So you’re planning your wedding – amazingly fun, right? You love throwing parties!
Except that this is a party like no other .. one that so many people have so much emotion vested in, so many expectations, so many ideas. And trust us, when you already have a full and busy life – work, friends, family, fitness – throwing yet another activity in is a big ask, especially when that ‘activity’ has so much significance.
So a wedding planner, on the surface of it, makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Someone to whom you can delegate, someone who is well-versed in the intricacies of not just getting married, but actually having a wedding. But, as with almost anything big-day related, there’ll be so many reasons to make you wonder whether or not you should … shall we address some of those?
Only rich people use wedding planners and I’m on a budget!
Films and celeb magazines may give you the impression that only those with bottomless wallets use planners, but actually, just are there is a range of wedding budgets, there is a range of wedding planner fees. In addition, you may actually save money by using a planner, as they tend to have good relationships with suppliers and can therefore negotiate discounts and deals. “A bride is a one-off customer; a wedding planner is not,” says Audrey, of Sapphire Weddings, a wedding planning company covering Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. “Florists, confectioners, musicians, printers, photographers … a planner will have developed good relationships with all of these wedding-relevant experts and will therefore be able to offer significant savings on packages from a range of suppliers.” In addition, planners and suppliers often collaborate to promote their services, so by booking with a planner, you may be able to benefit from competitions and incentives – for example, Sapphire Weddings & Events currently has a promotion with one of their favourite photographers, where booking a full or partial planning package with enters you into a prize draw to win a storybook wedding photography package worth £2,295.
But I have a vision for my wedding and I don’t want to entrust that to anyone else!
Here’s the thing – no bride-to-be is an island. You will, inevitably, need to ask for help when organising your big day – and the people you’ll ask for help will, just as inevitably, be your relatives and bridesmaids. These people are amazing people, no mistake – but they are involved, and this means that they have their own (however benign and well-intentioned) opinions about things. Input is great. Multiple inputs – especially when they, as they will almost certainly will, don’t completely gel, can be a headache to negotiate … how much better to discuss that vision with a completely impartial person and work with them on creating it?
I don’t need a wedding planner; my chosen venue has a dedicated wedding coordinator.
The difference between a wedding planner and a coordinator employed by your venue is very often the difference between having every aspect of your day brought together seamlessly, and having only the aspects that relate to the venue looked after. A venue-based coordinator’s scope will generally only extend to the aspects of the event that relate to the venue – food, beverages, music – and can only come into their own once the venue has been chosen – whereas a wedding planner can be on board from Day One. In addition, if your wedding is taking place across more than one venue, a wedding planner will be able to blend elements of the two together in a way that a coordinator associated with a single venue won’t. And the biggest difference? A wedding planner is working for you, a venue coordinator is working for the venue.
But isn’t that what my mum and bridesmaids are for?
As we mentioned before, weddings can be a hothouse of conflicting opinions and ideas, and even the toughest bride-to-be may find herself buckling under the weight of expectation. But even if all of your nearest and dearest are of one mind, heart and vision when it comes to your wedding, that doesn’t change the fact that, on the day, you want them to have an amazing time. “Having the services of a wedding planner, not only in the planning stages but on the day itself, means that any unforeseen circumstance or last minute hiccup can be dealt with, without your guests or loved ones having to take time out from celebrating to handle a crisis!’ says Audrey. “Your maid of honour simply can’t be accompanying you in the bridal party if she’s simultaneously having to deal with, for instance, a delivery issue. Although I do become quite close with my brides over the course of planning their weddings – good relationships are at the heart of what I do – on the day itself, I am there as an employee, not as a guest. Letting someone like me do my job means that your guests can just have fun, relax and celebrate with you.”
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Guest Writer Sarah Rodrigues