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Remedies for Wedding Planning Burn Out

It’s very common for me, as a Wedding Planner to hear couples say they are “DONE” with the wedding plans. It’s a lot of work, ten times more than you can imagine until you’re “in it.” Planning a Wedding is comparable to having a second job (no joke). This is especially true if you haven’t hired a professional planner and attempt handling everything yourself. Today I wanted to share a few suggestions of things you can do when you’re feeling burned out.

1.) Go and a date with your spouse to be. Set a rule that this is a “no wedding talk” date night. Do something fun and relaxing and simply enjoy!

2.) Consult with your Wedding Planner. Unload your list of concerns and questions on to a professional. A Planner will help to calm your nerves and prioritize your to do lists.

3.) Exercise. Take your stress to the gym. You’re future wedding day body will thank you.

4.) Sign Off! Treat yourself to a “social media free” weekend. One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding these days is all the online distractions. Seeing all the ideas, suggestions, and articles can completely overwhelm a person…especially Pinterest.

5.) Indulge in a spa day. Enough said, right? Let all the knots melt away with a massage followed by soaking in the hot tubs.

Things that Might Scare You When Planning Your Wedding (And how to overcome them!)

Losing a Bridal Party Member
It happens, it happens all the time. Try not to let this upset you too much. Being in a wedding is a big commitment time wise and financially. Just because someone can no longer be involved, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you and cherish your friendships.

Having Equal Party Members
Remember, your bridal party “numbers” (amounts on each side) don’t have to “match.” There are no set rules. It much more important that you do what “feels” right not necessary what you think will “look” right.

Rain in Forecast
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can really rock a couples’ world on a wedding day. This is why it’s extremely important to always make sure that they venue you choose has a contingency plan for bad weather. And just try and keep this in the back of your mind while planning. Sometimes “indoor” spaces can look quite romantic, especially with the rain falling outside. Just know at the end of the day, we humans can only control so much. Your day, becomes your story.

Being Over Budget
I’ve never once heard a person say, “oh wow, planning a Wedding is less expensive than I thought it was going to be.” Weddings are expensive and there are a lot of accumulating expenses that pop up along the way. That’s way is critical to really lay out your budget ahead of time before you book anything. This will save you a lot of time and heartache along the way.

5 Questions to Consider, Before Meeting with Your Wedding Planner

Dear Newly Engaged Couples,

Are you feeling completely overwhelmed and worried that while you thought this should be the "happiest" time in your life is actually one of the most "stressful". Well... lemme tell ya, you're not alone, all couples feel this way right after they get engaged and before they select their venue and lock down their date. I tell all newly engaged couples to take a deep breath and relax, because the very beginning stages of the Wedding Planning process are the hardest.

Reason being, you go from complete elation (We're Engaged!) to complete exhaustion (Oh, wow...we had no idea how many factors are involved!) Again, hang in there, laying your "Wedding Foundation" is the hardest.

This is the exact reason why you need a Wedding Planner. Most planners offer a complimentary initial consultation to better explain all that's involved in the Wedding planning process and will go over in detail the differences in planning services they offer.

Prior to your consultation, here are some things to consider:

1.) What time of the year do you have in mind? I encourage you not to get "set" on a specific date if possible.

2.) What type of style are you looking for in your venue? Luxury Resort? Museum? Country Club, Modern? Private Home?

3.) Do you have a budget in mind? Is anyone contributing to your budget, or are you paying for it yourselves? If you have no idea to start, not to worry Wedding Planners will help to educate you on what's realistic.

4.) What is the approximate size of your guest list?

5.) What aspects of the Wedding are most important to you? Culinary? Design/Décor? Entertainment?

7 Ways to Save on Venue Decor

1.) Book a venue that you naturally absolutely LOVE. Before the linens, chair covers, flowers, etc. Make sure you love the grounds of the venue. Is it clean? Is the landscape well manicured? Does it speak to you? Is it your style? Do you simply enjoy strolling the grounds? Do you want to dine there for dinner? If you answered YES, then guess what? You don’t necessary need to spend tons of money on additional décor. Don’t work against the venue; let the venue you’ve already selected for your venue be the overall look and foundation for your Wedding Day. Choose a color palette that is a naturally enhancement to the venue, chose centerpieces that work with the room.

2.) White lights hung outdoors and candles spilling everywhere else can do wonders to any space, and they are very cost effective.

3.) Don’t go over the top on all your centerpieces. Remember…less is truly more. If you do tall over the top floral on some tables, do smaller low centers (or non floral centers, such as candles) on the other tables.

4.) Repurpose your flower. After the Ceremony has concluded and all of your guests have been transitioned over to the cocktail hour, have your Ceremony Floral moved into your reception. Your guests will never know the difference, as they will not be returning to the ceremony space again. Just be sure whoever moves your floral pieces (be it your Wedding Planner or Florist) be very discreet when moving the pieces…meaning use back entry doors to the ballroom/reception room so that they don’t walk thru the guests.

5.) Personalize. Remember as beautiful as the Wedding Day may be….what guests usually remember most are the moments/elements that were personalized. Use your story to guide you. Include memories, photos, and your favorite quotes into special areas of your Wedding.

6.) Ask your professional vendors for their advice. Don’t be shy; vendors know firsthand how expensive weddings are. Ask them what they would do to keep things looking beautiful yet cost effective.

7.) Under exactly what the venue already includes. Know what kind of house linens they offer, napkins, etc. Do they offer any centerpiece options? Even if you don’t utilize them for the Reception, perhaps you can use some of their glassware for the Cocktail Hour, every little bit helps.

Be encouraged, sweet friends. You don’t have to have a million dollar budget to have a gorgeous wedding, I promise. Be smart, be resourceful, and most importantly be creative. Your wedding will be beautiful and special, because it’s yours

Choosing Music for Your Wedding Day

Choosing the music for your Wedding Day isn’t something that you can do in one setting. Especially if you desire to create a soundtrack for your most special day that is meaningful to you as a couple. This should be a fun part of the planning process, not a stressful part. Here a few tips….

1.) Start Early. Keep a list on your phone or a small notebook with you at all times. As you naturally hear songs that you love, write them down.

2.) Take a trip down memory lane. Often times some of our most favorite songs aren’t necessarily current ones. Explore songs from the past, experiment with your Pandora or Spotify stations, and take notes.

