Be Yourself: Advice From a Talented Wedding Planner on Making Your Day Your Own

Be Yourself: Advice From a Talented Wedding Planner on Making Your Day Your Own

A Q&A with Lauren Burnham, of Houston's Vintage Indulgence

by Andrew Collins

When planning your wedding, at a minimum, you want to hire vendors who enjoy what they’re doing. If you’re fortunate, however, the team you employ to plan your big day absolutely loves what they do—they’re as invested in everything going amazingly well as you are, and they see event-planning as almost a personal calling.

Meet Lauren Burnham, the owner of Vintage Indulgence (2803 Legends Knoll, Spring, TX, 281-736-3636). We spoke with her recently about the wedding planning and coordination services her Houston-area company provides, and as you’ll see from the interview below, Burnham embodies that passionate, detailed-oriented, and enthusiastic approach that you want from the person helping you to realize your perfect wedding day. She’s also both personally and professionally devoted to the LGBT community. In her own words, here’s the story behind Lauren Burnham and Vintage Indulgence.

LOVE WINS TEXAS: Tell us a little bit about the history of Vintage Indulgence, including how long you’ve been in Houston and what inspired you to start the company.

LAUREN BURNHAM: Vintage Indulgence opened its doors in Houston officially about two years ago because I finally decided to take my hobby more seriously and go just for it. I’ve been planning parties, showers, and weddings for over a decade for friends and family, but now that my kid is older, I’m able to finally chase my dream. Weddings and events have always been my outlet of creativity, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do to help a client bring their vision to reality, no matter the location. VI loves to travel!

LOVE WINS TEXAS: Can you tell us a little bit about the different kinds of services in which you specialize? It sounds like it’s possible for couples to bundle certain services together, so feel free to tell us a bit more about that or even just explain the first step a couple early in the planning stages might think about when they first consult with you.

LAUREN BURNHAM: VI started just as a rental company, specializing in Vintage Rentals (clearly, hence the name). And we quickly starting coordinating and planning. In the beginning when I would arrive at my events, I’d see my brides out setting up centerpieces and decor—with curlers in their hair and makeup melting off their faces—that they just paid $200+ for. I just couldn’t walk away. I always had to stay and help. It’s just who I am—I wear my heart on my sleeve). No bride should ever be doing that on their wedding day—they should be busy being a bride and enjoying the day and living in the moment!

So my passion and bleeding heart quickly paved the way for the rest of what I specialize in. Now, by word of mouth and referrals from our former clients, we have grown so much that if you are not a VI Bride (as a coordinating/planning client), we’re not able to offer you rentals, unless you can come pick up the materials ahead of time. Unfortunately, we just can’t be in multiple places at once. However, for our brides, the suite of services that we offer is the whole package. We’re able to provide our brides with so many things: Destination weddings (one of my favorites to plan), pop-up weddings/elopements (these are so fun and are trending right now), coordinating, full planning, decor and design—including set-up and implementation. We also do florals and draping, which is in my opinion something so simple but with such a big potential impact. We love providing this service as well. Helping provide our clients the opportunity just to be attend their event and not feel stress the day of is why I breathe air.

LOVE WINS TEXAS: Since LGBT marriages became legal in Texas, have you had the opportunity to work with same-sex weddings? If so, could you share a few favorite details about any of these events?

LAUREN BURNHAM: Well, it’s quite possible that I have a different outlook on LGBT weddings than some of my counterparts. The LGBT community is my family—being gay is something that I completely relate to, since I am gay myself. I know the challenges and the sensitivities that we have to deal with and the obstacles that sometimes have to overcome or avoid. There are a lot of people in this industry that are supporters of equality and our community, but they haven’t walked in our shoes or really known some of the true emotion that comes with our newfound freedom. I have done more heterosexual weddings than I have same-sex ones, but we since have just been given our rights, I know there are many more to come and several are already on our calendar for 2017 and 2018.

LOVE WINS TEXAS: We love the Vault section on your website. What are some of your favorite pieces from your collection that you’ve used in weddings?

LAUREN BURNHAM: We have so many pieces that I love so much. I pride myself on having unique things in the vault. Our Handwritten Scroll is one of my favorites, and our Sophie (the little sage-green settee) is my absolute favorite thing we possess. Also, any and all of our cakes stands. I have such a weird obsession with them—any chance I can do a candy bar or dessert spread, and I’m all over it! Cake stands make me happy, and I recently bought a shelf so that I can display them all in my office.

