Wedding Kickstarter’s Erin Davies Talks All Things Wedding Planning
When it comes to planning your big day, the Wedding Kickstarter’s Erin Davies can help as much—or as little—as you’d like.
Erin Davies knows she isn’t exactly chill. “If I was a Barbie doll, I’d come with a clipboard as my prop,” the longtime event planner jokes. As the human behind the Wedding Kickstarter, the consultancy service she launched in May 2021, Davies uses her organizational skills—and her in-depth knowledge of New England vendors, gleaned from planning more than 300 Boston weddings—to help clients design the celebrations they’ve always dreamed of. “The beginning of the planning process is when you need the most help,” Davies explains. Of course, she’s delighted to stay involved through the end if needed (“I love being the maestro who orchestrates the whole thing!” she admits), but she specializes in using her savvy to help you help yourself. “My clients don’t want to spend 20 to 30 percent of their budget on a full-service planner,” Davies says. “They just want a friend to hold their hand.”
So how does the Wedding Kickstarter work?
The first step is a deep-dive call. I get to know all about you: your preferences, priorities, hopes, budget, and all the players involved. From there, I create the planning timeline, a month-by-month task list of everything that happens between now and your wedding date. I also create your budget, broken into exactly what you should be spending on every category. Basically, I give you a completely custom wedding blueprint.
After that, I’m like a matchmaker for your vendors. If you tell me you have X number of dollars to spend on a band and I know your style, I’m going to give you the three very best bands in Boston within that budget.
When do you recommend starting the planning process?
Time gives you options. If you have a budget of X, the further out we start, the more photographers within the appropriate budget I can show you. But we can do it in three months if we need to. For some people, that’s better; they don’t want a lot of choices. They want to be able to say, “Great, this one’s available—check.” And that’s fine, too. But options are good, right?
On the other side, I’ll have people come to me 24 months out, which feels a little scary for some vendors. Venues could be under construction—not to mention, some vendors didn’t make it to the other side of the pandemic. Eighteen months out is when vendors are ready to start filling in their schedules.
What are the most important vendors to book at the start, and in what order?
The vendors that [tend to] only do one wedding per day: venue, music, photographer. Those are usually the big three—once you have them down, you’re good for a bit. That said, the order is really about your priorities. If your wedding is all about having a killer dance party with a DJ or a fine-dining experience, I would tell you differently based on the priorities you’ve shared.
What’s a common mistake couples make when planning their wedding?
The biggest one is booking the venue before doing the guest count and budget. It’s like being house poor—you’ve bought the house, but you have no money for furniture. I’ve seen that mistake time and time again: They’re engaged; they book their dream venue—leaving very little left in the budget; and they have no idea what anything else costs. Same goes for guest count, or not understanding how every guest impacts the budget: It’s a place setting, it’s a meal, it’s an invitation. People who jump the gun without thinking those decisions through really find themselves in a trap.
Do you have advice for couples who’ve had their dream weddings waylaid by the pandemic?
Keep focusing on the priorities. What was the day about for you? Was it about that specific venue? Was it about the people you love most gathering in one place? Let’s boil it down to what your most important things are, and we’ll figure out how to get there. Keeping people focused on what they do have and why they’re doing this, as opposed to what they might be giving up from their initial plans, has been really helpful.
Scaling back your celebration doesn’t mean it can’t be luxe. Here, Erin Davies shares four tips for upping the wow factor at a pandemic-era wedding.
Pick a meaningful venue
A smaller count means you get to think outside the box: Consider the place where you first met, your favorite hangout spot, the location where you first said “I love you,” or anywhere that holds a special significance to you.
Go big on the food
No choosing chicken or fish eight weeks in advance for you. Let guests make table-side choices, adding formal elements such as an amuse-bouche or a cheese course, or serving a chef’s tasting menu.
Upgrade your stationery game
Bring in a custom stationer to help create the invitations and day-of details—like place cards, menus, and guest gifts—that can elevate your décor to the next level.
Design a wedding weekend
You’ve got the people you love most in the world right by your side—why not make the most of it? Host a weekend filled with activities such as group yoga, a beach or spa day, a Sox game, or a farewell brunch.
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