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Why use a Wedding Planner, you ask?
As we enter “Wedding Season”, there is so much to consider for the bride and groom as they begin the planning process. Weddings are intricate and detailed and growing more so all the time. Where to begin? What is the first thing the couple should do? One major question is, “are we going to hire a planner/coordinator”? Certainly opinions on the topic are as varied as the planners that are out there. Some guidance in this area is wise; lots of your questions can be answered in the following article.
At every major event in life professionals are present! A doctor delivers a baby, clergy persons baptize and confirm children, city and school officials preside at graduation, directors take charge of movies and stage productions and licensed persons perform marriages and bury the dead. In each of these events rituals are involved. There is a system for each, carried out by someone trained to do so.
With the high cost of weddings and the time involved to pull all the facets together, it is all but impossible for the bride to do this while keeping her daily routine (which is already in overload) intact. Listen to some of the comments made by brides who did not have a wedding coordinator.
- “By the day of my wedding I was so overwhelmed by all the things I had to do I was like a zombie. I hardly remember repeating my vows and I never did get anything to eat.”
- “There were so many mistakes in my wedding that could have been avoided had I hired a wedding coordinator. I never gave a thought to coordinating the arrival of the vendors, so the cake was delivered before the linens and flowers. After the linens arrived, the cake table was set up and the cake had to be moved a second time. One pillar tilted, so I had a lop-sided cake. We were shorted one bouquet and no one realized it until it was too late for the florist to deliver it. Everyone was running around screaming–or so it seemed–blaming each other. I just stood there crying. All of this could have been avoided had I hired a professional coordinator.”
- A coordinator schedules the arrival of vendors–Example: The linens would arrive at 10:00 o’clock, the flowers at 10:30 and the cake at 11:00. Thus the cake table would be set up and decorated before the cake arrived. She would have checked the number of bouquets against the number ordered before the florist left. In a real emergency, she could simply pluck a few flowers from floral arrangements and, using tools from her emergency kit, make a bouquet.
- “I forgot my garter. I had really looked forward to having Dan toss it to his best man, hoping that catching the bouquet would cause him to propose to my best friend, Cindy, who was my maid-of-honor. Imagine her disappointment and my embarrassment.”
- A coordinator always has a spare garter in her emergency kit.
- “We forgot the Guest Registry Book so we have no record of those who shared our beautiful day. How sad, especially so since it was the last time my grandmother signed her name. She died the next week.”
A professional coordinator has a checklist, which she uses to be sure everything arrives and is set up. Some even carry an extra Registry Book. By now you get the picture. A coordinator is trained to plan and coordinate every minute detail and oversee all of it!
Are coordinators expensive? Some brides feel a coordinator is too expensive. Compared to what? The gown? The reception? The band? Overall, the money spent for a coordinator is a small percentage of the wedding budget, which is where the coordinator begins before she offers any suggestions. Many times she can actually save you money because she knows the “going” price. Frequently she can negotiate prices. The following is a true story–a telephone conversation I overheard while in the office of a Wedding Planner:
CWS: “No, my client will not pay $2.50 per head for that hors d’oeuvre.” Hotel: “That family has ‘old’ money. They can afford it.” CWS: “That’s not the point. The fact is your hors d’oeuvres are not worth $2.50 each.”
The coordinator got the hors d’oeuvres for $1.50 each, saving her client $450.00 on that particular hors d’oeuvres.
.At another wedding, the coordinator was able to negotiate the price of a golf game for the men in the wedding party by pointing out to the reception facility manager that the bride was having the rehearsal, the wedding and the reception at the one facility. When her request for a lower price for golf was denied, she turned to the bride’s mother and said, “Perhaps you should consider having the rehearsal dinner at another site since it’s obvious your business is not appreciated.” A consultation between members of the hotel staff brought the price of the golf game down quite a bit.
Because a wedding coordinator brings repeat business to a facility, she often has negotiating power not available to an individual scheduling a one-time event.
Do wedding coordinators get a “kick-back” from vendors? Although many vendors do offer coordinators a percentage for any wedding they book with them, a professional coordinator will not take it. Instead, she will reply to the vendor, “That is so nice of you but I am paid by my client. Would you agree to offer my bride a discount?” Thus the professional coordinator is working every way she can to save her client money.
As important as it is to save money, the major advantage of hiring a coordinator is the time she saves you. She does the legwork for you, always working within your parameter. She does not dictate to you, but she does offer you options. The pressure of contacting the church, the reception site, the caterer, the florist, the musicians, the photographer, the videographer, the soloist, your attendants, his family, your family, the hair stylist, writing thank-you notes, etc. is overwhelming. Add to that the big day itself, and the thousand and one last minute details that take place then and you begin to realize what a task it is to plan a wedding.
Doris Nixon is the President of Weddings Beautiful, an association dedicated to furthering the education of wedding consultants.