Steps to planning a wedding, an interview with Jennifer Lane
What should our readers know about you?
Jennifer Lane of Jennifer Lane Events. If you are wondering how to plan a wedding step by step, wonder no more. Our motto is: Creating extraordinary weddings since 1991, why you ask? Well, almost anyone can create a wedding, but we follow steps to planning a wedding that you & your guests will remember for a lifetime, special unique touches, elements and memorizing, the day runs like clockwork and you’ll feel like a princess for an entire day. A majority of our weddings are featured in magazines and TV shows - extraordinary.
How did you become a wedding planner?
I started planning high-end events and weddings in 1991, under the watchful eye of Pinehurst Country Clubs events manager. For nearly 15 years, I was the lead planner for every event and wedding that came through the facility. We averaged 1000 events and weddings a year.
In 2004, I decided that I’d like to be able to work with clients on a more personal level and broke out on my own. You know, quality rather than quantity. Now I can spend more time and really follow the steps to planning a wedding and customize weddings we work on for our clients. From finding the perfect location, assisting with vendor selection, to creating jaw-dropping décor elements, and making sure that you make it to the plane on time, it’s customer service 100% of the time.
What I love most about my job, is even when two clients come to me with the same color scheme, no two events or weddings are ever the same.
“There is no package you have to upgrade to in order to get what you want or need. Just select which items you would like for us to handle, and that is what we will do to the best of our ability and usually, exceed expectations.“
What are the typical services offered by a wedding planner?
We provide full service; however, we bill hourly, which means you only pay for the services you need. There is no package you have to upgrade to in order to get what you want or need. Just select which items you would like for us to handle, and that is what we will do to the best of our ability and usually, exceed expectations.
Full Service Wedding Planning & Production
Colorado, National and International
- Agenda Development
- Entertainment and Talent
- Event Design and Custom Created Decor and Lighting
- Venue Selection
- Menu Selection
- Corporate Gift Selection, Awards and Promotional Items
- Graphic Design, Collateral Pieces and Signage
- Detailed Logistics Planning
- Onsite Event Management
- Show Direction
- Site and Venue Selection
- Travel, Accommodations and Transportation Services
- Vendor Selections
- Vendor Negotiations
- Event Website
- Floor plans
- Event Day Management (starts 30 days in advance of event)
- Service staff
- Set up staff
- Take down staff
- Bar Tenders
- Cocktail Servers
- Live Actors
- Theater quality large prop design team
- Decor design with decor glitz fairy installation
“No two weddings are ever the same. Why? We customize every wedding to our client, their vision, their budget and desires.“
Any tips for those on a tight budget?
The typical or average cost for full wedding planning with our services and 26 years of expertise, to do everything and you just make selections, is 40 -60 hours or $4,000 -$6,000.
Tight budget tips: staying classic with design and style but adding a few trendy elements helps to keep the budget in check. Also, if you and another bride have a similar taste and are willing to use a majority of the same décor elements, the two of you can share the overall costs cutting your budget even more. The last of wedding planning tips for cutting costs and keeping the checkbook in good shape is once you make your selections for your wedding, stay off Pinterest and Instagram.
How do your weddings differ, and how are they the same?
No two weddings are ever the same. Why? We follow steps to planning a wedding and customize every wedding to our client, their vision, their budget and desires.
There are a few elements we keep the same, those are the order to have all of the main events happen at the reception. The reason why is so that your guests don’t say, I missed the toast, the cutting of the cake, or the first dance.
”We re-created by the bride’s request the wedding of Bill & Giuliana Rancic, they did a 3 hour TV show about their wedding.”
What are the most unusual weddings you planned?
We have three unbelievably unusual and extremely creative weddings, which were by far some of the most fun to plan.
The first one was a week-long wedding celebration in Italy. We re-created by the bride’s request the wedding of Bill & Giuliana Rancic by following steps to planning a wedding like theirs, they did a 3 hour TV show about their wedding, which I happened to not see until the week we got back from doing this wedding, & we nailed every detail.
The second one was a wedding in California we did for a couple who loved pirates and everything they stood for. We held the wedding on a ship, had Captain Jack Sparrow as cocktail hour entertainment. The groom swung into his ceremony from a rope in the crow’s nest. Everyone was so surprised but had a ton of fun.
The third was a wedding in Sleepy Hollow New York on All Hollow’s Eve, where the couple both loved haunted houses and really wanted to embody that feeling in their wedding. They dreamed of a headless horseman themed wedding & boy did we deliver! As the guests arrived they entered the ceremony through a mini haunted house we created on site. The headless horseman officiated, the demon horse was crawling out of a “grave” from within the cemetery which served as the background of the ceremony. For the reception, a team of make-up artists turned all of the guests into zombies for the zombie crawl.
”After the first meeting, typically we have been hired, by the second meeting, we have locations and vendor appointments already scheduled to meet with you.”
Was there ever a time you had to improvise?
We are based in Colorado and many of our weddings happen in Colorado, perhaps you know that quote, “Welcome to Colorado, if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes, maybe you’ll like what happens next better.” As a result, we plan for options A, B and C as steps to planning a wedding outdoors. We commonly have to create a last-minute miracle for outdoor events. However, it goes smoother, considering we already have in place a couple back up plans.
Which steps to planning a wedding keep you busy the most?
The steps to planning a wedding and custom décor creation take the most time for sure. Most brides do not realize that we have "planning a wedding checklist" and hours of work already done before you even meet with us for the second time. After the first meeting, typically we have been hired, by the second meeting, we have locations and vendor appointments already scheduled to meet with you.
”Attending the first meeting with us where you bring your inspiration pictures is super helpful so we can get a really good idea about who you are and what things are really important to you.”
What does your day at the wedding itself look like typically?
The typical wedding day for me & my team is 12-18 hours. We are the first to arrive and the last to leave every time. We start with the arrival of all of the items we are handling, most of the time that is custom décor elements, from backdrops, chair covers, bars, ceremony arbor or chuppah, and the elaborate photo booth setups.
We will be there for the arrival of all vendors and make sure everyone gets there on time to create a smooth-running wedding day. At the end of the night, we will clean everything up, take down all décor elements, in some cases we are even the ones sweeping, vacuuming and mopping, including getting trash to the dumpster which would be the end of steps to planning a wedding.
What is the one thing you would ask of brides and grooms to make your job easier?
Attending the first meeting with us where you bring your inspiration pictures is super helpful so we can get a really good idea of who you are and come up with steps to planning a wedding for you. In the past, we’ve had some clients being dishonest about the budget they are actually working with. Keeping this a secret from your wedding planner will end up in a disaster.