Frequently Asked Questions… About Wedding Planning

Champagne Wishes Weddings

What is the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding designer?

A wedding planner plans and coordinates the logistical details of your wedding. This person refers you to your venue and your vendors and coordinates them so that they all come together to create one cohesive team for your wedding. A wedding designer designs what your wedding will look, feel, sound, taste and even smell like. A wedding designer takes in all aspects both the space where your wedding will take place and of the senses and makes sure that your wedding design is striking an emotion and will leave a lasting impression with your guests. They don’t just help you decide on the color of your table linens or the size of your centerpieces they help you create an overall theme and atmosphere for your wedding and insure that it is infused into each and every element. Champagne Wishes both plans and designs weddings. All our customized wedding planning programs include a décor consultation. If you are solely interested in our wedding design services call and we will make a design appointment to get the ball rolling.

There are other planners that are cheaper than Champagne Wishes. Why shouldn’t I go with a cheaper planner?

We are of the mindset that you get what you pay for. Imagine a white t-shirt, you have the choice of getting one from a big box store like Wal-Mart or you could get one from a higher end store like Buckle or Saks Fifth Avenue. There are a couple of distinct differences between these two t-shirts:

1)   When you enter into a high-end store you have an associate’s undivided attention to help you find a t-shirt that is the perfect match for your personality, style and budget. They make sure that it’s the right fit and they’re alongside you to field any questions and offer you tips like which accessories would look great with the shirt. In a cheaper store there are often staffing issues and you do not get the same kind of attention. If you can track someone down they are not knowledgeable in regards to this particular request because they deal with everything from house wares to kids toys

2)   The quality of the shirt is obviously going to be much different. Compare a cheap shirt against a high quality shirt and you can immediately see and feel the difference. It becomes even more evident as time goes by which shirt holds up better.

The same is true when it comes to wedding planners. We plan weddings full time. We don’t have other jobs that we’re juggling and we’re not working on your event late at night or in between pop in’s from our corporate boss. Our full attention is on our clients and providing them with an haute couture experience as we plan and design their weddings. Cheaper planners have to run more volume through their businesses to break even so that means more distraction again. We are very specific about the type of bride and groom we want to work with and we are more concerned with the connection between our client and us being a good fit than accumulating a volume of clients. Our services are designed for the discerning bride and groom. It always saddens us to receive an email from a bride who has gone with a cheaper planner and has realized that it has been a waste of money because their experience is not aligned with what she needs. We are continuously educating ourselves on the latest event trends and meeting the crème de la crème of the wedding industry so that we can pass on our expertise to our clients.

I’ve heard of people hiring wedding planners before but then they do most of the legwork- calling vendors, booking appointments, etc. How does Champagne Wishes work?

We have different levels of service. For all our planning clients we help them discover their wedding theme and design. But as we customize each of our programs based on the couple’s expectations some couples want to be more involved than others and ask us to provide vendor recommendations but that they will contact them for further information. We then introduce these couples to these vendors. Other clients want us to help them each step of the way, researching all vendor options and providing them with pricing and details and setting up their meetings. We’re happy to work both ways and design our wedding planning programs based on the client’s expectations around our service.

What step by step process does Champagne Wishes use plan my wedding?

With each wedding we plan we begin with a strategy session. We take this time to review each element of your wedding and discover what your hopes and dreams are. We help you to figure out exactly what your priorities are when it comes to your wedding. Perhaps flowers are more important then the music, or the photography is at the top of your list but you could take it or leave it when it comes to live ceremony music. Each couple has different priorities when it comes to their wedding and we have this strategy session so that we can structure how we’re going to assist you in planning your wedding. Knowing your priorities also helps us figure out how your budget should be allocated and we can give you advice in regards to how to maximize your value. We love helping couples make their weddings look more expensive than they actually were! And that comes down to the details, which begins in the strategy session.

From the strategy session we create a project plan. This project plan outlines the deadlines we are going to work with and exactly what needs to get planned for your wedding. No two weddings are alike so each of our project plans is customized to fit your expectations. In the project plan we assign tasks to our team and to you based on the level of service we are providing you.

We then check in with you on pre-scheduled phone calls. The amount of phone calls will again depend on the level of service we are provided you. We love to give you this guaranteed planning time because it breaks wedding planning up into bite sized chunks so it doesn’t take over your life and become stressful. On these calls we’ll talk about your wedding plans but we’ll also talk about how you’re feeling. Planning a wedding is a very emotional time. It’s a big transition to go from single to married and it helps to be able to chat with someone consistently about what’s happening in your life whether it’s the joys of finding your perfect dress, or tears over bridesmaid drama. We know what it’s like to go through this transition and we’re there to help.

