Wedding Planners: What Do We Do, Really?

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With inquiry season in full swing, we’ve noticed a trend among couples, friends (and surprisingly) other wedding vendors! With everything you are investing in as bride(s)/groom(s), a Wedding Planner might be at the bottom of your list. We’re here to share why in 2020 and beyond that should no longer be the case.

We know for years Wedding Planners have been viewed as a “luxury expense”. We’re here to tell you that is no longer true! Not only do many Planners offer different tiers of services, but weddings are no longer a small affair. This is thanks to Pinterest, Instagram and the elevation of the event industry in general.

So, if you’ve been wondering if wedding planning can be fun, keep scrolling! The whole idea that planning a day of love, music, drinks and dancing is a stressful nightmare can be avoided. We promise, it is possible to have a beautiful, exciting planning experience that you, your partner and family will enjoy. Below we’ve laid out the benefits of hiring a Wedding Planner for your long-awaited day!

Setting a Realistic Wedding Budget

Nicole Clarey Photography

How much are you investing into your wedding day? And, where did you get that number? Many couples planning their big day don’t even know where to begin when coming up with a budget. You may have your own income, plus financial assistance from your parents, to put towards their celebration. But, how does that get spent? Is your vision still realistic with that budget?

At the end of the day, that money can only be spent and divided in so many ways without compromising the success of your event. Before coming up with your guest list, it’s important you know what kind of expenses to expect based on your anticipated guest count, your wedding vision and overall guest experience.

Wedding Planners assist in breaking down these anticipated costs, knowing full-well the average costs of vendors and their service. We can also give you insight into smaller, unforeseen expenses that add up down the road. When it comes to budgeting for your celebration, you should be trusting a professional who knows the industry in and out.

Not only do we help break down the investment of every vendor you book, we alert you in whether you’re going above your anticipated budget. No Wedding Planner is doing their job without speaking some harsh financial truths! We also have copies of all your contracts, reminding you of payment due dates, so you never miss a beat.

Gather your Vision and Ideas into One Cohesive Plan

The biggest moment of your life is here: You’re engaged! There are lots of dynamics to this day, and we want to be sure it’s happening the way you both want it to. That includes the design and feel of your event.

We love gorgeous weddings, but we do feel for brides and/or grooms designing their weddings in the age of social media. There are ideas thrown at you in every way: From Pinterest, to Instagram, to online and print publications and even that friend’s wedding you just attended.

As your Wedding Planner and Designer, we help take all of those ideas you have and combine them into one cohesive plan. We create mood boards, solidify your color theme and even add in new ideas that maybe you haven’t even thought of! We’ll voice honest opinion, and let you know when your vision is running off track. However, in the end, it’s your day and you are the final decision maker!

Find and Vet Potential Wedding Vendors

With Grace & Gold

Your vendors are the backbone of your event. You are hiring a team of Professionals to ensure the celebration you are pouring time, money and emotion into goes the exact way you want! And we, your Team Lead, want to make sure you are hiring vendors that are experienced, licensed, insured and kind.

Guys, let’s get real. Anyone can post on Facebook asking for a vendor recommendation and get loads of responses. Hey, even other wedding professionals might be chiming in, letting you know they love a certain vendor and their work! But unless you’re a Wedding Planner, does one really know:

  • How well that Vendor comes through on a wedding day?
  • Are they even available on your date?
  • What are their contracts and payments are like?
  • Do they communicate well during the planning process?
  • Are they within your budget?
  • Do they care about you and your day, or is the bottom line the $$$?
  • Do they run on time and stick to a timeline?
  • Are they a good fit for you?

Wedding Planners know the ins and outs of vendor teams, often working alongside many of the ones we recommend. Trust us, not Aunt Betty, to recommend a handful of qualified vendors to you. We have years of experience at your disposal! From there, you can pick your best fit.

