Creator Spotlight

How Meredith Bartel Became One of TikTok’s Most In-Demand Wedding Planners

by Emily Reid · Published Dec 14, 2023

After planning her own wedding (and falling in love with “the spreadsheets, logistics, and oversight” of it all in the process), Meredith Bartel decided to go pro. She launched her own wedding planning company, Plus One Planning, all while becoming one of #WeddingTikTok‘s most beloved creators.

Amid the challenges of the pandemic, Meredith transitioned from being a day-of coordinator to a wedding coach, leveraging the power of social media platforms like TikTok to connect with a large audience of brides (and grooms!) to-be. With her engaging content, which balances genuine insights and expert advice and never shies away from controversial topics, she amassed an impressive following in just a few months. (After an early video about plus-one etiquette went viral, Meredith amassed 10,000 followers in under 48 hours!)

Meredith’s approach to wedding planning is rooted in personalization, evident in her “Wedding Planning Foundations” methodology, which emphasizes the uniqueness of each couple’s story, priorities, and vision. Beyond TikTok, the wedding planner also shares her expertise through a number of digital products and online services. These offerings, including virtual “Pick My Brain” sessions and Design Consultations, provide couples with personalized insights and guidance, filling a gap for those unable to secure Meredith’s in-person coordination services. 

Meredith’s Instagram and TikTok accounts have become go-to content hubs for thousands of plugged-in couples. Here, we sit down with one of TikTok’s most in-demand wedding planners to talk about social growth strategies, balancing IRL work with content creation, and the importance of authenticity.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a wedding planner.

Like many wedding planners, I discovered my love for wedding planning through planning my own wedding. Throughout my 23-month engagement, I would cheekily tell my coworkers, “When I grow up, I want to be a wedding planner.” Little did I know at the time that my dream would actually become a reality. I kept dabbling with event planning for the next two years as a hobby and as a courtesy to my family and friends, assisting with behind-the-scenes coordination for several events.

Prior to being a wedding planner, I’d worked eight years in special education. And in the summer of 2020, after six months of distance teaching, I knew my time in the schools had come to an end. My heart’s desire was to stay home with my kiddos full-time, but our household knew that I still needed a passion to pursue. It was my husband’s idea to begin wedding planning professionally. Driving home from a wedding I was assisting with, he said, “Let’s do this, for real. Start an LLC. You’re ready.” And the rest was history!

What inspired you to transition from being a day-of coordinator to becoming a wedding coach on TikTok?

There weren’t a ton of large-scale weddings happening during the pandemic, so many brides and vendors were finding community in social spaces like TikTok.

I founded my LLC in September 2020 and created my first TikTok video in late October. I was giving creative suggestions for unique wedding moments and sharing my own experiences and opinions, good and bad. For example, in my very first viral video, I shared my perspective on the controversial topic of “why not to smash cake in a bride’s face.” We all know it’s a faux pas, but has anyone ever sat down to explain why? It was natural for me to go into “teacher mode” to educate on the topic, and before I knew it I had found my niche: helping couples navigate the stressful world of wedding planning by sharing the “whys” and “how tos.” 

I love my real-life coordination and planning couples, but I consider my followers my “clients” as well! Everyone deserves education and empowerment, and I love that I can share my knowledge with them all virtually as well.

What are some key experiences that shaped your approach to wedding planning and coaching? 

One of my favorite aspects of my career is assisting couples in planning personalized, curated days. Weddings are not one-size-fits-all. So generic, cookie-cutter advice will never apply universally. There is always nuance and sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

I once worked on a wedding where the bride was a massive royal family fan. Her day was sprinkled with numerous subtle nods to her interests, including an engagement ring that looked like a tiara, a congratulatory letter from Buckingham Palace, as well as a life-size cardboard cutout of the Queen herself! Of course, details like that wouldn’t be appreciated by all newlyweds across the board, but that’s the joy of personalized wedding planning. There is fun and freedom in knowing you are planning a day that is client-centered, and not for the judgment of others. 

Every couple enters their engagement with their own story, priorities, vision, and budget. Every family has a unique dynamic, and perhaps even baggage, and all of that comes into play. I created my “Wedding Planning Foundations” methodology as a way of educating clients that the wedding planning experience should be as individual as they are.

