MEET AMY

Making Dreams Come True

I am lucky to say that every day I get to do what I love to do.  Pinch me, please! I literally help couples like yourselves to plan the happiest day of their life, dream of ways to put their special touches on their day and give them the best gift of all and that is the opportunity to be a VIP guest at their own dream wedding!

 

My goal as your planner is to get to know you as a couple, understand your wedding challenges and dreams and desires for your wedding, and help you overcome those obstacles to create memorable memories for the rest of your life. The smile and enjoyment from my couples on their day and the friendships that I make along the way is like the icing on the wedding cake and why I love what I do!

Amy Varain

Owner / Wedding Planner

Turning a Vision into Reality

I love planning weddings and events because there are no two events that are alike.  When I meet a couple for the first time, I get all excited as I think to myself, "oh what is going to be our challenge this time?!"  I love the unknown, thinking outside the box and coming up with new fresh ideas or twists on an original idea. I say there are NO RULES at weddings/events. So as we collaborate thru the planning process I will be there to help you visualize the experience you are wanting for your guests and help you come up with solutions to turn that vision into a reality.

FUN FACTS: Amy builds furniture and decor in her spare time and dabbles in designing/decorating tiny homes.  Therefore don't be surprised if Amy says she will DIY for your event...she has the skills and is not afraid to use them!  

 

Photo to the right: There's Amy putting together a ceremony scene that she created to the right for her couples vintage ranch wedding.

A Perfectionist on Every Detail 

I understand that you are planning your wedding for the first time, and that you are not an expert and really you just don't know what you don't know!  That is why you hire me, an independent expert wedding planner that is looking out for you!  With thousands of hours of planning weddings and events I am a professional perfectionist when it comes to every detail large and small.  I know all the questions to ask and all the little details, like who is bringing the ice or bottle openers, who is responsible for the trash bags, who will make sure the candles are lit, did we even sign the marriage certificate? ...and the list goes on and on.  My Job is to ask the questions and worry about all the details, so you don't have to! 

FUN FACTS: If you are planning to DIY some of your wedding decor,  Amy offers workshops for you and your bridal party/family/friends to get some of your wedding planning decor items checked off the list. Amy will help gather the supplies and then we will all get together and create, as many hands make light work!  (think: programs, favors, centerpieces, table numbers, photo booth, place cards, etc)

 

Photo to the left: Amy held a floral workshop with the bride and bridesmaids on how to DIY the floral centerpieces the day before the wedding. In the photo Amy is perfecting them before placing on the tables.

 

Frequently asked questions

What is Amy Varain's Wedding Process?


Our planning process starts the moment we receive an inquiry. We are fast at work brainstorming ideas based on any information you give us. The more info you give us up front, the better! We want to develop ideas with you even on that first call. From there, once a signed contract and a 50% retainer is received, we hold the date and get to work! We send you on onboarding email with the next steps in the process and also give you access to your personal Aisle Planner tools for all you wedding planning needs. We send a questionnaire that allows us to get to know each client very well. We ask that this is returned prior to our first consultation so we can be prepared with ideas for vendors, timeline, layout, etc. We provide tools and resources for the client experience in this meeting as well. From there, our process depends on the service booked. EVENT MANAGEMENT We are available by email to the client to answer any questions along the way! We give you a wedding planning 3 phase checklist to keep you on track. We check in every 6 weeks or so to say hello and see how things are coming along but we encourage our clients to keep us in the loop, ask questions and allow us to be apart of the process. When you make it to phase 3 at about the 8 week mark, prior to the wedding, we will have our first detailed skype call to start the de-stressing process and learn as much as we can about your wedding day to start putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Then schedule a venue walk through with you and begin reconciling details with vendors and producing the final documents that will make your wedding day a success. FULL SERVICE Following the initial consultation, we start working right away to make sure you secure your creative vendor team during phase 1. We assist you as needed to find the best vendors that suit your needs, review contracts with you and help secure their services. We give you the tools to keep track of all the details and guide you through the pieces you’ll need to work on and what we can assist with. During the design phase 2 we help you come up with a design and floorplan and all the pretty things and personal elements that will be incorporated into your day. you will also get to spend some time doing fun wedding tasks such as a gift registry and trying on a dress, things we can’t do for you. We stay busy tending to the details and logistics that are most helpful to you during both phase 1 & 2. And with both services, we conduct the rehearsal and provide 2 event managers on the wedding day. Then of course, we follow up after every wedding to thank you for allowing us to serve you and to gain feedback on how we can better ourselves. We believe in always learning and growing and our clients are the best source of suggestions!




