This past weekend was a perfect example of why I prefer to be the first person hired during the planning process, and also why it’s the best decision for a couple to make. The details for the wedding this weekend all fell together, and there wasn’t a single moment where I was worried about the professionals working that day. And while I offer “Month Of/Day Of” and Partial Coordination services, Full Coordination & Planning is the best option offered to couples, by far.
For instance, when a couple gets engaged, there is an overwhelming sense of “what do I do first?”, which is almost always followed by a panic to do everything at the same time. Countless hours are spent flipping through magazines for inspiration and looking at websites for reviews of vendors that the couple has never even heard of.
When you begin with a planner, everything starts to calm down. There are no reality TV-worthy meltdowns about the budget and how you don’t know if you should pick a destination wedding or stay close to home. It’s like walking into a little room of heaven where you can let go of that tight grip of control, speak your mind about your wishes, and have someone else do all of the leg work. You will get everything from budget assistance to venue and vendor recommendations. These will be real recommendations based on real experience, and not that star rating garbage system on the internet – when anyone could be writing those reviews.
But maybe you like a challenge. You want the drama. Well, if that’s the case, then jump in headfirst and pick up a planner along the way. Book the venue, stretch the budget, and when you’re really feeling the heat, hire a planner. Just know this: what you’ve already done, the planner might not be able to undo, and furthermore, the planner is not responsible for.
Want an example? I’ve got 400. How about when the couple has picked the venue, put down the deposit (non-refundable, by the way) and finds out 2 months prior to the wedding that their vendors only have one hour to set up? One hour for flowers, music, photobooth, linens… and everything else. They take that information back to their vendors and the florist points out that without at least 2 hours, there will be an additional fee. Then the 20-piece band chimes in with the fact that they have equipment that will take at least 3 hours for full set up. Uh-oh spaghetti-O’s. Now what? Your planner that you hired post-venue, post-florist and post-band, cannot really help you here. You signed contracts with everyone and when you booked the venue, you probably didn’t ask how long you would have for set up. Why would you? You’re not a planner and you don’t know to ask those questions.
Then there is the issue of what a vendor promised you at a meeting you were at, which was never confirmed in writing, and is now being questioned. Did you have a planner at that time? No? Well, then it’s your word versus your vendor’s word. Odds are that if you had a planner they might have been at that meeting, and if not, they would have at least confirmed it all in writing so that there would be no confusion later. With a planner along for the whole ride, they can do all of your speaking for you, which means there’s no confusion and everyone is on the same page.
How about on the actual wedding day when the vendors that you secured are falling behind the timeline, while the vendors your planner brought in are doing their jobs? While your planner can guide your vendors along and try and keep things together, if you hired these people, you are basically responsible for that decision. Stylists taking longer than expected and thus, cutting into photography time? Much like if you use someone aside from someone that your planner recommends, if you booked this vendor pre-planner, you might just be stuck. Florist didn’t show up with the correct centerpieces? Maybe it’s a florist that your planner would’ve steered you away from way back when you started your planning process.
The bottom line is: Hire a planner from Day 1 and use them for everything they’re good at. This includes using their Rolodex, which can be worth the price of a full planning package alone. They can tell you which vendors are the real deal, and which ones are writing their own 5-star reviews. They can spot a problem with a vendor a mile away before you even know it will be an issue. They will ask the questions that need answers that you didn’t even think of. Most importantly, they can assemble a team that will work well together on your wedding day. Because when a hair stylist and a makeup artist clash, it’s pretty much like watching an asteroid hit the planet.
There are countless instances when a client comes to me with a problem and I think “if you had hired me first, this wouldn’t be an issue right now”. Don’t be that client. You wouldn’t hike Mt. Everest without a guide, get to the middle and then hire one, right? Your wedding is Mt. Everest. Bring a planner to avoid any and all avalanches.
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Weddings – The Huffington Post
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