Schedule and Attend Vendor Meetings

Not only do we help source your vendor team, but we want to be on the frontline with you! We meet with them alongside you and make sure you’re taken care of. We are the middle man for you and your partner: Instead of sneaking away during work hours to answer that vendor email (shhhhhhh), trust your Wedding Planner to communicate with your vendors directly, setting up meetings and handling the important to-do’s so you don’t have to.

Your Planner knows the questions to ask, the red flags to look for during consultations or proposals, and overall how to keep you on track, both with your wedding vision and budget. We’re your advocate!

Site Tours and Tastings

Kismet Visuals & Co.

Yes, we do these, too! Just like all of your other vendors, your Venue is a vendor, too. To fully prepare for the flow of your day, we tour your venue with you and your Venue Manager/Coordinator.

Since we oversee your vendor team, we know the questions to ask and the potential problems to avoid, even before they arise. Ex: Is there a long walk to the Ceremony site on grass? How are older and/or wheelchair-bound guests able to easily access the site? We also know how to make a successful timeline based on the grounds of your event.

In-house catering or not, your Wedding Planner will attend tastings with you – and no, not just for the good food! Although, we won’t lie, it is a great job perk! Your catering team can make or break your wedding day. Again, we don’t just attend for the food itself, but also so we can fully vet your catering team and run any important details by them that you may not be thinking of.

Review Vendor Contracts

Ah, contracts. These are not something you should take lightly! All vendors, WE REPEAT, ALL vendors you are hiring for your wedding day should have a contract in place. Not only do they protect the vendor themselves, but they protect you, the client.

Whether hiring a Full Service Wedding Planner or opting for a Wedding Management Coordinator (previously known as Day-Of Coordinator, but we all know that doesn’t exist anymore!) your Planner will want every contract you will sign or have signed. We review them and make sure the details, payment schedules, terms, etc. are all sound and in check, and that the services come to fruition on your big day.

Offer Advice on Wedding Etiquette

Jenna Greenawalt Photography

No, we are not a counselor, although sometimes it feels that way! Whether it’s regarding your family members or invited guests, we’ve seen and heard it all. Because of that, we also know how to best direct you without stepping on toes.

Aside from the emotions, we offer advice on etiquette for your showers, invitation wording, wedding insurance, where to register, ceremony outlines, etc. There is so much on the personal side of wedding planning that you want to be prepared for, and we help guide you every step of the way.

Act as a Liaison between You and Your Selected Vendors

As we’ve said before, we maintain most of the communication between you and your vendors, only involving you when personal preference or financial decisions need to be made. This way, you’re able to focus on the fun parts of planning, while we handle the gritty details! We ask all your vendors to email us directly, or at least copy us on all communication, so that we don’t overlook a thing.

We also do our very best to advocate for the things you’ve wanted for your day to ensure your happiness, as long as they’re within the original plan and budget. As the middle man between you and your vendors, we’re able to see both sides of a situation without clouded emotional judgement, and can you help make sound decisions.

Manage your RSVP’s

Surprisingly (or maybe not so much) many of our couples prefer to handle this aspect themselves, but we do offer this service! We’ve found many couples enjoy getting that little card in the mail and excitedly opening it to find out who else wants to celebrate with them. We totally get it!

For those who want it handled by someone else, Wedding Planners are able to gather and keep record of your RSVP’s, along with the associated guest count and meal choices. Just one more spreadsheet you don’t have to worry about updating, but can check as you please!

Create Functional Floor Plans

Floor plans are no joke, and no event can function properly without a meticulous plan from the get-go. We work alongside your Venue Manager/Coordinator to specify all that your event needs – tables, chairs, staging, etc. We make sure all these pieces can realistically fit in your space and flow nicely with your venue and guest count. Your vendors will also want a clear plan of where to set up, the flow of the room/night, power sources, etc.

Having a tented or outdoor wedding? Floor plans are just as important for these as well! Your Wedding Planner will act again as Team Lead, making sure the flow of the evening is how you want it to be, but also setting your many vendors up for success.

