For a long time I've been wanting to start a series on my blog that could help my couples with their wedding planning + to give them information that will help give them the best wedding experience possible. Today is the first post in a series I'll be doing on local vendors that I've personally worked with + highly recommend. When I planned my own wedding I met with exactly one vendor for each service I was looking to book but I know that's rarely the case with brides considering most people don't attend 20+ weddings year like I do!! It's hard to plan a wedding when you've never planned one! More often than not my couples are asking for recommendations + information and so my goal with this series is to give lots of it.
(Headshot: Michael Pangilinan Photography)
This first post is all about the amazing Danielle Pasternak of DPNAK Weddings who does everything from planning to coordinating to making sure things run as smooth as possible so that you can be fully present on your wedding day. You don't have to worry about anything getting set up correctly or starting on time because Danielle has it covered. Can't remember how to bustle your dress? I guarantee Danielle knows how. Have absolutely no idea how to actually go about "cutting the cake"? Danielle's got it. Who walks down the aisle first.. And when? Who walks your mom or your grandma to their seat? Leave it to Danielle. Not only that, she has such a great personality - she's super down-to-earth, witty + genuinely feels like someone you've known forever (although, admittedly, I have know her forever - we went to high school together! Fun fact) and her couples LOVE her. I mean, that should say it all, right? Enjoy our little interview below + a few photos from a wedding we did together at the beautiful Friedman Farms (you can view the full post from that wedding here)
1. Tell me a little about DPNAK:
DPNAK Weddings is a wedding planning and coordination company based out of the Bucks County area and led by me, Danielle Pasternak. So many people ask, so I’ll start by saying that if you look carefully at my full name, you should be able to see where the “DPNAK” comes from. It all began after a 41-day road trip across the country in 2009 which was preceded by 20 years of being a hard-working ballerina. Since then, I've worked with so many amazing couples to help plan over 100 weddings through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. From rustic barns to swanky hotels and everything in between, I truly feel like I’ve seen it all. Well, no that’s a lie. I hope I haven’t see it all, because what fun is that?
2. What's a brief overview of the services that you offer:
I typically work with my couples in two different ways: Full Production Planning or Signature Coordination Full Production Planning allows couples to sit back and relax while I do all of the research and bring the options to them. I make sure we stay on track and break the planning process down into easily manageable chunks. This service is loaded with meetings, checklists, budget guidance, design assistance, and more making for a smooth-flowing and super enjoyable process.
Signature Coordination gives couples the comfort of knowing they have someone on their team that they can reach out to with any questions or thoughts they have about the wedding. I still guide them through the process, but the couple is more “in charge” of the planning process itself. My focus is to make sure everything is coming together nicely, staying in touch with the wedding vendor team and gearing up for a seriously great wedding day.
Most of my couples also opt to include Wedding Day Management, which means the DPNAK team and I are there for their rehearsal and wedding day to oversee every little detail and keep things on track. It’s truly the best way for couples to enjoy all of their hard work and spend time with their favorite people.
3. What's one thing you wish couples knew about wedding planners/coordinators + why you think it's important to have one:
All too often, I think couples look at having a “wedding planner” as a luxury, or something only the select few get to have. But the truth is, not having a wedding planner or coordinator for your wedding isn’t all that different from buying or selling a house without a realtor. Yes, you can absolutely go through the process on your own, but when it comes knowing the in’s and out’s of the wedding world, nothing beats a great planner.
There are so many tiny (and ginormous) details when it comes to planning an event and it can be impossible to know everything. What’s worse is that you don’t know what you don’t know, so how are you even supposed to know what you might be forgetting?
I specialize in logistics and making sure the day comes together in a way that is reflective of the couple, but also takes every ounce of guest experience into consideration. My team and I coordinate every last detail, from the hair and makeup, to transportation, to guest lodging, to photography, and more. Whether couples need help planning the whole shebang, or just want someone there to bounce ideas off of, we are typically present on the wedding day to make sure all the plans are coming together, taking care of setup and allowing the couple to TRULY enjoy every aspect of their day. (Something they won’t be able to do if they’re worried about managing their entire team of vendors on their own)
After every wedding, I ask my clients for feedback and thoughts about working with me. In most cases, they say we were one of the “best investments” they made for their wedding. To me, that means the world and I can’t ask for anything more.
4. How does a typical wedding timeline/experience look for you from when couples book until the actual wedding day?
Depending on what level of service couples need, I typically break down the process into phases to make things easy to work through and to give focus to the process. I’ve found that this helps in taking the ENTIRE list of wedding to-do’s off their shoulders and allows us to be super efficient. By the time we get to the final weeks before the wedding, we’re usually just focusing on finalizing the guest list and seating assignment.
5. About how far in advance do couples book you for their day/do you book out?
I’ve come on board with as little as FIVE days before a wedding and once planned an entire event in just TEN days. However, I prefer to come on board with at least three months before a wedding and ideally somewhere around 10-14 months before the wedding to add the most value possible. Depending on the date, I have weddings booked up to twenty+ months out.
6. What's a fun fact or something we might not already know about DPNAK?
Well, I could say that I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan, but I think everyone knows that about me already (#Hufflepuff). That said, I live for the “how”. I love knowing processes and seeing behind-the-scenes. Eating at a bar or in the kitchen of a restaurant is my ABSOLUTE favorite because I get to watch how everything works. I positively indulge in watching audio commentaries on movies and learning all the fun facts about how the different scenes come together. Any time I can peel back the veil (pun intended) and see the guts of something (except, not real guts - don’t have the stomach for that) it makes me light up.
Also, I absolutely despise carrots. The only way I’d eat them as a kid was if I had a big glass of Kool-aid to wash them down. As an adult, I avoid them at all costs.
Cheers, Danielle Pasternak
Philadelphia PA Wedding Planners and Coordinators | Bucks County PA Wedding Planners and Coordinators | DPNAK Weddings | Friedman Farms Wedding Photos