“Many people spend more time planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.” -Zig Ziglar
The first time I planned a wedding I thought it would be like in the movies; quick, easy and full of joy. Diving head first into a great big wedding is a lot like the alarm clock sounding in the wee hours of the morning when you didn’t get to bed at a descent time. Simply put, a rude awakening!So why was I planning this wedding and not hiring a planner?
Call it DIY suicide or maybe just a control freak. I’m a glutton for punishment in some ways. I’m extremely driven when it comes to proving to myself that there’s nothing I can’t do. I wanted to do it all, every last little detail, including the cake! I thought it would be easy, they were all things I loved to do anyway. I’ve made a giant flag cake for an officer in the military, high heel and minion cupcakes for birthdays, a paintball cake and a Hulk busting through Legos cake for two boys birthday party. I make crafts galore, I can decorate on any size budget, and I have loads of creativity pouring out of my soul. And the money? Well of course, I was going to save a TON of it by doing it myself, right!?! Wrong. Not to mention the time it took to research, design, create, find vendors, arrange seating charts, make and mess up and eventually cave and buy a cake, and, and, and! The lists seemed never ending. This of course was for my own wedding. My attention to detail was far too extreme, eventually leading to the inability to finalize any decision. Oh, the demands we put on ourselves.
Why should I have hired one?
Planning a wedding is very stressful and not always fun. When we watch TV and see these DIY shows for homes, food, weddings, etc. we forget what we don’t see, the behind the scenes. There are so many details to take care of. My to do list consisted of so many things I was making myself sick and losing weight the weeks prior to the big day, about 12lbs. to be exact. Now, I’m sure there are a few women who would love that but I can assure you that is not a healthy way to do it. Too many times to count I broke down crying, fought with my family and friends over opinions, and bit my man’s head off. I wanted nothing more than the wedding to be over. I’m sure the stress I burdened myself with for this special day was not only not necessary, but absolutely absurd. I took the first day of the rest of our lives and turned it into a dreaded event. A day where my soon to be husband and I were supposed to do nothing but laugh and love and celebrate that love and share that love with our family and friends. Now I understand the true meaning of bridezilla. All to save money, money that is earned to be spent. Money that is made so that we may enjoy the fruits of our labors. What better fruit than a day to celebrate a unity with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. I was so worried my special day wouldn’t be what I wanted and how I envisioned it. I thought by hiring a planner they would be imposing their will on my dream. Silliness. The planner would have been working for me, recommending for me, negotiating for me, serving as a mediator for me, providing me nothing more than advice and references for the industry they already know and so much more. The best part is they would have been doing all the nitty gritty stuff and I would have just got to do all the fun stuff they show on TV. Are you kidding me? I could have had my TV show without the behind the scenes? Ohhhh! That’s the part we don’t see, the work the teams of people do so that we may enjoy the pretty and romantic sides of things.
Lesson 1: Leave the boring work to the professionals who do it because they enjoy it and participate in the all the parts you enjoy.
Wedding planning takes A LOT of time. If wedding planning can be a full-time career/job for a professional, imagine how you are going to juggle that full-time job with your own full time job, family time for a fiancé or kids or other family and friends. Not everyone’s boss is ok with them stalking Pinterest on the company dime. Don’t worry we won’t tell. It’s so much more than we can even begin to fathom until we are waist deep in bridal planning. My weekends and nights and extremely early morning hours were dedicated to flower arrangement planning, cake design, décor choices and creating. I no longer had time for anything outside of my wedding. Now don’t get me wrong, of course there are exceptions to this rule. There are the brides who are naturals at it or have been planning it since they were 2 yrs. old and already know exactly how their wedding is going to look or the bride who doesn’t need all the goodies, just her groom. There are the ones who say no thanks to DIY and get help from day 1. Me personally, I wanted all the goodies and hoopla’s and on and ons. After all, I planned to marry once and this was my chance to be the Disney princess I had watched growing up. This was going to be the celebration of our love that would be burned in our minds forever. The day we would reflect on for every anniversary to come. This was tradition combined with modern times. The unity of a man and woman and their families is special and has always been celebrated that way and our day would be no different. That was my thought process. Please note my insanity through the lack of acknowledgement of time and effort and balancing acts. In an age where DIY is so popular, we forget even they have help behind the scenes to share their time and talents.
Lesson 2: We only have so many hours in the day and so many hands that can only work so fast. Share the load, there’s nothing wrong with it and you won’t lose any control of the end result.
Choosing a great vendor can be as hard as finding a lifelong friend. What are you supposed to look for in a vendor? What things should I ask for from the vendor? How do I know who to negotiate with and when? I have a really great sense of people and personalities; however, a lot of people are really good at sales and acting also. I have been on this beautiful planet for 34 extremely short years but had only been on it for 21 shorter years when I assumed everyone had the same work ethic my parents instilled in me. They do not all come in one shape and size. Vendors are people just like you and I. Some are people who will keep their word and follow through with every promise they make. They will work tirelessly to make sure this happens jumping through burning hoops of fire. Others care about getting your hard-earned dollars in the easiest way they can. They are not concerned with their reputation or integrity. They are however, skilled in the art of empty promises disguised as overflowing promises. What a tangled web they weave in an industry filled with competition. We thought ratings and reviews online would help us weed out the bad ones. Then we found out that they can make those themselves and pay people to do so and remove the ones they don’t want on there and, and, and. Is it me or are there a lot of “ands” in wedding planning. This brings us back to lesson 2, how much time can you dedicate to the milelong lists of vendors? When you are on a timeline you don’t have much leeway in the way of trial and error and weeding out the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes the only way to get a discount is through a wedding planner. Planners provide vendors with repeat business where as a couple does not. The repeat business gives them an incentive to provide the planner with a better price. They want to please the planner so that they continue to come back. They know couples won’t be returning. The planner can also help with any contracts you must enter in with the vendor to ensure there are no hidden costs, fees or lack of services.
