January 8, 2014

Wedding Advice: { Do I Need a Wedding Planner? }

With the holiday season being the most popular time of the year to be popping THE question, lots of people are ringing into the new year with a shiny new rock on their finger.

Congrats to all you lovebirds out there who are ready to plan your wedding! One of the first questions you'll probably ask yourselves is whether or not you need a Wedding Planner to help you out.

Our advice? A definite yes!  Unless you regularly plan parties for over 100 people with a 5 ,6, or 7 figure budget, you're going to want to bring in a professional Wedding Planner to make sure you're doing it right. The Wall Street Journal have compiled their list of the 10 most stressful jobs in the world, and Event Planner ranks #5, right behind soldiers and firefighters. That sounds about right to those of us who plan events for a living. Now why would anyone who is inexperienced in this area want to be planning one of the most monumental events of their lives without an expert alongside them? It's like building a house without an architect or performing as an orchestra without a conductor.

We get it. You're super excited to dive into the planning. You're imagining fun dress fitting sessions with your closest girlfriends, over the top food tastings with an unlimited supply of wine and bubbly, hand picking the most gorgeous linens to go with the pretty flowers you chose, and continually adding as many beautiful photos to your Pinterest boards as possible along the way. Yes, these are all a part of the wedding planning, but what about figuring out how to get 12 vendor trucks to load in a single dock in 2 hours, concocting a clever transportation schedule that can allow you to use only 2 shuttle buses for 5 hotel pick ups, and devising a grand plan to flip the ballroom from ceremony to reception in 1 hour? What about learning to understand a vendor contract or the band's 10 page rider?
By hiring a really good planner, you will get to fulfill that lovely dream of yours and be involved in mostly the fun parts of the planning, while leaving the not-so-fun-but-extremely-crucial logistics to your planner's capable hands.

There's a reason why we have so many docs for even the simplest of events. Our array of internal docs help us to stay organized despite the massive amount of details for every wedding.

You may be convinced that you're going to be just fine being your own Wedding Planner, because you've planned a few parties before and you've hired some kick-a** vendors who can help guide you along the way. There's your knowledgeable venue manager, informative caterer, and eager photographer....all available and willing to give you their best advice. And they will be, to you, and all 30-50-100 of the other couples that they will be working with simultaneously. They may have hundreds of weddings under their belt, and I have no doubt that they've "seen it all" and can really offer you great advice. But there's just one problem....

Context.

The advice that anyone and everyone will give you during your wedding planning journey (solicited and unsolicited, from vendors, friends, families, and even strangers) will all be outside the true context of YOUR individual, unique, special-to-yours wedding. That's where your Wedding Planner is most valuable.

When clients hire a planner, they've hired a confidante, a project manager, and a creative artist all in one. Similar to a general contractor's role in the architecture world, we're the ones who can effectively manage all the vendors because we have both the macro and micro view of the wedding.
No, not just any wedding. Your wedding. Every piece of advice we give you along the way will be tailored to the context of your wedding, because that's the only way that makes sense. What worked for Jane's 50 person outdoor wedding in June will likely not work for your 250 person winter affair in a museum. And that gorgeous, jaw-dropping, swoon-worthy tabletop image that you pinned on pinterest? How do you fit that within the context of your wedding budget, venue, and other factors?

A wedding is like one of those 1000 pieces of puzzles. It takes a lot of time, careful precision and accuracy to piece it all together. It's hundreds of hours of planning and pages and pages of schematics, spreadsheets, and contracts. Without a certain level of experience and expertise, you risk making costly mistakes along the way. Your planner is your trusted advisor who not only helps you avoid such mistakes, but can effectively help you to problem solve when unforeseen issues surface (and trust us, there will be unforeseen issues with any event!). We comb through every last detail behind the scenes, go over extensive notes with each vendor, and triple check everything to ensure every i has been dotted, and every t has been crossed. We focus on the preventive, so our master check list includes things like:

--Check for local activities that may impact road closures or detours
--Check time of sunset on wedding day (this is important for photography purposes!)
--Check wheelchair access for all event spaces

....and about a million more things

A collage of some behind the scene shots of our team as we prepare for weddings (taken by my iPhone, so apologies for the quality of the images!)
So, while your florist is an expert at her craft, she has no clue what the band, or the caterer, or the photographer are contracted for at your wedding. She also has no idea when grandma plans to arrive, and whom should be there to greet her and to pin on her corsage. Yet, her production schedule and logistics will somehow be linked to everyone else's. That's where your planner comes in.  We'll help you figure out all this hard stuff. And when you have a stellar planner, it not only alleviates your stress level, but it allows all your vendors to focus on what they do best.

We're not trying to burst your bubble, but we just want to give you a dose of reality that wedding planning goes far beyond the pretty stuff. There's a lot of unglamorous details on the backend that needs to be well thought out and properly executed, and that's not a role that you, or any of your guests, should be taking on. We believe that wedding planning should be fun for you and your families and that's why we're encouraging you to hire a planner so that you can focus on the pretty stuff.

Still have doubts about hiring a planner? Consider this. In Northern California, an average wedding costs as much as a fancy sports car, a hefty down payment on a house, and sometimes, it's the cost of an actual house. Given the investment into this important, once-in-a-lifetime event, doesn't it make sense to invest in a bit of insurance to make sure you're doing things right? Hiring a reputable, experienced planner is that piece of insurance.

Wishing every engaged couple a wonderful, fun, splendid journey in their wedding planning!

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