsible to do.
Side note, who wants to collect beer bottles from tables at the end of their wedding?
Venue B is more expensive, rents for $13,000.00 but includes tables, chairs and linens. There is a bridal suite for getting ready, you can get in to set-up early in the morning, and their staff takes care of set-up/clean-up for you.
Although Venue B is technically more expensive when you compare dollar for dollar, you have to ask yourself: which venue adds more value to your overall wedding experience and peace of mind? For some of you, budgets are tight and you’ll take any cost savings you can get (Venue A!) but others of you know that the last thing you want to do is ask all the cousins and uncles to help take trash out at the end of your event (Venue B!).
As a wedding planner, it’s my job to look at the big picture. A planner’s expertise and vendor sources can help you to both manage your budget and bring added value to your event. I often get asked “Does hiring a planner pay for itself?” my resounding answer is always, “Yes, if you hire a seasoned, respected professional to assist with the planning.” The new kid on the block may be cheaper, but does she have connections to help save the day in an emergency or to negotiate lower pricing for you?
TL:What is the most rewarding part of your job?
MR: That’s easy, making people happy! Many of the events we produce are once-in-a lifetime celebrations. It’s always a joy to see the smile on the bride’s face during her first dance, or the mother of the bride’s jaw drop when she sees the reception space fully set for the first time. It really is like creating magic for one big day. I always say that it’s our job to make our clients look good, and that means helping them to host perfectly planned celebrations for all to enjoy.
TL:As a planner, how was your experience working with The Laurel team?
MR: We LOVE working at The Laurel! Shannon and her team are very accommodating and are always flexible to do what’s best for the client. Some venues are so strict with rules and timing that it makes for a difficult experience all around. I love that The Laurel really puts the client first.
Thank you, Molly, for your expert ideas and kind words! You can learn more about Pop Parties here.
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