Create a Realistic Timeline

Ever been to a wedding where it’s clear there’s no one running the day, and there’s no timeline in place? I think we’ve all been there, and they’re often not good memories.

One of the biggest ways we serve our clients is creating a cohesive timeline for the day and/or weekend. We coordinate with your venue, rental companies, hair and makeup teams, photographer, entertainment teams, and so many more to make a timeline that is realistic and attainable.

We create a timeline for your vendor team, keeping in mind travel schedules, set up, sunset times, tear down, etc. and also a timeline for your wedding party, so that they, too, know what’s going on. Your wedding day is a team effort – no vendor is ever commanded by us when to arrive or what to do. It’s a relational affair, all of us working together to ensure your day is the best ever.

Oversee Rentals & Decor

Photography Anthology

One of the ways we find ourselves being most helpful is with your purchased and/or rented decor. We love a wedding with personality, however that also means lots of extra touches and details go into planning your event! What does this mean? Yep, more work, scheduling, time and even labor.

Who wants to oversee rental drop-offs the day before or morning of your event? You should be hanging with your family or wedding party, enjoying every moment of that time! Likewise, asking wedding party or family members to stay at the end of the night to clean is just a downright bummer.

Guys, hear us when we say: Your family/wedding party deserve to enjoy the day just as much as you! Please don’t put the extra pressure on them to set up or clean up your event. Take it from someone who was young and naive and did just that, and has regretted it even years later. Let your Planner help you put a plan in place from the beginning. This may involve extra labor costs to specific vendors, but always worth it in the end when you can allow friends/family to have just as much fun as you.

Coordinate Rehearsal

Whether it’s your Pastor, friend, hired Officiant or dad performing the ceremony, your Planner will be at your rehearsal to ensure it runs smoothly! We’ve both ran rehearsals or simply stood quietly to the side, to make sure everything is going according to plan. This is a crucial part for the couple to practice what’s going to be the biggest moment of their life, and we’ll be there to support you through it.

Coordinate You, your Family, Vendors & Guests

Nicole Clarey Photography

On the day of your event, we act again as that Team Lead in every aspect: From the moment hair and makeup begins to the vendor strike at the end of the night. Our team is constantly checking in on you, making sure you both are happy and excited, all while making sure their vendors have what they need and are running on time as well.

Need a tissue? We’ll grab you one. Sewing needle and thread? We’ve got an emergency kit! Need to push back speeches 5 minutes, to allow for a bathroom break? We’ll let your DJ/band and attendants know! All of these things are constantly in check to ensure there’s no rushing or awkward lags the entire day.

It’s a long day of work for Planners, who can be on their feet coordinating and overseeing your event anywhere from 10-15 hours in just one wedding day. Sounds like a lot, right? It is, but we love that we get to serve in this way!

Us Planners love what we do, but it’s truly not for the faint of heart! We invest more time into our couples and work more hours on one wedding than any other vendor. Based on all of the services we listed and hours we spend on each event, hopefully all of the above helps give those inquiring minds a better understanding of why investing in a Planner is worth every penny.

You wouldn’t trust your inexperienced neighbor Tom to take your wedding photos that you’ll look back on year after year – so why take the chance on your Wedding Planner/Coordinator?

There are so many more aspects to Full Service Wedding Planning, but these are the main benefits we enjoy pointing out to inquiring couples. As we said in the beginning, we along with many other Planners offer different tiers of service! So, if you’re interested in a more hands-off approach, shoot us an email!

Look out for a future post on Wedding Management services and what those entail. Also coming soon, why a Wedding Planner/Coordinator is in fact different than a Venue Manager/Coordinator. We promise, individuals trying to sell you on those two roles being one and the same are leading you astray.

We hope this has given you a better idea of what we do on a day-to-day basis! You deserve peace of mind on your wedding day – it’s your ONE day, and one you can’t redo. And you also deserve to enjoy planning your wedding as well – trust us, it’s possible.

Cheers!

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