We’ve been working with Tracey and Polka Dot Events for nearly 7 years now! She’s an amazing wedding planner and knows how to make things happen. We’re always excited to work on a wedding with Polka Dot, because we know that the couple is going to be awesome, and that the day is going to run super smooth. Polka Dot works with many of their clients in a unique roll of Month-of Coordination, working with a couple not only on the day of the wedding, but also on the details leading up to it.
We sat down with Tracey to talk about what got her into wedding planning, some tips for couples in the process of putting together their wedding, and more about her Month-of philosophy.
On why she started wedding planning: I was actually a dancer for over 15 years. I was really interested in choreography and production in particular. Putting together a wedding has a lot in common with the process of choreographing a dance all the way to producing the show and seeing the end result on stage. The butterflies I used to get right before performing have now turned into the butterflies I get right when the bride walks down the aisle.
On wedding day transportation: Something that people don’t think of when they’re planning is how people are going to get from place A to place B. That can end up being a significant investment due to the cost of buses and limos. Because of that, sometimes it can make a lot of sense to try and do everything in the same place. If that’s not an option, for my clients who are on the younger side I always recommend going with a school bus – it’s about half the cost of a coach bus and a fun/nostalgic experience for their guests.
On “day-of “ planners: To me, the idea of being solely a “day-of” planner is too nerve-wracking! I’m just not comfortable showing up on someone’s wedding day or even the week of the wedding with no prior involvement. It would be really difficult to know the vision and give really quality service. That’s really why I offer Month-of planning. It allows me to be familiar with the couple and their needs and the wedding, and to help with those last minute logistics several weeks before, so by the time of the wedding I’ve already had my “hand” in everything. I see Month-of as having a team member, or a personal assistant for the 4 weeks before your wedding. That’s when you really need it! A lot of couples really know what they want and are good researching and booking their vendors on their own. But if you don’t have that production kind of background, it can be hard to see it through.
On surprises in planning your budget: There are a lot of costs that you don’t think will be anything, but they can really start adding up. For example, no one thinks about tax and gratuity, which can bring the price up 30 percent on anything you’re going to do, so that’s a big thing.
Resources for planning your wedding: New York Magazine Weddings is a great resource, especially the listings because they are curated and not advertisements. The wedding websites with reviews are okay, but I find them to be oversaturated. It seems like everyone just has good reviews, so it can be hard to get an objective viewpoint.
On finding a venue: If you have limited time to devote to planning, you can save a lot of time by not visiting every venue and doing the research online. You shouldn’t necessarily go to the venue website, though, because sometimes a venue doesn’t have the most accurate photos on their own site. Almost every New York City location has been photographed, and Google images search is a great resource for seeing additional views of a space.
On choosing vendors: With every vendor that your hire, try to find examples of their previous work where someone had a similar wedding. For example, with photography: If you’re having a wedding inside, you shouldn’t be looking at all outside, daylight pictures from a photographer. You aren’t going to have that wedding! I also think its really important to actually like the people you are hiring - on a personal level. Talent and final product is important but you are going to be spending many hours emailing back and forth and even more time on your actual wedding day together. Sometimes I even recommend certain vendors to my clients solely because I know they will really like each other!