This blog post is devoted to wedding couples considering eloping in Vegas. The article will focus in on what wedding couples can expect in their wedding planning journey and how services are rendered by Julie Nourish, the owner and wedding planner of Custom Las Vegas Weddings. If you are going to put your trust in a Las Vegas wedding planner, you need to know what to expect and be assured the planning will be carried out professionally, the right way.
This post features the an interview from Creative Living Podcast with host Brendan Sick. Brendan is a very talented up and coming professional saxophone player, sound engineer and songwriter. Brendan’s passion is creating and writing custom songs, especially custom love songs. He shares some details about his own business and services in this podcast. Be sure to watch Brendan’s YouTube video about his services in this article.
Brendan reached out to Julie for this interview because he was curious and interested about the Las Vegas wedding planning process. He wanted to know the history and how Julie as a Las Vegas wedding planner established the business. He was impressed Julie received over 150 – 5 star positive reviews from happy couples during her time in business since 1996. He also wanted to know why couples who plan an elopement in Vegas can put their faith and trust in Julie to plan their wedding experience. In this interview Julie shares her experience as well as what any potential customer can expect when they hire Julie to plan a Las Vegas elopement.
Question 1. Brendan: What is the overall experience of working with Custom Las Vegas Weddings like?
Guidance: My customers will be guided every step of the way to prepare for their Vegas elopement.
Stress Free Service: After the couple’s book with us they can then relax and feel confident the services will be planned.
Wedding Licensing: I start by helping them understand the wedding licensing process and sending them licensing information.
Ceremony wording: My clients will then choose their ceremony wording and customize the ceremony and vows if they desire that.
Itinerary is created: I guide them to understand how the day will unfold and create an itinerary to help them know the timeline of events.
Help planning periphery services: If the customer needs hair and makeup assistance or tux and gown, I match them with those vendors.
Vendors are planned for clients: Then the vendors are planned for the event. It’s all done for clients as a part of my service to them.
Customization of packages: My wedding package templates are customizable. I will discuss the customization possibilities with my clients.
Official quote is created for client: After the clients agree on the services, I then write up a quote for them to approve.
Client provides a retainer: At the point of signing the quote, my client will then place a deposit as a retainer for services. I then start the planning for them.
I am available to correspond by phone, email or chat with customers.
Question 2. Brendan: What services do you provide?
Julie: I primarily provide services such as eloping in Vegas packages as well as other periphery Las Vegas wedding planning services to customize packages for couples. I have spent time building a network of wedding venues in Las Vegas. The vendors I collaborate with are long standing associates and pros. I provide only the best wedding professionals as vendors for my clients.
These are some the main Las Vegas wedding planning services I provide.
• Procuring booking with established venues and planning the event
• Creating an itinerary for the client and vendors
• Helping with the preliminary details before the event
• Assisting customer with hair/makeup, tux/gown
• Guidance to help client choose flowers for event
• Setting up all vendors (photographer, transportation, etc.)
• Day of coordination services
• Client vendor correspondence and assistance
• Arranging the payment for vendors on behalf of the client
Question 3. Brendan:Would you give me some examples of the a la carte services you offer for customization?
Julie: If the customer wants to add in additional services above and beyond the package listed on my site, these would be considered a la carte options.
Some examples of a la carte options would be:
• Planning and ordering a wedding cake for the event
• Additional day of coordinator services
• Helping the client get tickets for entertainment
• Booking a restaurant for the event
• Help planning the reception
• Help running errands
If the client wants a la cart services, I will go over the details with them and work up a quote for services.
Question 4. Brendan: What type of budget do your clients typically need if they are planning a Vegas wedding?
Julie: I attract couples who want services ranging from Las Vegas wedding packages for two people, which start at the $500 price point to customized packages as much as $3500 or more for an upscale elopement experience. It just depends on what the customers want and their budget limit. I try to work within a budget if it’s possible to offer what the client wants and tick all the boxes.
Question 5. Brendan: How do you customize services for couples?
Julie: First, I offer templates and suggestions on my website. Then the customer can modify the package based on their needs and guest count and circumstances. If they want to add in a la carte services, they may do so. For instance, transportation, design elements, video, more photos, a cake, etc.
Question 6. Brendan: How involved in planning do the customers get to be?
Julie: I think it’s important for the customers to be fully involved in their wedding. Most people choose my services because they don’t want to have to think about too many details. But some of my clients have been very involved and want to have a lot more input. I always welcome their input and creativity.
