Today we’re featuring an interview with expert wedding planner Tracey Fricke of Special Occasion by Design. There’s no doubt Tracey has an eye for wedding planning and has had the opportunity to create some of the most beautiful weddings in Omaha. She’s giving us some tips and advice from all of her 20+ years experience in the wedding planning industry!
What inspired you to become a Wedding Planner?
I’m a romantic at heart. I always have been. When I became interested in the events industry, this particular area of weddings surfaced to the top and I was really drawn to it. I sought out wedding professional development, educational and training programs, and gained as much information as I could get my hands on and then jumped in with both feet. And now not only do I get to meet some incredible people and help relieve stress from their experience, but then I get to be a part of their special day.
What’s one unique quality that you bring to the wedding planning industry?
I have a very unique perspective. I’m one of those people who is incredibly detail-oriented, but I also love to daydream, design and create. I love details and logistics, figuring out how everything should play out and how all of the pieces fit together; but I also love artistry and creating beautiful experiences while letting the imagination run wild. Being wired in such a way is absolutely fundamental to my success. I can think through a process, pick it apart and analyze it so that things will all flow smoothly together. But I can also help design elements that create amazing, unique experiences for people as well.
What goes into the inspiration and design process of planning a wedding?
I love to ask a lot of questions. I like to find out what inspires a couple, what their hobbies are, what their history is, how they met, how he proposed, what their likes are and also what their dislikes are. Honestly, I just love the discovery of new couples. It is one of my favorite pieces of the planning process. Once we know the budget and what the most important desires of the couple are, the design process begins! We spend hours talking through all of the design elements and then creating unique, beautiful, special occasions.
What’s the typical timeline you suggest your clients follow when planning a wedding?
Ideally having 12-18 months to plan your Omaha wedding works best. Once we have a date selected, I create a custom checklist of items to be completed throughout the planning process. Of course, I have planned weddings in as short as 8 weeks, but a year or more is ideal. Many of our well-known wedding professionals and venue locations book out a year or more in advance, so the more time you have the better off you are.
Are there different ways and options for a bride and groom to involve a Wedding Planner in preparing for their wedding?
There are a variety of different ways a wedding planner can assist a couple. From full-service planning, down to just day of coordination. Packages are developed to meet each client’s particular needs. However, I do prefer to be more involved than less involved. It seems inevitable when a couple hires me for day of coordination only, someone forgets to tell me things, important things that impact something and change how we should handle a situation. When I am fully involved, I can bring my 20+ years of experience to help guide decisions and the direction of things, which always help an experience become much better. I often compare it to wiring a house or redoing your plumbing. There are so many details to execute, why wouldn’t you want an expert to help guide you through the process so that the end result is smooth and just as desired?
What are some ways a bride can save money during her wedding planning process?
Creating a detailed wedding budget is one of the most important things a couple can do. The standard budgets you find online that allocate a percentage of the total budget to an element are just not good enough. Every time I create a wedding budget with a couple/family, there are items that we talk through that would have otherwise been forgotten about. The wedding industry is a multibillion dollar industry. I mean, they have you by your heart strings. It is really hard to be efficient with your money. And with the explosion of wedding sites, TV shows and Pinterest, couples want more and more without the realization of how much things really cost. The smartest thing you can do is to create a wedding budget and then document what you actually spend. Use the budget to help guide your decisions so you don’t end up short the day of. Your wedding is an investment, so plan accordingly and be smart with how you spend your dollars. Just by having a budget, you can help save money because you are more aware of the dollars and how they should be allocated. As far as some basic money-saving tips, there are many! Some examples include booking with a facility that provides certain additional items at no charge, such as floor-length linen, linen napkins and nice chairs. Using the bridesmaids’ bouquets as centerpieces along the head table is another way to stretch your decor dollars. Also to help guide your decision process, assess what is important to you. If an area is of lesser importance, then perhaps this is an area to save money.
Are there any areas that you recommend the bride and groom not to skimp on?
Don’t skimp on your food and beverage! If guests remember one thing, they will remember how good or bad the food and drinks are. If you skimp here, guests tend to be able to sense it and it will impact the overall feel of your wedding. I always recommend at minimum to at least provide beer, wine and soda for your guests. You don’t have to do an open bar if you need to save here, but it is nice to at least provide a drink for your guests with their dinner.
What is the one single greatest piece of advice that you offer your clients?
Besides the budget? To listen! Listen to each other and to family members/parents who are helping with the planning process. Open, safe communication is vital to the success of any relationship and of any well-planned event. Creating a “safe space” to be able to talk through feelings on an item and why you feel that way will be immensely helpful to any process. Be respectful of each other and be open to listening to the other person’s view point. Practicing this on a regular basis will broaden your mind and deepen your relationship and will be well used throughout the rest of your married life together.
Wedding Planner: Tracey Fricke | Special Occasion By Design
Photography: Iwen Exposures