When working with a wedding planner you want someone you can trust. Enter Bay Area Wedding Coordinator Polly Lugo—she’s a powerhouse combination of passionate, dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable. From the moment she meets a couple, Polly throws herself into understanding their vision and works with them every step of the way to realize it. Read on to learn about what makes Polly tick.
Tell us a bit about your background in weddings.
I’ve always loved event planning, whether it was working out the details of my own wedding or organizing creative parties with friends. There is so much joy and love surrounding an engaged couple and to be a part of their special day makes me feel incredibly honored. I also genuinely enjoy getting to know each couple and working with them to bring their story, personality and style to life.
Walk us through the experience of menu selection.
I begin by understanding the couple’s vision for their event—is it a formal affair or more casual? Then we talk about their food preferences and review menu options to see what interests them. For example, I had a couple whose first date was at Super Duper Burger so for hors d’oeuvres I suggested sliders as a nod to the beginning of their story.
Tell us some things a couple can expect on a typical wedding day.
I generally arrive early to assist with setup, which can include setting out favors, place cards or programs. Then as vendors arrive we review event details and logistics (it’s critical that everyone is on the same page and understands their role throughout the day). Part of my job is to quickly resolve any issues that may arise—the couple has worked hard to plan everything so my biggest priority is ensuring that they have a stress-free and fun day!
What are some benefits couples can expect from having their ceremony and reception on a yacht?
Having a wedding on a yacht is such a unique and fun experience, especially in the Bay Area. As a local who has lived here for 10+ years, I am still taken aback by the beautiful scenery. On a yacht, couples and guests get to celebrate with great food, yummy drinks and party vibes. They’ll also get to enjoy incredible views of the iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. It’s an experience their guests will never forget.
What are some things that brides/grooms never seem to know when they begin the wedding planning process?
It can be difficult to know what questions to ask or what to expect and I’ve noticed that most couples don’t think of the little details. They forget to consider things like speeches and toasts or whether they’ll be using a head table or a sweetheart’s table. It’s my job to ask those questions so the couple feels confident that every aspect of their wedding is carefully thought out and taken care of.
What’s the level of your involvement in planning the wedding?
From the moment we are introduced, I’m in constant communication with the couple. I’m there to answer questions, offer suggestions or simply talk through the common stresses of planning a wedding. In addition, I also make it a priority to loop in all of their vendors.
What are the top 5 tips for couples planning their dream wedding?
Make sure it’s about you. The best weddings are the ones that reflect a couple’s personality and story. You’ll receive a lot of well-meaning advice and hear strong opinions but ultimately you need to make sure it’s the day that you want it to be.
Make the photography time efficient. Photos can take up a lot of time and most couples already have a shot list. To avoid wasting time create a schedule and let your guests know what time they’re needed for their Kodak moment.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember that a pimple on the big day or a smudge on the cake isn’t going to change the fact that you’re marrying the love of your life, so let go of perfectionism and celebrate with your favorite people!
Relax & enjoy. Make sure you eat—a hungry bride/groom is a grumpy one. I also encourage couples to take a private moment together; they’ve worked so hard to plan for this day, it’s important to step back and have fun!
Consider donating your floral arrangements. After my own wedding we donated our floral centerpieces to a local nursing home but some couples offer them to wedding guests or have used them for the post-wedding brunch.
How do you help couples cut costs without cutting corners?
From the beginning, I work to set the couple’s priorities by discussing what’s important to them. If food is a huge priority, then we focus their budget on enhancing the menu. If it’s décor that matters, we’ll scour over different linen and floral options that best match their vision and budget.
What kind of challenges can come up when doing a wedding on a boat?
We want to maximize the couple’s experience on the yacht so it’s important to be mindful of time. This means we can’t wait long for late arrivals, we usually recommend avoiding lengthy speeches or toasts and we try to be super diligent about time spent on photography. These efforts are rewarded with spanning views of the San Francisco Bay and an experience that will be unique for almost everyone on board. It’s well worth it!
What is one of your favorite stories from a wedding you’ve worked on in the past?
What I love most about my job is hearing how couples meet and fall in love. I’ve heard it all, from meeting in bars, to sailing lessons, to falling for the band leader at a concert. My favorite story to date is from a couple who had a chance encounter in line at a movie theater, which led to a spontaneous first date on the very same night at the very same theater; eventually the couple got engaged at the theater.
A Hornblower wedding is truly a departure from the ordinary. We would love to chat with you about your unique wedding, browse our wedding packages at any of our ports: San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, San Diego, New York, Marina del Rey, Long Beach or Newport Beach. Alternatively, fill out the form below and a Hornblower wedding coordinator will help you get started.