As we plan your wedding we’ll also be designing it. You’ll have a dedicated décor meeting with Debbie Rivera, The Event Specialist. Regardless of what level of planning we are doing with you (this is not included in wedding day coordination programs), you will receive this décor meeting with Debbie. It’s been a favorite of all our brides and grooms because you get to sit and look through all our magazines and books and Debbie will pull ideas for your wedding out of you. Even if you’re not the kind of person who’s dreamed of your wedding their whole life, in this meeting you’ll really figure out what you like and what you don’t like. Debbie has an amazingly diverse background and has spent her free time discovering new and unique ideas to bring back to you so you’ll get lots of suggestions and direction from her. But our most important goal is that the wedding is a true reflection of both of your personalities. That is our specialty.  From this meeting you will be presented with a detailed quote of exactly what the materials would cost to create your vision at your wedding. We include everything we talked about in this quote but then give you advice on what you can take out or add to give you the same feel but at the price that fits your budget.

The planning continues as we provide you with vendor recommendations and “It’s All the Details” spreadsheet. This gives you a concise view of all your wedding plans. We also work with you to formulate your wedding day itinerary. This ensures that all the little details you want incorporated into the wedding day logistics are not missed and that everyone, including all your vendors, your venue, and us are on board. We provide this itinerary to everyone in advance of your big day.

Then it’s time for your rehearsal, which we direct alongside the officiant if they are present. We help your bridal party, parents, and you get down the aisle and back out again so that everyone feels really comfortable at the wedding. We also talk to your bridal party and family about wedding etiquette and the expectations of them for the next day. When the big day arrives they feel confident and ready to support you.

On your wedding day you’ll have nothing to do but relax and enjoy time with your friends and family as you prepare for your wedding ceremony. Your wedding details will be taken care of by our team. That means no family lugging around decorations and being exhausted for your wedding. Your guests are treated to a high end, couture experience right from the beginning which means everyone ends up having way more fun!

When you walk down the aisle you’ll see the magic unfold before you. Your vision will have become a reality and each moment will become a lasting memory. We’ll be there for you the whole day to make sure every need is taken care of by our attentive team. And you’ll dance the night away together celebrating the best day of your life as you’ve become husband and wife. Most importantly, there is nothing to worry about afterward except to enjoy the moments that you will finally enjoy together as husband and wife.

I’m really worried about sticking to my budget. Does Champagne Wishes manage my budget? Can you get me discounts with vendors?

Even the biggest celebrity weddings have a budget and we know how to help you stick to yours. When you start to work with us we create an initial estimate budget for what we think your event is going to cost based on the expectations and details that you share with us. From there we tweak it as we go coming back to it often when we secure a vendor for you. We recommend you to vendors within you budget but we also make sure they match your personality and style. It’s so important that they are a good fit for your wedding day and that your expectations are met. When it comes to discounts, if we receive those from a certain vendor we pass those on to you. We cannot guarantee that we can get you discounts but several vendors do provide us with discount because of our excellent relationships.

Both my fiancé and I have busy careers. We want to get married in only 6 months can Champagne Wishes plan a wedding that quickly?

We love a challenge and the answer is YES! We’ve planned elaborate weddings in less than 3 months so it can be done. You’ll be saying “I Do” in style before you know it and it won’t take over your entire life with Champagne Wishes on board. We are here for our clients so that the wedding planning process doesn’t become like a second job. Although we’ll have to work quickly we provide wedding planning in bite-sized chunks so it’s manageable for you. You’re still involved but it’s not overwhelming because the planning is incredibly organized and done step by step right up to the wedding day where all you have to do is relax.

I’m interested in hiring a wedding planner but I don’t want my wedding taken away from me. I have very distinct ideas. Should I hire a wedding planner?

Take a look at our portfolio. You’ll notice that the weddings are not carbon copies of each other and in no way cookie cutter. That’s because each wedding we plan is based on the couple’s personality, style and budget. We want our client’s input to design their wedding. In fact it is essential. We facilitate the planning of a wedding by offering you our professional opinion of which vendors and resources would be a good match for you. We don’t take your wedding away from you, we want you to get majorly excited about your wedding. We find even brides that like to have control over their wedding really appreciate having our team involved because the details are all organized concisely for them and they can easily review the plans for their event without feeling overwhelmed. Especially the last few weeks prior to the wedding when there is so much to do. You can still be the star but know all the details without having to “DO” the details.

Why do I need a wedding planner? Isn’t all this information online or in a magazine?

