class notes

Top Five with Brent Zimmerman, BA ’08

Co-founder/creative and marketing director, Lilypad Wedding & Events

 an illustration of a wedding reception with a disgruntled bride, towering wedding cake and bartender showcasing tips.

Illustration by Rob McClurkan

 Brent Zimmerman

Brent Zimmerman

Brent Zimmerman’s sister, Bethany Olczak, made a big mistake when she got married.

It wasn’t her choice of husband; it was her decision not to hire a wedding planner.

“Afterward, she realized that if she had had somebody to help her,” says Zimmerman, “she wouldn’t have made such expensive mistakes.” To help others avoid the same pitfalls, the siblings joined forces a decade ago to found Lilypad Wedding & Events in Amherst, N.Y.

With Zimmerman as creative director (he’s a graphic designer by training) and Olczak as the numbers person, the company has grown from a home-based operation to occupying a storefront at Main Street and Eggert Road, where they’ve been for the last two years.

“We’re in a central location,” he says. “And we benefit by being in a college town. A lot of people meet their spouse at college and want to get married here.”

We asked Zimmerman to fill us in on some of the worst monetary excesses of the soon-to-be-married.

Top five wedding wastes of money:

1. A too-good shoe

Get a shoe with a good fit in an appropriate color. Nobody is going to see your Louis Vuittons until they’re kicked off and lying on the dance floor.

2. A 10-tier cake

Don’t let the cake overshadow your own entrance. A three-tier wedding cake can be just as beautiful. Order a sheet cake or two to ensure you have enough, and save the extra dollars for your honeymoon.

3. An endless evening

Most of your guests are counting down the time until the end, especially your older guests. An extra hour of the DJ and per person bar fees, plus extra staff, is costly and unnecessary.

4. Double tipping

Examine those contracts carefully; most gratuities are included. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I’ve saved clients from over-tipping.

5. Not hiring us

You’d expect me to say this, but it’s true: A good wedding planner can find areas to save money. We have that logistical mindset.