As I literally roll into May, I can’t be the only one thinking, wait, what … didn’t I just make (and break) my January NEW YEAR, NEW ME resolution?
But for real, how are we almost half way into 2017 & knee-deep in wedding season?! How have I been married for a almost year? What goes on?!
Anyways, I have wanted to write this post for a while, but it required looking back at 2016, which lets get real...was an odd year for many reasons (insert political opinions here). But mainly for me, 2016 felt strange because for the first time in over a decade of planning weddings & events for other people, as my career, I found myself in the very unique position … I was an event-planner-bride-to-be.
This meant, now it was MY TURN to figure out a wedding budget, schedule my dress fitting appointments, find the perfect gifts for all the VIP's in my bridal party, and scour Pinterest for tips on "how to write the perfect wedding vows."
You guys... it was overwhelming...
Not to mention the fact that everyone kept asking me the same rhetorical question…"You’re NOT going to PLAN your OWN wedding, are you?!" ... all while simultaneously rolling their eye balls out of their heads…
What I WISH someone would have told me, instead of all the eye rolling, was that planning your OWN wedding while...
- Working full-time & balancing family/life responsibilities
- Creating a registry with gifts that you actually WANT
- Figuring out how to invite your work BFF without pissing-off too many co-workers
- Collecting millions of guest addresses for save the dates
- Finding time to meet friends for drinks (which you've rescheduled like 4 times)
- Working-out, drinking green smoothies, while wearing your “sweating for the wedding” tank-top
- And using lunch hours to research local hotels rates that won’t break the bank for out-of-towners
... is that it is all WAY TOO MUCH WORK & Seriously, NO FUN at all!
But instead of anyone telling me this, I had to find out the hard way that it didn't matter:
- How organized I was
- How much research I did
- How much I loved Excel spreadsheets
- Or even how much red wine I drank…
... I NEEDED HELP!
I reluctantly figured out if I wanted to have any fun or even attempt to enjoy the planning process of my OWN wedding, I needed to hire a wedding planner*!
*Believe me, the irony of being a wedding planner in this situation is not lost on me and was definitely the source of many-a-sit-down conversations (over aforementioned wine) with my soon-to-be-husband.
Ok, it’s time to get real with you here…
Sure, I am wedding planner, writing this blog post to incept, err, I mean, get you thinking about WHY you should hire someone (like me) to help plan your big day. I get it and I already know what you’re thinking…
- Do I really need a wedding planner? It’s not like I am a celebrity!
- How do I stretch my wedding budget to even hire a planner?
- Doesn’t the venue provide a “day-of” coordinator & can’t they just cover everything?!
- (READ ALL OF THAT IN A WHINY VOICE & ADD A FOOT STOMP FOR GOOD MEASURE!)
So, here is some good news, you are NOT alone!
Truth be told, it doesn't matter the size of your budget or how far along you are in your planning process, the # 1 question I get asked when talking to new or perspective clients is:
“What does a wedding planner even do?”
I very happily answer this question & tell every couple the same exact same thing:
“A wedding planner does whatever YOU DON'T WANT to do. And figuring out how you want to spend your time leading up to your wedding is CRUCIAL to having a positive planning experience.”
Let that sink in:
- Your time is limited.
- Your time is in very high-demand.
- Your time is valuable.
Seriously, think about it…
Do you really want to spend the days, weeks and months leading up to your wedding:
- Agonizing over contract minutia
- Balancing a budget sheet
- Or worse, second guessing if you have hired the right team of professionals to ensure your big day is everything you’ve always hoped for … and secretly pinned on your “Someday – I Do” Pinterest board!?
Do you want to spend the days, weeks and months leading up to your wedding:
- Focusing on enjoying the free champagne & special moments as newly engaged “FEYONCES”
- Finding an outfit that make you feel like the-bomb.com for your upcoming bridal shower
- And most importantly, celebrating the next phase in your journey with your soulmate, while partying with your closest family & friends?
UHH HELLO! THIS IS A NO BRAINER!
ATTENTION! ATTENTION! FREE ADVICE BELOW!
If you’ve made it this far – you deserve a prize & what wedding-planning couple doesn’t like the idea of getting something FO’ FREE!? So, here are some tips & advice to make your life easier while planning the biggest day/party of your lifetime (no pressure, JK, kinda…)
(5) TIPS FOR HOW TO HIRE YOUR WEDDING PLANNER:
1. Do your research. Quickly do some googling for planners in your area, ask your newlywed friends for recommendations, or better yet, if you’ve attended a wedding and you were impressed, ask the venue for the event/wedding planners contact info.
2. Meet with the planner/team over coffee or adult-beverages to make sure you LIKE them! Connection is key, remember, this person will play a huge role in your life for not only the wedding day, but for the days, weeks, months leading up to the big day!
