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Michelle is always asked several questions about her services, pricing, process, experience and more. So please take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions below along with her responses and of course please REACH OUT for more information and to speak with Michelle directly!
- What types of services do you provide?
Michelle Elaine Weddings offers Full Service Wedding and Event Planning, as well as Design.
For those interested in becoming wedding & event planners, wanting to start your own business and looking for a mentorship program, Michelle offers those services as well to an exclusive amount of candidates per year.
- What does Full Service mean?
Full Service means that you have absolutely nothing done when you reach out to Michelle. Perhaps you have done a little bit of online research and scrolling through Pinterest to get an idea of what you want, but she will work with you on your ideal budget, finding the perfect venue or location, negotiating contracts, filling in all vendors, your overall design direction and keeping you on the right path from day 1 up until your wedding day. Full Service means that Michelle handles it all while you get to sit back and just enjoy the process!
- What are your fees?
Our fees include Full Service Planning and Design, along with full staffing, travel and accommodations (if needed/required.)
*Given the continuing pandemic Michelle is offering a la carte services to those who are a bit tighter on budget but in need of help given the circumstances. She started this business to help people, so if you are in need of guidance or part-time planning, please still inquire and Michelle will be more than happy to chat with you!
Michelle’s Full Service Planning and Design fee begins at $50,000 and can go as high as $100,000 depending on final needs, requests, design, etc.
- What is included in your fees?
Anything & everything you can think of, as well as many things you did not, and are not even thinking of!
Michelle personally handles each wedding, so she works from her trusted guide to provide a custom monthly to-do list, budget breakdown, everything very clear & detailed for you like the perfect roadmap from day one through to the big day.
She always keeps you on task so nothing is ever forgotten about, or not completed within enough time. Michelle is constantly considering just how overwhelming the process can be, and always striving to eliminate stress so that you can just enjoy every step and feel so much more at ease.
Michelle schedules and attends all meetings and phone calls, always keeping your availability in mind. She will also handle meetings and phone calls on your behalf should you be too busy to attend.
She handles all contracts, hiring all of your vendors, and ensures you are signing onto exactly what you need from each. You do also review all contracts before agreeing to anything. Michelle just creates the ease of showing you the best fit vendors for your style, budget and needs, sets up in-person or virtual meetings and then reviews all contracts and adjusts/fixes where needed so by the time you are ready to review, things are as close to just signing and confirming as possible.
Michelle has over 10 years of experience so she knows the questions to ask, can point out when something doesn’t seem right & fix it for you right away, as well as build the best vendor team for your needs in both budget & design.
In hiring michelle you can expect a very well organized, professional, personal, stress free and extremely positive experience.
- Who is there on my wedding day?
While Michelle is your sole contact throughout, she has an incredibly talented team who have been with her for many years. Depending on the logistics and guest count there will be a team of either 4 or 5, always including Michelle as well!
- How many weddings have you planned?
It’s been over 100 weddings, but with Michelle’s latest structure of only 4 special couples per year, beginning back in 2017, the wedding count has slowed down. However, the service, attention and detail has significantly went up. Michelle has always been a strong leader to her team as well as for her clients, but the need for more exclusive services in order to provide the absolute highest quality to her couples was something she has strived for since day 1 of starting Michelle Elaine Weddings. With just 4 couples per year, now she knows that she can give the world to each wedding and loves the personal depth with each couple that she’s been building towards. Everyone has to start somewhere, and she’s thankful for her countless couples in the beginning years, but is even more thankful that she can provide such an incredible and very personable experience to her couples today.
- How many weddings do you plan per year?
Michelle takes on only 4 amazing weddings and events per year, allowing her to provide the best wedding planning experience you will find.
- Do you plan other events for us i.e. rehearsal dinner, welcome drinks, Sunday brunch, after party, weekly agenda for destination weddings?
Yes, always! However, these additional events do incur additional fees. Rehearsal dinners have become smaller versions of the wedding day. So depending on what you would be looking to accomplish for each event would also depend on the fee. Michelle is also very fair with you in these events and provides various offerings so that you can all workout what makes the best sense for your given budget.
- Do you travel and plan weddings outside of NYC?
Always! It’s actually become a rare occasion for the Michelle Elaine Weddings team to be in NYC. We are constantly traveling out to the Hamptons as well as out of state for our weddings. Our team can handle just about anything!
- What is the booking process like, and what happens once we have confirmed you as our planner?
There are several inquiries that come in each month so in order to never waste any couple’s time, Michelle will discuss budget right away to ensure they are a match in that sense.
From there she always schedules a video call or in person meeting so that both herself and the couple can all meet face to face. You want to ensure, on both ends, that you have that chemistry in person.
Once you are ready to sign and confirm working with Michelle Elaine Weddings, we all sign the contract electronically online and a deposit is paid in order to get things rolling.
Michelle then works on your custom monthly to-do, design boards, budget, and all of the various plans for your wedding day; which you view samples of on either your video call or in-person meeting so that you get the full depth of her organization and all that’s being offered to you – it’s pretty amazing!
- Do you have a preferred vendor list that we must work from or can we suggest vendors of our own?
Short answer : Michelle does have a list of vetted and trusted vendors for you. However, she is not opposed to working with a vendor(s) that you suggest.