3.) Ask your DJ. Often times, DJs have software planning systems that contain a full list of tons and tons of songs. This makes it super easy for you to go through and flag songs that you like and love. This is also great for flagging songs that you do not want played. Perhaps there are songs from past relationships that you want to add to do the “do not play” list, or simply songs that just don’t fit your style or that you really don’t like.

Most importantly, choose music that speaks to you, your style, and your story. Music is such an important part of personalizing your day. Don’t wait until the very end to make your song choices, start in the beginning and have fun with the process.


Photography: LIV Photography | Venue: Wild Horse Pass

5 Top Questions Regarding the Rehearsal Dinner

Who Pays for the Rehearsal Dinner?

In a traditional wedding (one where the parents of the bride are paying for the wedding) it is still custom for the groom’s parents to pay for the rehearsal dinner. In a more modern wedding (where the couple getting married is paying for the wedding) it’s an option for either set of parents to pay for the rehearsal dinner or the couple themselves will pay for it.

Who is supposed to be invited to the Rehearsal Dinner?

Typically the entire bridal party (and their dates), immediate family and any extended family members (who have traveled in for the wedding) are invited to the Rehearsal Dinner. If you don’t invite the out of town family members to the rehearsal dinner, then it’s common to invite them to a post wedding brunch.

Do I have to invite the bridal party member’s dates to the Rehearsal Dinner?

Yes, in order for you bridal attendant to feel most comfortable, it is a nice gesture to invite their date to the Rehearsal Dinner also.


How formal does my dinner need to be?

It does not need to be formal at all! In fact, I encourage not making it formal as you don’t want it to compete too much with the wedding. Instead, consider doing a fun theme and play it up!
Western Night – BBQ
Italian Night – Mobsters
Mexican Food – Fiesta

When does the Rehearsal Dinner usually take place?

The Rehearsal Dinner takes place following the Rehearsal Ceremony. People often confuse this two different things.
The Rehearsal Ceremony= takes place at the church or venue that you will be getting married at.
The Rehearsal Dinner = is following the Rehearsal Ceremony, typically being held at restaurant or private residence.

Remember the BIG Picture

Hello sweet friends!

I really think taking some extra time to do nice things for your loved ones is so important. This is especially true for couples who are planning a Wedding, because Wedding Planning can be very stressful!

That is why it’s incredibly important to remember the BIG picture. Take a moment to let go of the rsvp list, let go of all the haunting incoming invoices to pay, let go of all the details and just be together. I highly recommend going a date and having a rule about “No Wedding Discussions.” Feeling stuck on ideas as of what to do…well, it’s a good thing I’m a sucker for sentiment…

~ Take if back to where it all began, and recreate your first date.

~ Write out top ten lists about why you love each other.

~ Have dinner at your Wedding Venue location (if possible). Just remember no “wedding talk!”

~ Create a dinner at home, get dressed up, enjoy over candlelight. 

~ Go for a drive, listen to music, make out like teenagers.

Whatever you do, just remember to savor these moments. Planning a wedding is a struggle for all couples, allow yourself some grace. These moments are just preparing you for your possible future child raising years (which is even more crazy! Wink Wink). Life if precious, enjoy these times.

3 Stylizing Tips for Your Wedding Cake

Let’s dig right in.

Wedding cakes are expensive. They often rang in price from 6.00 per person upwards to 12.00 per person. A cake is not only a delicious treat after your meal, but also serves as an art piece for your wedding day. And, like any beautiful masterpiece, you wedding cake deserve to be showcased properly. Here are a few tips on how to make your wedding cake really stand out.

1. Elevate. It’s important that cake doesn’t get pushed into a dark corner. Ask ahead of time exactly where your cake is going to be displayed. Consider placing your cake up on a high top table, so it sits above your cake and guests tables.

2. Lighting. Consider adding a pin spot lighting to your cake. It’s a simple yet dramatic way to really highlight your cake.

3. Linens. You can really “dress up” your cake by adding some gorgeous specialty linens to your cake table. Just remember to choose linens that enhance your cake design, not work against it. 

Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Dress

1. Do your research. Be sure to go into your dressing appointment having a solid idea as to the type of dress you desire. Make sure you have chosen a dress type that compliments your figure the best, don’t just choose a dress because it’s the latest style.

2. Style your hair and make up the day you go dress shopping and be sure to wear nice undergarments (as chances are you may have a few people helping you try on your gowns). Overall, do your best to make sure that you feel good about your appearance.
Bring heels to try on with your dresses.

3. Don’t feel obligated to bring your entire bridal party. Sometimes finding the “right” dress can be stressful, and having too many opinions makes things difficult.

4. Make sure that the salesperson makes you feel special and truly understands and cares about the type of dress that you are looking for.

5. Don’t expect to find your dress in one day, and don’t feel pressured to find your dress in one day. You deserve to feel beautiful, comfortable, and excited about your wedding dress.

Photography: Daniel Kim Photography | Venue: El Chorro

How to Feel Beautiful On Your Wedding Day

You deserve to feel beautiful on your Wedding Day. Careful preparation can definitely help you to feel your best.

Here are some tips to ensure these plans run smoothly:

1.) Have Your Hair & Make Up Artist Come to YOU!
Please don't spend your precious time on the day of your wedding stressed about timing and traffic. Hire professionals who will come to your home or your hotel. It's important for you feel as relaxed as possible and be able to enjoy all aspects of your day.

2.) Really consider who and how many people will be around you while you're getting ready. Do not feel obligated to have your entire bridal around you the entire day, which can often be overwhelming and chaotic. Perhaps consider getting ready with your Maid of Honor and Mom and allowing your other bridal party members to get ready in another area.

3.) Always, do a hair and makeup trial beforehand. Make sure you love the way you look and make sure that you love the professionals that you've hired. Take photos and notes of your trial and be sure and bring those along on the day of your Wedding to refresh your beauty's team minds.

7 Questions You Should Ask Your Photographer

One of the most common things I hear in the wedding industry are horror stories about peoples past wedding photography experiences, it just breaks my heart....please don't make a mistake by choosing a photographer based on their "inexpensive" price, please........I beg you!  

When it's all said and done, the only thing you have left are your cherished memories. 


