GSS Asks An Expert :: Q & A With Sarabeth Quattlebaum of Sarabeth Events

We frequently receive questions about how to handle sticky situations during the wedding planning process and even issues that can arise on the big day.  Who would be better to answer these questions than someone who takes these situations and tasks head-on for a living?  We would love to introduce you to Sarabeth Quattlebaum of Sarabeth Events!  Sarabeth has an extensive background in the event planning business and has planned almost any event that you can think up:  Just to name a few…. Anniversary parties, holiday parties, team building events, birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, and of course, weddings!

Sarabeth got her start in the wedding biz working at a custom wedding dress studio.  She was setting up at a bridal show when she had the opportunity to speak to a wedding coordinator that was in the booth next to her. The coordinator told her that she offered internships and upon leaving the bridal show, Sarabeth immediately contacted her. After working with the wedding coordinator for a year, Sarabeth was promoted to Vice President and loved her position. Sarabeth had found her dream job!  She knew this was her passion and decided to start her own company to fully control her future. She continued her education by attending the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, a four day workshop, the summer of 2009 and graduated college that year with a Bachelors of Entrepreneurship.

Sarabeth Events offers such services as:

Sarabeth Events is excited to offer Weekend Of, Partial and Full Coordination Packages. Their packages range from helping clients choose their locations, to attending vendor appointments, to full coordination on the day of the wedding. They are also more than happy to customize a package for a bride for her unique needs. They also offer planning simply for engagement parties or wedding showers! Brides are advised to contact Sarabeth Events as soon as they are engaged as they only accept one wedding a month, so that they can give that client their undivided attention during ‘crunch-time’.

We were blessed with the opportunity to speak with Sarabeth and ask her some of our reader’s questions: 

Have you encountered a Bridezilla before and how did you handle it?  Do you have any advice brides so that they do not become one on their big day?

No Bridezillas! I hate the name people give to stressed-out brides!  I think each wedding day comes with its own unique stressors for each bride. Our job is to handle any emergency with calmness and to think quickly on our feet. My advice to any bride concerned about becoming too stressed to enjoy her wedding day would be to contact an independent wedding coordinator. Even if your venue comes with a coordinator; I’ve always said location coordinators are there to maintain the rules and regulations of a venue, but an independent coordinator can truly work with you and each vendor to create the wedding you’ve dreamed of.

 How would you say most wedding planners bill?  Percent of budget? Flat fee? Fee per vendor?

I’ve found that it depends on each wedding coordinator. Sarabeth Events prices are dependent on each clients budget. We chose to offer this type of pricing to our clients to be affordable for each bride.  A wedding with a budget of $20,000 would pay a Sarabeth Events coordinator less than a wedding with a $50,000 budget because with a larger budget wedding there are typically more guests and more details such as rentals, custom coordinated lighting, as well as additional vendors to coordinate.

 Some Brides send out RSVP cards without the “and Guest” part.  How would you handle someone writing in their guest when only their attendance is requested?

I love everything to do with etiquette. With that said, etiquette is meant to make everyone feel comfortable; even when someone breaks what etiquette said we should do. I personally think that if the guest is not wanted at the wedding the bride/groom should speak with the invitee. Otherwise, if the guest will just be a few additional dollars, in the end I would advise not saying anything; doing so could embarrass the invitee who simply didn’t want to attend alone.

What is a polite way to remind guests to return their RSVP card?  What if a guest shows up to the wedding that didn’t RSVP?

Now-a-days if a guest hasn’t RSVP’ed it is up to either the Bride’s family or Groom’s family, depending on whose guest they are, to contact the invitee. They should state that they are calling to inquire about the upcoming wedding and that they need to turn in a final count to the caterer. If a guest shows up to the wedding that didn’t RSVP, your wedding coordinator should show him to a place setting of someone who RSVP’ed yes but didn’t end up making it to the reception.

What is the best way to handle an overbearing Mother or Mother-In-Law when planning a wedding?

I think each situation is unique with Mothers. Most of the time they truly have the bride’s best interest in mind when making suggestions but sometimes the suggestions can go overboard. The first few time I would suggest a bride saying, “I’ll take that in to consideration.”  If they seem to be on the insistent side, I would suggest taking it a step further and saying, “I’ll take that in to consideration but ultimately it is up to Ryan and me.”

 Have you ever dealt with a problem guest?  If so, what  happened and how did you handle it?

Yes, but this happens so rarely.  At one wedding, at the end of the reception, the best man jumped over the bar, which had already been closed, and started breaking full and unopened bottles of liquor. We  quickly grabbed security and they asked him to leave the wedding. Unfortunately the bride and groom ended up having the pay for the broken bottles.

Thank you so much, Sarabeth, for sharing your wisdom and expertise with us!  If you would like more information on Sarabeth Events please visit their website at www.sarabethevents.com or email them at hello@sarabethevents.com .  Also, if you have any more questions would you like answered, send them to us at tamra@groomsoldseparately.com .  We are always more than happy to do a little investigative work for you!

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Comments

  1. What a great article. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!

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