All weddings aren’t the same. Some weddings have high budgets, while others have low budgets. Some are outdoors and others are indoors. There are urban weddings, rural weddings, store bought weddings, and heavy DIY weddings. The biggest difference in weddings is those with a planner and those without. By planner I mean a person specifically dedicated to orchestrate the wedding and reception events, help the bride, make decisions on the bride’s behalf on the wedding day, intercept problems, manage the timeline/itinerary, and basically be responsible for making the event fun, stress free, and not embarrassing for the bride.
I’m not saying that there aren’t brides than can’t manage everything, but a bride spending time orchestrating her wedding isn’t spending time laughing, drinking, dancing, and enjoying her guests or her wedding. I’m also not saying that some brides don’t have a mother, sister, or best friend than can manage a wedding for them at the same level and expertise as a wedding planner, but this is rare. I don’t know what it is that makes some planners or people gifted in this regard while others need help, but I think experience is probably a pretty big factor. Maybe it’s the distinct knowledge that they are there to manage a wonderful (and complicated) event with so many variables, differences in opinion, and schedules that they’ll be dead on their feet and emotionally exhausted the next day, but they are there to work and are invested in the event. Mothers, sisters, and best friends are there because it’s their daughter, their sister, or their friend’s wedding, and they want to have fun, let their hair down a little, eat, drink, and be merry. Given that relationship, they should. They should be emotionally present, and they should dance at her wedding, and it’s the best gift they’ll give her despite anything else they do or give.
Most of the venues I’ve worked weddings in also have a catering manager, a facilities manager, an event coordinator, or whatever they are called at the different venues. While they are planners and have a very important role in the wedding day, they are a planner for the venue, for the catering company. They aren’t managing transportation, they aren’t managing guests, they aren’t involved in the bride’s get ready, and they aren’t there to handle the crisis that do on occasion come up. Mostly, they are a go between for the bride or the wedding planner and the employees they manage for the event. Many venues are now requiring brides to at least have a day of planner to make sure everything flows smoothly, and though it will sometimes cost the bride a little more on her wedding day, it’s a wonderful investment and ensures a better experience for her and her guests.
The wedding planners I work with have different options available to suit a bride’s needs. Full service, month of, week of, day of, and consultations/referrals only are available. Some brides have been planning their weddings for 10 years before they ever met their groom and just need help with their timelines and interference, some brides want more help implementing themes and a truly unique event, and some brides have very full lives and need someone they can trust to deliver what they want without having to worry about hiccups, frustrations, or unnecessary time spent.
Brides that are already busy, have careers, demanding jobs, or lifestyles don’t have the 400+ hours necessary to plan and implement the average wedding, and they typically opt for full planning. For prices ranging from $2,400 to $11,000 depending on event size, they can have a planner present them with options and the bride just has to make judgment calls. The full service planner manages everything else from vendor/venue selection, negotiations and contracts, invitations & RSVP’s, lodging, scheduling, itineraries, rentals, event design, and implementation, along with dozens of other necessary aspects of a wedding. With experience with different vendors, venues, weddings, weather, etc… a full service-wedding planner is often the difference between a successful event and frustration for most brides.
Brides that have less hectic lives and want to actively plan their weddings usually opt for “of” services, month, week, day, with recommendations. They don’t want the distraction of the logistics of their wedding, and want to be able to focus on the fun stuff and their groom, families, and guests. They also want someone there to manage the issues every wedding has.
My personal experiences with wedding planners have been 99.9% positive. I’ve seen them manage thunderstorms, torn wedding dresses, inebriated groomsmen, doubts, emotional breakdowns, angry guests, family drama, medical emergencies, vendor no-shows, equipment failure, power failures, transportation failures, floral disasters, wedding license, permitting issues, law enforcement, temperature changes, fallen trees, etc… Some of the solutions and resources harnessed to bring off an event were amazing, and I promise you that an experienced wedding planner has seen every one of these and more, and they’re there for you.
Real wedding planners have a ton of knowledge and a lot of experience. They are authorities on etiquette. They make sure YOU don’t do anything wrong or embarrassing and advise you on things like gratuities, budgets, expectations, contracts, and your overall experience. A wedding planner is professional, and requires the same dedication as any other professional, but the breadth of their knowledge about photography, flowers, menus, cakes, event design, creative implementation, logistics, mediation, counseling, and other aspects that come up associated with weddings is amazing. They work for you, but they are your authority on all things wedding. They are your consultant, manager, advocate, and agent. They work for you and your happiness is their greatest concern, making them well worth the 10-15% of your wedding budget.
If you need a photographer for any reason, please contact me. Email or call 912-547-9080