7 Questions You Should Ask Your Photographer...........
(By: Still Life Studios) 

1.) What's your photographic style on a typical wedding day and can I see a complete wedding?
This question is a bit tricky. Remember the photographer wants your business and may want to sell you the style they know you're after.  There are lots of buzz words and confusing ideas about photographic style. Traditional is typically considered a bad thing, with photo journalist perhaps being the most sought after "style".  What is most important is that the photographer's style makes the most sense to you and connects with your emotional center.  If you see samples on their website and love the work then ask to see a complete wedding from the photographer. If you can see the same style in a full wedding then this gives you a pretty good sense of the photographer's eye. Asking to see a wedding should be a piece of cake for the photographer since they should have plenty of recent weddings online for you to look at and review by asking for the password.  You might als make sure they are actually shoot a few weddings as this may tell you how successful they are currently.  As for us (Still Life Studios) ...we shoot in a Documentary Style which means we capture the majority of your wedding day by being there but not directing you.  We are there to answer questions and help if needed but wae love the natural moments that happen without our direction.  We also capture in a Fashion Style for a small portion of time...during the Bridal Party photos we help your party to be at ease and relax, have a little fun. This requires some direction for us but it turns out to be good time.   During the Bride and Groom session we also jump in and give you direction since moments like walking down a busy street in your wedding dress don't just happen...we send a little prompting your way and let your personalites take over.  We like to assist in bringing out the model within you. Work it baby! What's your style?

2.)  Is this your career and full-time business?
This gets to the heart of several things and that is, "Is this just a hobby? Something for side cash? Are you adequately trained?"  Don't ask these though...they might be considered offensive but we think it makes a difference to know that your teams knows what they're doing, and that they do this for love AND survival! That way you know that your photographer(s) are going to make sure they are constantly on their toes to ensure your needs are met and that you are super happy with the results.  Would you trust your spleen to someone who just dabbles in surgery?

3.)  Are you running a legitimate business?
Or are you just some random person with a camera? Because anyone can become a "photographer" by buying a camera and selling their services, this is just one way you know that they play by the rules of the state by carrying actual business liability insurance, paying taxes and also that they have common sense.  Bad apple photographers can go to jail for selling photography and not paying taxes.  You also want to know that they treat customers and clients and won't rip you off.

4.) Do you have adequate back up equipment?
Each of our photographers come with mulitple camera bodies and an assortment of lenses, flashes, and various other equipment.  It's electronic and equipment fails on occasion, even when you buy the best (like we do).  You want to make sure your photographer has a back up plan, because Murphy's Law exists and sometimes things go wrong.  For example, if something of ours does fail, you will never know it because we reach for other equipment we have eagerly awaiting use in the bag.  If you aren't careful, you photographer may have to wipe the dust off that film camera (if they brought a back up along) which has its own set of risks, or they might have to use the disposables you bought for the tables, unless of course you're prepared to bring the expensive backup equipment for your lesser priced photographer....

5.) Who's got your back?
This is a serious question.  You are going to embark on one of the most dreamed about events of your life.  The last thing you want is someone not making it to your big day.  Accidents, sickness, and emergencies can and do happen.  No one can guarantee your day will be void of any problem, but the answer to this question can certainly put you at ease concerning your photographer.  Our studio has a dedicated team of photographers who have all had extensive training in the Still Life Studios style.  You can rest knowing that if there were a problem, we have backup photographers who are prepped to step in. 

6.)  Do you sell/include the disc in your packages?
This can be a double-edged sword for an answer.  Most brides think this is the most important thing they can ask.  Sometimes I wonder if it's because the bridal magazines say so.  Can this be important? Yes, but maybe not for the reasons you think.  Many brides want a disc so they can go and get cheap prints make at a corner store.  This cracks us up! Since you are hiring a photographer to take professional pictures, you might also consider letting them make sure it's professionally printed.  (yes printing on professional paper at a professional lab has big advantages) and has all the final treatments to best fit the size and circumstance of the pictures you want to display so proudly.  Ask what the photographer charges for reprints.  You may find that all the extra work they put into the print may cost quite a bit more than the drug store photo lab but they worked up the image to perfection and will stand behind it if anything was to be amiss. 

7.)  What measures do you take to protect my photographic memories?
Many of our clients don't buy a disc and yet, they still want to make sure their images are safe-that they can come back and get copies at some point in the future.  You want to make sure that your photography studio has routine methods of safely protecting your images. Besides having routine storing methods of protecting your images on your wedding day, we backup your images to multiple hard drives as soon as we reach the office.  In addition to that, we make a third copy of your images once they are posted online (within a week!) and then they are placed in your client file.  In an effort to also avoid the dangers of fire or other disaster we take your images to an offise location for storage.  No that you know we are serious about protecting your memories, this might be a good time to think about how you are protecting your own personal photographs...

For more information contact: Still Life Studios at
(480) 985-3959/

How to Choose the Right Venue Style for Your Wedding

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Let’s jump right in…. after you become engaged the first BIG decision you will need to make is selecting your Wedding Venue. This can often times be the most stressful part of the planning process, because there are so many different variables to consider. With all of these things to consider, this part of the process can be very emotionally draining.
Here are some tips for making this process a little easier on yourself before you even start to begin looking at venues!

1. Consider hiring a Wedding Planner. Wedding Planning is overwhelming, no doubt about that! But did you know that many valley planners offer an initial complimentary consultation? Take that time to meet with a Professional to best understand what services are offered. It will be well worth your time and possible investment.

2. Finalize (best guess) your estimated Guest Count. This is very important as each venue has a different capacity.

3. Agree upon an overall Wedding Budget that you both feel comfortable with. (again consult with your Planner to educate on you on overall average Wedding Expenses.)

4. Decide logistically what part of the valley you desire to host your wedding in.

5. Have an ideal date in mind…at least the year and month.

Once you have your foundation laid then you start talking about your desired style. Please do not torture yourself by wasting your precious time touring venues that don’t match any of your needs. I think it’s common that once a couple gets engaged they instantly start touring venues (because naturally you’re excited) but that is not a good use of time or your emotional energy.  The good news is…Arizona has SEVERAL venue options…and now that you have grasp on your guest count, budget, demographics, and ideal dates…this process will be much easier for you!


5 Tips for Selecting the Members of Your Bridal Party

Hello Friends,
Let’s talk about choosing your bridal party. I’ve had many brides and grooms express their many concerns when it comes to this task. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, because there are a lot of emotions and expectations involved. Today I’ve put together a few thoughts I would like to consider before selecting your “tribe.”

