It’s a whole new concept in wedding planning, and it’s brought to you by the same hilariously fierce wedding planner you saw on TLC’s “Wedding Island.” Sandy Malone has launched Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting services for brides and grooms who want to DIY their weddings but need a little extra help.
Her company, Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, is the first wedding planning company to offer consulting services specifically designed to support DIY brides and grooms.
Why is this such a big deal? Traditionally, wedding professionals have been more than reluctant to share their trade secrets – best vendors, best venues, timeline tricks – but this wedding planner has broken the mold. Sandy has created a fool-proof system to give DIY brides and grooms the foundation they need to successfully plan and execute their own weddings and have fun doing it.
“Like other wedding planners, I fought the DIY wave. But the trend isn’t going away. In fact, it’s growing,” Sandy explains.
“Instead of fighting DIY like most of my industry colleagues, who are worried that DIY will replace professional wedding planning, I decided to embrace it. I’ve put together foolproof plans and materials to assist brides and grooms who are getting married literally anywhere in DIYing their weddings,” she says.
DIY wedding planning consulting is available at an hourly rate, and the contracts include what Sandy calls a “911 ripcord” in case things start going terribly wrong and a DIY couple needs on-site wedding help on their big day. So far, according to Sandy, nobody has had to call her in at the last minute to “unfuck the wedding.”
Initially, Sandy tested out her DIY consulting only in Puerto Rico, on the tiny islands of Vieques and Culebra, located off the eastern tip of Puerto Rico. Vieques is where Sandy launched her first wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques, so it was the perfect place to pilot the concept. The results were outstanding, and with Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, based in the DC area, DIY wedding planning consulting services are now available to brides and grooms planning all over the US and the Caribbean.
Proof It Works
“I used Sandy’s DIY wedding consulting service and literally could not have planned my wedding without her,” says Sarah Boisjoli, a bar owner from New York City who used Sandy Malone Weddings & Events for her destination wedding.
“The island of Vieques is relatively remote and resources are limited. When after a few months I wasn’t getting anywhere with my wedding planning, I realized I needed to hire someone with an intimate knowledge of the island and the talented people living and working there, if I was actually going to have a wedding. Sandy has that in spades!” Sarah says.
Although used to being the hostess at events because of her own career, Sarah needed extra direction in choosing good vendors, coordinating vendor schedules for events, and obtaining wedding supplies it was too costly, or illegal, to ship. She successfully DIY’d her wedding with Sandy’s guidance in 15 hours.
Leslie Klakeg used Sandy’s DIY consulting services to help her plan a wedding on tiny Culebra Island. She had planned on doing all the work herself, but after months of frustration when the venue wouldn’t return her calls or confirm anything, she called Sandy Malone Weddings for help.
“It was sooooo amazing!” Leslie says. “I was totally satisfied with her help! [The vendors] are a slippery group and I know I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did without Sandy!”
With just 10 hours of consulting services, Sandy was able to pin down Leslie’s venue, get menus, facilitate contracts and deposits, contact good vendors for other services, and create a blueprint for the bride and groom to use to execute their wedding weekend smoothly.
Over the past 10 years, Sandy has planned more than 500 weddings in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Washington, DC. She is an internationally-syndicated wedding-advice columnist for Conde Nast, and has blogs appears on a regular basis in BRIDES and The Huffington Post.
“It took me all these years of wedding planning to learn how to handle just about any challenge that comes my way,” Sandy says. “Now I’m using what I’ve learned to help other brides and grooms have a good time DIYing their weddings. When I planned mine, it was a nightmare!”
Sandy and her husband Bill were married on Vieques Island in 2004, and they ended up DIYing their wedding after the “professional” they’d hired dropped the ball on everything. It turned out the wedding planner had lied about her experience planning at Sandy’s wedding destination, and they had no choice but to fire her and go to the island themselves to triage their wedding plans.
Her own destination wedding experience inspired Sandy, who had been planning political event and friends’ weddings in the nation’s capital for years, to give up her city life and move to Vieques to launch a wedding planning company in 2007. Her husband, a SWAT-team commander from DC, retired from the police department and runs the equipment and crews for the weddings she plans.
TLC’s “Wedding Island” aired in the United States in 2013, and continues to run in reruns on that network. TLC sold Sandy’s show, which showed the brutal reality behind the scenes at a destination wedding planning company, to FOX International. The show is still airing all over the world in a multitude of languages.
Sandy’s first book, “How to Plan Your Destination Wedding: Do It Yourself Tips from An Experienced Professional,” will be in stores this March, and is currently available for pre-order wherever books are sold.
“I’ve spent years planning amazing weddings for brides and grooms, and now I’m teaching them how to do it themselves,” Sandy says. She plans to launch a seminar series with how-to classes for wanna-be wedding planners and DIY brides in 2016. She’s also excited about a new wedding advice podcast she’s launching later this month.
“My new DIY wedding planning consulting service gives couples access to an experienced, professional wedding planner to help them navigate the sometimes murky waters of the wedding planning industry without engaging full wedding planning services,” Sandy says.
“It’s much more budget friendly. Brides and grooms can use as much, or as little, time as they like, and I can take whatever responsibilities they don’t want to do, or can’t do, themselves off their plates,” she says.
DIYers can check out Sandy’s blog with lots of DIY wedding advice and video tutorials to help couples figure out how to get started with their planning. But don’t wait too long to get a little help from a professional, she warns.
“It’s a lot less expensive to start off on the right foot,” Sandy says. “It’s time-consuming and pricey to have to undo things that seemed like a good idea at the time before you knew what you were doing.”
“Anybody can DIY their wedding planning with a little bit of guidance. If they’re not going to hire me to plan the wedding for them, I hope they’ll at least give me the opportunity to help them avoid my mistakes and successfully plan their weddings on the first try,” Sandy says.