Your TikTok account has gained a substantial following. What strategies did you use to grow your presence on the platform? 

The best technique I have found for growth is consistency. During a “growing” phase, such as when I first started my accounts or annually from November to February (to coincide with engagement season), I prioritize posting as many times a day as I can realistically sustain. For me, this often means 2 to 3 times a day, and I aim for about 12 to 18 posts per week. In “maintenance” phases, like the busy wedding season, I lower my threshold to posting once per day, averaging 5 to 6 videos per week. 

I prefer my content to feel authentic and like a two-way conversation, so I often use the comment section of one video as a jumping-off point for the next video’s topic. This approach helps me keep my content focused on what the audience wants to know. And oftentimes, they’re subjects I wouldn’t have chosen to talk about myself. Why reply to a question in the comment section, when I can use that as inspiration for my next video and hopefully reach thousands? It’s a win-win.

When I don’t have follower-generated questions to answer, I’ll refer to the list of brainstormed topics I keep on my phone. If my views are slacking and I need to boost engagement, controversial topics are always a surefire way to light up the comment section.

If you don’t have an engaged comment section (yet!), but would still like to practice consistency, it’s always a great idea to start a content series. Think of a topic you can talk about at great length, for, say, 30 minutes or more. Break that into 10 three-minute long videos or 15 two-minute long videos and you now have two weeks of content.

@plusoneplanning

🤯🥹🥳🤩 GUYYYYYSSSS!!! Honestly feeling so proud rn. #wisconsinweddingplanner #plusoneplanning

♬ life is great – sew

Can you share some tips for creating content that resonates with your target audience? 

As a wedding professional, my target audience is engaged couples, so I treat every video as if I was on a FaceTime call with a client who has a burning question. Part of the “secret sauce” of TikTok is that it feels genuine. I don’t worry about donning my best hair and makeup before I press record. I film “as is” in my living room, with my kids’ toys in the background sometimes, and in whatever clothes I am wearing that day. My viewers appreciate the earnestness, trust, and credibility that comes with the feeling that I “just answered the phone.” 

Keeping in that same spirit, I usually don’t have a pre-written script on what I’m about to film. I may brainstorm a few thoughts, but I never write anything down. I speak off the cuff and from the heart. Viewers can see right through a creator if they feel like they’re being “sold” something. Don’t overthink it, just press record!

@plusoneplanning

Time to dial in your wedding skincare routine is 6-12 months before your wedding. Once you reach 4 months left, don’t be trying anything brand new. #wisconsinweddingplanner #plusoneplanning

♬ original sound – Meredith | Plus One Planning

How do you balance your work as a wedding planner with creating content? 

Many professionals are familiar with time blocking. In my case, my daily routine is largely shaped by the fact that I’m a work-from-home mom to my two toddlers. The two-hour window during the day when they’re napping or sleeping has become my designated “content creation” block. 

Within this two-hour block, I can brainstorm, film, edit, subtitle, and caption 2 to 3 videos, including taking periodic breaks. That’s about all I can sustain before experiencing mental burnout for the day. If I have time left over in this two-hour block and I’ve finished filming, I’ll use it to respond to comments, look for new topic ideas, engage with other creators, or invest in my TikTok community.

My post-bedtime hustle is dedicated to “real-life” clients and my business as a whole. With rare exceptions, all client meetings happen after 7:30 p.m. I find this works best for most couples’ schedules. I usually work from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. most nights. While there are many times I wish I had more hours in the day and I often feel like I’m leaving missed opportunities on the table, in this season of life, this is the best balance I have found. 

@plusoneplanning

Custom Design Consults are my favvvv way to connect with you all, and help you actualize your theme. This enchanted, fantastical wedding was loosely designed around LOTR, Narnia, and general dark academia vibes. We wanted to avoid on-the-nose references and make general allusions to transport their guests into this fantastic event. Congrats Meghan and Zach! #lotrwedding #lotrweddinginspiration #lotrweddingtheme #narniawedding #darkacademiawedding #lightacademiawedding #cottagecorewedding #weddingdesign #weddingdesigner #weddingdesignideas #weddingdesignboard #weddingmoodboard #wisconsinweddingplanner #plusoneplanning

♬ original sound – Meredith | Plus One Planning

Can you tell us about your digital product and service offering?

