Your wedding should be as important to your vendors as it is to you which is why we’ve asked Annie Brady of MagPie Events to give us a behind-the-scenes look at her wedding planning process! She has a passion for helping couples created authentic, stress-free and enjoyable celebrations, so we’ve also asked her to share some of her best tips with our readers. Keep reading to get some great insights for starting your wedding planning journey!
Photo // Amy Herndon Photography
Give us a little introduction!
My name is Annie Brady, and I started MagPie Events three years ago at age 57. It’s never too late to pursue something you love. The name MagPie is a combination of my children’s names, Maggie and Pierce. But also, the Magpie is a beautiful, interesting, care-taking bird, so those characteristics fit well within the event planning world.
In my few years in business, I’ve discovered my favorite part is the creative partnership with the client. Getting to know them, their goals and their hearts. I love lots of different looks, so it’s fun to have the unique perspective of each client and try to help them reach their dreams.
Celebrate! — How do you recommend a couple celebrate the engagement?
I’m a big proponent of authenticity — what represents who you really are. I think there is a lot of pressure today to make an engagement photo worthy and memorable in a way that might not really be you. If having a big party after the engagement is you, then gather all of your friends, even in your own backyard, fill a tub with your favorite drinks and toast to your future. But for some couples, visiting the location of their first date, just the two of them, could be as special and as memorable as a big soiree. Remember, keep it you.
Set a budget! — How does a couple go about setting a budget? How do you
decide what’s important?
I think everyone really knows what their budget is. They know what is comfortable to spend and what they can manage without it being a burden. And they should stick with that and be okay with it. You should never borrow money to have a wedding. My husband and I were married with just our two best friends in the church chapel and then went to dinner at a nice restaurant after. I have very wonderful memories of that day.
Deciding what is more important is personal taste. That’s the great thing about the world today — no protocol is so important that you can’t get around it. If music is your thing, spend more than typically allocated on your band, or if you love flowers, then have a DJ and create a garden look. If food is your thing, spotlight the food and let that be your focal point. The important thing is to have a vision and go after that. Start with what you love, what represents you and then work backwards into the number that will create a happy, stress-free celebration.
How do you advise a bride on their dream day? How do you help them bring out their vision?
The BIG PICTURE is EVERYTHING. I have a questionnaire I’ve created that is pretty in depth. The couple each completes their portion, and then they complete a part together. It asks about how they met, what their dreams are for the future, how would they spend extra money that came their way, what words describe their favorite wedding, and more. It’s a mix of who they are and how they see their wedding. That helps a lot to get into their heads and see where they are coming from. Then I just try to get to know them, through pictures, the dress they choose, who they seem to be, and we just work at it. Lots of time back and forth. I spend around 230 hours on each wedding (give or take) and an important amount of that time is spent visiting with the couple, mostly the bride and her mom. We go back and forth until we get it right. I create a design board for the overall scheme of the wedding and them multiple other ones to facilitate the main one. One for the wedding party look, florals, rentals, food, etc. All looks that are within their budgets. There really are not shortcuts, nothing that can take the place of getting to know someone and who they are.
What is the #1 vendor you should budget for?
Well, food and beverage typically take up the biggest chunk of the budget, but again, that could vary. Maybe you are having a small wedding but want crazy flowers. The wedding planner should be an important part of your budget. If they are full time and working with you from start to finish, they are the secret sauce in creating the wedding of your dreams and will be spending the most hours on your wedding.
What vendor should you book first?
The wedding planner! The wedding planner should be your guide through every aspect of the wedding. They can help you find the right fit for your wedding and help negotiate contracts. There is more to booking a vendor than just making sure they are available. Having your wedding planner from the very start can ensure a cohesive feel and stress-free, fun experience.
A special thank you to Annie Brady of MagPie Events for sharing her great insights and telling us more about her planning services! If you would like to get her expertise for your wedding or event, you can reach Annie directly on her Brides of Oklahoma vendor profile.