Archive for April, 2011

How should brides choose a planner?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Brides who found Holly Blackett’s “Why a wedding planner is a necessity” resourceful will appreciate her TOP list of questions to ask when choosing a wedding planner. Holly, a wedding planner, certified Sandals Resort specialist and owner of Zuriana’s Elegant Occasions brought her wedding planning experience and vision for every bride to have her dream wedding to our phone interview in early April. This is a glimpse at Holly’s advice for brides when it comes to choosing a wedding planner…

How should brides choose a planner?

[Holly]: Your wedding planner should be passionate and enjoy what they do but most importantly, you should “mesh well” with them because you’ll be working with them closely up until the day of the wedding. Planners become your cheerleader, confidant and financial planner. Look for a planner that has experience. When choosing a planner, you should ask or be interested in knowing:


  1. How long they’ve been in the industry?
  2. Have they had formal education on wedding and event planning?
  3. Does he/she have professional affiliations in the industry?
  4. Have they attended any professional conferences?
  5. Do you like the planners as a person?
  6. Does the planner’s personality and your personality go well together?
  7. Does the planner appear to love what /she does?
  8. Does the planner present themselves in a professional manner?
  9. Does the planner have a business license?
  10. Does the planner have proof of liability insurance?
  11. Can the planner provide you with any referrals or references?
  12. What do other vendors have to say about the planner?

Planners need to have an established rapport with vendors. Your planner should be able to bring all your details together create a polished look from the invitations to the wedding and reception.

Why a Wedding Planner is a Necessity

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I recently interviewed Holly Blackett of Zuriana’s Elegant Occasions on her experience as a wedding planner in the DC area. Most planners offer day-of planning or full-service, but Holly accommodates her brides with custom planning packages. This is the ultimate plus for any bride who can handle most the details but would prefer a planner to offer assistance in some areas or needs last minute details finalized.

Why is a wedding planner a necessity and not a luxury?

[Holly]: A wedding planner is familiar in the industry, has gone to events, researched and built the relationships. A lot of times vendors offer planners the best prices because they’ve built a rapport with them and know they’ll bring more business (in this case, it’s brides). Essentially, planners save brides time which is valuable. In Holly’s experience, her relationship with vendors makes a difference in getting the vendors you want!

Holly describes a bride who wanted a well-known caterer in the DMV area who is usually booked a year out for their mouth-watering $100-plated dinners. The wedding was less than a year-out and Holly was able to book their catering services for the bride based on that relationship she built with them.

Holly adds, wedding days go by so quickly, planners allow you and your family to relax. Brides should not leave day-of details to friends and family  – they may not follow through or do it how the bride or groom wants it. Planners assure everything runs smoothly and if something comes up, planners make sure it appears everything is still running as planned.

What advice do  you have for brides?

[Holly]: Don’t drive your fiance crazy by looking at 30 venues. A planner looks at your budget and helps you determine appropriate venues. You should really only be looking at 3-4 venues. The same applies to caterers. Even if you don’t want a full-service planner, a partial planner is still a must to finalize all the details, ensure the wedding rehearsal runs smoothly, and attend final meetings with vendors.

Holly tells the story of a couple who didn’t firm-up transportation details with their planner. Only one limo was reserved to transport an entire wedding party to the ceremony site causing the wedding to start 40 minutes late. Holly emphasizes the importance of sharing all details with your planner.

Still a “do-it yourself” bride, Holly prepares you for the road ahead…

[Holly]: If you’re going to plan yourself, know that it can be overwhelming and stressful. You can have a sticker shock if you’re not familiar with the prices. A wedding photographer starts at $2,700 and cake is $4.25-$5.50 a serving for a basic wedding cake. This can be confusing if you  visit 10 different venues, caterers, and other vendors. You should only go to 3-4. Do your research online first, understand your vision – planners can help too.

Thank you for interviewing with us Holly! Next week’s blog will feature important questions to ask your wedding planner with Holly Blackett.

Brides, what is the most valuable trait you’ve found in a wedding planner? How has or did a wedding planner make a difference in the overall planning process?

[PHOTOS] Hunt Country Bridal Show

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Hunt Country Bridal Show & Expo was held Saturday, March 20th to showcase some of the phenomenal talent from vendors in the wedding industry. Northern Virginia wedding vendors from dance instructors to photographers and party rentals attended the 200+ person event. The Edge Photography captured photos from the day – tables were designed by planner Lisette LeGrain-Miller owho used her creative talents to produce seasonal inspired tables:

Fall Theme Inspired Table Decor

Spring Pink paired over a bright green linen and a bird cage centerpiece

Decorations for Company Holiday Parties

All photos by Edge Photography of Leesburg

Greens bring a bold statement to these fall colors

Panorama View of the National Ballroom

Brown, orange & gold create an autumn feel

Candles and twigs create a 3-dimensional appeal to the table

Thank you to all who attended Hunt Country Bridal Show! The Sunday was a success and we were delighted to meet so many brides and couples in the Virginia area.