Sometimes I think there is a misconception that wedding planners are just for people who are really into planning their weddings. Or for super indie weddings that require a ton of coordination to pull off. Because if I’ve learned anything shooting APW weddings, it’s that few of you actually fall into either of those camps. Most APWers that I meet are planning low-key practical affairs, and the ones who end up hiring planners usually do so because they’d rather have someone besides themselves make sure the buffet is set up on time (though, of course, you don’t need a planner for this. Just sometimes you want one).
Which is why I love the planners who end up at APW (seriously, there is a palpable difference when I’m working with an APW planner. Mostly because they feed me on time, but I digress). Because APW planners actually do the job that you want them to: they make your lives easier, not harder. They don’t complicate your wedding by foisting a bunch of WIC nonsense onto it (or more crafts, or extra menu items). They simply listen to you and then the execute the hell out of your vision so that you can kick back and relax. And today, I’m delighted to add San Francisco’s own Melanie Hsia of MSH Events to that awesome roster. Because I can tell already, she’s going to fit right in.
Now this may sound counterintuitive, but the standout quality of MSH Events, if you ask me, is that Melanie doesn’t come across as wedding industry. (I know, hear me out.) I mean, it’s obvious that Melanie loves her job, but when I’m talking to her, I feel like I’m talking to a real person, not a representative of the WIC (which, if you’ve ever met a planner at, say, a bridal expo, you know exactly what I’m talking about here). And in an industry that’s dominated by keeping things close to the vest, Melanie has a remarkably straightforward approach to how she runs her business. She told me, “I always try to give the couple everything they want while also making practical suggestions. I will be upfront and tell you that I just don’t have the manpower to accomplish certain tasks with my staffing and at my pricing. But I’m also not going to charge you an extra $100 just because I printed extra copies of your vows, etc. (which I always do, just in case).” Which, I don’t know about you, but a relationship that’s predicated on the notion that you should be upfront and honest with your clients, even if it doesn’t make you the most money, is one that I can get behind.
Speaking of money, it should be no surprise then that MSH Events applies this same straightforward approach to their pricing too. Instead of set package prices, MSH Events prices out each wedding individually based on the size and location of the wedding, so you only ever pay for what you need. And as Melanie says, “Everything is negotiable.” But to give you an idea of her baseline rates, Day-of Coordination generally starts at $900 (and is really more like month-or-two-of, because Melanie works her ass off to get all those details down ahead of time), with full wedding planning starting at only $2,500. But of course, there are also tons of middle-ground planning levels to choose from that range anywhere from $1,500–3,000. Plus! MSH Events is offering 10% off to any couples who book before December 25th! Bam. Awesome.
But it’s not just being straightforward that sets MSH Events apart. In an industry that increasingly puts all of its emphasis on the pretty stuff, it’s rare to find someone who genuinely enjoys taking care of, well, the unfun stuff. And that’s precisely Melanie’s specialty. She told me, “I actually enjoy the tedious part of planning as much as the creative part. Spreadsheets, floor plans, contracts, online forms, bring them on!”
Not that MSH Events doesn’t handle the pretty, too; it’s just that Melanie understands that balance is key. Which makes perfect sense, because as a book-nerd-turned-dancer (her words, not mine), Melanie basically lives balance. She says, “Artistically, as a dancer I’m all about the balance between the visually appealing and meaningful gestures. Even the most technically trained and beautiful dancers seem stale without passion and a story behind their movements. So my top priority is making sure that the details of a wedding are meaningful to the couple. But why shouldn’t it also be nice to look at? And as much as I go goo-goo eyed over those sites full of pretty-in-pastel and vintage weddings, I definitely get more excited about archways made of books and zombie cakes. (That’s right, did I mention my other hobby? Reading sci-fi and fantasy. I was that nerd in school, before I got into dancing.)” I mean, I’d be more effusive in my endorsement of this lady if she didn’t put me at such ease. Also did my eyes deceive me, or did I just read zombie cake? Because, awesome.
At the end of the day, I think the most telling indication of what makes MSH Events a special breed in this business is Melanie’s description of herself and how she relates to APW couples (seriously, I read this and fell a little in love her her). Melanie said, “I definitely want to work with APW couples, but I’m also aware that I’m not like many readers. I’m not really very indie or in love with vintage (Editor’s note: Don’t worry, I told her she wasn’t alone, and that most of you feel probably the exact same way), and I may be too serious in some respects for some. But I promise I won’t try to pretend that I’m all that just to get business. I want to work with couples to bring their wedding to life, and that can only happen if we’re on the same wavelength.” I mean, first of all, can we talk about how much I love a vendor who will tell you not to hire them if you’re not a good fit? Because listen up: that is how you know you’re in good hands. And secondly, I’m pretty sure Melanie just unknowingly described about eighty percent of this readership’s take on weddings (and I know, because I’ve been to too many of y’alls’).
To close this out I’m just going to let one of Melanie’s recent (APW!) clients do the talking for me, because I think it perfectly illustrates what you get when you hire MSH Events. Erika put it simply: “To be honest, as most brides will tell you, the day was a blur. What I can tell you however is that from my end, I got ready with my girlfriends and everything else got set up.” So sure, Melanie can coordinate a limo arrangement or put together a bunch of tissue poms, but really what Erika’s talking about? That, my friends, is exactly what you want out of a wedding planner. And that is the meat and potatoes of what you get with MSH Events.
So, ladies and gents of San Francisco, if you’re looking for a planner/coordinator who will make your wedding happen so that you don’t have to think about it (and who really really loves the boring and tedious parts of planning said wedding) do yourself a favor and go check out Melanie of MSH Events. Because even if she’s quite humble about it, Melanie is one of your people.