The Enthusiasts Guide from “Yes” to “I Do”

Host Leah Longbrake is pulling back the veil to bring you honest advice and creative ideas from those in the wedding industry. From the Engagement to the Honeymoon, get all the details you need from wedding and event experts on how to make it your best day ever!

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Five Things Wedding Vendors Think You Should Know with Wedding Planner Megan Gillikin

Five Things Wedding Vendors Think You Should Know with Wedding Planner Megan Gillikin

Megan Gillikin, Owner and Industry Consultant at A Southern Soiree and The Planner’s Vault, as well as host of Weddings For Real Podcast, shares with us her top 5 tips on what wedding vendors think you should know.

Want to skip ahead to a tip? Here ya go!

Tip #1: Something Is Going to Go Wrong (02:18)

Tip #2: A Wedding Planner Is Not a Luxury Item (07:30)

Tip #3: You Will NOT Be Able to Make Everyone Happy (18:58)

Tip #4: Trust Your Vendors (24:35)

Tip #5: Remember It’s About the Marriage (29:29)

Bonus Tip!: Vendors Are Human (30:26)

Get to Know Megan...

Megan Gillikin is a veteran wedding planner, podcast host and international speaker dedicated to making life easier for her fellow wedding pros. Her love for mentoring blossomed from her tumultuous entrepreneurship journey: In 2010 Megan purchased her planning business, A Southern Soiree, and revived the struggling brand into one of North Carolina’s most sought-after firms serving a luxury clientele. Between her own experiences and hearing others’ stories first-hand as the host of the Weddings For Real podcast, Megan now offers new wedding planners an easier way to grow their businesses through her education and community membership, The Planner’s Vault. She has captivated audiences with her warm, personable style as a speaker at events like Wedding MBA, Catersource, WIPA, NACE and others. You can find Megan online at theplannersvault.com, weddingsforreal.com and asouthernsoiree.com.



Web Links

theplannersvault.com

The Planner's Vault | Wedding Planner Resources, Courses, & Education (theplannersvault.com)

weddingsforreal.com

Weddings for Real Podcast | Wedding Pro Education, Tips, and Stories

asouthersoiree.com

Raleigh NC Wedding Planners and Corporate Event Planning | A Southern Soiree

Instagram Handles

@plannersvault

Education for Wedding Planners (@plannersvault)

@weddingsforreal

Weddings for Real Podcast (@weddingsforreal)

@asouthernsoiree

NC Wedding Planners (@asouthernsoiree)



This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Executive Producers David Moss, Gerardo Orlando, Production Director Brigid Coyne and Audio Engineer Eric Koltnow

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Leah Longbrake:
Megan. I am so excited to have you on the show today.

Megan Gillikin:
Yay, I am so excited for this conversation.

Leah Longbrake:
So before we get started talking about the five things that your wedding vendors wish you knew, because I'm dying to find out what the top five are, tell us a little bit about yourself, your company and your podcast.

Megan Gillikin:
Perfect. So I have been in the event industry for about 15 years, specifically the wedding side of things for about 11. The interesting story here, I'll keep it the short version is, I graduated from college, worked for Marriott Hotels for a few years planning events for them. And then back in 2010, I went on what I thought was a job interview and came out with an opportunity to take over ownership of an existing planning business here in North Carolina, where I'm based. And the rest is an interesting bumpy, twisty, turny history of running a wedding planning business and helping couples plan a really amazing celebration for their friends and family. I also have a podcast for wedding pros that I launched back in 2018, called Weddings for Real. And that's a really fun way to connect with industry pros across the United States and beyond and talk about the industry, the behind the scenes version of it. But yes, I love, of course, all things weddings and I'm really pumped to talk with you today.

Leah Longbrake:
That's awesome. So, let's get started. What is the first tip that wedding vendors want couples to know?

