Linnyette Richardson-Hall: The Wedding Diva

He popped the question and you screamed “Yes!” Or maybe you popped the question and he… Either way, you and your beloved have decided to wed and want to include your loved ones in your big day. Before you set a date, pick a venue or choose a bridal party, you’ve probably thought about hiring a wedding planner. But, whether or not you can you afford one, deciding if they are really necessary, wondering if he or she will truly understand your vision are all issues you’re weighing at the moment.

Well, Triple B has come to the rescue. Since everyone can’t plan a fab wedding on their own like Cleo and Lyncoln, we caught up with the self-proclaimed wedding diva, Linnyette Richardson-Hall to address all your wedding planner dilemmas. The Baltimore native, who you might recognize from the Style Channel’s Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, has been in the bridal biz for nearly 20 years. Read on to find out why planners are not solely for rich folks, why you shouldn’t ignore your hubby-to-be in the planning process and how to avoid becoming a dreaded bridezilla.

Black Bridal Bliss: You primarily work on weddings in the Washington, D.C. metro-area correct?
Linnyette Richardson-Hall: While a great majority of our clients are from the Maryland area, we are able to plan and manage events on a nationwide basis. I have traveled and will travel to work a great wedding! We do plan weddings in other American cities as well as exotic destinations — destination weddings are becoming wildly popular these days.

BBB: What are the top ten questions a bride (or groom)-to-be should ask a potential planner?
1) What’s your philosophy on the planning of a great wedding?
2) What’s your experience with handling the myriad of details that go into making an amazing wedding happen?
3) What kind of training do you have in the field?
4) What kind of staffing do you have available to ensure a seamless event?
5) What are your company policies?
6) Are you the direct contact during the planning process or would we be working with an associate?
7) Will you be present the day of our event or an associate?
8) What’s the toughest situation you’ve had to resolve during your career?
9) What do you like best about planning weddings?
10) What do you expect from your clients?

BBB: For brides who are on a budget, do you recommend a same-day coordinator as a less expensive alternative to a full-fledged planner? If so, why?
Richardson-Hall: While it can be an alternative, I really feel that couples with financial restraints do best by hiring a planner to help them navigate the entire process. Many couples make money “mistakes” simply because they don’t know what to ask or what to look for. Most planners do offer hourly sessions for the truly “financially strapped” however my bottom line is always this: Talk to a professional and get that insight. It will help you in more ways than you know.

BBB: How important is it for women not to exclude their soon-to-be husbands from the wedding planning process?
Richardson-Hall: Extremely! The wedding belongs to both of them. Wedding planning is a good trial run for how you’ll make decisions together in married life, if you can’t get through this situation, chances are you’re gonna have a rocky road for the rest of your relationship.

BBB: Is there a general industry rule that people can follow to determine a fair cost for a planner or do most planners set their rates on a case-by-case basis?
Richardson-Hall: Professional planners generally charge flat fees based on the amount of work they’re performing for a client. These fees are also dependent on factors such as date of your wedding, location, overall size of your event and of course, the amount of experience a planner has under their belt.

BBB: Feel free to add anything you want to share with the Triple B audience.
Planners are not just for “rich folks” — they’re for everyone! We know much more about weddings than the average person, so take advantage of that knowledge. Being engaged is wonderful, but if you’re so consumed by wedding details, you’re going to miss out on the absolute “glow” that comes from the I’m-almost-a-Mrs. scenario. A great planner will help you figure it all out and create a wedding that speaks to the uniqueness of your relationship, which in turn will make your event unlike any other.

For the Wedding Diva’s contact info, click here.