Lowe House Events: (Sane) San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Planner

Lowe House Events

Elizabeth Clayton of Lowe House Events, sane San Francisco wedding planner extraordinaire, threw my baby shower this weekend. I don’t mean that I am the kind of person that hires an event planner to throw my baby shower (ha!), but that the second I announced I was pregnant, Elizabeth asked if she could co-host my shower (because that’s how she rolls). And while the party was perfect and lovely, it was actually a little better than that… because it was like a magic party. All I did was give Elizabeth our guest list and show up. Seriously. That was it. And even with zero control, and all the crazy that can come out around baby showers, I only got stressed at all twice (both my fault not hers). Why? Well, Elizabeth is so damn good at her job that you can trust that she’ll take care of everything: the logistics, the aesthetics, the inevitable loved ones acting crazypants, you acting crazypants, all while keeping in mind who you are, and what you’re going to like. In fact, she’ll do this so well you won’t even have to waste energy thinking about it. And that, my friends, is a wedding planner. A wedding planner in APW land is not someone you hire so they make sure you have the perfect napkins to match your perfect bridesmaids dresses. They are someone you hire to make your problems go away (aka, a magic person).

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Lowe House Events & APW

Those of you who have been reading APW a while will know that Lowe House Events basically got started with the APW community. When Elizabeth announced her business here, so many of you booked her that she ended up dropping all the rest of her freelance work, and she hired an associate event coordinator. In fact, you guys love Elizabeth so much, that I keep meeting readers in person who have used her, and they rave and rave about her. Which is why (surprise Elizabeth!) this post is mostly testimonials from the APW community.

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Services and Rates

Lowe House Events offers a wide range of services, but in short, what Elizabeth is capable of doing is basically everything. Literally: from aesthetics to logistics, girl has got it in the bag. In fact, I’d describe hiring Lowe House Events as hiring the APW community come to life. The secret is that all of the APW sponsors in the Bay Area know each other and are friends (with me too!). When you hire Elizabeth, she’s 110% tapped into that network. She’ll help you get the best florist/best photographer/best hairstylist for your needs… and possibly the best therapist/plumber/dentist too, if you ask (that’s sort of her thing). (And chances are, it would be the same hairstylist who I’d recommend if you asked me personally… because APW people are rad.)

You can hire Lowe House Events for Day-of Coordination for your wedding, so you don’t have to be in charge ($975-$1700, depending on size of the wedding, logistics, lead time, you name it). They have an increasingly popular DOC+ package, which is for people looking for something in between standard Day-of Coordination and Full Planning. Elizabeth explains, “It involves everything included in the standard DOC package, plus creation of a planning timeline, budget advice, scheduled monthly hour-long meetings or phone calls, additional email and phone support, a site visit prior to the rehearsal, access to all of our recommended vendor lists, review of all vendor contracts, and handling of all vendor confirmations prior to the wedding.” ($1800-$3000). And then, for those of you who just flat out would like someone to plan your wedding for you (which, no shame in that), Lowe House Events offers full planning, with prices ranging from $4000-$6500 (which may be so much of a steal it should be illegal, given how much work Lowe House will put into making that happen). Also, Lowe House prices events under forty people differently, so small weddings, get in touch. But! Slots for 2013 are filling up quickly, and very few DOC+ and Full Planning slots are left, so if you’re thinking about it… send an email NOW. (Plus, rates are going up on December 1, and Elizabeth wants to let you get in under the wire before that happens!)

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Diverse Weddings and Good Business Practices

The thing about wedding planners is that we tend to have a certain… image…. about them. (I always worry for Elizabeth, having to tell people she’s a wedding planner at parties, because no. She is not whatever they think she is.) Lowe House Events doesn’t just work on big budget weddings, and they will work tirelessly to keep you on or below budget, whatever your budget is. Elizabeth says, “One of the things I love about APW clients is the wide range of weddings I get to help them throw—food truck catered picnics, self-catered back yard parties, city hall/restaurant combos, weekend-long wine country shindigs, and everything in between. And no matter the size of the guest list or budget, they’re all grounded in the same practical, love- and people-centered values.” (Hint: you can see tons of these APW weddings on her blog.)

