Wedding Planner or No Wedding Planner
Let’s start with full disclosure because I am an upfront kind of person. I am a Destination Wedding Planner and so, my conclusion, may not come as a massive surprise but let me share with you the fact that I have over a decade of experience in the job and so it’s very possible that I have planned more weddings than you and I can talk with quite some degree of expertise in the field.
Being an upfront kind of person and a straight talker (even more so with age it must be said!) I can confirm to you that it is possible to plan a wedding without a Wedding Planner. I think we can all agree that it’s not rocket science and it doesn’t take years of study to organize however it does require a good amount of time, patience and organization. Now obviously if you have a Wedding Planner it’s a service that you pay for and so you might think that, in order to save money, you will simply give your own time, patience and organization to your special day. But let me put it to you another way. Have you ever bought a preprepared sandwich ? You know for a quick lunch or pic-nic or something to keep you going through the day. I think we can all agree that we can all make a sandwich and so save some money right???? But it takes a bit of planning, you need to have already shopped for the ingredients, you need a bit of time before you leave to prepare the sandwich and so, more often than not, we opt to buy something while we are out – and lets face it, any food prepared by someone else always taste better! Of course the main difference in this comparison is the ‘extra’ cost for the service. You’re quite right, it does cost a bit more than the price of a BLT to have a Wedding Planner but then you are going to get SO MUCH more.
I have recently had the perfect example of a couple who thought, ‘how hard can it be?’ and started their planning journey independently. They had got a really long way before they came to me, so much so that I jokingly asked ‘what is it you think you need me for’? They had the venue, florist, caterers, décor hire and various other services already lined up. But as we talked I discovered I knew the venue and I pointed out a couple of details, like the fact that the road access was really quite steep (so steep I had left my clutch on hill the first time I visited) and parking was limited for the caterers. I was able to make them access if it was really feasible, pointed out extra services they would need and of course the extra costs that went with it. Without going into the nitty gritty I picked their wedding apart. We started from scratch in a new venue, they love it more (it has the most AMAZING lake view) and they will spend less. As the groom said to me ‘we were looking at it in a macro kind of way but once you get past that the micro really requires some expert knowledge’.
Another couple who married 2 years ago had found and fallen in love with a venue that I often work with. Since the venue staff speak really good English they couldn’t see the need for a wedding planner – at a macro level. But once again when they got down to the smaller details they discovered some things had been a bit lost in translation and they were anxious they were not being understood and were not going to get the day they dreamed of. To return to the analogy of the pre-prepared sandwich it didn’t just feel like they were shopping for the ingredients but growing the tomatoes from seed! I stepped in took a weight off their mind, allowing them to start to get excited about the big day instead of living in a constant state of anxiety because a run up to your wedding in that state isn’t going to allow you to enjoy it as you should.
There are other times when I need to be a translator of course because not many couples speak Italian and not every Italian speaks perfect English while mine is still pretty good even after 24 years here 😉 But what I often find is that I also need to be what a friend of mine referred to as a ‘cultural translator’ and this can happen even if the venue speak English. For example the Italians may tell you that an Open Bar in included. How exciting does that sound for a British Wedding ? Too good to be true possibly ? In fact that the Italians refer to as an Open Bar is simply a fully stocked bar, it DOES NOT include the drinks. That could be a very expensive misunderstanding indeed.
And then there is quite simply the fact that you know with total certainly that you have someone who’s got your back. Someone who’s checking the small details, keeping an eye on the time, coordinating with the venue and the photographer for the cutting of the cake followed immediately by fireworks. Even your closest of friends who you rely on totally could be forgiven for having a drink and enjoying the company of the other guests and not remembering to check every detail. A professional will instead be there only for that purpose and in so doing will take the responsibility of the running of the day off your shoulders allowing you to simply enjoy the moment because it should never be forgotten, that it is YOUR DAY, and if you are not able to enjoy it then something has gone terribly wrong.