One “challenge” I encountered as a creator was the recurring question, “Can I hire you to be my planner?” Because I can only take on a very limited number of “real” wedding clients per year, I felt like I was leaving deserving couples without support. So, knowing I had quality resources to share, I began offering digital resources and select virtual services, including Pick My Brain sessions and Design Consultations — the latter being my most popular offering. 

Pick My Brains are 60-minute virtual video chats where couples can discuss whatever is most relevant to them. I send over two questionnaires ahead of time to learn more about their planning and relationship/family dynamics. They can also provide a list of questions in advance, but the video chat can cover anything and everything — I’m an open book! 

Design Consultations are a more in-depth virtual offering. Using two detailed questionnaires, I create a Pinterest board, a two-page design board PDF, and conduct a 60-minute video call to debrief, explain my design suggestions, and answer design-related questions. Couples often say, “We know what we like, but don’t know how to put the pieces together.”

My largest digital download is a 30+ page, fully editable “Wedding Weekend Handbook.” This was my attempt to create a cost-effective alternative to hiring a day-of coordinator. While nothing can replicate a true hired professional, this allows couples to organize their last stretch of planning with a version of my actual spreadsheets. 

@plusoneplanning

You’ve been asking, and I listened!! If a Day of Coordinator isn’t in your budget, or if youre only realizing now how inportant delegation is, this will be your holy grail! If you wanted to be a Plus One Planning Bride, and carry a little piece of Meredith’s brain on a wedding day – consider this resource your Planner in your Pocket! 31 pages of pure goodness. Totally customizable, and ready to share with your wedding party and family! And best part, you get all the organization and professional insights of a Day of Coordinator at a 75% savings! Now having a professionally coordinated wedding is available at all price points. #wisconsinweddingplanner #plusoneplanning #weddingbinder #weddinghandbook #weddingdaybinder #dayofcoordinator #weddingcoordination #diybride #budgetbride #weddingonabudget #greenscreen

♬ original sound – Meredith | Plus One Planning

What’s your pricing strategy for your digital products and consultation services?

Pick My Brains sessions are priced at $300 for a 60-minute Q&A video call. As my follower count has grown, I periodically increase the price of a call. (I used to charge $150/hour two years ago.) The current price strikes a happy balance, allowing me to reach as many couples as possible and offer personalized, in-depth advice while ensuring my clients truly value my industry knowledge and time. 

Design Consultations are priced at $500, covering all the offerings listed above. In addition to the hour-long video call to debrief, it takes me several hours to research and build a Pinterest board, as well as compile it into a moodboard PDF. From onboarding to debrief, it can take approximately 10-14 days to cycle through a full design client. Many couples do not hire professional design services for their wedding, making this a cost-effective way to have a personally curated, professional design. 

My Wedding Weekend Handbook is also priced at $500, which I consider invaluable considering hiring a professional coordinator can run upwards of $3,000 or more. For a mere fraction of the cost, couples can still utilize the same documents I use to organize a wedding’s most important moments.

What are your goals for the future?

I feel like I’ve hit my stride with coordination and planning. I do not feel the need to scale up my business by hiring associates or building a larger team. In fact, I am very content with the number of real-life clients I take on in a year, and the quality of service that I can provide to them. I closed my books for 2024 in May of 2023, and I’m halfway booked for 2025, with my first consultation for 2026 scheduled for next week! 

Regarding wedding coaching and content creation, I have a few more digital downloads that I’d love to release into the world as soon as time allows. In my five-year plan, I would love to take my long-form educational content and turn that into a podcast and/or YouTube channel. In the meantime, my short-term goal is to get my TikTok account verified. I’ll continue to submit applications until I am approved. (Editor’s note: Shortly after this interview took place, @plusoneplanning became verified on TikTok.)

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

Photo: Courtesy of Meredith Bartel

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emily reid
About the author

Emily Reid

Emily Reid is an Executive Assistant, content writer, and UGC creator living in Canada. She is passionate about sustainable fashion and storytelling through various creative mediums.
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