1.) The Honor
Who really deserves it? Often time people base their bridal party selections on obligation (well, I was in their wedding, or I have to all of my sisters) rather than selecting people who simply feel right. Really think about who you turn to in times of joy and trouble. Ask yourself who makes you feel special; who do you have fun times with?

2.) The Time Commitment
Being involved with a wedding involves a lot of time. There’s the dress shopping, the fitting, the accessories, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, the rehearsal ceremony, the rehearsal dinner, of course the wedding day. Really think about whether or not this person has the time to commit. If you’re uncertain, feel free to ask them directly. To some friends, it might not matter how much time is involved, while others it might place great stress upon.


3.) The Expense
Being involved in a wedding can be quite expensive. The wardrobe, the possible travel, the alternations, professional hair and makeup, plus possible requested time off of work. Not to mention gifts along for each celebration….it can be a lot. Again, if you’re uncertain ask your friend and try to best estimate an amount ahead of time to share with them.


4.) The Great Expectations
Really think about whether or not this person will meet the expectations you’ve created in your mind and heart. Are you expecting the members of your bridal to be able to attend all the functions (bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner) or are you okay with them possibly needing to skip some of these times? Will this person be excited and joyful about your wedding day or will they be negative and voice their complaints along the way?
5.) The Fun Factor
A great ingredient to a great wedding day is a fun and active bridal party. Some of the best dance floors are being rocked out by the bridal party. Members of the bridal party feel special, they feel honored, therefore they are more likely to cut loose and have a great time supporting you and your most special day.

8 Questions to Ask When You Are Interviewing Wedding DJs


Lets delve into the entertainment world! What do you want to know when looking for your DJ? Below are 8 questions I recommend asking when you’re interviewing DJs.

1. How long have you been a DJ and how many weddings have you done?
It’s important to make sure that you are hiring a seasoned professional. The DJ has a huge responsibility in the success of your reception. It’s important to make sure that he/she is confident and fully able to provide the exact vibe that you are looking for.

2. Have you played at my venue before?
You’ll want to make sure that your DJ is familiar with your venue. This is important in terms of load in, set up (where the outlets are, what areas extension cords can run through) and how to set up the equipment to provide the best overall sound for the evening. If the DJ hasn’t played at your venue before, that’s okay. Just make sure that he/she is willing to do a walk thru of the venue space prior to the wedding day.

3. Will you serve as my emcee (master of ceremonies) during the reception? Do you have a video of yourself in action that I can see?
Some companies offer djs and emcees separately, while other companies offer a DJ/Emcee service (same person). Make sure that you have hired a “voice” of your evening to handle the flow of all of your important moments: grand entrance, first dance, toasts, cake cutting and all the other special events throughout the night. The next step is to make sure you “like their voice”. They will set the tone for your entire evening and it’s important that you like their style, how they sound on a mic, and handle a crowd.

4. Are you insured?
You want to make sure that you are hiring a legitimate company for your most special day. Because the truth is anyone can purchase equipment and call themselves a “DJ”. It is incredibly important that this company carries business liability insurance, pays taxes, and has insured equipment.

5. What attire will you wear at my wedding?
Don’t be shy, this is a must ask question! Your DJ must be dressed appropriately; all eyes will be looking at him/her from time to time.

6. Can I select my own songs?
Often times DJs will allow you pick up to a certain amount of songs to give them a good feel as what your music taste is like. They might even ask you to provide them with a “don’t play” list. This could contain the Macarena, the chicken dance, or maybe is past “songs” of your old boyfriends and girlfriends.

7. What is included in your services? What are items (if any) do you offer?
Do they provide a set up for the both the ceremony and reception? What about the cocktail hour? Do they bring back up equipment (just in case)? Do they provide their table(s)? Do they offer uplighting? Gobo light? Photobooths, etc?

8. What is the back up plan if you get sick or have a pop up emergency and you are unable to be at my wedding?
Does he/she work with a team? Do they have other professional djs they can call upon that offer a similar style and service to themselves? Has this ever happened before and how was it handled? Be sure that this person has your most special covered in a worst case scenario.



Best Wedding Websites to Share with Your Guests

Recently we were asked by one of our clients, which was the best Wedding Website to use? And let us let you in on a little secret, sometimes us Wedding Planners don’t necessarily have the answers to everything. But when questions like this come up, we always do our research to deliver our best findings to my clients.

For the most part, all of the wedding websites offer the similar features: rsvp section, event schedule area, and a spot to link registries, where they really differ is their customization abilities.

Let’s dig in shall we…..

Websites with a Fee:

Riely Grey ~ (sign-up & wedding website editing is free ~ publishing + sharing = $35/mo or 12 mo. package for 40% savings)

The Details: 40+ gorgeous wedding template design options, multiple color options, personalized domain names, RSVP collection, and the ability  to change your theme anytime after publication.

AppyCouple ~ ( $49 Appy Boutique basic package or $149 Appy Luxury full package - one time payment each) 

The Details: A new alternative to a traditional wedding website, AppyCouple creates a personalized smartphone app for easy access to all things about your wedding.  Users can chose from several design options and the features available within are close to limitless.  Video/photo sharing, guest list and RSVP manager, travel concierge service, customized countdown, multiple language capabilities, access to gift registries, address collection services are just to name a few.  Once created, your app will be available to all your guests as a free download and has the ability to be accessed anywhere even without wifi!

Wedding Woo ~ ($49 year/$69 two years)

The Details: Fully customizable wedding website templates with editable fonts, colors and backgrounds.  Couples can choose to add on fun, interactive "widgets" such as a wedding day countdown, personalized SoundCloud app for wedding music, and Bing Translator services so all guests can feel included.  Other highlighted features include a customizable visual dashboard, domain name, unlimited photo sharing, song request submissions for the reception, and virtual RSVP guest responses.  

Free Websites:

Wedding Window ~ (completely free or upgrade for $14.95/mo or $79.00/yr)

This wedding website service offers 20 free customizable photo themes and 16 free video themes for your website. These templates come with options to add information about wedding day festivities, ceremony details, RSVP service for guests, links to your gift registries, photo albums, guest list information, and a blogging option for the couple to use.  

The Knot ~ (free!)

The Knot is one of the most popular wedding websites that offers 100+ templates with beautiful designs to please every style.  Features within each template include information about the couple, engagement photos, links to registry sites, RSVP features, and a personalized guest book.  PLUS, many of the wedding site designs also come with the option to create matching wedding invitations of the same style through Shutterfly, Wedding Paper Divas, Minted Invitations, and Paperless Post.