LOVE WINS TEXAS: In terms of your vintage pieces, do you find that couples generally come to you already seeking a vintage-chic or rustic style to their wedding? What advice might you offer to couple who’s never thought about using vintage elements in their wedding?

LAUREN BURNHAM: Generally, when clients come to me looking for that theme/style of decor, they already have their vision in their heads and are looking for specific items. If they are my planning/coordinating clients and we’re starting from the beginning, then we’re able to customize a plan, implement their vision, and bring it to fruition.

LOVE WINS TEXAS: Do you have any other suggestions, guidelines, or advice you’d like to share with prospective couples and customers?

LAUREN BURNHAM: Vintage Indulgence is more than just its name. We began our humble little company specializing in vintage, but we’ve always been so much more. No matter the dream or theme of the event, we can create something magical. From modern or rustic to formal or intimate, Vintage Indulgence can bring any vision to life. And for the bride who wants something different, we say: be different! I meet so many brides with amazing ideas, and they’re just so unsure because no one else ever does that, or they worry it might be too weird. Here’s one thing I say to every client:

“Make it your own! This is your day, your dream. Don’t let society tell you what to do for your wedding. You only get to do this one time with your one love. You can’t ever replicate this day. So be true to yourself! Wear that pop of color on your shoes, have a different color on every bridesmaid, do that crazy theme that means so much to you, have wild hair. Make your wedding, event, shower, or party something your guests will always remember!

The Baldwins STILL Do!

Suzanne and Travis are such an amazing couple. Married early and eloped to Austin in the beautiful Chapel Dulchinea to start their amazing journey together as Husband and Wife. However, after the first successful 10 years and a business together, they wanted to renew their vows in front of all of their amazing family and friends. With Vintage Indulgence by their side every step of the way helping to plan and provide rentals, The Historic and Breathtaking Houston Heights Fire Station as their perfect backdrop and Real Teel Photography capturing every heart felt moment of the ceremony, it is safe to say this was one unforgettable evening in Houston, TX.


I RECENTLY CAME ACROSS THIS HANDY LITTLE GUIDE on COSTHELPER.COM AND I HAD TO SHARE IT WITH YOU ALL. This is the average you should be spending on a GOOD planner!!! I hope this helps!

While many bridal consultants used to charge a percentage of the wedding budget -- usually 10 to 20 percent -- most now prefer to use an hourly, or more commonly, a package rate. Most planners have at least three types of packages: day of service, consulting and full-service planning.

Typical costs:

  • For about $1,500, a day-of planner will help create a wedding timeline, confirm with vendors and handle the wedding day.
  • For about $3,700, a planner will handle the wedding day and offer planning advice and guidance, but will make the couple do the pre-wedding footwork, such as making phone calls.
  • For about $5,000, a full-service planner will plan the wedding and handle most details and the wedding day. That rate sometimes goes much higher -- possibly $10,000 or more for an in-demand planner with ten years or more experience, according to i-do Weddings[1] .
  • The cost varies greatly by region. The average total cost for a wedding consultant is $3,636 in the northeast and $2,635 in the south. The national average is $3,262, according to The Association of Bridal Consultants[2] .

Related articles: Wedding CatererWedding InvitationsEvent PlannerWedding DressWedding Photographer

What should be included:

  • For a day-of package, a planner usually will confirm with vendors, help the couple create a wedding-day timeline and handle wedding-day details from start to finish.
  • For a consulting package, a planner might recommend venues and vendors, offer advice on colors and style, provide etiquette advice and help the couple stay on track with their planning -- but will not handle legwork and small details. On the wedding day, though, the planner will interact with vendors and make sure the day goes smoothly.
  • A typical full-service planners help set the style and colors, help find ceremony and reception venues, recommend vendors, accompany the couple to food and cake tastings and screen vendor contracts. Some will even send invitations and track RSVPs. On the wedding day, the planner usually puts in a full day troubleshooting, handling last-minute details and keeping the event on schedule.
  • Tip: Since packages and services vary from planner to planner, it is important to clarify in writing exactly which services are included.

Additional costs:

  • While it is not expected, some couples tip a wedding planner about15 percent for excellent service -- but a gift of a restaurant or spa gift certificate is more common than a cash tip.