For the last 15 years, Meghan Morettini has been involved in the event-planning industry, directing everything from corporate showcases to formal weddings. As a wedding planner, it’s Morettini’s responsibility to make sure everything follows a precise timeline, so your big day is picture perfect.
We sat down with Morettini to get an insider look at the wedding planner’s world. Below you’ll learn about the entire process and get expert planning advice.
What is a wedding planner in charge of?
A lot of what I do was mostly day-of stuff, like working with the bride the day of the wedding. There are three different categories: one where you do full wedding planning from the start (when the couple begins all of their planning), one where people can do three weeks out, and then there’s just the day of. I do a little bit of all three, but mostly the day of, which is the most detailed.
Can you walk us through the process?
I arrive early and do a lot of the setup, meeting with some of the bride and groom’s vendors, coordinating with them to make sure the tables were set correctly, and that any decor that the bride had [was properly presented]. These days, with so many people doing it at farms and random venues with no decor, they are always bringing in a lot, so I’m really hands-on with that kind of stuff.
And then I work with the bride and groom for the timeline of the day, from their arrival through the entire day. So when they get there, what happens? Is there a bridal suite? Is the bride getting ready at the venue or are they arriving via transportation? A full-detail timeline. And I coordinate with the venue as far as making sure the food gets out and the bride and groom get to cut the cake.
Do you choose the venue for the couple?
They choose, however there are a lot of times where they need suggestions and make a decision from there, because I have relationships with venues or vendors. So it’s definitely an open communication thing. But in general, people already know where they want to get married, and being a wedding planner, you can work for I’d say 90% of the time, at any venue. You’re not restricted.
What about the other 10% of the time?
Some venues do have a list of people you have to use and most places have a list of preferred suggestions. So sometimes it kind of starts that way, sometimes the bride and groom will find their venue, lock in with the venue, and the venue will say, “oh, you want an event planner? Here’s a couple that we work with.” Some of my referrals can come that way.
Do you create the look for the venue or is that something the couple does?
Little bit of both. Nowadays with Pinterest, forget it, everybody has their own ideas. We’re here to help those people that don’t have that creative thumb at all. That’s when they rely heavily on some decor advice.
What are some of the challenges in wedding planning?
When there are no restrictions and when anybody can work at a venue, it’s bringing it all together and ironing out that timeline that is the biggest challenge. One time, the woman doing the desserts got stuck in traffic and they were late. We were scrambling to make it seamless so that the bride and groom didn’t realize that something went amiss. Those are usually the biggest challenges. Dealing with a surprise and making sure no one knows.
Have you ever had a major wedding disaster?
I’ve had disasters, yes. And you always figure them out. I mean we’ve had fire alarms go off, loss of power, things like that, which are usually out of your hands. But nothing that’s canceled an event, so that’s been good. Other than a pandemic.
How has COVID-19 affected the wedding planning process?
It’s so sad, I’m seeing them canceled left and right or postponed, but I’ve seen some people who are like, “you know what? We’re just going to ride it out. If we have to have a wedding with 10 of our closest family members, then so be it.” But it’s hard. A lot of the venues, especially some of the small ones, they can’t just let people cancel and not re-book because they’re relying on that money too.
How much do people usually spend on venues?
The venue rentals themselves range so much, you could see something for $700 for a ceremony location up to $25,000 if you’re center city, it’s ceremony and reception, and the breakfast after.
How do you help keep couples on budget?
When I work with the budgets it’s usually a bottom-line number. They’ve got to give what their max is and you help streamline from there. It depends, too, where people want to put their money. For some people, the invitations are the most important part and they want something beautiful and high quality. And for some people, the photos are the most important part, or the videographer, or the venue… So it’s really finding out from the couple what their top three most important pieces of the wedding are and helping steer them to put their funds in the appropriate places.
What advice would you give couples getting married?
They should plan far in advance and know if they want a shorter term engagement, they really need to be flexible with dates, location, and amount of people. The further out you plan, the more flexibility you have. And also having an idea of your budget because that’s going to determine a lot.
What do you find most enjoyable about planning events?
For me I think it’s the organization part of it, that’s just what my type A personality thrives on. So I think being able to organize the day and seeing it all come together is the best part for me.