Lowe House Events: Sane Wedding Planning in the San Francisco Bay Area

Last Friday I announced that we were bringing on a new, sane wedding planner: Elizabeth of Lowe House Events in the San Francisco Bay Area. I couldn’t be more excited about this, and you’re about to see why. Elizabeth is everything you ever wanted in a planner: someone who’s sane, organized, experienced, and can run interference with your mother and explain to her that what you’re doing is just fine, totally acceptable, and awesome even. Beyond that, her rates are unbelievable: Day of Coordination starts at just $300, with full event planning starting at just $1,000. And she’s offering an APW deal, because she likes you so much: 10% off for all couples that book by June 10, for a 2011 wedding. Would I have hired Elizabeth for my wedding? Unquestionably yes. There is nothing as good as having a non-crazy partner in crime. That, and I really like her, and I think you will too.

When I asked Elizabeth about her wedding planning philosophy, and about why she wanted to work with Team Practical, she wrote me something so awesome I couldn’t bear to cut it down. So here is unvarnished Lowe House Events: sane wedding planning for the San Francisco Bay Area.

{Elizabeth herself, taken by Kelly Stock}

Why I believe in Marriage (And Parties)

I believe in marriage. My grandparents were married for 62 years and I’m currently planning my parents’ 40th anniversary party. I have seen first hand how powerful the institution can be, how marriage can let people help lift each other up to the best versions of themselves. I also believe in parties, but know that the amount of pretty details or money involved in the party has very little to do with the strength of the marriage (my parents’ 1972 wedding cost $750 and was held at home and self-catered by her family. Even in today’s dollars, that’s less than $4000.)

I have cried at almost every wedding I’ve ever been to, and I will probably cry a little bit at yours. I will certainly wear party shoes. I will also run interference, take care of details, do my very best to fix any problems before you’re aware of them, and generally do everything I can to make sure that you are able to be fully present at your wedding, not worry about logistics or problems, focus on the commitment you’re making and, oh, hopefully also have a sh*t load of fun.

{A wedding coordinated by Lowe House Events, taken by Jennifer Low Photography}

Why You Might Want A Wedding Planner

Why do you need a wedding planner? Well, the real answer is, you don’t. Wedding receptions (the part where planners tend to come in the most) are really just big, albeit special, parties, and I firmly believe that anyone can throw a good party. That said, there are some reasons you may want one, including: you’ve never planned a large event before, you feel overwhelmed by all the decisions to be made and want some guidance, you don’t really care that much about details and just want to show up and have a good time, or you want someone to blame decisions on when your mother/future mother-in-law starts second guessing your choices.

{A wedding coordinated by Lowe House Events, taken by Elizabeth}

What It Is That I Do, Exactly

Things I will do as your planner/and or coordinator include: help you scout venues, pick and word invitations, pick a color scheme, assemble favors, attend catering or cake tastings with you, give you band recommendations,  set up decor, handle day of payments to vendors, break down at the end of the night, sew up the seam you ripped on the dance floor, pass you lipstick when you need a touch up, load gifts into cars, hold your dress while you pee (it’s happened!), help calm your overly tense mother and have the bartender cut off your drunk uncle. I will raise a glass to you during toasts and, time permitting, maybe get out there on the dance floor with you for a few minutes. I won’t: do anything you don’t want or need me to do. There is no pressure to include me in a decision if you don’t want/need to.

{A wedding coordinated by Lowe House Events, taken by Barbara Hartman Images}

Why APW?

APW is the single thing that made me decide that I could move from working on weddings for fun/on the side/for friends to doing it professionally. I have been planning and coordinating and consulting on weddings for over four years, and while I have loved every wedding I’ve ever worked on, until recently I only worked with people I knew or who came with strong recommendations from people I knew. I’ve been reading APW since almost the beginning (well before Meg got married) but for some reason it took until this Fall to click – OH! These are the couples I can work with! I would *love* to help with their weddings.

The APW community constantly renews my faith in weddings – APW is the only blog I recommend when I start working with a new couple, and I often tell them to read any others at their own risk, and to stop immediately if they start feeling stressed out. Weddings are not about how magazine-worthy your photos end up being, weddings are about making this huge and amazing commitment, and doing it in front of people who love you – that is an amazing thing, and APW readers get it. It ultimately doesn’t matter if the napkins match the bridesmaids shoes, which match the envelope liners from the invitations – what matters is that two people are standing up in front of the world and saying, “Yes, you’re it. I choose you, and I’m doing this publicly and joyfully in front of our community.” (Even if you elope, whenever you tell someone that you’re married that’s what you’re doing – publicly choosing your partner.)