Megan Gillikin:
Ooh, this was really hard to narrow down by the way, it took me a while. I started with this list and I kept whittling it down. So, the first thing that I would share with those of you listening that are planning a wedding as a couple is that, spoiler alert, something is going to go wrong on your wedding day. As much as you plan for everything to be perfect and you plan out all the different scenarios, bringing together a large group of people and hiring a vendor team and just planning an event that is likely something that you have never planned in this size and scale before, something's going to go wrong.

Megan Gillikin:
But, my advice here is that when you are hiring professional vendors, so instead of having friends and family help plan your day, professional vendors are equipped to handle this. They know how to think quickly. They know how to have a plan B, C, D, E, F and G, as many of us had to encounter in 2020 with the pandemic. But having a professional vendor team is going to help mitigate any sort of surprise that comes up when you're planning your wedding.

Leah Longbrake:
So that's why it's important to really consider hiring a professional as opposed to, "Hey, I know my cousin takes really good photos, she's not a pro, but let me just take a chance on her or him."

Megan Gillikin:
Gosh. Yeah, this is so hard because I have been a bride. I was there and I did not have an extravagant, over the top event. And I am actually a really good case study for what goes wrong when you do have friends and family in roles that should be filled by professionals. So I had a cousin do cover videography for my wedding back in 2010, it was something that was not as prevalent as it is now, but I had someone there to capture the ceremony in the vows. And the reception and the things that went wrong, were that my cousin forgot to lock the camera on the ceremony while our vows were happening. So most of my ceremony footage is of the ceiling of the church where we got married.

Leah Longbrake:
Oh no.

Megan Gillikin:
Yeah, I know. And then during the reception, I mean, the footage of it is real shaky, real off. At one point, he actually bonked me in the head with the camera by accident. There was no editing of the actual wedding day. So our wedding video, instead of being like this beautifully curated footage that my kids could watch now, is four to five hours of just choppy, all over the place coverage. And though I'm happy, I'm happy that we have it. It is a really great point as to, you never know what you're going to get when you are working with friends and family.

Megan Gillikin:
And I think it can... there's so many things that can go wrong that I have seen over the years in my career, from them not showing up, to relationships ruined because the deliverables were not what the couple expected, to just so many things. So I understand, I absolutely understand that weddings are a huge cost and sometimes there are some surprises that come up during the process. But when you are making such an investment in this one day, this one celebration that you don't get to go back and do over, I highly recommend that you don't shortcut and really consider hiring professional vendors that you can count on to do their job well.

Leah Longbrake:
Yeah, you bring up such a great point as far as... I mean, all that's a great point, obviously, but the personal relationship aspect of if, like your situation with the video, it could destroy the relationship in the long run.

Megan Gillikin:
Yeah, yeah. It really can and it's like, okay, you saved several hundred dollars, or you saved a couple thousand dollars, but now you're no longer speaking to your best friend, or your uncle, or Christmas dinners got awkward real fast because your brother was the DJ and then the equipment went down and the power went out. I actually had that happen at a wedding that I did where the brother was the DJ. And while he was going through the buffet line to get his food, because he was also a guest at the wedding, the power did go out and it was just this super awkward moment of no music, no lights.

Megan Gillikin:
And it was because his equipment was not a good fit for where the space was being held and it kept blowing the power throughout the night. But that was an area where the bride thought, well, my brother does this kind of on the side. He DJs at clubs now and then, and this is a way that we could save a thousand dollars. And in the long run, I don't think that those cost savings will be worth it. So that's tip number one is, things will go wrong, something will go wrong. But if you have a professional vendor team, you are often not even going to know that something went wrong because they know how to handle it behind the scenes and make sure everything continues to run smoothly.

Leah Longbrake:
Yes. Okay, so let's move on. What is tip number two?

Megan Gillikin:
Okay. Tip number two. Now I could not do this podcast without bringing this up, as a wedding planner. A wedding planner is a line item that I think a lot of couples view as a luxury item. So they think, I don't really need a wedding planner. I like to plan things and I don't... that's one of those areas that you do not technically have to have a planner to have a wedding, but this will take me back, tying back into tip number one is, I don't believe that a wedding planner is a luxury line item. If you are having an event and you most likely have not planned an event for 150 people, closest friends and family, where you are the star of the show.

