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Planning a Wedding That's All About You: A Fairy Godmother's Approach

Planning a Wedding That's All About You: A Fairy Godmother's Approach With Karin Hlywiak

I met Karin Hlywiak of Cinderella 4 A Day wedding planning for the first time at a wedding on Cole Hill Farm Estate in Marbletown, NY. I remember it well, because I Newlyweds at Twilight - B. Frost Photographybumped into her enthusiasm before I actually met the rest of her. Karin exudes energy and excitement and it was the first thing I noticed, even before her engaging smile.

Chatting with Karin is easy; her bubbly personality breezes through my questions, a constant stream of cheerfulness. My hand is cramped from trying to keep up, but I'm smiling.

"Why should a couple hire a wedding planner?" I ask.

Karin's answer comes quickly, as if she gets this a lot. "You work so hard for your wedding day," she explains. "A wedding planner creates a stress-free environment so that you can actually enjoy it."

According to Karin, a wedding coordinator has so many exclusive discounts available that they actually pay for the cost of their own services. This means you have someone to worry about the you don't have to!...without an added expense.

A while back, Karin starting noticing that couples were extremely overwhelmed trying to navigate bridal shows with twenty different photographers, DJs, florists and so on. Add this to the stresses of the economy, and Karin knew she had to come up with a way to help them.

She designed custom, all-inclusive packages for every wedding budget that allow couples to select from hand-picked professionals, mixing and matching with vendors they may already have booked, to make the wedding planning easy. And of course, Karin's services are included with every package.

"I really believe a wedding planner is one of the most important people there for you on your wedding day. We're friends, advocates, negotiators..." Karin laughs, "and even therapists sometimes!"

Bride and Groom On the Lift - Hillary Harvey Photography

"What questions should you ask a wedding planner?"

Karin clears her throat. "Before you even ask one question, make sure you feel comfortable with the planner. Make sure you can communicate with and trust them. This is the most important thing."

How to Hire a Wedding Planner

Ask them questions...Black and White Newlyweds - Your Day Photography

How much experience do you have? How long have you been doing this?

Can you provide me a discounted rate with professionals?

Throw an idea at them and see if they can come up with creative solutions based on what you tell them. Karin explains that many brides come to her with ideas from bridal magazines that are very expensive to pull off. A great wedding planner should be able to come up with ideas to fulfill those expectations within their budget.

Make sure you get everything in writing. Why is this so important?

Unfortunately, some planners just tell you what you want to hear; yes, you can contact me at any time, you can borrow my equipment without a rental fee, making all sorts of promises. Then when the day comes...they don't deliver.

Get all those specific details in writing so that you can hold them to their promises.


Karin's Advice For BridesCandlelight Centerpiece - Your Day Photography

Create a budget. "You don't have to talk about numbers right away," Karin says. "Just ask yourself, 'What is the most important thing you'll remember on your day?' Start your budget there, then work out from that point. If something is less important, you'll spend less on it."

If children are attending the wedding, hire a babysitter. "You need someone to keep them away from the cake and off the dance floor during events," she explains. "It takes stress away from your guests and those couples who would need to keep an eye on them."

Please yourself first and foremost. "Everyone has an opinion about your wedding," Karin says knowingly. "A lot of brides and grooms have parents breathing down their neck, a sister who wants this or that bridesmaids dress. Don't try to please everyone! Do what is going to make you happy."

"What is the weirdest thing you've ever seen at a wedding?"

"Weird?" Karin giggles. "Well, I could tell you a story..."

Karin had a bride who was very athletic; she had short hair and was not very feminine. Well, this bride's mother was absolutely ecstatic about the wedding because she'd finally get to see her daughter in a dress...a sight she hadn't seen since she was a little girl. There was just one problem.

'I can't wear a dress!' the bride told Karin. 'It's just not me. And my mom is going to freak out!'

Karin brainstormed for a solution. She took the bride to a custom tailor and had an outfit designed especially for her, a gorgeous pants suit complete with train and sequins, all the configurations of a wedding gown...except without the dress.

Without telling the bride's mother, they strategically placed the pants suit on the rack of the bridal shop before their visit. The bride and her mother arrived to start the search for the dress, and Karin deliberately pulled out the most unflattering dresses for the bride to try on. The bride's mother shook her head as they tried on dress after hideous dress.

"Karin," the bride's mother exclaimed. "You've got to help me. They're horrible!"

This was the moment. Karin strolled over to the "hidden" pants suit. "Try this one."

The bride changed into the pants suit and then stepped into the light. Tears came to her mother's eyes. "You look gorgeous!"

The mother was ecstatic and the bride didn't have to wear a dress on her wedding day. Problem solved.

"Tell me something no one knows about you."

First Dance - Hillary Harvey Photography


"Well, everyone says I should be a stand up comedian!" Karin laughs. "Most people don't know that I've been an entrepreneur since I was nineteen years old. I started a soy candle line and sold gourmet baskets. And I make a killer eggplant parmesan!"

Karin's gourmet basket business got its start "accidentally" when she brought to work a Thanksgiving cornucopia centerpiece of dried flowers. Her co-workers started asking if she would make them one. "By the end of the day I had 30 orders on my desk!" she exclaims.

"Any last suggestions for a couple getting married?"

"It's your day," Karin stresses. "You don't have to spend $50,000 for a beautiful wedding. It will be beautiful, with the bride, the groom, your family and friends. Don't lose sight of that. Remember: you're getting married to the person you love!"



Karin Hlywiak of Cinderella 4 A Day has been an event/wedding planner for over 12 years. Originally from Karin HylwiakNew York City, she has been bringing her genuine, creative and fun personality to wedding planning in the Hudson Valley for the past four years.


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