Question 7. Brendan: What’s not involved in the planning services you offer?
Julie: My clients are primarily Las Vegas destination wedding couples, traveling to Vegas from other cities and countries and don’t live in Las Vegas. Sometimes, they do want pre-wedding meetings and if they do, there is an hourly a la carte charge for that service. I recommend my clients use online conferencing, email and phone to go over details and I meet my clients on the day of the event typically.
My associate planners work with me to provide larger event planning if you need a planner to scout for vendors and provide in depth services such as a large full-scale ceremony and reception. I primarily focus on the venues and experiences listed on my site. For instance, if someone needs a planner to find a specific venue and help them visit and interview vendors, taste cake, put together a full-scale event with RSVP services, stationary, and invitations, etc. they are looking for a full-scale wedding planner. I keep my pricing comparatively affordable and cater to a certain demographic of elopements or clients who don’t need a full-scale large event. I do collaborate with other full-service planners though and will refer people who are looking for that kind of services in touch with my associate planner. The service quote I work up for clients will specify the services they get and those can be customized based on their needs.
Question 8. Brendan: How do you differ from other Las Vegas destination elopement planners in Las Vegas?
Julie: I like to be very creative and offer unique customization services for Las Vegas wedding packages. This is a departure from the cookie cutter wedding planning that is a standard in Las Vegas for smaller elopement companies and venues. Because I am an independent Las Vegas elopement planner, I am more flexible to think outside the box and offer ways for clients to make their elopement event special. For example, adding props to their decorations, decorating the client’s room to make it a romantic setting, making reservations for restaurants after the elopement.
Question 4. Brendan: Would you give me some examples of the packages you offer for customization?
Julie: I offer a variety of packages on my website. Many are scenic outdoor wedding packages and some are on the Vegas Strip or in local venues in Las Vegas.
For example these are only a small list of elopement location choices I will customize for clients.
Scenic outdoor wedding choices:
• Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas
• Red Rock Canyon Wedding
• Valley of Fire Helicopter Wedding
• Grand Canyon Helicopter Wedding
• Local Las Vegas Parks or home weddings
• Mount Charleston wedding
• Lakeside weddings
• Nelson Ghost Town wedding
Las Vegas Strip Wedding choices:
• The High Roller
• The Eiffel Tower Experience
• The Sugar Factory
• Madame Tussaud’s
• The Neon Museum
• The Mob Museum
• Art District
• Hotel weddings
• Wedding Photo Tours
• Scenic City Helicopter
• Oasis Event Center
Question 9. Brendan: How involved are you in the day of wedding experience?
Prior to the day I touch base to make sure my clients have arrived safely to Las Vegas. Then I make sure I am in touch with my wedding clients by phone or text on the day. I will guide the clients with any last-minute questions or concerns that arise and typically I am there on site with the couple during the event. If I am not, I ensure that there is an assistant coordinator to run the show who knows what to do.
Question 10. Brendan: How far in advance do couples need to reserve services with you?
Julie: For some scenic and Vegas Strip wedding packages it is recommended my clients give at least a months’ notice. More advance notice will secure better results for having a venue available. If the client waits until 3 weeks prior to the wedding to reserve, it will be less likely the venue they want will be available. The client needs to realize the full payment will be due 3 weeks before the wedding and if they are requesting services within that time frame the entire payment is due.
Question 11. Brendan: Do you handle all the contracts and payment processing for clients eloping in Vegas?
Julie: Yes. First, I create a quote and contract for clients to view, approve and sign. The quotes are itemized for clients. Some Vegas wedding venues require the clients sign the contract directly with the venue but I do facilitate sending the documents and helping keep track of signing and payment to the venues on behalf of the client. I also will help correspond with vendors for clients and facilitate and oversee the venue contract signing for clients as well as overseeing paying the vendors on the clients behalf.
Question 12. Brendan: Do you handle rentals for clients?
Julie: Yes, I schedule and set up the vendor rentals for the event. This includes the scheduling, correspondence with the vendors for scheduling the rentals, delivery, arrival and set up, and breakdown of rentals. A good example would be for props to be used for custom photo events, floral items, decorations such as chairs, floral, musicians, etc.
Question 13. Brendan: What is the deposit for booking a wedding?