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for references! We always encourage perspective clients to talk to our previous brides & grooms (and sometimes even their parents!) There’s nothing better than getting a 1st hand endorsement from someone who was previously in your shoes & can tell you all about their experience!
4. Create a list of the tasks or action items that you DON’T want to waste YOUR time on. Overwhelmed by all the invitation options out there, have no clue how to format an excel spreadsheet to manage budgets or RSVP’s, unsure if the vendor quote you’re reviewing reflects fair market-pricing?! Let your planner know about the obstacles you’re facing and form a plan of attack together.
5. Set Expectations. Be clear with your planner about your goals & priorities for the wedding planning process. Trying to stay on budget? Need help finding high-quality & reliable vendors? Studying for your nursing boards & don’t have much time to read/respond to emails? Want to be sure that your Mom feels included but stays out of your hair? All that information is important for your planner to know! Setting expectations allows planners to communicate with you on your terms, make good decision on your behalf, offer thoughtful suggestions & solutions and most importantly, get on the same page as you – so they help you accomplish goals, make your life easier & ensure you have fun throughout the process!
(3) REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER:
Ok, so you met a planner of your dreams! HOORAY! Now, it's time to share another little secret. Wedding planners DO NOT have any special magic powers (unfortunately, we’re living that muggle life), but what we CAN DO is help you to avoid costly mistakes or event worse, waste any precious time while cruising towards your wedding day!
So, here is my last-ditch-plea for you to learn from my event-planner-bride-to-be mistakes and the top 3 reasons (although, I could list 50) why you should hire a wedding planner:
1. STAY ON-TRACK & ON-TIME. Your wedding planner becomes your eyes & ears and helps to keep projects moving on-time & within budget. A wedding planner takes the lead on in-depth, time-intensive organizational projects prior to the wedding like:
- Customizing Save-The-Date & Wedding Invitation Mailing Schedule
- Answering Timing & Etiquette Questions
- Tracking RSVP’s + Streamlining Guest List Management
- Scheduling & Confirming All Vendor Appointments
- Handling Vendor Emails, Phone Calls & Texts During Work-Hours, After-Hours & Weekends!
- Providing Unlimited Client Communication & Updates
- Creation & Maintenance of Vendor/Supplier Contact List
- Preparation & Maintenance of Master Wedding Day Schedule to Maximize Flow
- Leading Dress Rehearsal and Answering ALL Participant Questions
- Handling Vendor, Décor & Rental Check-In’s and Ensuring Set-Up Goes Smoothly
- Helping the Bride, Groom & Bridal Party Stay on Schedule
- Assisting with Pre-Wedding Photos
- Making Sure the Wedding Starts On-Time (DUH!)
2. MANAGE MONEY & SPEND WISELY. The easiest way to enjoy planning your wedding & avoid mistakes or disappointments is to RESPECT your wedding budget. It is your planners job to help you make “educated buyer decisions” through knowledgeable budget allocation, customized finance trackers & reliable vendor network. Hiring a wedding planner can help you with:
- Finding Budget-Friendly Venues, Vendors & Suppliers
- Leading Contract Review & Negotiations
- Creating a Detailed Wedding Budget
- Tracking & Reconciling Balances
- Ensuring Payments are Made On-Time
- Giving Vendor Gratuity Advice
3. ALLEVIATE STRESS. Working with a wedding planner means that on the day of the wedding, all vendor questions will be addressed & clear direction will be given, late arrivals will be mitigated, corsages will be pinned, important photos will be captured, marriage licenses will be signed, sealed & delivered and transitions between ceremony, cocktail hour & reception will be seamless. All the up-front work your planner does, should help to alleviate any sleepless nights & save your nights and weekends! You can rest-easy knowing that on the wedding day, all the important final details will be handled a-la-Oliva-Pope-style, and your planner will:
- Act as Lead Contact for Vendors, Suppliers & Venue Staff
- Oversee Guest Transportation To & From Event Venue
- Outline Wedding Day Schedule for All Wedding Participants
- Provide On-Site Wedding Day Supervision & Ensure the Highest Standard Services are Met
- Gather All Gifts & Personal Items from Venue & Safely Store or Deliver to You
- Disperse Gratuities on Your Behalf
AGHHHH, I GET IT! THAT’S IT - NO MORE BULLET POINTS!
Ok, in all honesty, I thought about NOT sharing all of that detail. I knew that seeing all those bullet points would be scary, overwhelming and seriously make you considering eloping! (which by-the-way, I totally love & can help you with too!) But, showing you all the work that planning your own wedding can be – is kind of the point.
You’re not a WIZARD!
The point is, there will never enough hours in the day to get everything done & still expect to have all-the-fun! But imagine all the possibilities if you admitted you wanted help, found the perfect planning partner & divided your wedding planning to-do list and then CONQUERED it!?
It is possible. All you have to do is say the magic words…
“I’M HIRING A WEDDING PLANNER!”