Ok so I know I have come across a bride feeling this way, heck I think I may have been this bride a lifetime ago! I still remember looking through the phone book(yes I was a bride back in the olden-molded days!) and thinking, “Oh my gosh…I’m just getting started and I’m already overwhelmed”.
Now fast forward 15 years and boy has this industry changed! So many more choices and a million ways to go about the whole thing! There’s Pinterest, for the ambitious DIY‘er, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Weddingbee, Bridal magazines online wedding mags, Facebook, Twitter….AHHHH!!
Well, there is a way to simplify things a bit. In the short time that I have been doing wedding planning I have seen this overwhelmed bride and groom. I would like to offer some tips to help you feel like you are the one under control, not the industry controlling YOU! This is the first step in the process of remaining in control. As a wedding planner, this really helps us to be able to help you stay on track. Everybody has a budget, and everybody has priorities as to where you would like to invest your money and time. The first place I tell my brides to go is: Cost Of Wedding. This is by far one of the best tools during those initial planning stages. It helps me and I use it quite frequently. This website allows you to see all of the usual items that makes up a wedding. From average costs of caterers to the ribbons in your flower girl’s hair. It is a bit of a tedious list but it is extremely necessary to you as you decide which of those items are important to you! It asks you to put in your zip code and a few other questions, then a new screen pops up and voila….There will be a detailed list of items, with average pricing from amateur vendors to well-seasoned vendors. It is fairly accurate. It bases the pricing on 124-150 guests. I highly recommend doing this before you get started!
Now, I don’t want to come across snotty or rude, but in my experience hiring a friend or relative to be a part of your wedding vendors can turn out, well let’s just say, no bueno. Here’s an example that I can share with you. During this past season I had a bride hire me as their “day Of”. She decided to hire her bridesmaids’ ex-boyfiend to be her DJ. Stop me if you’ve heard this one already…
I never saw a contract because he didn’t have one(Yikes), he does weddings and has “experience” “does this all of the time”. No website, no reviews…blah, blah, blah…
I managed to meet with him for the Rehearsal(After he missed our other scheduled meeting) to go over with him where he was going to be, items that he will need, etc. We went over music and I gave him itineraries via email so he would have them(actually did this about a week and a half prior to wedding). On wedding day he calls and says he’s going to be late and that he doesn’t have the first dance song, which tells me that the bride did not share this list with him and discuss any details prior to(even though I asked the bride multiple times to do this), and that this guy is doing this all LAST MINUTE!!! GAHHH!
It pretty much went down hill from there, from getting the processional song wrong, to having to download the first song from our iPhones and using the venues’ system to play it. It was a nightmare! I told myself if I am given the opportunity to share what I have learned with my couples that I would make sure that when hiring a vendor they MUST be a professional. preferably one that has experience and a trackable record on Wedding Wire or The Knot, etc. CONTRACTS are a MUST! You don’t need to find out that these vendors are unprepared or unprofessional on your wedding day! A wedding planner can only do so much, and we have no control over these types of situations. We can only suggest to you what we know works!
This is very important! When sitting down and meeting with potential vendors, it is so important to have a good rapport with them. Especially with your wedding planner! She/he must be able to listen, contribute, and ‘get you’ and your vision. You may like them, and maybe they meet your budget requirements, but if they aren’t getting what you’re saying, meaning you are repeating yourself over and over again, then maybe you need to move on. Always go with your initial gut feeling! You will be working with your wedding planner fairly close; whether you’re using them for a few months prior to your wedding or for the whole thing! It is an on-going relationship that you should feel confident and relieved that you’ve hired them. Also, your photographer. They will be with you the whole day plus for engagement/save-the-date photos and many times beyond your wedding! The last you need is to feel like you can’t wait to be done taking pictures because they are annoying you or you’re just not clicking. That will reflect on your pictures, and when you look at your images you will associate it with negativity. Caterers too, they should be resourceful, good problem solvers and accommodating to your needs. Budget is a huge factor so prioritizing is a very important step during the initial planning stages. This will help know where you are more apt to splurging or pinching your money! All in all, you should be happy about your investment, after all, it’s your wedding day right?
Finally, after you have determined your budget, made your list of priorities, make sure you hire a wedding planner. Even the most ambitious, DIY’ers can benefit from having someone who has been there multiple times to make sure every detail is worked out…AHEAD OF TIME! They will make sure all of the final planning is taken care of, and that everyone one is well-informed on how your wedding day will go down. The planner is well worth the investment and will give you the peace of mind that you and your finance, family and friends deserves! They should all be a part of the celebration, not part of the working staff. Enjoy the planning process and trust your vendors. You can’t go wrong! Ready to get started? Call us TODAY for your complimentary consultation over coffee or a glass of wine. We love a good love story!