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Plus, you know that thing where wedding planners talk you into spending more, or take what are basically kickbacks from vendors? (Fun fact: This really happens.) Not here. Elizabeth says, “All of my clients have access to my vendor discounts (if I get a 20% discount, you get it—the only money I make on your wedding is the fee that you pay me directly) and to my wholesale flower market pass. I’m increasingly having clients hire me for two-day coordination jobs that include accompanying them to the flower market and helping them and their families and friends DIT their flowers. (I have to say, I make a pretty mean bouquet.) I’ll also accompany clients to catering tastings, venue walk-throughs, add on rehearsal dinner coordination for out of town family-hosts, talk venues into lowering their corkage fee, line-item read your contracts to make sure they adhere to industry standards, and oh, tell you that you probably don’t need something that someone else is telling you you absolutely have to have. As anyone who has ever hosted anything knows, it can be hard to have fun at your own party—you’re trying to make sure that everyone has a drink, and some food, and the trays are being refilled, and that there’s toilet paper in the restroom, and… etc., etc. When you hire me, I do all of those things for you, from bringing things to the venue all the way to putting them back in the car at the end of the night. This means that you (and your family) get to be a guest at your own party, and get to be totally present because you’re not worrying about where the extra toilet paper is, or if the candles are lit.”

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APWers Love Lowe House Events 

 The tricky thing about this post has been that everyone and their mother wanted to give me a testimonial about Elizabeth. So here is a very tiny selection:

APW Associate Editor Maddie, who also is a wedding photographer says, “Elizabeth is hands down one of the best wedding planners I’ve ever worked with. The thing about planners is that a lot of them just worry about coordinating the timeline, and making sure everything happens on time. But Elizabeth looks at people’s weddings holistically, which means that she cares about your timeline, your photography, your vendors, EVERYTHING. If I could work every wedding with Elizabeth, I would. Because I know that when I work with Elizabeth, not only is the couple going to have a great time at their wedding, but it’s just THAT much easier for me to get amazing pictures for them too.”

 APW sponsor Gabriel Harber says: “There is often time a lot of wrangling and organizing and time keeping that goes on in weddings. The weddings that I have done with Elizabeth tend to be more chill. Elizabeth is mellow, and organized, and efficient. I love working with her. The other vendors that she likes to work with are also super great. When I am working a wedding with her, I know that things are going to run smoothly. She is awesome.”

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And then there are you guys:

APWer Kate says, “Elizabeth was our day-of coordinator, and hiring her was the single best decision we made through the whole wedding planning process (besides that whole deciding to get married thing of course!). Elizabeth was professional, approachable, friendly, and most importantly, insanely organized! She made it so that my family members and I could enjoy the day without thinking about timeline, setup/cleanup, details, catering to guests, solving problems, paying vendors—anything that you need done Elizabeth takes care of! In addition to an incredible capacity for handling any and all details (from design/set up/decor to contracts/payments/timelines/vendors), she is also an absolute joy to hang out with and really makes friends with your wedding party and guests.”

And APWer Liz says: “I cannot possibly say enough about Elizabeth and how wonderful she is! I had planned to manage the whole shebang myself and about two months out it occurred to me that would mean I would spend most of the day working out logistics. Which meant my Mom would be a wreck and I would be a basketcase. Enter Elizabeth and everything changed. I literally watched the stress slide off Mom’s shoulders! Elizabeth says she’ll do just about anything to make your wedding work. I’m quite sure that’s the case because I remember only a perfect, joyous day. I really have no clue what she was tasked with or which hurdles she had to gracefully overcome. NO CLUE AT ALL.”

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What Matters

I’m always thrilled to recommend Elizabeth because she’s such a joy to work with, so good at her job, and believes in the APW mission in such a hard-core way. (Fun fact: Elizabeth is single, but is one of the first-ever readers of this blog—she just isn’t a big commenter, so I didn’t know her for years.) She loves this community, and every APW reader I’ve ever met who’s worked with her loves her right back. So I’m going to let her close it out with this, “I want to touch briefly on how incredible being a part of the APW has been for me personally. This summer my family suffered a really tragic loss, and the community—my colleagues and my clients, helped support me through it in a truly amazing way. I got some of the most touching cards, care packages, emails, phone calls, not to mention drinks, that I’ve ever received in my life. It was a bright spot in a dark time, and I’ll never be able to say thank you enough.”

Photos: Gabriel Harber Photography (APW Sponsor), Jesse Holland Photography (APW Sponsor),  Gabriel Harber Photography (APW Sponsor), Paco & BettyChristina Richards Weddings (APW Sponsor), Gabriel Harber Photography (APW Sponsor), Christina Richards Weddings (APW Sponsor), Jesse Holland Photography (APW Sponsor)

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  • I never thought I would want to marry a wedding planner and then I got to know Elizabeth. So. Awesome. Someone please bring her to the UK so we can work together.

  • JEM

    Not only is she amazing at her job, she is just helpful and cool and awesome all around.

  • Elizabeth is absolutely amazing! Hire her!!!

  • Yeah Elizabeth! I love it when I get to work on a wedding that Elizabeth is planning. She is one of those people who loves her job and it shows in everything she does. Her calming presence is also appreciated all around :)

  • love the bridesmaid dress! beautiful color