What are your office hours?


Amy Varain Weddings & Events Office Hours: Monday: closed Tuesday: 10am-7pm Wednesday: 10am-7pm Thursday: 10am-7pm Friday: 10am-2pm Saturday: closed Sunday: closed All emails and phone calls will be received and replied to during office hours. Weekends are reserved for events and family time.




Will you ask for a discount on our behalf?


Our job is to connect you with vendors that fit your budget in the first place. To receive the best level of service from a vendor, they need to feel valued. Asking for a discount communicates that you do not think they are worth what they are asking, assuming you know what it costs for them to run their business. The result of receiving a discount is not the same quality of work that lead you to the vendor in the first place based on reviews, recommendations and so on. We also have vendor relationships to maintain and nurture, asking for discounts puts us in a negative position with them so those seeking discounts are not the right fit for Amy Varain Weddings.




Do I have to use vendors from your preferred list?


No, not at all. However, we sure do prefer it and here is why: the vendors on this list are ones that we have worked with before and have always delivered excellent service and experience for our couples. They are tried and true… time and time again. We understand that your friend had a great experience with her florist and that your boss loved his cake. Anyone can rock it at least once. But ours nail it every time. We want to avoid the risk and construct a team of vendors that will work well together. Ones that communicate clearly and efficiently with our planners and with each other. Our vendor list includes a variety of price points, styles and so on. There is something for everyone!




Why do we have to get on a call prior to receiving a proposal?


This is two-fold. If you’re willing to hop on a call with us, it means you have done your research and like what you see. A lot of people are price shopping and that can take up the precious time we prefer to spend on our clients. That being said, we want to focus on those that have us on their short list of vendors to interview! Also, just as you are interviewing us, we are interviewing you. It’s super important that we are the right fit for each other and because we only accept a certain number of clients each year, we use this time to make sure both parties connect and enjoy each other. Talking on the phone is also a more productive way to understand your vision and needs, allowing us to provide an accurate quote.




I am getting married in a church, will you still do my rehearsal and ceremony?


Absolutely! However typically the church prefers to organize and run the rehearsal and ceremony. Therefore I will attend and offer my assistance to help organize to their standards and be waiting in the wings to assist where neccessary. Usually churches are thankful for the extra hand to keep things running smooth and on time.




How many weddings do you do per year?


We only take on a select amount of weddings per year depending on the combination of services hired to provide. Our clients and their wedding experience is of the utmost importance to us. We plan weddings because we love to not because we have to. For this reason, we are particular about balance and avoid spreading ourselves too thin so we do not compromise our important client relationships.




Do you setup or breakdown decor?


No, our role is to manage the event, overseeing those responsible for each aspect of the day. We ask that our clients hire professional and full service vendors that provide all installation and striking on the wedding day. We will never stand and just watch but being dedicated to any one task, such as decorating, defeats the purpose of being able to multi-task and handle all vendors at one time. However, we do offer setup and breakdown as an add-on in which we will bring on another team member to perform this task.




What is the difference between an in-house venue coordinator and an independent wedding planner?


This is a great question and an important one! I'd love to invite you to a blog that a planner friend in California wrote on this very topic. She was once an in-house venue coordinator and is now a wedding planner. She explains the difference and why you'll want to hire an independent planner.




How do I decide between Wedding Management and full service planning?


I find this article to be especially helpful in answering this question.




I am only looking for day of coordinator, can you just do that? I’m organized, have a lower budget and I’ve already booked my vendors…