Aisle Planner ~ (free!)

This popular wedding planning site now gives couples the option to create simple & straightforward place to share all your wedding details with your guests. 



Websites with a Fee:  "AppyCouple."

After reviewing all of these wonderful websites the paid option that really stood out us was AppyCouple.  Creating a personalized app for the big day is such a creative and unique feature to offer to your guests.  Since we all look at our phones multiple times during the day, having an app that is readily accessible and easy to use like the one offered here has the potential to create more interaction and visitations to your wedding information!

Free Website : "Aisle Planner

Our favorite free website would definitely have to be Aisle Planner! As a J.Starr couple, you will get a wonderful perk in the form of access to Aisle Planner technology and the ability to create your own wedding website.  This is a great feature that lets a couple be connected to the planning process and have access to all aspects of the day


**Special Thank You Contributing Writer & J.Starr Intern: Annamarie Gansheimer

Budget + Guest List Before Venue Selection

The best way for a Bride to completely overwhelm herself is by trying to choose the venue BEFORE she has come up with a budget estimate and the guest list.

That's because looking at venues and getting excited about all the creative aspects of wedding planning is more fun than number crunching and deciding who you like and who you just kinda like.

But believe me as a former bride myself and as a Wedding Planner who has had heart to heart discussions with several brides....I'm telling you...You MUST establish your budget and guests list FIRST.

Ask Yourself These Questions:
(Budget Related) What is your ideal wedding budget?
(Budget Related) What is most important to you? 
(Budget Related) Is it having all of your friends and family there? 
(Budget Related) Is it being able to put a lot into the design and décor?
(Budget Related) Is it being able to have your dream dress?
(Budget Related) Is it being able to have it at the venue of your dreams?
(Budget Related) Is it being able to host a bar for all your guests? 
(Budget Related) What are areas that you're flexible on?
(Venue Related) Where do you want to get married? Location in terms of city and state?
(Venue Related) Will your Ceremony take place in a Church or the same location as the Reception?
(Venue Related) How many guests do you plan on inviting?
(Venue Related) Out of those guests how many do you anticipate actually attending?
(Venue Related) Out of those guests how many are children?
(Venue Related) Out of those guests how many are under 21?

Then ask your Wedding Planner is this a realistic budget?  Your Wedding Planner (hopefully yours truly) will explain to what your options are, where you need to increase and decrease. Your planner will then be able to give you a list of optional venues that match what you are looking for...Your planner will then help you determine areas that you're willing to possibly cut back in order to make room for other areas that are more important to  you.  Your Planner will save you tons of time and heartache (from getting your hopes up on aspects that might not fit into your budget).  Your Planner will be able to help you set realistic expectations and help you start to see the vision of your wedding day more clearly. 


Honest Ways to Alleviate Stress in the Final Stages

(Photo By: Brooke Photography)

Hello Friends ~

Especially those friends in the middle of planning a wedding...

First of all, please allow me to give you a virtual hug and a pat on the back. I understand planning a wedding is hard, it’s time consuming, and it never ends. It really is like having a second job, especially if you haven’t hired a wedding planner. So let’s talk about ways to alleviate some of that stress in your final stages, shall we?

 1. You can skip the cake tasting
It is a fun part of the process, but if you don’t have time, skip it. Request a phone appointment, email over some design ideas that you have, and select your cake flavor without actually tasting them. Chances are they’ll still be delicious, if you’ve chosen a reputable company.

2. Surrender the Party Favors.
Honestly, most of them end up being left on the tables at the end of the night and get tossed out anyways.

 3. Allow the DJ to Select Your Music.
Inform the DJ of the genre of music you like and let he/she do the rest. They know the songs that get dance floors moving.

 4. Let go of the seating chart and paper products.
If you didn’t hire a professional to design these for you (and you were planning on creating these items yourself) let it go. Open seating will be just fine.

 5. Stop looking at Pinterest!
Remove that app off your phone until the wedding day is over. The colors you have chosen are perfect, your dress is perfect, your guest book is perfect. Seriously, please do not torture yourself by flooding your brain with every wedding idea in the world.

6. Ask for Help.
Again, if you didn’t already hire a wedding planner, you still have time. Many planners (myself included) offer a “Final Planning” service. This will save you loads of stress and worry and will be an investment that you will never forget. This is meant to be a fun time in your life, let a professional help you bring this beautiful day to life for you.

Until next week,
Jennifer Starr
J.Starr Stylized Weddings

3 Advantages to Doing a "First Look"

(Photo by Chard Photography)

Today let’s discuss one of the first questions your photographer is likely to ask you:
Do you want to do a First Look (sometimes called a First Meeting) or do you want to do a Traditional Timeline?
What does this mean?
A First Meeting = You see each other before the ceremony in your formal attire.
A Traditional Meeting = You wait and see each other at the ceremony.
What are my thoughts? Bottom line, you must do what feels right in your gut. Yes, there certainly are many advantages to doing a First Meeting but you must be comfortable with this idea.
Advantages Include:

1. Calming the Nerves
Every single wedding I’ve been involved with, always includes lots of nerves before the couple sees each other for the first time. The very moment they set eyes on each other and embrace, you can instantly see the nerves fall away, they relax their shoulders, loosen their smiles, and breath. It’s as if in that moment they remember what it’s really all about.  Often times seeing each other before the ceremony helps the couple to enjoy more of their day because they are relaxed.
2. More time with Family and Friends
Great news, once you’ve done your “First Meeting” you can then take your family and bridal party photos BEFORE the ceremony. This is a huge PLUS. Everyone has fresh hair, make up, attention spans and they’re still SOBER (hopefully).
3.The Golden Light is Spent Just on YOU!
With all of the family and bridal party photos done, this means the Photographer gets to spend a nice chunk of time with you two during the best lighting of the day! Just imagine how beautiful your wedding photos will be! Your family and bridal party will actually get to enjoy the cocktail hour while you get in some alone time together (along with your photographer). Having your VIPS be a part of the cocktail hour definitely creates a better overall energy with all of your guests. Your family will love being able to mingle with all of your guests and your bridal party will definitely appreciate being “off duty” during this time.