So, the reason I want to work with APW couples is simple: I want to be a part of more of these joyful, public, community and love-filled events, and I want to help with them in the best way I can, which is by making them as un-stressful and un-crazy as possible, so that when you are standing up there making that commitment you’re not also wondering if the cake has arrived or the guestbook was forgotten back at home or how exactly you’re going to keep everyone and everything going on time. You can deal with your big, huge, life experience, and I’ll deal with wrangling the centerpieces.

{Custom Cake Topper Made by Elizabeth for a wedding, taken by Benjamin Shipley}

And with that, go check out Elizabeth’s blog, and Lowe House Events. I seriously Can. Not. Wait. to hear about your collaborations. You guys could not be more perfect for each other. So what are you doing here? Go already!

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  • Ginna

    This makes me want to live in the Bay Area! Elizabeth, any chance you want to move to Texas? Good luck with the wedding-wrangling business – you sound fabulous!

    • Aw, thanks so much! And while I’m probably not leaving the Bay Area anytime soon :) , I am offering discounted travel to Austin starting in September!

  • Ashley B

    I wish you were down in SoCal! I love your philosophy on weddings, and especially would love to have someone in my corner that didn’t make me feel like I was the crazy one for wanting a practical and sane wedding! Please let me know if you have any recommendations for an Orange County bride.

    • I unfortunately don’t have any recommendations for Orange County Planners or DOCs (although I’m sure that good ones exist down there!,) but I do offer very affordable travel to the LA area, so feel free to get in touch if you think you might be interested!

  • I didn’t have a day-of coordinator for my wedding and in ways I wish I did. Not that things weren’t crazy or unmanageable, it’s just that telling a friend to do stuff like answer my phone to give directions to lost guests seemed too difficult for the person I chose. I wish Elizabeth had been around (and in my city) when I got married! Dang. Well, you SF folks hop on that, please!

  • meredyth

    She sounds like the best friend everyone should have at a wedding. Now I wish I could have her. All the things she does sounds like things I need someone to handle! Yay for sane wedding planners!
    Honestly, I hadn’t ever considered one because I like throwing parties and so on, but really, reading this makes me want Elizabeth and her faith in weddings.

  • Caitlin

    I sssoooooo wish that I could have had this woman for the day of my wedding. Wrong time, wrong place I guess! Hope some of you can appreciate her for me! :)

  • JEM

    Is it weird her answers to the questions gave me chills several time?

    This girl rocks (and is really adorable too!) Lucky are those who get to work with her!

  • LanyTaz

    Hello! Frequent lurker here.

    We hired a wedding planner for our wedding (coming up in September), and I’ve been so glad numerous times that we did! I know there was a lot of hesistation of “We’re not having anything extravagent enough to have a wedding planner”.

    But she’s really been terrific (we’re out here in Colorado), and my first thing to any newly engaged friends is, “Consider a wedding planner” — There was a mess-up with the venue, and she took care of it. She steered us towards great venues/caterers/photographers/DJ’s/florists, etc — and we knew they were treating us well, and with good prices, because we knew she wouldn’t steer us wrong. I know we would have been able to have a wedding without her, and it would be good, but she’s eased the process so much, and given answers to all of our questions (even down to, “Help us with our registry – it’s stressing us out” or, “How can we have fun, but eloquent invitation wording”).

    It doesn’t have to be an extravagent affair for a wedding planner/coordinator to be helpful.

    Elizabeth — You sound like you’re providing a similar service, with the same amount of enthusiasm and passion as our wedding planner. I hope several brides take you up on your wonderful services!! Wedding Planners are totally worth it! :)

  • Well I will be sure to tell some of my friends who live in the Bay Area about you! Yep weddings are quite hard to organize and sometimes the bride and groom both get so wrapped up in all of the planning that it tends to wire them out. I agree wedding planners really contribute a lot to the success of the occasion.

  • Thanks for all the *really amazing* comments everyone! This is why I love it over here at APW, it’s so great to be part of a community where everyone just feels like they’re “my people.” You all just put a giant smile on my face and really solidified (not that I really had any doubts) my thought that this was exactly the place I needed to be. Yay!