Megan Gillikin:
If you don't have someone in that role, that is the point person for guest questions and vendor questions and set up and logistics flow, that either is going to be you on your own wedding day, or it's going to fall on what I see most often is, I see a mom that has to step into that role and is having to work on her own child's wedding day. So whether it's a mother of the bride or mother of the groom, and I think this is really sad because it's something that goes by so fast, it's such a blur. And if that person is having to direct where chairs should be put and reminding the DJ what the first dance song is, or helping transition from ceremony, like flipping the space from ceremony to reception or having a rain plan in place that has to be executed if a surprise rain shower comes through. These are all the things that I don't think should be put on friends and family. And if you don't have a planner, oftentimes, it definitely goes that route, or it falls on one of your other vendors.

Megan Gillikin:
So most often this is your photographer or your DJ that has to step into the role of the planner, if you don't have one in place. And you know what that means? If your photographer is having to step into the role of corralling guest and moving things around and making sure that the space is set up, that means they're not capturing the photos that you desperately will want after the fact for the wedding day. I mean, if you think about it, the photography and the videography are the only things that after this day is over and you're married 1 year, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, these are the only mementos and things that you will be able to look back on. So having a planner, not only allows your friends and family to relax, soak in all the moments, but it also allows your vendors that you have paid a lot of money for, to do their job the way that they're supposed to be doing it.

Leah Longbrake:
I can personally attest this. I'm so glad that this is one of your tips because I did consider a luxury item. I totally agree with that statement. And my husband and I were obviously watching our budget, we were trying to keep it pretty tight. And I thought I had a good grasp on it because I'm a wedding freak, as I call myself. I love reading all the magazines and all the books. And I had my Mindy Weiss and my Martha Stewart and all the books you can think of. And I've been in a ton of weddings and gone to a ton of weddings. I just thought I had it all under control anyways and kind of looked at it as another production that I'm producing,

Megan Gillikin:
Right, right.

Leah Longbrake:
And about, we were well past halfway into the planning process, I mean, we basically had all of our vendors booked and I had a breakdown. I was just like, I don't know how to coordinate all the vendors together, so they're on the same page. I don't know... are we making sure all the contract stuff is right? I had a meltdown said, "I cannot produce my own wedding," and I did not want to put it on, like you said, I did not want to put on my matron of honor. I didn't want to put it on my mom. I wanted everyone to be able to be in the moment. And my now husband, he was like, "All right, we'll find room in the budget, do what we got to do." So we ended up going with a great company here in Cleveland, Ohio, Oak + Honey Events. And they did the month out and day of, and they were fantastic. And my husband still says to this day, and I've said this on the show before, it was the best money spent for the wedding.

Megan Gillikin:
Yes. Gosh, I love to hear that. I love that you figured that out prior to... I was worried when you started telling that story, I was like, oh gosh, I hope this is not one of those that you say, on the wedding day, you were having to work or your mom was having to do all the things. And that's the thing, it's like, gosh, I wish that there was a way to reach couples because I totally understand. I know what the process looks like. You get engaged and you perhaps have been dreaming or thinking about this day for so long. And you start thinking about what's most important. And I don't think it's natural for you to think, especially if you're organized, like you mentioned you are, you're organized and you're familiar with being a bridesmaid in a wedding. You don't naturally think, I need to hire a planner.

Megan Gillikin:
Most couples start out trying to do it on their own. And then they either barrel through and it's a really rough experience on the wedding day, or they have that moment that sort of aha epiphany moment of, oh gosh, this is a lot. There are people that do this for a living and I can outsource this to a professional and know that they're going to have it handled. And what you mentioned of that month of event management package, that is something that, I think, more so after 2020, couples will start to see the advantage of that, I hope, because I feel for all the couples that went through postponements and cancellations of their weddings last year and had to coordinate with 10 to 15 different vendors and review updated contracts and make sure that everyone had the date available. And it's a lot.

