Hi everyone, hope you've all been enjoying this extra-warm weekend!
This will be my first post of two that will explore the advantages of having a wedding planner! I've been compiling my thoughts on this for months and am excited to finally publish a detailed post. My second post will focus more on the vendor experience of working alongside a planner (and how planners enable your vendors to produce their best work!) but today I'm going to outline 5 reasons why having a planner is #worthit.
Confession: I didn't hire a wedding planner for my own wedding four years ago. Phew, I said it. My venue had a venue coordinator, I had performed as a musician at hundreds of weddings, and I honestly thought I knew everything there was to know. I had worked with numerous planners before as a vendor, some great, some unorganized; I knew how to write my own timeline, and I wanted to save money wherever I could on an increasingly expensive day.
In reality, we had to move our ceremony indoors at the last minute due to weather and really had no indoor decor plan, I forgot to bring the custom mix cd I made for cocktail hour, my bustle was seemingly impossible, and I almost completely ruined a huge surprise I had been planning for my husband and guests for the past six months. I realized about halfway through the day that, in fact, we probably should have hired a wedding planner.
As I had been told by wedding professionals and even former brides, something will go wrong on your wedding day. It's just up to you whether you want to be the one worrying about it!
5. We're your idea brainstormers and creative wizards, and will know just as much about your wedding as you do (actually, more).
For most couples, your wedding will be the largest event you ever plan. As a bride, there are now an overwhelming number of amazing resources to help you plan your dream wedding, from magazines, to google, to Pinterest. In planning my own wedding I definitely changed my color scheme four different times and got restless planning in our year-and-a-half-long engagement. It was so hard to narrow down my "vision" or even figure out what my "vision" was. And, I could only consult my fiancé/mom/best friends so much without totally driving them crazy. Typical conversation:
Lizzie: So, what do you think about this shade of coral for the bridesmaids? Does it match this peachy dress for the flower girls? Do you think we should go long or short for early November?
Fiancé: Um. Totally up to you! They all look nice. (Trying to be supportive.)
Lizzie: How about this invitation font? I kind of like Zapfino. Should we have calligraphy?
Fiancé: I like Zapfino. That's good.
Lizzie: Actually I kind of like eggplant and lavender. Do you like those colors?
Fiancé: Aren't those foods?
Can anyone else relate to this? I have to give my husband Justin more credit, he was actually super understanding, supportive, and wonderful throughout our wedding planning - but he wanted me to be happy by making most decisions myself when I really needed a sounding board who had experience and opinions (like a planner!)
Planners are thrilled to answer questions for you and suggest options. We love talking about shades of the same color, or fonts, or fashion. Even for my Month-of clients, if I haven't heard from them in a while I'll check in because I am actually interested in hearing about their weddings! Every independent planner I've worked with and met absolutely loves their job and loves everything about weddings.
Most planners and especially wedding designers are also very up-to-date with current wedding trends and decor. Planners who design their own styled photoshoots are constantly researching other weddings and are familiar with what trends are in, what fads are out, and can easily steer your design in the right direction. If you're working with a planner, they'll know all of your ideas and everything you are organizing (and how to make your ideas even better and implement them successfully).
Hiring a planner basically creates a back-up "you" - someone who can act as a sounding board along the way and who will know everything and more about your wedding. We 100% want to make sure every wedding we plan is perfect and no detail is left out (even the details you haven't even thought of.)
4. Your vendors will actually be relieved to have a planner there.
I'll be elaborating on this point in another related post coming soon, so stay tuned! For now, I have to say that in the month prior to every wedding I've coordinated, there has always been a vendor who tells me, "We're so happy you're going to be there to organize the events on the wedding day." I have experienced the uneasiness of working at a wedding-sans-planner firsthand as a ceremony musician, where we have no idea when the processional will begin, we have no one to confirm the song list and order of people, and no one to double check the recessional cue. Often times we'll arrive and have to take chairs from the back of the ceremony set-up because there is no one around to help us with finding extra chairs. I always communicate with our couples prior to the wedding and tell them exactly what we'll need on site, but the bride and groom can't be greeting us and setting up at the same time they are getting ready for their ceremony!
Hiring a planner allows your vendors a calmer mind to focus on their jobs and create the best possible services for you. Your guests don't need to see any event pros looking frazzled at your actual wedding.