Lesson 3: Refer to lesson 2 and leave the friendly vendor finding to the professionals who have already learned about the good, the bad and the ugly in their industry.
I have to Negotiate? Of course! When you have a wedding planner on board they will do all of that for you, no matter what vendor you decide to use. They will help you get the best rates and the most bang for your buck. This alone will offset the cost of a wedding planner. We’ve already told you how their super human stress relieving and time management powers are worth their weight in gold. Now they can help you further by saving you money on every vendor you employ. Wedding planers only charge you based on the services you agree to beforehand. They won’t surprise you with a giant bill at the end of the wedding. They can also help stretch your budget because they know what things will have the largest impact and are the most important. They can also help you to understand what things are necessary.
Lesson 4: Save time and money by utilizing a wedding planner. You won’t get tricked or cheated.
Last minute issues. With 11 days to our wedding, I was doing a practice run with our wedding cake. Good thing it wasn’t a couple days and bad thing for trying to do it all. I would like to blame the issue with my cake on something other than my stress levels being too high and being exhausted emotionally and mentally and physically. I was just not able to really get into it. So naturally my normal cake abilities were at an all-time low and no matter how hard I tried, my cake was not working out. After crying multiple times from frustration overload, my soon to be husband came in and said “Honey, it’s time to let someone else help out.” Thankfully he was a chef and knew a lot of people and found someone to make us our wedding cake in 10 days. To this day, I can’t even put into words the relief I felt knowing that I had one less thing to worry about, to deal with. It felt like a literal mountain was lifted off my shoulders. I spent the night crying and wishing I could go back to the moment I decided to do it all myself and just higher a planner. With all the issues I had come across, all the stress I endured, there wasn’t a single penny I wouldn’t have paid for the right wedding planner. If we had hired a planner from the beginning none of the stress would have existed. Can you imagine what it would have been like trying to get ready on the day of the wedding if something had not gone accordingly, ugh! No thank you.
Lesson 5: Last minute issues are much more suited for the planner who deals with them regularly than the couple who does not. They are just small bumps to the planner and giant mountains to the couple.
Trying to find help elsewhere. When you have 8 million big and little to do’s the day of the event and you need to focus on getting ready, you have one of two options: 1.) Do it yourself, which is way too difficult when you want to be relaxing and getting ready for your special day. Or 2.) Find help from others; family, friends and the bridal party. The problem is they are all probably coming to your special day and have to do lists as well and need to get ready. Usually the help isn’t volunteered, as was the case for our wedding, it may leave you feeling awkward asking for it. If you seek help from someone who wasn’t invited, then you’re left with feeling obligated to ask them to stay. It’s just not the easiest situation to put yourself in. Especially on the day when you want to be relaxing and hanging out with your bridal party, getting pampered and dolled up. Your groom wants to be hanging out with his guys and doing whatever they do. No one wants to be setting up the beverage station and candy buffet, or running to pick up cakes and hanging lights, etc. Its so much easier to pass that torch to the wedding planner who has her team to help and to handle any and all last minute issues. To do nothing but make sure your special day goes 100% according to your special plan.
Lesson 6: Don’t burden your guests and yourselves the day of, just hire someone, so much easier.
Transitioning from ceremony to reception and clean up. Believe me when I say that you will not want to be worrying about transitioning from ceremony to reception after just going through the emotions of becoming MR. and Mrs. You just want to feel the love and happiness not making sure your guests get to where they need to be or making sure all the little things are finished before it begins. The wedding planner will be there to make sure your day stays on track and goes seamlessly. At the end of the reception you definitely will not want to be cleaning up your venue, which most will require, you will want to waltz off into the sunset as man and wife. Good luck getting help at the end to clean up
Whew! This was a lot to endure just reading it, can you imagine actually having to deal with it all. I did. A few years later I planned my brothers wedding because they loved how mine turned out. I was so excited because I knew what all I went through to achieve it and did not want them to experience their wedding in the same manner. I realized what a different experience it was when I planned for someone else. It’s all the same stresses I experienced but they aren’t experienced in the same manner. When it’s your job you approach the situation with more mental clarity and less personal attachment. You’re able to see things for what they are and not how they feel on top of the mountain of other stresses you have going on. It’s responding and not reacting. My brother and his beautiful wife loved their special day and enjoyed every second of it. This of course was the moment I fell in love with wedding planning. This was also the moment I realized just how much of a difference a wedding planner can make on your event. They will make it a special and meaningful and romantic moment for you.
Look into wedding planners all around your area. Rest assure that the time, energy and investment you put into that one task will save you time, energy, money and possibly tears further down the road on your journey to the alter.
Let us plan your wedding while you plan you marriage!