Wedding Planning 101 With Meghan Hodgdon

September 2, 2014

10368228_10100307245384982_1215260071642654235_nI recently had a big life milestone – my boyfriend and I got engaged! While we gave ourselves a few days to bask in the engagement glow, I quickly realized that if we wanted to make our dream destination wedding happen next year, time was ticking — and I had many, many questions.

To my surprise, I recently learned that fellow Pony Meghan Hodgdon is a wedding planning guru and enthusiast. In the initial days since my engagement, she’s been a source of wedding planning knowledge and a great sounding board. She was also kind enough to let me interview her about her experience and some important wedding planning questions: to open bar or not?

Johnna: Meghan, as the Fast Horse wedding expert, tell me what got you interested in wedding planning?

Meghan: From a very young age, I have enjoyed organizing events and people. Way back when, I was marrying off all the Barbies and dolls, or gathering the neighborhood kids into a very organized game of cops and robbers. Now I prefer weddings and special events!

Though it’s only been a small part of my career, my friends and family have always referred to me as the ‘event planner.’ I have found myself planning and helping with many weddings over the past few years – that is truly where it began. Planning my own last September was a highlight for sure — and a dream come true. Professionally coordinating a wedding this summer wins second place.

Johnna: For someone that has never truly looked forward to all the details of planning a wedding, how important is a wedding planner?

Meghan: A wedding planner is very important for the right person/couple. For someone like me, who enjoyed planning every detail on her own special day, a wedding planner did not make the list. For someone who doesn’t have the time or patience — or, frankly, for someone who just needs help navigating important decisions — a wedding planner is perfect. I will add, though, an important detail about having a wedding planner is that it can be a decent line item on your budget.

Johnna: Those are exactly the reasons I decided to hire a wedding coordinator. We decided to have a destination wedding, which brings up so many considerations I never would have thought of.

You brought up the patience level of the bride – I’ve been engaged for a little over a week and my wedding coordinator already told me to chill out. Is this a bad sign?

Meghan: The first week is incredibly exciting, so I wouldn’t worry. There are so many details to think about, people to talk to and plans to make! If she tells you that every day for the next few weeks, then I would maybe start to consider yoga.

Johnna: Noted. So, do bridezillas really exist? Have you ever had to work with one?

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 6.18.34 AMMeghan: Oh, yes. They definitely exist and I have definitely worked with a few. No names will be mentioned, but all the worrying turned into beautiful weddings each and every time.

My advice – frequently take time to remember what you are planning and realize how exciting it is. You’re getting married – it’s not the end of the world. If it’s stressing you out, do it later or ask for help. And don’t forget to make time to not wedding-plan. Those can be some of the best moments of your engagement!

Johnna: Will you please tell me if I become a bridezilla?

Meghan: Promise.

Johnna: Open bar? Yea or nay?

Meghan: If it’s in the cards and your guests will enjoy it, absolutely! I see many weddings with a variety of open or hosted bars. The most common are:

  • Open bar (wine, beer, liquor)
  • Hosted bar (wine and beer all night, but liquor is cash)
  • Limited hosted bar (set amount of wine & beer; when it’s out, cash bar)

Johnna: Open bar it is.

In our world, we do a lot of event planning for clients. What should I keep in mind while planning my wedding that’s different from a client event? I’m assuming I shouldn’t be giving everyone in the wedding party event logistic binders?

Meghan: Oh gosh, ha. No logistic binders necessary, though I’ve seen it happen. A nicely organized email does the trick!

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of emotions and politics that go into a wedding, that very much differ with your family/friends than with clients. While both client events and weddings require heavy planning, attention to detail and consideration of others, at the end of the day your wedding is about you (while at the end of our day, the event is about the client). Take some time to be a little selfish and plan the party of your dreams!

Johnna: What is the most important piece of advice you can give me?

Meghan: I feel a bit like a broken record, but just remember that this day is all for the two of you. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish and do a few extra things that you’ve always wanted to do. Spend a few extra moments adding the small details and spend a few extra dollars making it memorable. You won’t regret it!