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April 29, 2022

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Kelly McKinnis

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Tips for Brides

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Ask the Pros: Answers to Common Wedding Planning Questions from a Certified Planner

This week, we are excited to have a guest on the blog!

Meet Pamela Yerkes! She is the owner and lead event and wedding planner of Ignite Your Occasion, based in Tampa, Florida. Pamela is a certified wedding planner and has a ton of helpful knowledge as an experienced wedding planner.

With that said, we’re pleased to share her answers to common wedding planning questions, as well as some of her advice below! Enjoy!

1. What is the difference between a Day of Coordinator, Partial Planning, and Full Planning?

The difference between a planner and a coordinator is a planner will be by your side from start to finish.  A planner helps you choose vendors, find you ways to save, should be able to provide you discounts and helps you stay on track. You will get to be as involved as much or as little as you want.  Planners provide insight, knowledge, and resources throughout the process. 

A coordinator only helps with final event details and logistics and makes sure things run smoothly on event day.  You are responsible for all the planning of your wedding day; the coordinator simply steps in last minute to provide you peace of mind for your event day.

2. How is a venue coordinator different from a planner?

A venue coordinator has responsibilities to the venue and to show customer service to their clients.  A venue coordinator coordinates everything regarding the venue, including the contract to rent the space, all the amenities that come with the rental, making sure the lights, A/C and all the commitments are filled per the contract.  One of the biggest pain points in my research with venue coordinators is their clients mistake their responsibilities for mine, a planner.  This causes venue coordinators to be in a tough spot to exhibit customer service but also maintain boundaries on their role.

In short, a venue coordinator’s responsibilities lie with the venue, whereas a wedding planner or day-of coordinator’s role is to look out for your best interests and ensure your wedding day goes as you planned.

3. What is the main things a planner does to help relieve stress on the wedding day for both the couple and their families?

Personally, relieving stress for my couple and their families start way back when they hire me to achieve having a stress-free wedding day.  Besides setting the couple up for a successful planning process, I execute their day flawlessly by following the timeline the vendors, myself and my couple has collaborated on.  I manage the rehearsal and triple checking everything as well as have the bride hand off any DIY items the evening before.  I dedicate a full 8-hour day along with an assistant as I can’t be in two places at one time so that I can tend to all the bride and groom’s needs.

4. What is the difference between planning and design?

Not all planners offer design and in some cases, a couple has to hire both a planner and designer depending on their needs.  In fact, I recently got design certified so I can offer this for my clients—it’s one less vendor they have to hire, so it’s a win-win.  To me, design comes before the planning.  Design is full of ideas, mood boards, scoping out the venue/areas to be decorated and the flow. Planning helps execute the design and all of the events of the day so everything runs smoothly.

The Palmetto Club at Fishhawk Ranch wedding reception

5. How can a wedding planner help with my wedding budget?

Not all planners are able to help in this area outside of offering creative ways to save money.  Being a certified wedding planner, additionally, I am able to pass on discounts with vendors, services, wedding items and also negotiating services to my clients in lieu of my network connections.  This could add up to almost covering the cost of my services!  

One common area couples tend to underestimate the budget on is floral.  Especially flowers that are “in season” tend to not only be more expensive but hard to come by thus driving the cost as well.  This sometimes moves the couple to believe fake florals for bouquets, boutineers, centerpieces, and ceremony décor would be less costly.  You find yourself googling “the best natural looking fake flowers” which you have to purchase, put together, store and then try and sell them after the wedding.  When it’s all said and done, real flowers are the best choice for photos and cohesiveness.  And my favorite part: at the end of the reception, you can play a game to have a guest win a fresh centerpiece at each table or donate to a local repurpose charity organization to pick up all the florals.    


MEET THE PRO

Pamela started her career by managing projects in the technology business. As her love for planning and execution developed, Pam also found a love for building client relationships and found joy in creating well executed and enjoyable experiences for others. She decided to take her 20 years of expertise into the wedding industry, obtained her Master Certificate in Wedding Planning from the Bridal Society, and created Ignite Your Occasion. Pam believes successful events and magical weddings begin with proper organization, communication, and a plan. Ignite Your Occasion provides services in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and throughout Tampa Bay, including Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and surrounding counties.

Website: igniteyouroccasion.com
Instagram: @ignite_your_occasion
Facebook: Ignite Your Occasion

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