A wedding planner has insight and experience that cannot be conveyed in a generic wedding planning website or magazine. Online wedding planning sites and magazines are designed to appeal to the masses. They are not specific in their advice because that would exclude certain brides. If you want specific detailed advice that pertains to your wedding to make your planning easier and your wedding day more fun then you need Champagne Wishes.

I went to so many weddings last summer but they were all the same. I can’t remember one from the other. I don’t want that to happen to mine, how can Champagne Wishes help me?

We totally understand what you’re talking about. You don’t want a cookie cutter wedding, you want couture, and that’s exactly our specialty. When our brides and grooms walk into their wedding day they are presented with an atmosphere that is a complete reflection of their combined personalities. The guests are WOW’d and your wedding becomes the one everyone compares with other weddings. How do we get to this point? Our couture brides and grooms sit down with us for a design meeting. It’s really fun and it helps you get on the same page with your likes and dislikes. Together with come up with a concept for your wedding that is innovative and exciting. Our travels and connections mean that we know about the hottest new products in the event industry right when they hit so we infuse your event with ideas that have never been seen by your friends and family before.

I don’t want to ask my friends and family to set up my décor on my wedding day, how can Champagne Wishes help?

For our couture clients we include a team of professionals who setup and teardown all your chosen décor. We’ve had friends and family try to help in the past but we kindly direct them towards the cocktail hour because they should be enjoying themselves at your celebration, not working. Many venues need all your décor out of their space within hours of your event wrapping up and it makes us shiver to think of bridesmaids pulling off chair covers, groomsmen moving chairs and a bride dismantling centerpieces. Part of the mystique around your wedding is that you’re going to be able to walk into this completely transformed space created just for you and your guests. We don’t want you or any of your guests to see behind the scenes and ruin the experience so we take care of this for our clients.

I’ve planned everything myself for my wedding but I want to make sure everything happens the way I’ve planned it. Do you just do wedding day coordination?

We do provide wedding day coordination so that you can just enjoy being the beautiful bride. We go over everything with you before your wedding, create an itinerary and confirm all your vendors. We make sure that the weeks leading up to your wedding are not nights filled with you having nightmares about things not going right at your wedding but instead, sweet stress free dreams of your magical day. On the wedding day our team is there to orchestrate all your plans so all the details that you’ve spent months planning come to life. When we meet we’ll also suggest some add on’s to this service that can make your day even that much more special.

Where do you plan weddings?

We plan weddings internationally but we have 2 offices. One is in Birmingham, Alabama, from here we service our  clientele, specifically in the areas of Vestavia, Hoover, Homewood, Gulf Shores, Atlanta, and beyond. Our main office is in Tampa, Florida,  and from here we service our Florida clientele, specifically in the areas of Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, Clearwater, Tampa, St Petersburg, Orlando, Naples, St Augustine, Ocala, and beyond.

I don’t live in the city that I’m getting married in but you have an office there. How could I work with you to make my wedding happen?

This is where we really shine. Florida is a huge Destination Wedding location. We have worked with many brides and grooms that don’t live in their wedding city. We guide you through the process of having a Destination Wedding. We have structured our services so that the bride and groom always have an advocate on the ground. Our programs include a unique communication structure between you and your wedding planner. We honestly become very close. So you don’t have to worry about feeling like a stranger at your own wedding. Your wedding will be based on your personality and style even if the first time we meet you is at your wedding rehearsal.  With modern technology there are many way to connect with each other and we make sure we get to know you and your desires very well as we plan your wedding.

Can you help me with my destination wedding?

We love destination weddings. But let’s define what we’re talking about when it comes to destination weddings:

1)   An all-inclusive trip to 1 resort that takes care of all the details and you pick a wedding package from their collection.

2)   A trip to a magical destination where guests are wow’d by local culture and treats and your wedding is designed with the destination backdrop and your personality combined.

We can help with both types of destination wedding. We  have connections with  resorts, spas, and any type of location you can think of with the unique combination of our travel planning and wedding planning background with Destination Weddings. Our expertise also includes planning and designing weddings that match the couple’s personality regardless of their destination. We have wonderful connections throughout  the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Carribean, Europe and Australia. We work with local service providers to create your vision in your ideal destination. It’s important that the planner you choose to help you with a destination wedding has key connections in your destination. And we’re not talking about googling looking for this local connection. We have made these connections through travelling to these destinations ourselves and through participating in industry conferences, professional wedding industry organizations, and conventions through meeting these individuals first hand. The team you create for a destination wedding is an essential piece to a successful event for you and your guests.