Happy Planning
Jennifer Starr

J.Starr Stylized Weddings

3 Small Items Most Couples Forget on their Wedding Day

Photo: Still Life Studios, Bouquet: Wild Child Floral Design

1. Card holder
Yes, something to “hold” your cards (which most likely will contain money). Consider a basket, a bird cage, a decorative box—basically anything that can serve as a holding device to keep all your valuable cards from floating all over your gift table. This doesn’t have to be a tacky white box, it can certainly be something stylish that blends nicely with the rest of your décor. It’s a good idea to assign a family member or best friend to look after this item.

2. Specialty pens
Consider what type of pens you would like your guests to use for signing your guest book (or guest book alternatives). Couples often spend time and money on beautiful keepsake materials but forget about the pens, guests often end up having to use a ball point pen from the resort’s front desk.

3. Remove all the wrapping and price tags
Remove all the wrapping/packaging and price tags ahead of time. This will save you, your wedding planner, or the catering staff tons of precious time on the day of your wedding. Consider these items and anything else you might have incorporated; photo frames, favor boxes, unity candle, champagne flutes, dress, jewelry, garters, etc. Have all of your personal items “show ready."


Until next time,
Jennifer Starr
J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Biggest Regrets Couples Have After the Wedding

Photo: Still Life Studios

Hi Friends,
Let’s talk about regrets, uggh such a sad word but yes regrets do happen after the wedding day. I’m thankful for those couples who have shared their regrets with me so that I can share with you today in hopes that you DO NOT end up having the same ones!

Not eating any food
Sounds silly right? But it’s not. Couples get so caught up in the momentum and excitement of the day, that they don’t eat much, if at all. The truth is a wedding day is exhausting mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s very easy to start feeling ill if you’re under-nourished. I always encourage couples to be sure and eat a good breakfast and lunch, even if you don’t “feel hungry”. It’s imperative that you keep your energy up.

Getting wrapped up in small things that don’t matter
There are a million details that go into a wedding day. Chances are one or two things may not go exactly as you had planned. The cake may end up looking different than you imagined, maybe your sister is running late and holding up photos… whatever the case may be, try to relax. You only get ONE wedding day, don’t let little surprises ruin your day.

Not hiring a videographer
The day goes by so incredibly fast. And while the photos help to tell the story, video captures an entirely different way of storytelling. Having video captured of your most treasured times is truly invaluable. Being able to hear voices, laughter, see emotions and movement are beautiful memories.

Not having a moment to take it all in
If at all possible be sure to “plan” for this moment. Request to step into your reception space before the ceremony. Walk thru the room, look at the all the fine details, peek out at the crowd of guests awaiting your entrance down the aisle.

Not hiring a wedding planner
It truly breaks my heart when I hear brides say “I barely saw my mom the entire day because she was so busy coordinating the day and setting things up”. This day is not only special for the couple getting married but also for their loved ones. Hiring a professional to ensure that all your special moments are carried out the way you dreamed, is the best investment you can make for your wedding.
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr J.Starr Stylized Weddings

3 Tips for Regaining Control When You Feel Overwhelmed with the Planning Process

Photo: Still Life Studios

Dear Lovely Couples Planning a Wedding,

You deserve exceptional service, period. I often hear couples say that they’re afraid to ask vendors a question, nervous to speak up and express an option, or hesitant to request a change.  I’m here to tell you, that’s nuts! Please remember that just because wedding planning details can become overwhelming and sometimes intimidating doesn’t mean that you’re not in charge. Here are three things you can do to regain control when you’re feeling lost.

1). Review you Wedding Checklist
Sometimes just simply checking items off of your list (physically checking off, with a paper and a pen) can reassure you that you are getting things done.

2). Consult an Expert
If you’re feeling unsure about a specific area, ask a professional (that specializes in another area) for their opinion. Vendors love to offer their suggestions and know a lot more about other areas of the industry than you might think. An example: If you feel uncertain about some of the ideas/activities that your DJ presents to you, ask your photographer for their opinion. Photographers have been a part of multiple receptions and will definitely give you honest feedback.

3). Take a Minute
If you don’t like something, that’s okay. Trust your gut. Don’t feel pressured into making decisions on the spot. If you need time to think over something (for example “First Meeting” vs. “Traditional Timeline”) that is okay. Your hired vendor will respect your uncertainty and should allow you time to think over your options.
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Things That May Alarm You When Planning Your Wedding (Part Two)

Photo: Still Life Studios

A Bridal Party Member drops out
It happens, it happens all the time. Try not to let this upset you too much. Being in a wedding is a big commitment, time wise and financially. Just because someone can no longer be involved, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you and cherish your friendship.
Having Equal Party Members
Remember, your bridal party “numbers” (amounts on each side) don’t have to be equal. There are no set rules. It is much more important that you do what “feels” right, it is not necessary to worry about what you think will “look” right.
Rain in Forecast
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can really rock a couples’ world on a wedding day. This is why it’s extremely important to always make sure that the venue you choose has a contingency plan for bad weather. Try and keep this in the back of your mind while planning. Sometimes “indoor” spaces can look quite romantic, especially with the rain falling outside. Just know at the end of the day, you can only control so much. Your day, becomes your story.
Being Over Budget
I’ve never once heard a person say, “oh wow, planning a wedding is less expensive than I thought it was going to be.” Weddings are expensive and there are a lot of expenses that pop up along the way. It is critical to lay out your budget ahead of time before you book anything. This will save you a lot of time and heartache along the way.
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Things That May Alarm You When Planning Your Wedding (Part One)

Photo: StepOnMe Photography        Venue: Grayhawk Golf Club

Allotted Hours on Property for Set Up:
                  It’s an industry standard that most venues allow your vendors to arrive and set up two hours prior to the start of the ceremony. Yes, it’s true. It sounds like a minimal amount of time, but remember you’re working with professionals who set up events every single weekend. They know how to set up a room like well-oiled machine. This includes not only the venue, but also the florist, the dj, etc. This is the case when you’ve truly hired professionals. This only becomes problematic if you’re attempting to go the DIY route.
(A great reason to hire a Wedding Planner!)
Catering Managers Leaving:
                  Yes, it’s true. While yes you have a contract with the venue, you don’t have a contract with a person. It is common for catering managers to transfer properties, have babies, and even leave the industry. This can often times be upsetting when you learn “your person” is no longer going to be at your venue.
(Another great reason to hire a Wedding Planner!)
Your Officiant Not Attending Your Ceremony Rehearsal:
                  This is very common. Often times officiants will charge an additional fee if you want them to attend your rehearsal. But don’t worry, it’s not necessary to go over your entire ceremony, in fact in my opinion this takes away from the wedding day. The most important part of a ceremony is the lining up, walking in, standing in the right place, and walking out. These are things that your officiant is not responsible for doing.
(And again another great reason to hire a Wedding Planner!)
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

