This content was prepared by The Globe and Mail Centre. The Globe and Mail’s Editorial team was not involved.
Charlie Rodgers is a top event planner who recently hosted a gorgeous wedding at The Globe and Mail Centre. Check out Daani and Kirk’s inspiration page or this spread in Toronto Life to see the stunning highlights of this beautiful day planned by Charlie and the team at Pretty Plans. We connected with Charlie to get perspective on what everyone is talking about right now – considerations for your wedding during COVID-19, as well as tips that will make any wedding an unforgettable event.
Hi Charlie! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. We are so glad you are keeping safe during these unbelievable times. How would you describe your unique approach to planning weddings?
Charlie: Hi guys! Thank you so much for having me! Pretty Plans is a completely ‘customizable’ and ‘affordable’ wedding and event planning company helping clients cut their planning time in half while ultimately spending less while doing it! This is super important to us.
Affordable is always good! How long have you been doing this?
Charlie: I have been wedding planning for the better part of a decade and have owned my own company for about 5 of those years. It has been truly my dream to run my own business and finding this passion of mine in wedding planning many years ago seemed like the obvious next step for me!
One of the top questions we get asked is, “should I hire a planner?” For us, it’s an easy “yes”. What would you say to all couples getting married about hiring a wedding planner for their big day?
Charlie: Great question! We are trying to debunk the myth that only oversized and big budget weddings need a wedding planner. All weddings of all budgets and sizes need someone there to make sure that you and your family aren’t “working” on your wedding day. Having only your guests enjoy all of the hard work you have put into it is not the definition of a successful wedding.
A couple can spend up to 4 hours a week or up to 300 hours planning over the course of their engagement. You don’t want to see all of that hard work go to waste! You need someone there to ensure it goes exactly how you want it. I have heard so many couples wish in hindsight that they hired someone on their day and only now realize that after the fact when it’s too late and they aren’t able to redo it.
We couldn’t agree more! The wedding day should be fun and stress free. Let someone else worry about the small details behind the scenes. With so many wedding planners out there, how do you know which is the best fit for you?
Charlie: The obvious answer is that you like their style and that they fit within your budget. Of course, you want to make sure that you “vibe” as your planner and they have similar tastes to you. And, budget is definitely something to keep in mind when booking any vendor.
However, with wedding planners, I think you do need to consider some special factors that are even more important than for any of your other vendors.
You need to find someone you really REALLY like. You will spend by far the most amount of time with this vendor, day in and day out sending emails, exchanging phone calls and texts with this person so having someone who relieves of you of stress and not create it, is crucial.
Quality of work is a major consideration. If they don’t have the experience or quality of service that you require, any amount you pay them will be spent on “trial and error” and that just isn’t going to help you in the long run.
And while you may be spending more on this vendor, a great wedding planner is constantly trying to save you money along the way while allocating your funds into the right areas so that money is actually going towards helping you stay within your budget and not going over. In some cases, I was able to save some of my couples $15,000 or more by helping them understand where they can place their money wisely to get the wedding of their dreams.
Seems like a win-win to me!
I’ve never thought of it that way. You’re right, hiring someone who knows the industry well would likely result in savings which in turn would offset some of the planner costs. So, what makes your planning approach different?
Charlie: While we pride ourselves in making every planning experience completely unique to each couple, we do follow a beautifully organized “8-Step Planning Process” that allows us to not only stay on track but also communicate with our couples a more simplified version of what the planning will look like all while cutting their planning time in half! Ultimately, keeping them less stressed and never feeling overwhelmed.
A year to a year and a half or more of planning can look quite daunting at first glance, so we like to break it down in periods to make sure that we are only biting off so much at a time that works not only within the planning timeframe but also within the couples’ personal lives.
This 8-Step Planning Process is currently in the works to becoming a great workbook we can soon share with couples out there who truly want a stress-free planning experience and also for anyone who wants to take on the larger parts of the of the wedding planning themselves! We want to make sure everyone has the most enjoyable engagement and planning experience possible so sharing that wealth of knowledge is something we are striving to do for all couples out there.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with you before at our venue. Daani & Kirk’s wedding is still something we swoon over. What is your favourite thing about planning a wedding at The Globe and Mail Centre?
Charlie: The people! This amazing team constantly makes you feel like you are family and have no problem working on their off-hours to make sure you feel comfortable with the space and everything that comes with it.
They provide amazing suggestions and constant support to make sure that you have not missed any gaps in the planning along the way. They are great to work with from a Planner’s perspective but also make each and every one of my couples feel at ease with their can-do attitudes.
Well thank you so much for saying that, it’s certainly a pleasure working with you and we can’t wait to see what you envision for the next one! And, speaking of the next one – we are currently in the midst of something that this industry has never faced before. What’s the best advice you can give couples planning their weddings during COVID-19?
Charlie: The best advice I can give you is to keep open communication. This could be with your loved ones, your spouse, your wedding planner or your friends. Pushing things to the side like the wedding planning to-do list or even your emotions on the matter will only make things swell up more and eventually feel overwhelming or too much to handle.
Get yourself talking with others about it by entering into networking events with other brides who are going through something similar or even talking to your wedding planner about their other couples and what they are doing for some advice. Keeping this open communication will keep the list of to-dos and weighing your options through these uncertain times seems less daunting than if you take 3 months off of planning and then try and get back at it.
Great advice. Communication is extremely important. Even with planners, vendors and venues, we are all in this together and it’s important we continue to communicate with each other.
With everything going on, do you think technology and live streaming will be something we see more of when private events continue?
Totally! This was always something that couples enjoyed having with smaller events like Bridal Showers, Engagement Parties etc. if some family members couldn’t make the trip. However, now that travel is so heavily impacted, I can definitely see this becoming more and more of a necessity that couples will want. Venues who have great A/V vendors/ systems already in place, like yourselves, will definitely be a great choice for these couples who will be needing this during their event.
Event Photography by Mango Studios.
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