Martin J. Lecker: Getting married? Here’s how to find the right … – Berkshire Eagle

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In my last column I provided tips on how to find the right wedding gown. So if you’ve found the dress and are scheduling a wedding it’s only fitting that you’ll want to find the right wedding planner to assist you.

The first person I spoke with to lend his expertise to this matter was Oskar Hallig, the president of Only in My Dreams Event LLC in South Egremont. Hallig co-owns the business with his husband,  Mike Zippel.

Hallig was recently voted the Best Wedding Planner of 2023 by Berkshire Eagle readers in the newspaper’s annual Best of the Berkshires poll. So I thought he was the perfect person to start with.

I asked him when you should select a planner.

“Honestly, we think reaching out to a planner right after you get engaged is your best bet!” Hallig said. “Having a planner by your side right from the beginning can help you navigate the process of choosing vendors and making decisions that will help make the whole wedding planning process a breeze!

“If possible, if you can reach out to a planner about a year out that should be more than enough time,” he said. “No matter where you are in the planning process, a planner can help make things run smoother. Many couples have already picked their venue and then we can help them build from there. Basically, the earlier a planner is involved, the easier the entire process will be.”

How do you find a reputable business?

“Word of mouth is the best way, but finding the one you jell with personally can really make a difference,” Hallig said.  We always recommend looking at online reviews, checking if they have any professional associations (chambers, wedding planner associations, etc.), and looking at their social media to see if your aesthetics match. Also, check to see if planners have won any awards for their work from local or national organizations/publications.”

Along with what each couple is looking for, Hallig pointed out that a planner’s certifications are not as important as the individual’s association with other organizations and past work with other vendors.

Hallig’s business caters to all aspects of every couple’s specific needs. Having a planner that belongs to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is an important affiliation for same sex couples to consider. 

Next question: What are some of the mistakes couples make in planning a wedding?

Get started early, Hallig said. 

“Honestly, the only mistake in planning a wedding or an event is waiting too long,” Hallig said. “Starting early allows the planner to help you find just the perfect vendors to make your dream event a reality.”

Be thoughtful with the guest list.

“In the 10 years we’ve been planning weddings another mistake is over inviting guests,” he said. “Many assume some people won’t show up, which we’ve found not to be the case. Keeping your list realistic and within you budget is super important.”

How much does a wedding planner cost? Hallig estimates that expense will take up five to 10 percent of the total wedding budget.

On her website, Kay Northrup, the owner and chief event producer for Kay Northrup Events in Bristol, R.I., recommends, “be super clear on who is contributing to your budget. If a parent is contributing $35,000 but wants to be heavily involved, you may want to identify that as a deal-breaker before accepting the money.”

But she warns, “if you have only $10,000, plan to invite 150 people and expect a Kardashian wedding, something’s got to give.”

Another mistake is failing to make an invitation list. Edit it and remove anyone who is invited “out of obligation”, she suggests.

On her website, Northrup has a guide titled, “Five Mistakes Most Couples Make”. A link on her website to wedding costs can be found at https://bit.ly/3snslaZ.


This year Black Friday is Nov. 24, Small Business Saturday is the following day and Cyber Monday takes place Nov. 27. The following upcoming sales promotions are just a drop in the bucket of what you expect with those three traditional shopping days on the horizon.

Hallig and Zippel, who also own “The Shop!,” a South Egremont store that offers unique gift products, will have a large wooden advent calendar on display this year. Behind each door on the calendar  will be either a “freebie”, a discount, or a gift card. Everyone who comes in will receive whatever is behind the door they choose. National and international brand products will be featured on Black Friday, with more local products on Small Business Saturday. Information: https://bit.ly/467Xkpg.

Christine Meucci, who owns the Recovery Room in Pittsfield, will be holding,  “Friend’s Giving Event”, this Saturday and Sunday along with a “Small Business Vitamin Infusion Event” on Small Business Saturday. Information: https://bit.ly/3u2oQHa.

“Are you a TBN, a TBT or a TBV?” asks Robin Helfand, the owner of Robins Candy in Great Barrington. Not sure?  “Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can find out and receive a free gift and a bonus Robin’s Treat bag if you identify what each abbreviation stands for,” Helfand said. Details: https://www.robinscandy.com/.

Leah Cotton, a corporate communications advisor for Kohl’s, said the department store chain with a store in Lenox will be holding several sales promotions on Super Saturday (Nov. 18), and during Black Friday Week from Nov. 19-24. On Black Friday itself, Kohl’s will be holding the “YAY for Black Friday! Sweepstakes.” The first 200 customers at each Kohl’s location receives agame piece with different prizes for everyone. Details are available at Kohl’s store in Lenox or at https://bit.ly/3swTIiH.

Old Brick Furniture & Mattress Co., which has a store in Pittsfield, has started its Black Friday savings event early, according to the company’s social and digital media creator, Abby Pacheco.  Promotions include exclusive financing options, incredible door busters, and discounts of up to 70 percent  off outlet items. Details: https://bit.ly/47uC1Pt .

Karissa Fournier, a sales associate at McGee Volkswagen in Pittsfield, said the dealership’s Black Friday deals will last through Nov. 30.  Details: https://www.mcgeecars.com/).

Shari Ajayi, the director of public relations for Saatva, a mattress and bedding store, said the store is taking 10 percent off the purchases of all items site wide and 15 percent off of orders over $2,750 in a sales promotion that expires Dec. 6. Information: https://www.saatva.com/.

Maddie Stevens, senior specialist of brand communications for The Home Depot, which has a store in Pittsfield, said the national home improvement chain is offering month long deals through Nov. 29. Information: https://bit.ly/49ChuL1.


Downtown Pittsfield Inc. and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation are co-facilitating a second round of The Pittsfield Glow Up! Business Improvement Grant Program, according to DPI’s Marketing Coordinator Kim Gritman and Executive Director Rebecca Brien. 

The program provides grants of up to $10,000 to eligible businesses affected by COVID-19 within the American Rescue Plan Act’s disproportionately impacted district of Pittsfield that have been  operating since January 2021 and are in good standing with both the city and the state. The grant funds are to be used for physical improvements that will enhance the experience of foot traffic and create a visual vibrancy in the district. Information: https://bit.ly/3sx5lpV.

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