In “olden times” – you know, way back in the ‘70’s – planning a wedding was very much a family affair with the bride, her bridal party and the two mothers all chipping in to hunt down the perfect venue, book the entertainment, bake the cake and even break out grandma’s famous and top secret cannoli recipe. It fell to friends and family to organize and strategize and realize the happy couple’s perfect wedding. Forty years on and things are a lot more complicated and a lot more competitive. The average mortal needs help to navigate the bumpy waters of the wedding industry.
With so many decisions and so much to choose from brides – of all ages – are finding that the first, and perhaps the most important decision that they’ll make – once that ring goes on the finger- is to find the right wedding planner. A good wedding planner will take much of the stress and worry out of your wedding allowing you to really relax and enjoy your big day. A few things to keep in mind.
This is Your Wedding – NOT the Wedding Planner’s
It’s your wedding – but is it really? Let’s face it. One, maybe two couples throughout history really got to do their wedding their way. For many hiring a wedding planner is a form of “protection” – a kind of buffer from the well-intentioned family and friends who all throw their two-cents in about what they’d like to see, hear, eat and wear on your big day. Just realize, when selecting a wedding planner, that some can be guilty of doing exactly the same thing. If you’re not careful your wedding ‘expert’ may take your day and turn it into his/her day. So when you’re researching wedding planners be sure to have a clear vision of the things that you HAVE to have to make the day a success for you. These will be your non-negotiables. And then expect your wedding planner to find interesting and creative and affordable ways to execute your vision.
A good wedding planner will listen to you. He/she will get to know you so that the wedding is a reflection of your values and personality and not a reflection of his/her “relationship” with specific venues and suppliers.
For example, you and your partner want a small and unpretentious wedding with a nice, casual cocktail reception in a small, cozy restaurant. Do your research. Look at the planner’s website to see the type and variety of events that he/she has created in the past. If every event featured on wedding planner’s site includes festive balloon arches in a plethora of colors – your pastels and your primaries – then just keep on looking. Some planners tend to duplicate essentially the same event, but in different colors, over and over again. If the events highlighted on the wedding planner’s website and promotional literature have a similar look and that look is not what you’re after then move on.
After outlining your expectations and “must haves” with a potential wedding planner have him/her give you some suggestions – immediately. As in “right then and there”. How creative and resourceful is this person? Does he/she have the resources and contacts to give you what you want…rather than giving you what they have?
You have a Budget – Find a Wedding Planner that will Help You Stick to that Budget – Not Double it.
The wedding industry creates lasting memories for brides and grooms everywhere. The industry works hard to give every bride her “perfect day” whatever that may be. However, some less scrupulous wedding planners will manipulate the emotions that come with getting married for their own financial benefit. “Of course, if you really loved your daughter you’d upgrade to the stretch limo”…you get the picture.
Guilt is great selling tool when it comes to planning weddings and funerals (but that’s a topic for another day). You’ve told your wedding planner that you want “small floral arrangements” on each table but he/she comes back with a suggestion of “live glow-in-the-dark tropical fish swimming in Swarovski crystal bowls” as THE must have center piece of the season – just say NO. A good wedding planner will find a way to use unique or indigenous wild flowers for your “small floral arrangements” or incorporate creative vases to give you want you want.
And finally, do not be afraid to speak up. Communicate your vision, your expectations and your budget very early on in the process. And expect your wedding planner to stick to it. If your wedding planner is taking you to places where you do not want to go – then just don’t go there.