The Real Reasons Planners Want You to Hire Their Preferred Vendors

Photo: Ben & Kelly Photography       Floral: Avant-Garde Floral Design

When a planner gets the chance to work with vendors that they’ve worked with before it definitely creates great synergy, not only on the wedding day but throughout the entire wedding planning experience.
As a planner, you have to trust in an entire team (venue, photographer, florist, dj, etc) to do their job correctly on the wedding day. If something goes wrong it’s a reflection on the planner regardless of the situation. Not only is it a reflection, it is also the responsibility of the planner to then “fix” the problem on the spot the day of, making things behind the scenes very stressful. This is a huge source of concern when a planner goes into an event without established trust for the other vendors.
Shared Styles
A planner is going to select their preferred vendors based on similarities. This is in regards to their artistic abilities, their communication styles, and usually their experience levels. These shared styles then blend together very nicely to create an overall aesthetic look and feel.
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

What to Ask During Your Entree Tasting

Let’s talk Entrée Tastings....

Often when you have booked a venue or a catering company, a complimentary Entrée Tasting is included. This is your chance to come in and sample the cuisine options for your wedding day and make your culinary decisions. This can often be a confusing time, so let’s dig in:

Photo: Still Life Studios


Q: How many hors d’oeuvres should we choose?
A: For a full cocktail hour, industry standard suggests five to six pieces per person.
Q: What is the difference between butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and a stationary display?
A: Butler-passed hors d’oeuvres are hand-passed and presented to your guests. Stationary displays are presented on a table that allows guests to help themselves.
Q: Can we offer both butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and stationary displays?
A: Absolutely! It is very common to offer both.

Q: What is a hosted bar package?
A: A hosted bar is when you pay a per person/per hour price for drinks.
Q: What is a hosted on consumption bar?
A: A hosted on consumption bar is the same as running a tab – as guests order drinks, they are then added to the total bill.
Q: What is a cash bar?
A: A cash bar is when your guests purchase their own drinks on a cash/credit card basis.
*Please note bar options can differ from property to property depending on the type of liquor license that they have.

Prior to attending your tasting, you’ll need to know a few things...

  • What is your required Food and Beverage Minimum (your contract should included this figure)
  • How many guests will be attending (best estimate)? Out of those guests, how many will be 2 and under? (Typically they are free) and how many are between the ages of (2 & 12) typically they qualify for kids pricing.
  • Go through your list and determine how many of your guests will be drinking alcohol.

Additional Questions to Ask:

  • Will there be a tip jar at the bar?
  • Will your staff pour wine or champagne during dinner?
  • What Vegetarian options do you offer?
  • What do you offer for children’s meals?
  • Do you charge a cake cutting fee? Will your team cut and serve our cake?

This portion of the planning process can be a bit overwhelming. Remember if you’ve hired a wedding planner, consider asking them to attend the Entrée Tasting with you. Otherwise try your best to really study the menu options ahead of time and don’t be shy to ask your Catering Manager or Chef many questions during the tasting.

3 Biggest Misconceptions About Hiring a Wedding Planner

1.) "I don't think I need a Wedding Planner."
 "I think I'm a fairly organized and creative person...I can plan my wedding and whatever I can't do on my own, I have friends and family to help."

Everyone needs and most importantly deserves a Wedding Planner. A Wedding Planner is the central nucleus of your Wedding Day. Without one, there is no guarantee that your wedding will run as smoothly as it would with a Wedding Planner. Plus, you want to enjoy every minute of that day. You don't want to spend your day answering questions from vendors or family members or guests.  An experienced Wedding Planner has planned hundreds of weddings and that wisdom is invaluable. Your family and friends also deserve to enjoy the day and not running around stressing about every detail.  Let the expert take great care of all of you. 

2.) "I can't afford a Wedding Planner."
"Weddings are expensive enough, why would I spend more money hiring a Wedding Planner?"

While Wedding Planners can be expensive, you will never regret the investment.  Wedding Planners will often times save you immense amounts of money in the long run.  Planners are well aware of the average price of all vendors and all things wedding related.  They can advise you on making wise decisions and educate you and your choices and options along the way.

3.) "I'm afraid a Wedding Planner will take over my Wedding".
"I want our Wedding day to be our vision, not someone else's."

A Wedding Planner will only help to best enhance your vision and serve as a huge resource.  Wedding Planners can help you to funnel through all your many ideas and stay on track so that you don't become buried and overwhelmed in all the details. 


5 Common Misconceptions When Planning Your Wedding

Photo: StepOnMe Photography

1. That you have to please every person.
This is a tough one. It happens to every couple planning a wedding. The moment when you realize that you can’t please everyone, it’s just not possible. This occurs when you’re choosing your date, venue, bridal party, color scheme, wardrobe, and when making plans for your bridal shower & bachelorette parties. It’s always nice to be considerate of your family and friends, but the bottom line is this is your wedding. Make choices that will make you and your spouse happy.

2. Overestimating the size of the ballroom you will need per your guest count.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into venues with couples and discovered that they’ve chosen a space that is way too large for their guest count. Having a room that’s too large can very easily kill the energy and mood of your entire reception. Ever wonder why dance clubs are small? This is why. People want to feel cozy and not on display. A ballroom that has large gaps between the tables, and a giant dance floor leads to very low energy as guests feel intimated and too awkward to converse with other tables or get on the dance floor.

Photo: StepOnMe Photography

3. Couples often miscount the number of invitations needed.
Remember every person on your guest list does not receive an invitation. Many of the people on your guest list are couples or families, you only need to order one invitation per household. This is a big money saver.

4. Underestimating the timing of your guests.
This is especially important if you’re planning for your ceremony and reception to be in different locations. For example, if you’re having a church ceremony often the church will require you to have your ceremony early in the day and typically couples don’t want to start their reception until later in the afternoon/early evening. It’s unrealistic to think that your guests will go back home after the ceremony. It’s very common that your guests will go straight to the reception following the ceremony. This can be problematic for the venue, as your guests will be arriving too early and the venue will not be ready to start serving them yet. In these types of circumstances, you’ll need to plan for something for your guests to do during the window of time in between.

