Xochiti Gonzalez on Unique Venues for your Big Day
published September 1st, 2010
Four and a half years ago Xochiti Gonzalez and a friend started a wedding consultancy service called Alwaysabridesmaid.us. They decided that there was a niche in the market, to work with couples who want 'unique' venues for their wedding day celebrations. So they took the step of moving from planning corporate events to planning wedding events with a 'twist'.
What sort of service do companies like this provide?
Alwaysabridesmaid.us provide a number of services but essentially provide wedding coaching (consulting) with the aim of helping couples who want something more unique and special for their wedding day – they try and take the ideas that the couple have and translate that into their day.
There is a growing trend for weddings in 'unique places'. e.g. weddings in art galleries, lofts, photo studios, libraries etc. and businesses like Alwaysabridemaid.us seek to give logistical assistance and help their clients get from A to B in the process of planning their 'unique' wedding.
Creating a wedding that is 'less traditional' can be very challenging and the company seeks to enable couples to put their own thumbprint on it, ensuring that there is a unique element in each aspect of the wedding. Xochiti gives an example of a client who wanted to serve her guests with a fish that only lives in the river where she grew up.
Are such 'unique' weddings more difficult to plan? Probably, but with companies like alwaysabridesmaid.us on hand the process is a lot easier. It isn't for everyone, but for those who want to leave a lasting impression with their guests it can really be worth the effort.
The sort of 'alternative' venues used often mean that you start with an empty space, so planning has to be specific and highly detailed, down to the shape of the tables, the kind of chairs, do you want lounge furniture? etc. There is a need to create a feel to the wedding, which can be achieved through both bringing in the right type of lighting, using the right seating, decorating the venue with the right colours etc. Alwaysabridesmaid facilitate the process of getting all the vendors in place and make sure that everything goes to plan on the day. 'It's like stage managing a production created with the couple, almost like being an artist'.
Xochiti emphasises the difference that can be made in the same space, talking of two recent weddings, a week apart, but TOTALLY different.
Are different packages available?
Alwaysabridesmaid will work with a couple depending on their needs and ideas and offer 3 basic packages:
A basic planning package – where the client is met once a month
An Extra Bridesmaids package – which is a full consultancy package – here the couple are given support and advice every step of the way.
An Event Design Service – with this package the company really help a couple create the 'look' they are seeking.
What happens when a couple walks through the door of a company like this ?
Xochiti recommends that couples first make contact with them when they've narrowed down the time of year and the type of venue. If people come in and haven't really given it much thought is can make it a lengthy process. Normally clients will spend about 20 mins on the phone to find out their ideas and then have a free 1 hour consultation – this helps both parties to find out about each other and the couple the chance to crystallise their thoughts.
How much flexibility is there with a company like alwaysabridemaid.us?
Companies like alwaysabridesmaid.us will provide the services people need – but they will also enable couples to choose their own florist or stationary etc. if they so desire. They will work with the couple in that, and help them coordinate things .We also help them make cost effective decisions. e.g. they might advise that the catering bill could be reduced if you change an entrée choice was changed or if someone really wants Dalias at their weddings they can be informed early on if they are out of season – Xochiti says 'we try and manage people's expectations and stress'!
Why choose a wedding planner?
Most people come to companies like alwaysabridesmaid.us to relieve wedding stress. Couples benefit immensely from professionals being the main point person for all the main vendors – they will handle the contracts and the minutiae of the planning that they are used to but the bride and groom might find very stressful.
Xochiti says that she thinks it's a good investment on many different levels – perhaps most importantly in ones peace of mind , e.g. weddings in Manhattan can be so expensive – the cost of not having someone advocating for you can be a real money saver when all is said and done.