Our “Secrets from a Wedding Planner” series reaches out to our favorite wedding planners across the country to answer your TOP questions. Whether they’re a seasoned veteran or an up-and-coming star, every wedding planner is hand-picked by us for their expertise and all-around awesomeness. Have a question you want to see added to this list? Contact us!
Name: Carole Grogan
Company: Bright Blue Events
Based In: Los Angeles, CA
What do you think is THE most important area for a couple to allocate their budget towards and why?
When working on a wedding budget for one of my couples, I am most interested in the part of the event that the clients are holding at a priority. Some couples want a really impressive venue but are less interested in the floral decor. Others want the best photographer around and are less concerned with the food. Choosing those priorities ahead of time and balancing your budget accordingly (before committing) is important. In other words, if you spend a premium on the venue, you will need to cut somewhere else…it helps to understand this ahead of time. That being said, I want to stress the importance of a really great photographer. Most couples are a bit shocked at what the investment of a good photographer may take from the budget, but a talented photographer can capture this brilliant moment in a larger than life way and allow you to revisit it as many times as you wish for decades to come. So I would recommend really taking the time and making the budget to hire a photographer that you love.
What can couples save on?
Beverage service is always a big place to save. I would recommend restraining your alcohol offering by serving beer and wine, and limiting your hard liquor choice to one or two options (IE signature drinks) if that is a possibility at your venue versus choosing a full bar.
What’s the easiest way for a couple to transform a plain wedding venue?
Lighting, lighting, lighting! A very dull banquet hall can truly come to life in the hands of a professional lighting specialist. Light picks up and reflects on everything in the room–the glassware, the silverware, the plates, women’s jewelry, the linens and the chairs, besides the walls, floors and ceilings. This makes the room so much more dynamic, even if your centerpieces are simple.
For couples unable to hire a full-service planner, what’s the one piece of wedding planning advice you would share with them if you could?
I would recommend, at the very least, hiring a Month of Wedding Coordinator. You are putting so much into planning an amazing celebration, you and your mom and sisters and aunts or whoever has been helping you should be allowed to enjoy it unencumbered together. Let someone else figure out the little blips and missed details on the day of, and allow yourself to take it all in. Outside of that, I truly recommend building your budget first before anything. Do a little research first to make sure you are on target in your budgeting. Having a game plan when you start will make the process so much more fun!
Favorite wedding venue(s) you’ve worked at?
Wow! We have lots of favorite venues…each really different. We love Calamigos Ranch, The 1909 in Topanga, CA, The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, not to mention the Millwick and the Unique Space in the Arts District in Downtown, LA for just a bit of a more urban vibe. But we love nothing more than a challenge from a client!! We have had clients present us with really amazing, never even used before warehouses and private estates to plan their celebration. We get super excited to figure out and plan a celebration at a space that no events have ever been held at prior
I have studied Art and Installation in College, consulted in the Fashion Industry for 25 years, I am a trained chef and have previously owned and run my own catering company for several years. I know both sides of running events, both the pretty and the practical. We have planned hundreds and hundreds of celebrations and every one is as unique as each person you meet….we love our work and love the people we work with! Click here to contact us.