Megan Gillikin:
So, I often equate it to the idea of, if you were building a house, you would have a general contractor that would be your point person that you would go to and you would ask questions and they would be a resource for you and an expert on all of the flooring and the framework and the fixtures and all of the things that go into building a house. It's just like that for a wedding, your wedding planner steps into the role of the general contractor. And they're going to say, "Hey, you know what? You told me that spending too much on florals is not a top priority for you, so here are some really smart ways to have a beautiful event, but not blow the budget." And many, many times, a wedding planner is going to save you more than what their actual cost is and just helping you make smart, educated decisions in the process.

Leah Longbrake:
And kind of going with your point number one, with things will go wrong but a pro will help keep those fires at bay, our planner, I know there's things that had to have happened that we don't know about, which is fine, better that I don't know. But one thing that I did come across that had happened was, I went up to ask the one planner a question and they were essentially trying to perform CPR on our cake topper because it was broken. So they were gorilla gluing it and here the artist spelled my husband's name wrong. They didn't add the K at the end of Patrick, it was Patrick with a C, but that was like whatever at this point.

Megan Gillikin:
Oh my gosh.

Leah Longbrake:
But yeah, cake toppers can break and they were gorilla gluing it and trying to hide it from me. And I just happened to see it. But at the end of the day, it ended up fine, they had all the tools necessary to save it, so...

Megan Gillikin:
Oh my gosh, what a story? Yeah. I've thought about that. I mean, I've been doing weddings now for 11 years, so I probably have been a planner at 2 to 300 weddings. I know as a team, my team has done about 500 weddings over the last 11 years. And I often find myself in this crazy chaotic moment, whether it is gluing the bridesmaids heel back onto her shoe that broke, or sewing the bride into her dress, or creating a bustle for her dress because the dress alterations person somehow forgot, or finding the drunk groomsman that is out on the terrace that is supposed to be giving a speech. I have that moment where I'm like, what do couples do that don't have someone in this role? What does the day look like? I don't know because I'm typically... my team is in that role, but I often wonder, what does it look like when you don't have a planner there that is bringing everything together?

Leah Longbrake:
Yes. So the beginning of The Wedding Planner with J.Lo, and all those little fires are happening with the drunk dad crying about his bride before she walks down the aisle. And the groomsmen are getting all drunk and J.Lo's whipping all these tools out of her jacket and stuff.

Megan Gillikin:
Like Mary Poppins.

Leah Longbrake:
That's a real thing, our planner had the clear travel size bags that fold together and each pocket was everything from Advil, to Tide stain remover, to threads in case you needed to sew. And so when we were on the limo bus to do photos, she just handed me the whole thing and said, "We can't be on the bus with you, obviously, we'll meet you back here, but here's the whole kit. So if you need something, you got it."

Megan Gillikin:
Yeah. That's a great planner. I mean, I think over the last decade, I've had a baker be in a car accident and the five-tier wedding cake was absolutely destroyed six hours before the wedding. But I had a whole new cake there from another company by the time the reception happened. And my couple didn't even know about it until after. And those are the things that I think about. If you had your friend that you know from college, that planned a lot of your sorority events, step into your planner role, when the cake is destroyed, she's not going to know several other companies that have the bandwidth and ability to step in and solve that problem.

Megan Gillikin:
Or if you have Aunt Sue that prepares the cake and then it topples over because it's not built for stability for the size cake that it is, this goes back to, obviously I feel passionate about this Leah, but this goes back to all the reasons why, if you want to elope and have a wedding for just you and your significant other, absolutely do that. If you want to have a small wedding in your backyard for 15 people, I am fully on board with that. If you want to have a large scale event for 150 people and you have a vision, then you need to make sure that you have a professional team that can support that. And a planner is definitely not a luxury item on your budget, line item that should be taken off.