We are often asked if we provide “day of coordinating” and the answer is no, we do not. In reality, the service you are seeking doesn't actually exist anymore. You may still find start-ups that will do this but seasoned pros pull away from being responsible for executing an event that they were not at least minimally involved in planning. So many things can go wrong and their reputation is at stake. Here are some pushbacks and answers to this conversation. I’m organized and type A so I am comfortable planning the wedding: I prefer this type of client as I have a very similar personality to this, so we will get along very well. I also know that with this type of personality it is hard to give up the worry and stress of planning and to trust someone else to help you as you sit back and relax at your wedding. This type of couple needs a planner even more that the average couple because you stress over all the little details and worry if everything will come together. You ultimately wish that you had a twin to help you get everything done as you have lists and lists of what is happening on your wedding day and wonder who will make it all happen! I know this, because this is me! Our wedding managment service is perfect for couples like you! Here are some articles that will help with understanding the need a little more... Article 1 and Article 2 I have a smaller budget and I don’t have a choice but to hire someone only for the day. For the budget aspect of it... I totally get it! When I got married my husband and I paid for the majority of it ourselves and we were both 25, working regular jobs. After growing up with my parents always trying to make ends meet, I certainly understand the value of a buck and definitely respect that with and for my clients. Our philosophy at AVW is to maximize every last penny. I always say you can have a beautiful wedding on any budget you just have to decide what to focus on and get creative with the rest. I saved a bride $6,000 last month and while it may not always be that much, every penny counts and if hired early on, I can often offset my cost completely. We know how to guide you on where to focus your budget so you get the most value for every dollar within your budget from the beginning.
For a seasoned event manager, one can expect to spend between $2,000-4,000 in CA. Before you think you’re dishing out $2,500 for 8 hours of service on a wedding day, this usually entails 40+ hours of work. Costing far less than all vendors (except DJ, cake and maybe Photobooth) and we are the ones that bring it all together. Vendors don't really like working weddings that haven't been vetted by a planner because they aren't able to do their jobs right and well, picking up slack on the wedding day as troubleshooting occurs. So spending $5k on a photographer and only getting $4k of value is how that turns out. We also factor salaries, taxes, and other business related costs into our pricing. With only so many weekends in a year and not working every weekend, it's just not possible for a pro to sustain at anything less. In fact, many make well over 6 figures with their businesses but take home less than a teacher. All for a position that is considered the top five most stressful in the country above C-Suite execs and among first responders. #truth

All this to say, you really can't afford NOT to hire the pro that will make sure everything comes together for you. I promise that is not a sales pitch and if I'm not the one for you, no worries, I'm happy to point you towards some other awesome ladies. I like to be as transparent as possible and share my good and bad experiences. I am also excited about educating brides on what it really takes to make a wedding day run smoothly based on those bad experiences. Ultimately, I just want everyone to be able to relax and enjoy their wedding day that they envision and planned so hard for. I’ve already hired my vendors and created a timeline, the only thing left is really executing the day. Can you shave your base package to accommodate? The short answer is “no” because hiring your own vendors and creating your own timeline actually creates more work for me to do. In all honesty, my vendor recommendations are not at all factored into my pricing. I want nothing more than to push them on brides and if I could, I would force all of my brides to use only my vendors. I would… it just makes my life easier. If my vendors aren’t used, I’m going to be spending a lot of time learning how these new (to me) vendors operate and prefer to communicate. Some really hate working with planners and it only hurts you because it takes me longer to reconcile. And same goes for the timeline you created. I will spend more time combing through an existing timeline and correcting layering issues than I would if I just created it myself.




Who is the ideal Amy Varain Wedding client?


The Amy Varain Wedding couple is one that is organized, fun loving and sees the wedding day as more than just a party, it's an experience for their guests. While the wedding day is incredibly important, their ultimate goal is marriage. As long as they walk down the aisle, it can be raining, guests may be late, someone might get sick…. but at the end of the day, two will become one! Our clients are trusting and decisive. They seek our expertise and know that we will be with them every step of the way. They understand that their guests will not remember every little detail of their wedding day but what they will remember is the personal experience they have and with our guidance, are ready to make decisions. Some have long engagements, others have very short engagements but all hire professional vendors and generally like checking things off the list We often incorporate special elements for our clients that reresent who they are as a couple and what makes their wedding unique to themselves. Those special elements may come in the form of using family heirlooms, showcasing personality in design or even just creating special moments for the guests. These are the moments guest will talk about and remember at your wedding. Guest comfort is of ultimate importance to our couples. The day is not just about the bride, it is about all who come together to celebrate both the bride and the groom. Our couples recognize that the happiness of the guests only enhances their own happiness and therefore factor their needs into the planning process. All in all our couples want someone to work with that they can trust whole heartedly to stand by their side and bring their wedding visions to life. They are looking for a professional that can give them a worry-free, stress-free wedding day while they enjoy every moment with their family and friends as VIP guests at their own wedding.





 

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Located in El Dorado Hills, CA & Maui, HI

Local & Destination Weddings & Events

Licensed and Insured Wedding Planner

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