Couples want their wedding days to be totally unique and totally representative of them. They also hope that everything will fall into place without angst or last-minute surprises. Then, of course, there is the budget line.
"One-stop shopping works well for today's bride. The average bride today is financially contributing significantly to her wedding and is working full time while trying to plan a wedding. There are economies of scale with multiple services, which saves valuable time and ensures the professionals are well-orchestrated the day of the wedding," says Brian M. Tessler, chief marketing officer for The Pros Entertainment Inc. of Pennsylvania.
The Pros offer packages including photographer, videographer and DJ services. Packages are flexible and can be customized to meet the couple's individual needs. "Brides are able to mix and match different levels of service and receive the same discount. For example, if a bride has a small wedding but wants a custom-built album, she can book the smallest disc jockey package with a top-end photography package," explains Tessler.
From photography and entertainment packages up to complete resort, activity and vacation packages, bridal couples are finding convenience, coordination and economy with the help of one-stop shopping. You can have a complete weekend, from rehearsal dinner to a parting brunch, at a local resort or a destination wedding that flows into a private honeymoon for two. With a limited number of vendor contacts and discounts for multiple services, the wedding affair becomes more affordable and more manageable.
Full-service event planning companies, such as The Event Of A Lifetime Inc., coordinate details from the invitations through the planning and execution of your event. Overseen by proprietor and wedding planner Melisa Imberman and based in Greater New York, The Event Of A Lifetime will "hand-pick each vendor based on the couple's personality, style and budget."
Imberman believes that customized weddings allow for more personalized tastes. "One-stop shopping obviously saves time, however not every vendor is right for every bride. When you go to a place that offers a multi-vendor package, you may end up hiring vendors that you wouldn't have otherwise. You may end up with things that don't suit your needs or style or perhaps with a generic wedding."
One-stop shopping can mean offers including photography, videography and entertainment; catering halls and hotels that provide menus, floral arrangements, centerpieces and accommodations; stationery, including invitations, place cards, announcements and thank you notes; or resorts that program the activities from arrival to departure. The purpose of a coordinated package is for convenience, economy and a smooth and memorable event. Each package arrangement reduces the haggling and contacts.
Silk Expressions in Seven Springs, N.C., is a wedding-planning, -coordinating and -decoration service. It offers packages that contain cakes, flowers, planning, coordinating, invitations, decorating and favors. "By combining our services, we are able to save our brides money," owner Patricia Mudd says. "We relieve stress by taking on a lot of their planning and coordinating."
It's Eventful, which is in Seattle, offers a "Full Production Package," from initial planning through the day of the event. Its other packages include simple consultation and month-of services. "Even if couples feel as if they can plan everything themselves and have everything go smoothly on the day of the wedding, the question remains whether or not the couple and family and close friends WANT to deal with everything that could feasibly go awry. We can help, from getting a couple started and organized to the design and theme of the whole wedding to all the major and minor details throughout the wedding day to the very end and even after the wedding is over," owner Renee Metty explains.
"Planning and coordinating an event can be a monumental task," Imberman says. "Be organized; plan; pay attention to details; add personal touches; enjoy yourself and each other."
"If budget is the concern," Tessler says, "set priorities to ensure your money goes to where it is most important."
Professionals also advise couples deciding whether to use packaged vendors or wedding services to be realistic about the time it takes to plan an affair, your time commitments and what your dreams are for a "perfect" wedding affair.