With a lot of confusion around the role of a wedding planner, I wanted to take my crack at being more clear. Modern day blogs paint our role as being more of a personal assistant that also designs and even physically decorates the wedding. While a planner can certainly provide those additional services, they come with an incredibly steep pricetag. The value in wiping away the hours (moooonths) it would take you to plan your wedding, fetch the steamer you left at the hotel, and actually decorate your wedding are in the tens of thousands of dollars. And how do I know that? Because people pay that. It happens, ladies. But our every day ‘full service’ bride has not in fact paid for that, or been told they’ll receive that. But the expectation remains so buckle up and take a ride with me as I explain the difference between a wedding planner, a personal assistant and a designer.
As a wedding planner, my services are designed to offer guidance and assistance. I'm here to do this WITH you. To develop your ideas and introduce new ideas altogether. I'm here to help you avoid costly and frustrating mistakes. My value is knowledge and detection of red flags. I'm your “vendor matchmaker” and detail tracker.
Now, all that aside, give me 10 days and l'll do it FOR you! What? 10 days? Yup. I’m good at this. Planning a wedding is a piece of cake and without the emotion involved, I literally can have it done overnight. I’ll have to wait for the paper goods to arrive, but you get the picture. Trust me, I would love to remove the emotion and plan your wedding in 10 days…. but you wouldn’t. You want the excitement of being involved. You like tasting cake and you have a clear cut vision that no one dare mess with. You just do. And that’s awesome. So let's do it together.
Here are three areas of planning that should be better explained:
VENDOR COMMUNICATION: We are here to alleviate vendor emails from your inbox. To handle the mundane and straightforward logistics. Though, while we do most of the communication on your behalf, emails and calls you would never even know took place, there is value in you being apart of the conversation. Especially with your creative vendors. What we have found is that when you are part of the conversation, they are better able to develop your ideas based on their own levels of expertise. YES, we are absolutely fine tuning the details with your catering staff and can reconcile your final song selections with the DJ. While we work hard to remove the burden of the mundane, collaborating with vendors together can really enhance your experience.
VENDOR MEETINGS: My role is to attend strategic meetings so I can be in the loop on the decided logistics. It gives me first hand communication on details needed for final reconciliation and document creation for a smooth and easy wedding day. I'm there to ask questions you may not know to ask and to assure you when it feels overwhelming. I know it may feel like a first world problem, but I promise you can taste cake without me. But flowers…. gosh almighty … that is a mystery to unfold and I’ll certainly attend. The vendors are responsible for gathering your wishes and creating a proposal. Following your meeting, the vendor should send their notes and proposal to you and CC me. I will then review and offer feedback to you- ‘uh, he be crazy…. neeeexxxxt’ or ‘yup, spot on, this is the guy you want’ even ‘okay, I think if we move these two things around it will still accomplish your goal but save you some money’.
WEDDING DAY: Most of my value is on the wedding day. I’m on top of overseeing everything. I’m on call, my phone is ready. I’m troubleshooting before you even wake up. I’m answering vendor questions and securing a venue manager to fix a power issue. I’m multi-tasking as I check each vendor in and make sure they set things up like we told them to. I’m placing your special items where you asked that they be- your guest book, your escort cards, the champagne flutes. All in my possession. I’ve got your contracts in my hand and I’m holding your vendors accountable to their promises. I’m calmly re-arranging the timeline because you decided you prefer to linger in your private meal together. I’m watching the guests and making sure they are content. If they aren’t, we have to adjust the flow. I’m checking in with your parents and re-filling their drinks and I’m making sure you are having the time of your life.
When describing this, I truly think of an office admin. A personal assistant is there when you want to take a Sunday drive down Day Dream Ave for a visit to your venue every month. They are available at all hours of the day, any day of the week. They are able to secure items that may have been forgotten on your wedding day: lip gloss, shoes, etc. This role is traditionally filled by the Maid of Honor and the Bridesmaids. Now, hear me…. I do NOT encourage bossing your best friends around. But in the event that you forget your ‘something blue’ I have no doubt that one of them wouldn’t be more than happy to run back to the hotel and get the item. This might mean missing out on a little girl time at the salon, but that’s okay, you would do it for them, right? If this isn’t an option, I always encourage the MOH to call her date and kindly ask if he will run a quick errand for her while she is getting ready. As MOH and as the date to the MOH, there is an understanding that a level of work and responsibility are expected.
I am certainly able and willing to do these tasks for you, but I will need to discuss them as a la carte services so we can plan and budget our time appropriately. I really hate to say no… I’m a YES kinda gal. If you prefer that your family and friends not be responsible for anything but having fun, then I highly recommend our personal concierge services.
Wait, there is a whole other role here? I thought my wedding planner designed my wedding. That or, well, Pinterest. While a wedding planner absolutely guides you, helps you narrow down the vision, and can match make you with the perfect stylists- they are not designers. Many wedding planners have in-house designers on their team, though. I do! My designer will meet with you (and me) at your venue in the early stages of planning. She will develop your ideas and bring them to life. Creating mood boards and even hand crafted examples of your design. She will attend your rental appointments and make sure everything is on par with the style you have selected. All things pretty = designer. When your pretty day roles around, she is there doing the install. She is hands on with the florist and rental companies, styling the event. All the while, your wedding planner is overseeing every aspect of vendor arrival, issues, and general timeline management.
YOUR WEDDING PLANNER IS:
Your vendor matchmaker
Your advocate when something goes wrong
Your industry expert- reviewing contracts, offering feedback and catching red flags
Your timeline and layout maker extraordinaire
Your money and time saver
Your resource and tool provider
Your idea developer
Your mistake avoider
YOUR WEDDING PLANNER IS NOT:
Your wedding day errand girl
Your 7pm secretary
Your decision maker
Your middle man with vendors
I hope that this brought a little clarity to the differences between the varying roles. How yes, each service can be provided by one team, but realistically, not by one person.
Until next time,
Amber and Team