Photo: StepOnMe Photography

5. Knowing what you’re doing during the entire planning process.
Couples become overwhelmed very easily. They often think that planning a wedding will be a simple process. They find themselves frustrated when they don’t understand things and have questions. Remember it’s okay not to know everything, it’s a lot of information and a lot of components. That is why it is important to hire professional vendors, they will guide you through this process.
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Choose What Matters Most...First

Photography by Brooke Photography
Floral by Flower Bar
At the JW Marriott Desert Ridge
For Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites & Services Magazine

Happy Wednesday Lovelies!

Alright... Let's talk about what matters most to you.

Planning a Wedding can put an immense amount of pressure on a couple. Many times couple feel like they have to "out do" everything that they've ever seen before. But I'm telling you all... Please do not to put that kind of extra pressure on yourselves because the truth is, if you "out do" everything, nothing will ever stand out.

I would like to encourage you to choose the two things that matter most to you. Is it the venue? Guest count? Is it the photography? Or is it the overall design and style? Is it the culinary experience?

Put some solid thought into it and whatever those two things may be, stick with them and really focus in on making them extra special! Focus on those two things, and be willing to compromise on other areas.

For example, if you know that the most important thing to you is being able to invite everyone then think about about offering your guests a modest dinner, such as a plated chicken dish and perhaps a cash bar instead of an open bar.

If you desire to put a big focus on the catering of your wedding then consider choosing a venue that already offers a beautiful setting. Find one that doesn't require you to add an enormous amount of additional decor.

If entertainment is your number one factor and you want to hire a live band, think about choosing non-floral arrangements for your centerpieces (candles, antique books, lanterns, etc.)

The bottom line is... It's your day. If you truly put your personality into the details, your wedding day will shine and be incredibly unique to all those that attend.

Much Love,

Jennifer Starr, J. Starr Stylized Weddings

Choosing Wedding Vendors

Happy Friday Lovlies!
After the date is set, the venue is selected, your wedding “foundation” is laid… it’s time to choose wedding vendors.  Start with the core vendors, the vendors you must have.
1.) Photographer
2.) Caterer (if the venue does not provide on-site catering)
3.) Entertainment
4.) Florist

Before choosing wedding vendors be sure to consult with your wedding planner. Wedding planners usually have preferred vendor lists of creative professionals they’ve worked with in the past who provide incredible talent and great service to their couples.  When researching each potential vendor, review their online portfolio, reviews and overall online presence… do you like what you see? Do they seem like people that would take great care of you on one of the most expensive days of your life?  Because they certainly should!
After narrowing down the vendors who’s work you admire most, then review pricing. Do not look at pricing first.  Often times couples will allow pricing to interfere with their first impression and by doing so will overlook the vendors personality, style and reviews.  Next, consult with a planner on your wedding budget and the cost of each vendor.  Your planner will educate you on which vendor you should allow more money for depending on your overall wedding day vision.

Your next step will be to meet with your vendors.  When you book my full service collection, I actually attend your meetings with your “core” vendors.  Meeting your vendors face to face is incredibly important.  It’s a chance to get to know their personalities, potentially see their work “in person,” listen to their stories, advice and ideas.

Lastly and most importantly, go with your gut. How did the vendors make your feel?  Did you feel special?  Did you feel welcomed?  Do you feel like you trust these people?  Did this vendor make you feel comfortable?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to couples who booked vendors that didn’t make them feel these things.  Instead they simply booked them because they were inexpensive, or their friend used them, or the vendor was pushy and you felt obligated to book after meeting with them.

Let’s Recap:
1.) Review Wedding Planner’s Preferred Vendor List
2.) Review Each Companies’ Online Presence (Portfolio, Reviews, Personality)
3.) Review Pricing with Wedding Planner
4.) Meet in Person
5.) Go With Your Gut

I’ll say it again… go with your gut.  These people will be in your lives for a long time during the planning process, they need to make your wedding wlanning experience easier, not more difficult.  You only get to throw one wedding day and it’s the most expensive celebration you will ever host… you deserve to have a vendor team who genuinely cares about your wedding day as much as you do.

Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J. Starr Stylized Weddings

"Going With Your Gut When Choosing Vendors"

(Photo By: Brie Marie Photographers)

After the date is set, the venue is selected, your wedding "foundation" is's time to select your vendors.  Start with the core vendors, the vendors you must have. 

1.) Photographer
2.) Caterer (if the venue does not provide on-site catering)
3.) Entertainment
4.) Florist

Before doing this be sure to consult with your Wedding Planner (if not myself, then another fabulous planner.) Wedding Planners usually have preferred vendor lists of creative professionals they've worked with in the past who provide incredible talent and great service to their couples.  Review each companies' online portfolio, reviews, online presence.  Do you like what you see?  Do they seem like people that would take great care of you on one of the most expensive days of your life?  Because they certainly should. 

After narrowing down the vendors who's work your admire most, then review pricing. Do not look at pricing first.  Often times couples will allow pricing to interfere with their first impression, and by doing so will overlook the vendors personality, style, and reviews.  Next consult with a planner on your Wedding budget and the cost of each vendor.  Your Planner will educate you on which vendor you should allow more money for depending on your overall Wedding Day vision. 

Next, meet with your vendors.  When you book my full service collection, I actually attend your meetings with your "core" vendors.  Meeting your vendors face to face is incredibly important.  It's a chance to get to know their personalities, potentially see their work "in person", hear their voices, listen to their stories, advice, and ideas.

Lastly and most importantly, go with your gut.  How did the vendors make your feel?  Did you feel special?  Did you feel welcomed?  Do you feel like you trust these people?  Did this vendor make you feel comfortable.  I can't tell you how many times I've talked to couples who booked vendors that didn't make them feel these things.  Instead they simply booked them because they were inexpensive, or their friend used them, or the vendor was pushy and you felt obligated to book after meeting with them. 

Let's Recap:
1.) Review Wedding Planner's Preferred Vendor List
2.) Review Each Companies' Online Presence (Portfolio, Reviews, Personality)
3.) Review Pricing with Wedding Planner
4.) Meet in Person
5.) Go With Your Gut

I'll say it again...go with your gut.  These people will be in your lives for a long time during the planning process, they need to make your Wedding Planning experience easier, not more difficult.  You only get to throw one Wedding Day, and it's the most expensive celebration you will ever deserve to have a vendor team who genuinely cares about your Wedding Day as much as you do.