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Get SMART with wedding planning: These 2 women will guide you (Read the book excerpt)

Edna Dratch-Parker and Jeri Solomon

Wedding planning is fun, until it’s not. That’s the reality, as I learned when we planned our wedding almost four years ago. It’s full of stress, and planning can really help alleviate that. To help you enjoy the process more while getting you and your other half to the amazing big day, take some tips from the book Guide to Smart Wedding Planning by Edna Dratch-Parker and Jeri Solomon. These two women have a combined experience of 30 years in the wedding industry! Below is more about the authors and an excerpt from their practical and useful book.

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About the authors, Edna Dratch-Parker and Jeri Solomon

Edna Dratch-Parker

Edna, founder and creative director of EFD Creative—Event Planning & Design and partner of 4LUXURE – Premium Wedding Planner Collective®, brings her unique blend of experience as an artist, entrepreneur, and creative director to each and every wedding she’s planned for over the past decade. A graduate of the Maine College of Art & Design, her approach to events comes from her desire to create a cohesive and visually engaging experience.

Edna has received a number of industry honors, including “Wedding of the Year” from NACE National, the “Spirit Award” from the Boston Wedding Group – multiple years, “Social Event Planner of the Year” from BizBash, “Trendsetter of the Year” from Wedding Planner magazine, and “New England Wedding of the Year 2012” from NACE Boston. She’s also been the recipient of the WeddingWire Couple’s Choice Award consecutively since 2009, and has won The Knot’s Best of Weddings Award every year since 2014.

She is also a part of The Knot’s Wedding Hall of Fame. Edna’s work has been published nationally in magazines and blogs.

Jeri Solomon

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Jeri parlayed her entrepreneurial spirit with her first love of flowers into a business – Jeri Solomon Floral Design, that has allowed her to be creative and thrive in the Boston wedding industry for over 25 years.

Jeri’s motto is “Weddings are stressful; flowers shouldn’t be.” She believes in providing each of her customers not only with gorgeous floral arrangements but also with exceptional service, attention to detail, and impeccable design.

Her work has been featured in numerous publications including: Boston Weddings, Flower magazine, The Knot, Modern Luxury Weddings: Boston, and Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. As one of the founding members of the prestigious Boston Wedding Group, Jeri has served in various leadership roles including president, vice president, and secretary.

Book excerpt from Guide to Smart Wedding Planning

This excerpt is Edna Dratch-Parker & Jeri Solomon’s new book, Guide to Smart Wedding Planning. Reprinted with permission from Real Deal Wedding Insiders®.

Ch. 1 Engagement: The Perfect Storm

Being engaged is one of the most exciting times in your life, but it can cause some unexpected challenges, and at times it can get downright chaotic. So, let’s help you get organized and get into a more manageable mindset.

Your life is already busy, and now you’ve got to find time to plan a wedding, with all the emotions and multitude of details that come with it. We know you want to make wise choices from the get-go. And that’s what we’re here to help with.

SMART Wedding Planning

A lot needs to happen in order for you to realize your ideal wedding, no matter how big or small it may be. To get there, you’ve got to be SMART about your decisions. Your choices should be

Specific to your priorities and needs
Manageable within your budget, time frame, and comfort zone
Articulated clearly communicated to family and vendors
Realistic of expectations
Timely made with enough information and with enough time to execute them

Real Deal Fact #1: Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful. There’s no other period in your life where the expenditure of time, money, and emotions churn together to create a perfect storm as much as when you’re trying to create The Most Important Day of Your Life!

This book gives you the SMART approach to develop and refine your wedding vision, bring it to life within your particular budget and timeline, and manage your family and vendors to get the best results.

SMART wedding planning includes the Three Cs of what it really takes to produce the wedding you want: Communication, Comprehension, and Calculation. You will need to:

  • Communicate with your family and partner, as well as your vendors.
  • Comprehend what it takes to produce the wedding you envision.
  • Calculate the real cost of your wedding.

Almost from the moment you announce, “We’re engaged!” the tension starts to mount. Within days (or hours), the questions start com- ing: When’s the date? What’s your color scheme? Do you have a venue/photographer/dress?

Your stress level rises as to-do lists start swirling in your head. Your first instinct might be to try to get a head start by making appointments to try on dresses or visit venues. Our advice? The first thing you should do is press pause.

Wedding planning requires you to look at the big picture. Every decision you make, from the venue you choose to the size of your guest list to the number of bridesmaids, will affect other decisions down the road. This road may be new to you, and it’s difficult to know what lies ahead, so it’s important to take your time and plan your journey.

Real Deal Fact #2: If you’re going to have the wedding you envision, then shopping for your dress or finding your venue is not step one. These are all exciting and important aspects of planning but prioritizing, budgeting, and research need to be done before those steps are started.

Once you’re engaged, hit the pause button, take a deep breath and look at the big picture. Get real with yourself and ask the following questions: What’s truly important to you? What are your priorities? What are your financial circumstances? Then, ask the same questions of your spouse-to-be, your parents, and anyone else involved in the wedding planning. This should all happen before you take any other action.

SMART wedding planning means setting expectations and navigating the journey (and potholes) with the family, friends, and vendors who’ll be helping to bring your vision to life. One of the biggest mistakes we see is couples who don’t think about the repercussions of their choices until they’re too far down the wedding planning road—when it’s almost impossible to change course. The results? Feelings get hurt, too much money is spent on the wrong things, and stress levels get out of control.

You might be thinking, But Edna and Jeri, I already know what type of wedding I want and where it will take place. That’s good. Hold on to those thoughts. But don’t do anything about them yet.

There are three things you need to do in the early stages of planning, in this (very important) order:

1. Identify your Wedding Committee: Your Wedding Committee is the group of people who have influence on your decisions (whether you like it or not).

2. Establish your vision: The vision is the overall look, feel, and experience you want to create for your wedding.

3. Set your REAL DEAL budget: This budget is what it will actually cost to execute your vision.

Smart Wedding Planning book cover
Read Guide to Smart Wedding Planning now.

About Guide to Smart Wedding Planning

The Real Deal Wedding Insiders® – Guide to Smart Wedding Planning gives couples practical and actionable steps to take control of wedding planning, make the best decisions, and keep your sanity along the way.

Readers will learn how to:

  • Navigate stressful relationships
  • Create a vision that represents you both
  • Understand and build a realistic budget
  • Choose the right venue and vendors
  • Stay present and enjoy your wedding day

With a combined 30+ years of experience and hundreds of weddings produced, the Real Deal Wedding Insiders® have seen it all. Edna Dratch-Parker, founder and creative director of EFD Creative—Event Planning & Design and partner of 4LUXURE – Premium Wedding Planner Collective®, and Jeri Solomon, owner of Jeri Solomon Floral Design, combine their depth of knowledge and real-life experiences to help on your wedding planning journey.

Get your copy of Guide to Smart Wedding Planning on Amazon today.

2 thoughts on “Get SMART with wedding planning: These 2 women will guide you (Read the book excerpt)”

  1. Hi. When I think back to my wedding, I realize it involved a whole lot of work. To tell you the truth, if my wife and I were to do it over again, I think we’d try to keep it much simpler and more casual. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

    1. Hi Neil, it really is a lot of work! The most important thing is the marriage that follows the wedding day, of course, but sometimes couples go into debt over the big day, which I think is sad as it’s tough to start the marriage on that note!

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