3. A professional wedding planner enhances and helps your on-site venue coordinator.
Again, I got married with no planner and only an on-site coordinator (who was wonderful and completely saved many parts of the day that would have otherwise gone wrong!) But, during my reception, I was the one to approach our band and tell them when we were ready to do the important events (bouquet toss, etc). I had no clue exactly how all my props and decor items would be arranged (and actually, crazily, thought I would have time before my ceremony to go set them up myself!)
I'm pretty sure our guests got restless after dinner because the dancing started too late (it was impossible to judge the timeline and flow of my wedding as the bride). Worst of all, I had planned to surprise my half-Thai husband and guests with a special Thai dance at a specific time in the evening, and his Thai mom went to Skype her relatives in another room about a minute before it was supposed to begin! (Luckily my dad realized this!) All of these slips would have been easily avoided if I had been working with a planner to run the show.
As a planner, I love working with venue coordinators to run a wedding. Every venue is different and there are many aspects of a venue that you can only learn when working there full-time. Venue coordinators are constantly considering the well-being of the venue, sometimes the food prep, and making sure everything happening behind closed doors is running smoothly and on time. Every venue has different rules - some don't allow flower petals, some nix open candles, some don't allow an early set-up because they are public spaces. The venue coordinator is on site monitoring those rules to make sure your guests adhere to them throughout your wedding.
Many venues will host multiple weddings in an evening with only one venue coordinator on site (meaning that you would be sharing the venue coordinator with another couple!) Frequently, the venue coordinator is elsewhere during the reception events and will not be checking in with you during the day aside from your ceremony processional/recessional and reception entrance (the transitions). Again, each venue is different and each includes a slightly different level of involvement. I have absolutely loved all of the venue coordinators I have worked with thus far in a planning capacity because we've helped each other as a team to organize successful weddings. My being present allows them to focus on their job and venue needs, and their being present has allowed me to fully focus on my couples and the flow of the wedding.
Having a coordinator and planner working together at your wedding makes everyone's jobs a lot easier.
2. We're your second set of eyes, your double-checkers, and will consider the tiniest details.
True fact: I always notice planning "holes" when working with my Month-of Planning clients, and not because they are disorganized! Quite the opposite, actually, but there are so many elements to consider in planning a wedding and it is impossible to know what questions to ask unless you have planning experience.
As I said before, the internet is an amazing resource for planning and almost every wedding website offers a planning "checklist" for couples. While these lists can be helpful, there are always small details couples forget: Do you have any older guests who need special assistance getting to your ceremony site? Did you buy the right kind of sparklers (so they'll be safe)? Which guests should sit in the front row during your ceremony? There are a number of elements, especially relating to guests' experience, that are frequently overlooked because couples can get overwhelmed worrying about everything else!
An experienced planner will consider both your overall experience and that of your guests, ensuring that everything is thought out and will flow smoothly on your wedding day.
And, the number one reason planners are worth it:
1. You, your family, and your guests will be able to enjoy the celebration and the true meaning of the day.
With your planner monitoring your day-of timeline, you don't have to! If something is forgotten, someone arrives late, or any mishaps arise, you won't even know. You, as the newlyweds, should be able to focus on the true reason for the gathering - and be fully present in each moment to enjoy it. I want my couples to be able to feel the love surrounding them and soak up all of the little glances and smiles - not worrying about where the DJ is going to place his uplighting or what time the florist will arrive.
So many times with Chesapeake Strings, I'll be given a "day-of emergency contact number" for someone's sister, mother, or aunt. When we actually do need to call them with a question (Hey, it's pouring right now! Will your ceremony hopefully be indoors?) they don't always know the details and often times become stressed trying to figure out an answer. Inevitably, the bride or groom become involved because they are always the authority on answering all wedding-related questions, but wouldn't it be nice to leave them alone to let them enjoy their wedding day?
This also applies for the time leading up to your wedding - why not calmly savor your final month of engagement by having an event professional check in and confirm everything with your vendors and compile your day-of timeline?
Hiring a planner allows you to do the only thing you should do on your wedding day - treasure the moment.
Overall, hiring a wedding planner is like investing in additional, proactive event insurance. Couples invest thousands of dollars in their favorite venue, vendors, food, and entertainment, and a wedding planner acts like the glue that will hold all the moving parts together by ensuring that your day will run smoothly!
Stay tuned for my next post: Why Your Vendors Will Love you for Hiring a Wedding Planner - including my personal experiences as a ceremony musician and former bride, and some input from other wedding professionals!