[Image by Nerida McMurray Photography]
Upon starting out on the wedding planning journey and prior to uncovering the budget, venue, ceremony location – the American Bride wastes no time sourcing out the one person who will ensure hers is an experience that is; within budget, logistically problem-free, perfectly timed, delegated, fun and above all stress-free.
For those Australian Brides thinking that a Wedding Planner is reserved for celebrities like Kimye and Kate Middleton – darling you couldn’t be more farther from the truth. Fact!
The idea of a Wedding Planner in Australia is to most – quite bizarre. What do you do with us? What do we do?
The reality of hiring a Wedding Planner means that you have engaged a person who quite frankly can sweat the small, medium and big ‘stuff’ leaving you to oversee the the stuff that really matters. It’s that simple. A silent bridesmaid? A shoulder to go “Help” on, that voice of reason when everyone else seems to be applying the pressure? A wedding planner ticks many boxes.
I am the kind of Planner who edges on the side of caution when it comes to advising others on how they go about planning their wedding day and where their money is best spent. I was bought up with my Mother saying “less is always more”. This mantra has served me and my clients well and ensures a happy outcome every time.
On the flip side there are some incredible and talented planners where more is MORE. This is great for Bride as there is so much choice out there when selecting the planner that understands you and can bring your vision to fruition. The possibilities are endless.
By no means is finding the perfect planner and easy exercise. If you are finding it hard to uncover your planners aesthetic and whether it resonates with you and your partner. It’s as simple as heading to their Website, Instagram or Facebook page. Very quickly you can sum up the kind of weddings they like to create for their clients and what their strengths are. No one is better and no one is worse – just different.
Here’s a check-list you must arm yourself with when shopping around for your incredible and oh-so important Wedding Planner. We are a dime a dozen and if you are wondering, yes I had a wedding planner and boy was it worth all the money in the world.
1. To whom it may concern – The initial point of contact
You’ve seen their website, you like their work or have been recommended via a supplier or friend. You set about making that initial enquiry. Whether it’s an email or a phone call. What was their response-rate like? Fast, slow, filled with loads of copy or non-existent (until prompted)? Based on this you can quickly sum up how they will respond to you throughout the wedding planning process.
The idea is that you want someone that will be there to answer your queries within 24 hours. Maximum! Time is precocious, you have a busy schedule which permits you to focus on your wedding day out of hours, therefore you want someone who is working round the clock to ensure you have all the tools necessary to attack and tick every box you need completed.
2. Tea, coffee, champagne? – instant connection?
The next step – You’ve organised a time to meet face-to-face. If you don’t get offered champagne and lots of it – forget it!!
Jokes aside. A sense of hospitality is important. Did they make you feel comfortable, did you leave bamboozled or comforted? A candid and well articulated Wedding Planner and one whom is interested in YOUR DAY is key. You need to feel as though there is that level of honesty and transparency from the minute you meet. Remember you will be working with this person for many months (sometimes years) to come – choose your Planner wisely.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a period of ‘grace’. Upon you engaging your Wedding Planner, is there a time in which you can retract the relationship? If they aren’t performing or exceeding your expectations this is a fair request. Within reason. Remember you too need to have achievable expectations. Keep emails concise. One-liners don’t cut-it. Aim for maximum outcome with minimal work. Preparing one email per week with all your queries/ concerns is understandable. This is your first time as a bride and therefore your Wedding Planner is well equipped to understanding your somewhat irrational behaviour to get things done quickly and exact.
3. It’s you and me – The roles are clearly defined
Every bride requires a certain level of assistance. Some a lot and some not so much. There are times when both parties will overstep the mark and it’s important to know from the initial consultation what you expect from your wedding planner and he/she you. Here’s an example
The Styling – most planners will assist with the sourcing and quoting for each of those individual hire items that make yours unique. Flowers, table decorations, tables, chairs, linen, stationary, candles and more. The question is do you wish to source these items yourself and have access to your planners black-book of contacts or do you want your planner to manage this entire element with your final approval? The benefits with having your planner doing most of the leg work is that he/she has done this a million times and will ensure that costs are kept to a minimum and minimise the unnecessary back and forth. Read – more emails = more opportunity for mistakes!
Suppliers – Wedding Planners have ongoing relationships that are prescious. They have a team of preferred suppliers from each category that provide them with a level of comfort and that they can rely on to make them look good. This insiders knowledge and of the market is invaluable and ensures that you are presented with a team of people that fit according to your brief and budget. From entertainment, photographer, videographers, cake artists, caterers, hair and makeup artists and more. Your planner is across their fees and their inclusions ensuring you don’t have to reach out and obtain a multitude of quotes that you may or may not entirely comprehend. In one quick phone call your planner can present you with the top line information and cut out countless question marks surrounding the many inclusions, added value that suppliers present to clients upon first point of contact.
Set-up / Pack-down – whilst 90% of weddings are planned well before the actual event, the key attribute for having someone oversee the run sheet, supplier set-up/down times and ensure that your day runs accordingly is to ensure that you do not have to lift a finger on the day. It really is that simple. There is nothing worse than a bride trying to ‘micro-manage’ the running of their wedding day on the actual day. It’s one additional stress that no one should endure. It also doesn’t do anything for those wrinkles!!
At the end of the day – Wedding Planners are not reserved for Celebrities. They are reserved for those who wish to be a enjoy the fun and above everything be married!
All the very best with finding your perfect Wedding Planner. It’s not easy but once you find the right one – you’ll have the time of your life!