Essentially, a Wedding Planner is a professional whose expertise and contacts can turn your wedding into a day of absolute perfection. He or she is the lynch pin for your event; the one who will locate the services and suppliers you require; who will negotiate contracts; mediate and manage the various companies involved in your day and ensure that everything runs like clock-work. Popular alternative job titles may include Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Designer or even elope in Vegas. I will use the terms interchangeably throughout this paper.
The job of planning weddings is great fun. However, as with any other job in this world it is not all plain sailing. Planning a wedding with the expectation that it will be a day to eclipse all others can take an unbelievable amount of time and effort, to say nothing of the stress and worry! There are ups and downs, periods of great joy and times of immense stress and pressure. Weddings are events that are dreamt about: some brides have imagined walking down the aisle in a pure white dress and a tiara for 30 years or more! It is certainly a challenge unlike any others you may have come across before. And when you add both work and a hectic, pre-wedding social life to the equation, often the feat seems monumental. It is an honour not to be taken lightly.
Nowadays, with so much to do and such relatively little time to do it, employing a professional wedding consultancy is increasingly seen as a sensible way of ensuring a stress-free engagement and potentially flawless wedding. In the USA it is the norm: the majority of couples getting married use a Wedding Planner. It is a huge industry providing couples with an invaluable service during a period in their lives when stress and worry should be banished and time is of the essence.
Slowly but surely couples in the UK are waking up to the realisation that a Wedding Planners are not simply a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. Nowadays a good Consultant is just as familiar with organising a small and intimate family gathering of 12 as an extravagant party of 500 or more. Using their expert knowledge of the industry together with extensive databases and links to leading suppliers an established Wedding Planner will have the foundations on which to build a perfect wedding. They will give you unfettered access to every supplier in the country that fulfils your requirements. Unless otherwise instructed, their priorities lie solely with the couple, their wedding objectives and the all-important budget. And when you find a Consultant whom you trust and feel comfortable with, you may be sure that these elements will be managed wisely.
The very best Wedding Planners possess a diverse set of skills. They are extremely practical, versatile, knowledgeable and resourceful. It is their job to assist both the bride and groom in the run up to the Big Day. On the day itself, it is the Bride who is centre-stage, whilst the Wedding Planner works tirelessly in the background.
During the planning process they will bear the brunt of the daily chores. They will design, plan, coordinate and manage the event from behind the scenes, thereby giving couples valuable time to relax and enjoy their engagement and look forward to their dream wedding.
As with most wedding consultancies, we will usually start off by sitting down with the couple in order to learn exactly how the clients envisage their wedding day developing, from the moment they wake in the morning to the time they depart the party amid an explosion of fireworks at the end of the night. Although we often see the groom shying away from the initial planning process, we always try to encourage his input. It is vital to try to get him ‘on board’ as early as possible, for you can be sure that 2-3 months down the line – when many of the major decisions have been taken – he will begin to show an interest and realise that maybe this wedding lark isn’t as dull as he had at first expected! Regret is a terrible thing and something that we only learn about with hindsight!
Once the all-important Wedding Plan or Brief has been compiled, it is the Wedding Consultant’s job to start locating the suitable wedding venues, suppliers and wedding services. Naturally the wedding venue is the primary concern. Once this is shortlisted, inspected and booked, the other required wedding services and suppliers can be sourced and shortlisted for the client’s consideration. Although the Wedding Planner will source all venues and services and offer knowledgeable guidance and advice, the choice as to which companies to use will be decided by the couple. There should not be any pressure exerted by a Wedding Planner at this time. If it happens that you do feel pressured, one might assume that the Planner may be on commission from the said supplier, so be insistent and remind your Planner that their role is to assist, not to decide!