Leah Longbrake:
Absolutely. Okay, moving on. What is tip number three?

Megan Gillikin:
Okay. So tip number three is that no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to make everyone happy. So, your priority needs to be on you and your significant other and making sure that the event is reflective of the two of you and the things that are most important to you. And then I want you to think inside that circle of influence, or circle of trust, of those people that should have a say or an opinion. So that might be parents that are financially contributing, or friends and family that are supporting you for the right reasons and understand the goals that you have for your wedding. But that's where it stops, is make sure that you are making it about you and your significant other. And I typically recommend that one of the first things you need to do when you get engaged is grab a bottle of something.

Megan Gillikin:
It can be a bottle of wine, it can be a bottle of vodka. It can be whatever you want to be in that bottle. It can be water, if that's your thing. But sit down, just the two of you, and ask each other this question, what when you picture our wedding day together, what do you see? What is most important to you? What would make it amazing? And then what are the things that kind of make your skin crawl and is exactly what you don't want for the wedding? And see if you both can prioritize that into three super, super important, and then three, not super important, write that down and make sure that as you're going through the wedding planning process, whether it's two months or whether it's, at this point, 3 years, if you're a postponement pandemic couple.

Megan Gillikin:
But make sure that your priorities are always factored into decisions, so that when you start getting opinions from your co-worker, or from your third cousin, or from your mother-in-law, future mother-in-law, who is not financially contributing and who is a toxic person in your life, you both remember what the priorities are for the wedding. So in summary, you're not going to make everyone happy. It's about the two of you. I do think that if it comes to parents that are financially contributing, they should have some sort of say, and maybe it's in something that is not super important to you, but you can give them a little bit of decision-making there.

Megan Gillikin:
I often see, a really good example of that would be, when I got married, stationery was not important to me. So paper products and the thickness of the paper, or the curve of the M in Megan, those things did not matter to me at all, but it was important to my mom. She's from the South, she's very traditional. And she felt like that was the first impression for a guest, was the invitation and save the dates. And it didn't matter to me, so I delegated that to her and let that be her thing. And it worked out really well.

Leah Longbrake:
No, I love that. And my husband and I kind of did that. We sat down and said, "Okay, what's the most important? What's not important?" And we also kind of came up with our top three names to keep it a theme for the wedding too. So when trying to do anything, like we knew we wanted industrial, whimsical and relaxed or something. It was something like that. And then that kind of kept everything organized in our head too, does this fit the mold? But yeah, we knew off the rip, we do not want to do the garter toss and the bouquet toss. We didn't want to do the money dance, a lot of the quote unquote, traditional things, we weren't doing that.

Megan Gillikin:
Right.

Leah Longbrake:
Then we were like, we're sticking to our guns on this, no matter what family and friends say. And something I was pretty stern about was, my husband and I kept everything pretty much for ourself of what the plans were. My mom was in on a lot of it and my matron of honor, but we weren't telling people what the cake was going to look like, our colors. We weren't giving anything away because I didn't want people to have a certain thing in their head once they got there, already having the expectations or trying to push their expectations on us and like, "Oh, why are you having that color? Oh, why are you doing this thing?"

Leah Longbrake:
It's like, if you don't tell them, then you get a little less feedback. And people were trying to find out. People are going to ask you, they're going to, "Are you going to do this? Or you're not going to do this?" And it's going to be a your call if you tell them or not, but I think that also opens the door for people to be critical and be like, "Well, you should do the garter toss because it's been tradition forever." Or, you know what I mean?

Megan Gillikin:
I know. Yeah. It's like, what do they say? It's weddings and babies, everyone's going to have an opinion.

Leah Longbrake:
Yes.

Megan Gillikin:
So if your planning a wedding or you're having a baby, so there, someone's going to have something to tell you about it.

Leah Longbrake:
And weddings and funeral bring out the worst in families.