Long answer : Her only rule is that suggested vendors on your end must be communicated to her and not just hired without her knowledge. There are a ton of “highly rated” vendors online who are actually quite terrible. So the reason Michelle can be so controlling with vendors is because she wants to ensure that you’re not being swindled. You hired Michelle for her expertise and knowledge and it is completely devastating when a couple hires a vendor who is less than sub-par when she knows you could’ve had someone amazing, and still well within budget.
- If we do hire from your preferred vendor list are you able to get us discounts?
Michelle does not ever promise discounts to couples. What she does is, builds your budget breakdown where you feel comfortable, and then matches what you have to spend in any given category with wonderful vendors. Sometimes there are small savings but it’s on a case by case basis and depends on the situation. Michelle strives to keep you within budget as best she can, matching you with the best fit vendors, and would never want to make false promises regarding discounts when that’s not something truly done in the industry – especially for quality vendors.
- Can you work within our budget?
A typical budget should be between $1,500 – $2,000+ per person in order to create your entire budget, i.e. including everything from your venue and catering, to your dress, hair and make up, photography, florals, etc. *This budget does not include Michelle’s planner fee, nor any additional events i.e. Rehearsal Dinner, Sunday Brunch, etc.
For example, if you are looking to plan a 125 guest wedding in Manhattan or the Hamptons, you would need roughly $190k – $250k+ for your total budget (excluding Michelle Elaine Weddings’ fees and additional events.) The reason for this is based on experience through the years, what things realistically cost as well as what couples have spent in the past.
*Keep in mind that tented weddings are on the higher end of these numbers and always run up even more.
- How did you get into wedding planning? What is your background?
This was all by accident! Michelle came to Manhattan to study fashion at LIM College, graduated at the top of her class and was ready to take on the fashion world but there were other plans in store.
In 2009 the economy was nothing to be excited about and Michelle was unable to find full time work in the fashion industry, let alone anywhere. She’d worked for various designers and even did some freelance event planning on the side.
In 2010 she was offered a catering sales position that she thought would be great money. While it was not in fashion, she knew it was only going to be temporary. Within that job she was put in charge of handling weddings because she was so great with brides. Sleeping in her office, working 100+ hours a week for a measly $30k yearly salary, with no overtime pay, no commission, nothing. She had felt trapped because there were no days off, ever – this is sadly not an exaggeration.
However that grueling job taught her A LOT about what goes on behind the scenes at various events, and was what also gave her the calm demeanor that she has now having seen and dealt with SO much in such a short period.
2011 she quit, started Michelle Elaine Weddings, had a day job in the fashion industry for the first few years to keep her financially afloat, and then finally took MEW on full time in 2013 never looking back!
- Do you have 9-5 type hours or are you available at any time I need?
With a growing family Michelle has created a lot more necessary structure when it comes to her work/life balance. Her regular office hours (meaning all weeks when there is not a wedding actively happening) are 9am – 5pm EST Monday through Friday. She is of course always happy to accommodate her couple’s needs outside of office hours given their busy work schedules. However, that does require ‘over-time fees’ which would be discussed if you chose to work with Michelle and her team.
- How would you help to keep us on budget?
Michelle educates you constantly throughout the planning process. Budget is always a huge conversation because couples very rarely have realistic expectations. She has seen everything from couples wanting to spend $75k on flowers but only $3k on photography, to someone wanting to keep tight to an overall $100k budget in Manhattan with 250 guests, both of which are not possible for the quality of event you plan to have, as well as being completely unrealistic.
Michelle keeps you on budget by showing you inspiration and previous real weddings within your given budget, along with higher and lower options for certain categories and showing what you can expect to receive. From there you decide which direction you want to go and she will walk you through what is truly feasible as you plan, all while ensuring no matter what your budget direction, things will still be beautiful and to her high standard!
You are never forced to spend more, that is not how Michelle has ever operated, but she will make things very clear as far as what you will get with X amount spent vs Y amount spent – she is always transparent so that you know exactly what to expect.
- Given current circumstances, how do you handle emergencies and what is the back up plan if you can’t be there on our day?
The pandemic of 2020 is something that nobody saw coming. This has been a whole new and different kind of emergency that was never planned for in previous years.
The way Michelle handled the Covid crisis was just by being calm for her couples, acting fast on information and sharing when it was time to postpone each wedding. She closed out her 2021 year in order to fully accommodate her 2020 couples without the added stress of them worried she’d have double the amount of weddings than usual.
The client is always number one, their wedding day only happens once in a lifetime and she wanted to ensure that pandemic or not, her couples were going to have the same continued experience they’ve had with her from the beginning.
There has yet to be a situation in which Michelle is unable to be there on a wedding day. However, her team is extremely experienced so if there ever came an emergency situation where she was not able to be there, you would still have her rock solid team for the wedding day to handle things for you.
- Can I hire you for fitness services only? What do you offer?
Absolutely! Brides and couples hire Michelle for fitness only all the time! Currently she is offering one on one virtual personal training, virtual couples training, custom fitness programs to follow along with at home, and virtual bridal party fitness classes. She is also certified in pre & postnatal and helping mamas to-be on their fitness journeys. You can find out more by emailing Michelle directly via our contact page!