Angelica Laws is the owner and lead designer of Angelica & Co. Weddings, a planning and design company specializing in creating memories and moments inspired by feelings. This week, we had a candid conversation with Angelica about what planners really do.
Raise your hand if the first image that comes to your mind when you hear “wedding planner” is Jennifer Lopez in a power suit?
While wedding planners capacities and services can come in all shapes and sizes, Angelica clarified that most commonly, there are three different types of services you’ll see wedding planners offer. We’re breaking down each one below!
EVENT MANAGEMENT (AKA: DAY OR MONTH-OF COORDINATION)
Event management is taking your plans that you have developed on your own and putting it into an executable plan for the wedding day.
On the day of the wedding, they execute the plan you’ve set up so that you can feel completely and totally hands-off on the day-of.
For Angelica’s company, they still go above and beyond for this type of service: “we give vendor recommendations, help you along in the middle of planning to make sure you’re not totally drowning in the details, and also ensure that we don’t see any major issues.”
Event management services are great for couples who are ready to commit a lot of time to planning out their wedding day – the details, the style, reviewing vendor contracts, etc. – but need an organized, detail-oriented professional to make sure these plans come together.
Partial planning is what Angelica calls a “sweet spot” for many of her couples planning weddings in the Washington, DC area. It’s a great balance of time and effort between you and your planner – it’s not too much on either end.
With partial planning, your planner helps you start off with a game plan. They’ll go through your flow of the day and all of your hopes, dreams, budget and vision for your wedding. After laying it all out the table, your planner starts to get to work.
“We give vendor recommendations and help our couples create a well-balanced budget to start things off,” she explained about the beginning of the process.
From there, partial planning typically includes a set number of phone calls with your planner leading up to the wedding day. These calls can include discussing and reviewing questions about vendor contracts, asking questions for decision-making, and more.
With partial planning, you are the one communicating with your vendors. You’ll typically have a list of recommendations, but you will be doing the researching, contacting, communication, interviews, contract-reviewing and signing on your own. As noted before, you can schedule any/all of your allotted calls to talk about these details, too!
Depending on the company you hire, the number of team members on site can vary. Angelica explained, “We always have a team of two on site from beginning to end for partial planning, which is usually about 10 hours.” She added that it’s important to ask the planner you are interviewing to clarify who from the team will be on site on your wedding day as well as how many team members are committed before officially signing on with a planner.
Partial planning can also sometimes include design services. For Angelica & Co. Weddings, it always does.
“We help the couple’s design vision come to life by having an in-person design consultation,” Angelica shared. During this consultation, you will see a variety of rental and design options and pick your favorites for your wedding during this meeting.
And to clarify design: this isn’t a wedding planner coming up with their own favorites based on their own taste and style (although some planners may have general specialties or types of style that they are best at!), wedding design is when a planner takes your personal style, ideas, inspiration and desires and creates a tangible, executable plan for these things.
Partial planning design isn’t doing every step of design for you, but for Angelica, it does mean being involved and advising, “I don’t want my couples to feel that they have to take the reigns too much on this step.”
Ultimately, partial planning is great option for you if you want to spend some time on the details of your wedding day, but want a partner planner who will be there to answer the big questions, help with the general direction of the wedding, and execute everything day-of.
Full service planning is the “white glove service,” Angelica explained. With this service, the planner takes all the communication and coordination with other vendors completely off your plate. Your planner organizes everything and presents super-simplified recommendations to you so that decision-making is as easy as it gets.
“Our team takes on communicating will all vendors from the very beginning,” Angelica shared about her own company’s service. For couples who have demanding jobs or busy schedules, full service planning is definitely the way to go.
In addition to taking all the coordinating and communication off your plate, full service planning also typically includes extensive design. For Angelica, this starts with an hour-long conversation about each scenario of the wedding day. She walks you through different aspects of your day so that she can get a baseline idea of your style. This is what she draws from as she prepares for the next stage.
“We present a 15-20 page spread after the core vendors are locked in and secured,” Angelica told us, which includes a variety of design elements and ideas for you to review. At the final walkthrough at your venue, she brings in a full mockup of your reception table design where you get to see everything beforehand, for final approval.
“It’s an interactive experience and so much fun!”
SO, WHAT TYPE OF PLANNING IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
The biggest factor to consider: TIME COMMITMENT. Angelica recommended to ask yourself: “realistically, how busy are your jobs and your lives? Do you have time to do the outreach and go back-and-forth with vendors?” She suggested that if you can’t really dedicate more than a few hours on the weekends here and there, “you definitely need partial or full planning.”
Deciding between partial and full planning can also be a challenge. Knowing how much communication you want between your planner and yourself is the key factor. If you’re particular about the small details and want a lot of customizations, full planning is probably for you. If you’re a little more laid back about the smaller details and feel comfortable reviewing vendor contracts and communicating with them directly, partial is a great fit!
Ultimately, the planner you work with should also be helping you understand their services and make the right decision for you. “I touch on this at every single inquiry meeting!” Angelica told us, “I will give an initial gut reaction to how they are coming to me with their problems and what I think they need based on that.”
ANGELICA’S BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE?
“Be realistic with yourself. If you’re committing to baseline services with a planner just because of their personality, but you aren’t actually getting the services you need, go with someone else. At the end of the day, it’s important to get the job done! It’s not just about getting along with someone friend-wise.”
Romantic with moody fall vibes and jewel tones, this wedding was cozy and so beautifully designed.
La Vie En Rose photographs their 100th wedding at an all-time favorite wedding venue, Rockhouse Hotel.
Mixing sophisticated style with family traditions and meaningful moments - our kind of DC wedding!
Washington, DC | Naples, FL | Destination
La Vie En Rose is a wedding photography and videography studio for couples who want photos that live in the moment with them. They are based in Washington, DC and Naples, FL and are available for travel worldwide.