Megan Gillikin:
Oh my gosh. That is so true. I joke, it's funny that you mentioned J.Lo because my husband for years was like, "Hey, you need to write a book. You have the craziest stories, just crazy." If you need a good party story, I've got you covered. But I told him, I was like, "No, I can't. I can't because I'm still in business and I still am working with clients." But my retirement plan is, it's a book and I'm going to call it, Just like J.Lo, Tales From a Real Wedding Planner. And it'll be all the things, all the craziness.

Leah Longbrake:
I love that.

Megan Gillikin:
Yes. So I started a podcast instead.

Leah Longbrake:
And it's awesome. It's perfect.

Megan Gillikin:
Yes. Thanks.

Leah Longbrake:
So with that, What is tip number four?

Megan Gillikin:
Yeah. Tip number four is, when you are selecting your vendors and you're trying to figure out, okay, who do we want for photography? Who do we want for flowers? For cake? Be really clear and upfront about your expectations of your vendor team. And then have a conversation, of course, before hiring them. But once you've made a decision and you have signed a contract with a vendor, the way that you are going to get the most value and the very best experience from your vendor team is to trust them, unless you've been given a reason not to, to do their job and not micromanage them through the process. And I say that because I know that planning a wedding can be overwhelming and it can be scary. And there's a lot of moving parts. And there are certain personality types that think that the best way to manage it is to be extra, super involved and ask a lot of questions.

Megan Gillikin:
And I think that if you are communicating that with your vendor team on the front end, like, "Hey, I'm pretty Type A, I'm really into spreadsheets. And I would love in our relationship if we could plan to check in once a week, or I send a lot of emails. Is that okay?" Just sharing that information on the front end is going to create a really great relationship with these wedding pros from the start, because they're going to know this is who you are. This is great. I align well with this, let's do this. But I think something that we, as wedding pros, have a hard time communicating to couples is, you're not our only couple. We want you to feel that way, we absolutely want you to feel that you are our one and only, but when your wedding is 16 months from now, for us to be so intricately involved in knowing some of the family drama or details going on, there's kind of a time and place for that.

Megan Gillikin:
And that can be hard to say as a wedding pro to a client in a really respectful and kind way. So I thought this would be a great way to share that with couples is, if you communicate your expectations at the front end of booking a vendor, you're golden. But it's when the anxiety and nerves and a little bit of the-

Leah Longbrake:
Controlling.

Megan Gillikin:
... extra comes out in the-

Leah Longbrake:
You want that control because you're losing it.

Megan Gillikin:
Right. Yeah. And I think I know from my own standpoint, as a planner, no matter what, I am always going to deliver what is contracted. So if I am contracted to plan your wedding in a full service capacity, I will absolutely deliver on that. But when a client trusts me and there is that just really wonderful relationship where they know that I've got their back, nothing is going to fall through the cracks, I just really am working to go above and beyond because my goal is to exceed their expectations. But when I have a client that is questioning everything and analyzing everything and micromanaging the process and taking my spreadsheet that I've used to track their budget for the last year and reorganizing it. And just making me feel that I'm not meeting, exceeding their expectations and there's no possible way that I can, then I go into the mindset of, I will do what I'm contracted to do, but I am no longer working to go above and beyond. Does that make sense?

Leah Longbrake:
That makes absolute sense. And I don't blame you because then you feel like they don't trust you.


Megan Gillikin:
Right, it's kind of like a boss. If you're in a position and you're hustling and you're trying to do your very best work, but yet, for your boss, they're constantly checking behind you, or they are making you do double the work to get a task done, or they're reaching out. They've asked you to communicate with someone else on the team, but then they also do it and it just gets, it gets really confusing and frustrating. And you kind of get to a place where you're just doing what you're contracted for. And I think that that's not just from a wedding planner standpoint, that goes across the board.

