I am a recent newlywed and planned my own wedding. Even though I am an experienced event planner, this was the first time I was in the ‘wedding planner’ position. As both the client and the planner, my dual role was quite challenging. I had to remove myself as the client out of the situation at times to really, truly think logistically and what was best for the attendee experience and design my wedding and reception accordingly.
A bride should not plan her own wedding. There, I said it. The reason why is that wedding planning distracts a bride from all of the wonderful and beautiful things about getting married. Planning a wedding involves a lot of emotion from both parties (the bride and groom). Taking the stress of planning out of the equation allows the couple to enjoy all of the fun details without implementing them. Trust me, I was there.
I asked myself about six weeks before the wedding, “What am I doing? Why did I put this all on my shoulders?”
It’s not that I couldn’t handle planning a wedding: I am an event professional and my passion lies in the details of planning. The true issue was I was getting too involved in the planning. I wasn’t having fun while preparing for the best day of my life. The details, vendor management, and task list was crowding my judgement as a bride. I’m a control freak and I know it. Realizing that, I had to take my ‘event planner hat’ off and take a step back.
Although it’s so last year, I love the term YOLO! One of my bridesmaid’s started saying it and it then became our motto for the entire wedding. Getting married is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I had to enjoy it.
So, here’s my chance to save you. Hire someone to plan, organize, and execute your wedding. Whether you are a destination or local wedding, planners have great relationships with vendors. Planners love using the same companies for certain venues and vice versa. Most venues have a preferred vendor list that usually includes their favorite planners. Knowing the vendors they work with, planners can negotiate the costs much more than you will be able to on your own. They also know the venue and what works within the space.
You can start the process by researching and interviewing wedding planners who can work with you on finding the perfect venue. If you already have your venue, you can ask them for a list of preferred planners to check out. Just as a heads up, most venues will include a ‘coordinator’ in their fees, but this is only someone who manages items the day of the ceremony or the reception and has very little involvement, if any, before the wedding.
While having a planner can help get your ideas focused and organized, they can also step in during a couple’s disagreement on ideas or a family member getting too involved. I loved the following quote from CNBC.com’s article, Should You Say ‘I Do’ to a Wedding Planner? :
Sometimes agreeing on things can be a challenge. Having someone that can mediate between the bride and groom can help ease the decision making. Also, sometimes the mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom can get a little too involved in the planning process. The planner can assist with managing their expectations, involvement and carefully telling them when to back off. Planners can also run interference between the couple and opinionated relatives while simultaneously averting potential disasters on the big day.
I like to think of planners as the mixing bowl that holds all of the key ingredients to a great recipe. They know the timeline and how to get strategic about different elements to incorporate all of the ideas to make your day seamless.
There are different types of wedding planners. Depending on your budget and your needs, you can hire:
- a full-service planner to arrange every detail
- someone to assist you only in choosing your wedding location and vendors
- a “Day-of Coordinator” (which really means 30 days before your wedding)
Consider your options and choose the planner that makes the most since for your needs. Paying someone to help you is definitely worth the money.
Having a planner handle all of the big details also enables the bride to focus on the more fun, little details. A lot of brides want to DIY and the planner enables them to focus more on the handmade pieces that really enhance the experience. Here are some of mine:
Some other tips I can give you:
- Designate someone as the ‘Day of’ contact. This person should NOT be in the wedding party, nor should it be the wedding planner. They have enough to worry about. It should be someone responsible that knows all of the details. Make sure you send out communication ahead of time to all of your guests with the cell phone number of your contact. This saves you from answering the phone when Uncle Jack calls to ask what time dinner is being served.
- Have someone record the ceremony, even if it’s just your Aunt Susan with her brand new iPhone. Maybe ask a friend to do it as backup in case she forgets to turn the phone right side up or holds her finger in front of the lens the whole time.
- Pictures are worth every penny. Have the photographer with you from the morning of getting ready to the end of the reception. Those photos will capture everything that day that you won’t remember and you’ll appreciate every detail.
- Music during a reception curates your guests’ experience. The more dancing, the more fun they are having. Be careful when choosing your playlist and DJ or band. Play the oldies in the early part of the night, as most of your senior guests will leave early. Here’s a great list of 25 songs not to play.
- Wedding invitations are a chore. Start a GoogleDoc and manage the invite list with addresses there. You can collaborate with family and friends if you want.
- I really enjoyed this Pinterest of all print needs for weddings from my favorite wedding blog, Style Me Pretty:
- Spend the day after your wedding with the people that traveled from out-of-town to be there. They will appreciate it spending the extra time with you. I hosted a BBQ and bonfire at a family’s friends house, inviting all of the guests to join us. I even worked as bartender and received tips for our honeymoon fund!
Just remember to enjoy every last moment of your wedding. In a blink of an eye it’s over and all you are left with are the memories. So make them last.
Need help on your wedding, looking for a planner, or just seeking advice? We’d love to help: email us with your questions and we’ll get back to you in a jiffy!
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