Julie: All venues and vendors require a different deposit. Deposit terms will be specified in the venue contract the client will sign. I collect all the data and ensure the correct deposits are paid for by the client to reserve the venue and vendor services they want. I also collect a wedding planning deposit which is a retainer for services. The deposit amount will be determined by the services the client hires me for.
Question 14. Brendan: When is the final payment due?
Julie:The final payment is due 3 weeks prior to the event. If the client initiates services within the 3-week timeframe of the event, the full amount is due then.
Question 15. Brendan: Do you help the clients pay the vendors?
Julie:Yes. I handle the planning and payment on behalf of the client for the vendors. The more services the client receives, the more itemized the invoice will be and the client will be able to see the charges for each service received.
Question 16. Brendan: Are there additional fees clients should know about?
Julie: Because I have the client agree to a quote, they will have all the charges up front when they sign the contract. The only time there would be any additional charges would be if the client requests more a la carte services after the quote has been signed. In this case I will revise the invoice and the client will see the charges and agree to them at that time.
Question 17. Brendan: What happens if the customer needs to change the date of the event?
Julie: As the elopement event planner, I will step in and advocate for the client to re-arranged the services and change the date or time. I just ask the clients to try to give me at least 3 weeks’ notice, if possible. I have often done this for clients and it’s dependent on many factors, not the least of which is whether the date is available with all the vendors and venue as well as my own schedule. This might happen if the couple has to postpone or change the event date.
Question 18. Brendan: Is the deposit or final payment refundable?
Julie: The planning fees are not refundable. The initial planning deposit is taken as a retainer to pay for wedding planning services that are rendered before the wedding takes place. The initial planning involves effort. It will require computer time, outreach to vendors, scheduling the venue, helping the client sign contracts, taking payments, email correspondence, scheduling vendors, creating the itinerary and in many cases more. The planning is done prior to the 3-week timeline before the wedding day, if the clients give such notice. I do not refund the planning fee to clients for this reason if their plans change. I will however credit the initial planning deposit payment toward future services if a postponement or date change is needed and is possible.
The final payment for the event and venue is typically due within the 3-week timeframe prior to the wedding. At that time, the final payment becomes non-refundable. If the wedding needs to be rescheduled, in most cases the venues will work with the clients. Each venue differs in their credit and refund policies. It is best to clarify these details from the venue before you book to know what to expect if there is a disaster beyond your control. The planning deposit may be applied to future wedding services within one calendar year.
Question 19. Brendan: Will planning the wedding be stress free and fun for clients?
Julie: I think so. I have many reviews from happy couples who indicated their experience was seamless and stress free. Many clients tend to worry because they don’t know Las Vegas and who to trust. They plan from a distance and can get overwhelmed. I am happy to ensure the client feels at ease and confident their event will go on without a hitch. If the client is planning well ahead of time, I check in with the client and they may check in with me with questions whenever needed. I get more interactive with my clients about a month ahead of their event and keep in touch to make the client feel excited and at ease about traveling to Vegas and knowing what to do.
Question 20. Brendan: What was the biggest takeaway you can share? What was your greatest Challenge, and takeaway?
Julie: I would say logistical and technical issues have been the biggest challenges for me. One of the biggest hurdles I have had to contend with is having my website hacked about 10 years ago. My ranking and business literally went dead. Google penalized me and dropped my ranking almost overnight, regardless of whether it was my fault I got hacked or not.
I have also had challenges trying to build up my company and try to run my business and wear all the hats necessary to streamline and run my business economically. Technical challenges with my website, trying to rank on Google and also making myself available to answer my clients and be out in the field doing the work have been challenging.
The biggest takeaway is, collaborating with other professional associate and vendors I can depend on has made a huge difference. I have found great professional and talented vendors through networking in the community and word of mouth. That has been very helpful.
Question 21. Brendan: What is your greatest moment of success?
Julie: One of the highlights of my work has been I think I have had success come in waves and it still fluctuates. Being able to reach a high domain authority which has helped me be found in Google has helped drive business. Having couples give me great reviews and feedback has been very motivating and I am grateful for that. Reviews have helped me start to build success. I am optimistic as time proceeds, my wedding business will succeed. Ultimately, I consider making people who are eloping in Vegas happy and satisfied my greatest success of all!
Thank you Brendan for your thoughtful interview. If you want to learn more about Brendan Sicks love music and visit Brendan’s creative love songs website here.
View this video interview with Brendan on YouTube.