Megan Gillikin:
A good example of this would be, if you hire a photographer and they say to you, "You can expect to get your engagement photos within two weeks of our engagement session. And here's how these photos be delivered to you." And then, you are emailing them every day after the engagement session, "Hey, is there any chance I could get them earlier? When am I going to get it?" That's where the photographer starts to feel like, dang, this is a time suck and I just am having trouble meeting this client's expectations. So, communicate clearly on the front end and you'll be in a good spot.

Leah Longbrake:
What is our fifth and final tip?

Megan Gillikin:
Okay. So this one, I'm still, honestly, as I'm saying this, I'm still kind of torn with which one to go because I really had a hard time narrowing it down. So I might do a little bonus one. My final tip for those of you that are currently engaged and planning a wedding is going to be, remember that it is about the marriage. So the wedding is the kickoff to the rest of your lives together. But oftentimes we, as wedding pros, see that the couple has gotten so caught up in just the logistics, or the show of the day, that they have forgotten that it truly, it really is, it is about your marriage. It is not about outdoing your best friend's wedding or showing off for your co-workers. It is about the celebration of love between the two of you. That's tip number five. Can I give a bonus one?

Leah Longbrake:
Yeah, go for it.

Megan Gillikin:
Okay. I couldn't help myself. Tying back to working with your vendor team, one final thought that I would share with couples that we, as wedding pros, would love for you to know is that we are human. We have families, we have lives outside of the wedding industry. So, really remember that just like you would want for someone to remember that for you as well, there's office hours, there's ways to communicate and just loving on your vendor team and allowing us to do that back to you and serve you for your wedding day, is what makes for a really just wonderful wedding experience for your wedding.

Leah Longbrake:
Those were all incredibly important and amazing tips. And I thank you so much for sharing all of that with us.

Megan Gillikin:
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This was a really fun conversation. I actually pulled a bunch of wedding pros, so I have the community of vendors and I posted in there and I was like, "Tell me, what are the things that you would want couples to know? Here are some of my things." And then I married that, see what I did there. I married that with the tips that were shared within the group. So this is a compilation of advice from tons of wedding vendors that really want to show up and support you in planning your wedding and making it so that it's not overwhelming and stressful, but more just memorable and stress-free.

Leah Longbrake:
Well, I have one final question for you and that is, no matter if it's the ceremony or the reception, what is your favorite part of a wedding?

Megan Gillikin:
I love this question. For me, I think it's, as a general, it's the quiet moments with my couple that most people don't get to see. So, for example, it would be when the bride is about to walk down the aisle and I'm standing back there with her and often her dad and I'm fluffing her dress. It's just those nerves and the excitement that comes along with it, getting that moment. I see it sometimes with the couple right before they're introduced into their reception. But I'd say from a personal standpoint and a little bit of a selfish moment, it is at the very end of the night, we've gotten to where we're doing the sendoff for the couple, might be sparklers, might be bubbles, whatever it is, but I'm sending them off to the rest of their lives. And it's that hug.

Megan Gillikin:
It is that hug from the couple. And what you said of with your own planner, Leah, where you said this was the best money spent. It is often that remark of, "Oh my gosh, we could not have done this without you," or, "Thank you for making this the best day of our entire lives," or, "We just can't believe that it's over. It went by so fast and it was so much fun." I love it. That to me is what makes the long hours and the long days 100% worth it.

Leah Longbrake:
Oh, that is wonderful. That gets me a little choked up actually, a little bit. You got me a little of the [inaudible 00:34:25]. Megan, how can we get more information on you and your company and your podcast?

Megan Gillikin:
Yeah, absolutely. So my planning company in North Carolina is called A Southern Soiree. And if you're interested in the behind the scenes look at the wedding industry, you can check out my podcast, which is called, Weddings for Real. And you can find me online on Instagram, @weddingsforreal, or @asouthernsoiree.

Leah Longbrake:
Thank you so much for everything, Megan. It was so wonderful talking to you.

Megan Gillikin:
Leah, thanks so much for having me.

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