Every wedding planning company will charge differently based on experience and the number of projects they do each year. Some companies charge a % of your overall budget (usually anywhere from 10-20%), and others (like LOLA) are fee-based. This means we write you a proposal with a dollar amount associated with the work being provided regardless of the overall budget. LOLA has 3 main jumping-off points for their customizable packages: Implementation, Partial and Full planning. You can read more details and see starting pricing on our services page here. We feel what you spend on your planning should NOT be tied to your budget so we can have honest conversations about each individual cost within the wedding and help you identify where to splurge and where to be conservative.
The LOLA Pros have a diverse array of previous experience in events and hospitality. From catering and hospitality to design, business, and project management. The one thing they all have in common was their jumping-off point in the mentorship program we offer each season. If you would like to explore working with our team, please check out our careers page here. Nothing can compete with actual hands-on experience! Just be ready to give up your weekends and plan your life well in advance as the wedding business demands.
An experienced wedding planner like the LOLA Pros can help make every aspect of your wedding planning easier and more stress-free (and hopefully FUN!). The main reasons most of our clients list as top priorities for their planning partnership are:
Unfortunately, when a national resource provides ‘average’ wedding costs, those are VERY low in comparison to the City of Chicago. While we won’t generalize (our budget document has over 100 line items; everything down to the postage stamps for the invitations), in most cases you shouldn’t spend more than 50% of your budget on your venue and catering (food and beverage). I liken spending more than that % to buying the nicest house in town and having no money left for furniture or maintenance. If you are unsure of what you can afford or just want some preliminary education before you dive into the planning process, we highly recommend a LOLA Power Planning session where you can sit down with an expert on our senior team and let them help you create a plan, ask questions and assist in creating a map for your specific project.
The Chicago market is INCREDIBLY competitive. For top-tier venues like museums, architecturally significant buildings, and any venue with outdoor space in prime months from May-October, we recommend starting your search over a year or more in advance. If you have the flexibility to alternative days to Saturdays, that will help with options. Let the LOLA Pros help you craft a fun wedding weekend with a Friday wedding followed by a fun and more casual Saturday event so you have the best of both worlds! Options AND a full weekend of festivities! What could be better?!
The LOLA Pros have sent over 800 couples down the aisle in Chicagoland and beyond as of 2022. You can check out an ever-growing list of Chicago’s top wedding venues here. While we appear on many preferred venue lists around the city, we do not pay to be a part of these lists and are recommended on merit alone.
We absolutely LOVE doing strategic events, team building workshops, and galas for our corporate partners and other social events like birthdays, anniversaries, showers, and mitzvahs but 95% of what we do and are known for(Hello, Brides Magazine and Vogue Magazine Best Wedding Planner in the U.S. nods!)is weddings. Company founder Lori Stephenson has been in the wedding business since the early 90s and her expertise and passion for beautiful, fun, personal and culturally significant weddings is her true north.
LOLA accepts cash, checks, and ACH payments for services. We can accept credit cards with a processing fee
We don’t want to see a client spend more than 10-15% of their overall budget on a planner, just like we don’t want them to overspend in any one area of the wedding planning. If you can’t afford more comprehensive services, invest in Power Planning so you can achieve the best possible results on your own.
I don’t know… you tell me! If you are the kind of person that loves to deep dive into research and details and has hours of enjoyment combing through Pinterest and Instagram for ideas, you may not a good candidate for planning. If that sounds like your worst nightmare, I guarantee we will be the best money you spend on your wedding and have the reviews to prove it! We prefer to work with clients that are looking for and respect our expertise and ability to help streamline the planning process. If you are having the time of your life planning on your own behalf, we absolutely recommend you look at our Last Minute LOLA package so you can hand off the details and logistics management to one of our implementation dynamos leading up to the celebration.
I ask new prospective clients the following questions when helping them identify their sweet spot for planning needs:
If at least 3 of the 4 of these answers are YES, you are likely a perfect candidate for our Signature Services. This package is perfect for the person that wants to be their own project manager, but wants the guidance and streamlining an expert can offer. If there are multiple people involved in the planning (Hello, parents!) or you need someone to be extremely proactive about the day-to-day management of the planning minutia and involved in talking through decisions, you are likely a full planning candidate. This is the profile of someone that needs the service Lavish LOLA offers including unlimited meetings and calls. We can help you figure out which package is best for you and customize the inclusions to make it perfect.
The LOLA Pros are composed of 6 full-time planners(no side-hustles here!)with more than 100 years of combined experience. Our Associate planners have been executing events with LOLA for many years and handle all our Last Minute LOLA projects. They do have other full-time commitments outside their projects for LOLA, but we manage their planning load to something comfortable and manageable for them so their clients enjoy the TLC they would expect of the LOLA Pros. We all work from the same detailed paperwork and planning tools so your experience is very consistent from team member to a team member.
We always want to make sure we are pairing our clients with the very best person on our team. A good personality fit is essential for an excellent experience for both the client and the planner. Factors that may affect a pairing also include availability for the date, potential experience at the client’s venue, external personal commitments, and project balance that affect week-to-week availability and overall workload. We also have a number of members of the team with extensive experience specifically in South Asian and multi-cultural weddings.
Once you are paired with a LOLA Pro, you are working with them for the duration of the planning process. From vendor selection, through design and implementation, you have one point of contact (with a built-in backup plan and the ‘hive brain’ of the team in your corner when needed!). We feel this is the very best way to build a relationship that evokes the trust needed to really let go on the weekend of the wedding so you can completely relax and enjoy. The better your planner gets to know you, the more personal they can make the event experience and creative suggestions
To assure a good fit for both the client and the planner we like to take the following steps:
You will never book with LOLA and not know who your planner is in advance. We do not hire gig workers to fill dates.
We are a female-owned and operated business that believes firmly that Love is Love and that paying things forward in our community and beyond is an important part of our personal and team goals. Our philosophy includes:
Authenticity: We appreciate sincerity and relationships that foster an environment of mutual respect both personally and professionally.
Adaptability: We think on our feet. We adapt to any situation. Creative problem solving is our jam.
Collaboration: Teamwork makes the dream work. We get excited by opinions that challenge and broaden our imaginations and love using our ‘hive brain’ to brainstorm for our clients. We were the kids that loved group projects in school. We inspire our professional partners to bring their A-game and deliver next-level results.
Originality: Why be the same when you can be gloriously and unapologetically different? We will test creative boundaries but never be offended when you think our ideas are nuts.
Savvy: Always learning. Always growing. Always offering expertise and experience-based solutions. If we don’t know the answer, we will find it. We have 100+ years of collective industry experience to share with our colleagues and clients.
FUN: Life is too short to not love what you do… and laugh while you do it. That spirit is reflected in the way we approach our work and each other.