I can't help it.
When I hear the term "Wedding Planner" I instantly think of Jenny from the Block wearing a headset and carrying a clipboard navigating her way through the hustle and bustle of planning the dream wedding for the biggest wedding client she's ever had, all while trying not to fall in love with The One. You know, the doctor who saved her when she just couldn't give up on her Gucci shoe. If you've never seen The Wedding Planner, I'll stop there to avoid spoiling it.. but those shoes were cute though.
From My Perspective
As a professional photographer, I've seen the gamut of weddings: full blown all-day, black-tie affairs to quaint and casual backyard gatherings. Each one is different, with its own spin and set of rituals. Some incorporate kids, pets, or even flash mobs.
The similarity they all share is that each Special Day had to be planned by somebody. I mean the dearly beloved didn't just gather by happenstance to see two (or more, no judgement here) join in holy, or even unholy, matrimony like a coincidental gathering of gasses to cause an explosion that created the world. There had to be someone, some where, a higher power that put forth all of the elements to make This Day happen. Right?
Well that depends. Sometimes this person is the Maid of Honor, the Mother of the Bride, the Bride herself or a combination of them. Some events are simple enough that they can handle all the matters involved in planning and scheduling such an event.
Other weddings are more complex in nature. To pull off the day without a hitch would require that all of the cogs turn in a such a coordinated fashion that it would be best to employ a true professional, one who thrives in high stress situations.
Here are 3 Questions Every Couple Should Ask Themselves When Deciding Whether or Not to Hire a Planner
1. How busy are we? Time waits for no one and quite frankly the clock starts the minute The Question is asked and answered. There's choosing a season, securing a venue, setting the date, engagement photo session, and ordering Save the Date cards. Then you have finding the right caterer and choosing a menu. Cake tastings to find the right baker who can decorate it to your theme of choice. Wait a minute, a theme? Nobody said anything about a theme! Invitations and the dreadful RSVPs. Seating arrangements. Officiant. Florist. Musicians, DJ. Photo booth. Content Creator. Videographer. Hey and who's gonna clean up this mess!?!
I guess you can see what I'm getting at. It can become overwhelming very quickly. Realistically, how much time do you have to devote to all this, while still presumably holding down a full time job? Only you can answer that.
2. How resourceful are we? Ok, so let's say you guys are highly motivated. You have your color-coded, illustrated daily/weekly/monthly planners on your phones and in hard copy form. You are on it, doggone it. How much do you know about the wedding industry? What do you know of the reputations of various wedding professionals? Did you know that some venues have particular requirements of certain vendors?
Take a walk with me: Let's say you guys are a little edgy. You met at Warped Tour '16. She crowd surfed over to you and you caught her just before she was dumped on her head on the wrong side of the barricade. You got to know each other a little better at the water station just before holding hands to Yellowcard's "Only One".
The rest is history and now, here you are ready to tie the knot. So you aren't necessarily the traditional type. You want something a little different. You want a Forever Warped Wedding! What florist in your area can do an emo set up...you know, as emo as flowers can be. What bakery has experience in this kind of decorating? Maybe Pierce the Veil meets Mighty, Mighty Bosstones. I know I'm probably losing some folks here...but that's my point. Not everybody is gonna get you. And definitely not just anybody can see your vision and plan your dream wedding.
3. What is our budget? Ah yes, THAT dreaded question. Truth is, Planners cost money and just how much will depend on how involved you want him or her to be. One could help you make it a wonderfully efficient wedding day or plan your wedding in its entirety.
Some service to budget considerations:
Day-of Coordinator - This is for the couple that has most of their day figured out and now that all the hard work is done, they are ready to par-tay! Now, I don't know how YOU party, but all too often, coordination and party aren't exactly synonymous.
Example #1: The ceremony was beautiful. The Officiant was eloquent. You watched your Mother-in-Law show some semblance of a heart as a single tear drop fell from her eye, when her baby boy said, "I do." Mission accomplished. Now it's time for the formal wedding party photos. But where's Uncle Henry? Well, while everyone's waiting for him, Henry is bellied up at at the bar working on his second Mojito. In Hank's defense, he didn't know he was supposed to wait around for photos, because nobody told him. A Coordinator will ensure people are where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there. This includes the guests, the vendors and yes - The Newlyweds.
Example #2: Ceremony was on time and went smoothly. Cocktail hour was a hit. The MC announces that the caterers are ready and starts calling groups by table to line up. The only issue - the Bride and the Groom are sitting at the Table of Honor....with no food. There was no plan to have anyone deliver their plates. I don't think they minded terribly, but I was embarrassed that I didn't notice sooner or I would've gotten their plates!
Estimated Cost: $900 - $1500
Partial Planning - Now let's say you put down the deposit on the perfect wedding venue - a chic barn, nestled in the woods, overlooking a lake and they have HORSES! You have a photographer who your parents hired for family portraits and he also did your senior photos. You couldn't imagine using someone different. You've worked occasionally as a bartender, so you know a few folks who would like to serve drinks at your cocktail hour. But that's the gist of it.
A Planner might step in and refer some other vendors to you and make suggestions that you might not have considered. They can help with seating arrangements. They'll build a custom timeline and reach out to your other vendors to make sure they know any pertinent details. Your planner may want to meet with you a couple of times during the months leading up to The Big Day just to make sure everything is on track. Talk about peace of mind.
Estimated Cost: $1000 - $2000
Full Service Planning - This is the whole shebang. Like, "Hi, we're Harry and Sally and we want a New Year's Eve in New York Themed Wedding....and GO!" (Pause for the boomers who got the reference and need a moment to reminisce.)
Imagine having someone set everything up for you and waiting on your approval. No more anticipating whether or not your guests are coming , because your Planner will likely have a system in place to manage your RSVPs! Need your planner to block off some rooms for lodging? Done. Would like to hear from a travel agent to set up your honeymoon? Done. Your Planner is basically your wedding concierge.
Think of it as All Dress, No Stress
(I just coined that term. Y'all don't steal it!)
Estimated Cost $2000+
From the above, you're probably able to decipher where I land on this topic. From a vendor's perspective, it only makes sense to have someone take on the responsibility - ESPECIALLY on the day of the wedding.
Having worked some weddings without a planner or coordinator in place, I often found myself in this position: running interference from nosey family members at the bridal suite, reminding the couple to cut the cake, or checking to make sure they were still going to do the bouquet / garter toss. I've seen first hand the hard work they do. They definitely earn every dollar.
If you're in Texas, here's a list of folks worth checking out if you're getting ready to plan a wedding:
Definitely check out Savannah Barrera.
Great to work with!
Bryan/College Station, Texas
Lindsey Gonzales has a passion for planning as well as the wedding industry as a whole.
Niki Vanhowten definitely has an eye for detail.
Hope to work with her again soon.
New Braunfels, Texas
Sara Roessler - the New BFF you didn't know you needed!
Kelsie Thomann is groovy indeed.
Sharlene Hernandez has alluded me so far, but she comes highly recommended.
New Braunfels, Texas
firstname.lastname@example.org / 361-474-5725
So tell me, did you hire a Wedding Planner or Day-of Coordinator for you wedding?
We'd like to hear how your day went either way.
As always, thanks for reading and we hope this was helpful. Share this...maybe it'll help out somebody else.
New Braunfels, Texas