Value of Service

It is valuable to find someone who is at the top of their field of expertise and who is also freely willing to help.

The following is an answer to an e-mail I sent to veteran wedding coordinator Tobey Dodge. Her approach to wedding planning is very logical and can be applied to planning any special event. She is a joy to work with. Eric Zimmermann Elegant Music.

Hi Tobey: I have been meaning to interview you about what a couple planning a wedding should expect (price ranges) for items for their wedding. But then I realized that there must be a sequence to planning a wedding and talking about “price” right from the beginning probably isn’t the best place to start. So now I am thinking that this would need to be a series of educational articles in some kind of logical sequence that would help orient a couple…

…As I write this e-mail I am realizing that there are so many variables to consider and I am getting an appreciation for what “a real wedding coordinator” does. Eric

Coordinator Tobey Dodge: “The information below is a brief outline of the process of properly determining how to create a budget that will serve as the foundation for making decisions. Tobey.”

Tobey Dodge: “Hi Eric, I would be happy to to talk to you about pricing and organizing a wedding. You will soon be convinced that I’m either crazy for what I do, or that what I do can make anyone go crazy if you really try and figure this process out in a linear fashion. There are so many variables that’s why my service exists.

There just isn’t a quick fix to figuring out what things will cost initially. The truth is, The priorities of the Bride and Groom are the most important focus to begin with. It doesn’t really matter about percentages and ranges unless you understand “what” and “where” they want to put the money they have to spend.

Priorities. Once you establish their top priorities then it’s time to find out what their taste level is in each of their priorities and the other categories they will be spending money on to really determine if they are in the ballpark they want to be. Here’s where it gets interesting.

There are times when a couple has definite priorities and they know and feel fine spending their money in those places.

What sometimes happens once the taste level is discovered and their taste is not only high among the top priorities, their taste continues to be well above the average on lesser important items or services for the wedding. There is no simple straight forward way to determine when all is said and done what is reasonable to spend when someones desires and their pocketbook are not in sync.

Location Location Location. To make this process as clear as possible, I would suggest making three categories according to the event space they are selecting.


  1. Private Estate or other off premise space.
  2. Hotel
  3. Banquet Center

Each of these categories brings with it specific benefits and challenges in time, logistics, costs, and rules and regulations. Once you know what type of site they have selected, then you can begin to estimate the range of cost per category for each setting.

Now Consider “Parking”


1. An estate will probably be the most expensive option. You have to pay for parking and sometimes that includes renting a lot to park as well as the valet service.

2. Hotels will have valet as well as self park depending on the space and standards of the location.

3. Generally banquet centers have both self and valet services making it potentially the least expensive under the category of “parking.”

Sorry to go on like this, but that’s how I begin and then once I know what is their vision, their priorities, and the size of guest count etc. I can determine after discussing their “priorities of services” and “taste level” a way to establish a working budget once I know what type of location/s they are selecting to have for their ceremony and reception.

Hope that helps. smiles, Tobey”.

Thank you Tobey; I learned a lot.  I have a much better appreciation of what a wedding coordinator is responsible for.  I am sure there is much more.  I look forward to learning more. Visit: The Wedding Connection by Tobey Dodge.

Sincerely, Eric Zimmermann, DJ/Master of Ceremonies, Pianist and Band Leader, Telephone: 626-797-1795.