Ask the Planner: We’re Overwhelmed! Where Do We Start?

Ask the Planner: A new feature from the Northwest Wedding Guide

Ask the Planner is where you, the wedding couple, can ask questions of professional wedding planners and other professionals. To ask your question, submit the question form and watch this space for the answers from our team of wedding professionals.


Magan Clark of Clutch EventsMegan Clark, owner of Clutch Events, has been planning events in Seattle and around the world since 2007.

Giving clients peace of mind and confidence that their event will be flawlessly executed is what she thrives on! Her combination of cheery personality, down-to-earth demeanor, excitement for social gatherings, and her natural organizational skills make Clutch Events the ‘go-to’ for a fun event planning company for any occasion.

We’re overwhelmed! Where do we start?

First things first, create a budget and a guest list.
They aren’t the most glamorous parts of Person writing in planning book planning your wedding, but in order to book your venue and vendors, you need to know how many people you are planning to attend and how much money you have to accommodate those guests and your vendors. If you aren’t working with a planner, I would Google a few classic wedding budgets and create a budget that works for you based on your priorities. Then I would start to look at venues and catering to see if your ideal venue can fit your guest count and if your budget fits your venue/catering requirements for your budget. The venue and catering (+ rentals) will be ~50% of your budget, so making sure your budget works with your guest count is a great way to begin the planning process!

What is the most untraditional thing you’ve seen at a wedding?

champagne toastI had a couple this year who wanted to make sure they greeted all of their guests. They didn’t want to miss saying hi to anyone, so they wore their ‘2nd outfits’ 1st and greeted everyone as they arrived to their venue for a pre ceremony cocktail hour. It was a surprise to their guests and created a super relaxed environment for the bride, groom and their families. An hour later, they changed into their formal attire as I had guests take their seats for the ceremony!


Are couples opting for smaller weddings or going big in 2022/2023?

So far, my guest lists have been larger than normal, BUT the RSVPs has been much lower than normal. My last six weddings had expected ~200 guests and have all been closer to 115/125.

Favorite PNW destination wedding venue?

I have a couple of favorites!! If you are up for weekend destination, on San Juan Island, the historical Roche Harbor Resort is a standout! I love Roche Harbor because it feels like you are in a Dirty Dancing oasis and has a ton of guest lodging for out-of-towner’s to have a waterfront staycation. They have a couple of restaurant options and event locations and all of it is just gorgeous!If you want a mini getaway but something that doesn’t take too long to get to, I recommend The Manor House at Pleasant Beach. Just a short ferry ride away from downtown Seattle, the Bainbridge Island venue has water views, a tented garden and a quaint boutique hotel.

Advice for couples planning in 2023?

Secure your major vendors sooner than later and then leave the details and smaller vendors untilIndividual fruit topped cakes later once your major players are confirmed. I would secure your venue/date, caterer, photographer, planner, florist, DJ/band and H&M team within the 1st few months of your engagement. Then you can move on to color palette, invitations, dessert, etc!

What’s a reasonable wedding timeline now?

I still recommend the classic 6-hour timeline from the start of your ceremony to the end of the reception. Regardless of your dinner service and traditions, this should still get you at least a 2-hour dance party and plenty of time to greet and thank your guests!

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