For some couples, a wedding planner is one of the first vendors (if not the first) they’ll hire to help with the planning of their big day. Other couples may not fully see a planner or coordinator being a worthwhile investment for their wedding. If you and your partner happen to fall into the latter category, I want to explain a few reasons why you shouldn't quickly dismiss the idea of hiring a wedding planner! As a photographer, I’ve photographed weddings where a planner was on site and others that didn’t have one involved. In my overall experience, weddings that did have a planner always result in a much more relaxed (and less stressful!) day than those without. I recently sat down with Aoife DePauw and Lauren Ferrara, the incredible ladies behind Jack & Grace Events. We chatted about all of the ways their job comes into play during the months leading up to the wedding, but also on the big day! These lovely ladies assist their couples in more ways than I can count!! You can think of them as the eyes and ears of your day; they do all of the logistical work while you two truly get to enjoy yourselves!
This topic is quite possibly one of the least exciting conversations to have after you’ve celebrated your engagement, but it has to be done to move forward in the wedding planning process! A planner will help you build a budget to make your wedding day vision a reality. Let’s say you have a certain amount set aside to pay for your wedding day; your wedding planner will help you both to figure out which vendors and parts of the day are most important to you, while dividing the budget up so more can be spent on those areas. They also know what different wedding services cost, and can help you to find vendors that will fit within your allotted budget!
Since wedding planners have relationships with so many venues and other vendors, they can often acquire some savings for you! They work directly with vendors and know how to cut costs to stay within budget. What makes this even more exciting is that those savings can sometimes cover the planner’s fee, which means the money you saved with one vendor allowed you invest in a professional to help you plan your wedding day!
Wedding planners are some of the most organized and meticulous people I know (which is why they’re so good at what they do!). They create a minute-to-minute schedule for your entire wedding day, ensuring you, your wedding party, family members, and guests arrive when and where they need to be throughout the day! This schedule creates so much clarity for everyone involved. While other wedding vendors you’ll work with have a clear idea of how a wedding day generally goes and what their timing is, your planner or day-of coordinator makes it seamless by ensuring that there is one cohesive timeline for the day. Each wedding is different in its own way, so having a detailed schedule is essential to keep all events and guests of the day stay on track!
Most planners I know also create a wedding vendor load-in schedule, allowing each vendor to know where they need to be and when. They’ll review timing with the florist, caterer, rental company, etc, how much time they need to setup and build that information into the schedule as well! This way everyone arrives with enough time for setup, without stepping on each other's toes and vendors are there for the correct hours (so that the moments that are important to you are not missed). This ensures you don’t have to figure out the logistics of coordinating several of your wedding vendors at once!
While venue coordinators do a wonderful job at making sure the venue is on track, wedding planners and day-of coordinators look at your day as a whole, from start to finish, touching base with all of the other vendors and handle every tiny detail. They work specifically for you ensuring every detail is flawless and orchestrated exactly as you had planned. This isn’t to knock venue coordinators; I think they are a valuable asset to the wedding planning process and I thoroughly enjoy working with them! I do believe it is important that couples understand the difference ahead of time in order to avoid frustration, hardship, and disappointment.
Style & Design
Wedding planners aren’t just schedule makers, they’re also wildly creative!! They can assist you in honing in on the vision you two have for your wedding day while offering advice and suggestions. Some couples have many elements or details they would like to include in their wedding day. However, pulling these details and items into one seamless style is often easier said than done. Planners use their skills to pull together a cohesive look and style to design the wedding day you envision! They can help with everything from floral suggestions to tablescapes to décor and more!
Vendor Sourcing, Communication & Coordination
Your planner can also help you with the sourcing of any and all vendors you’ll need to bring your wedding day to life. They are good at adapting and once they have a clear idea of what style you’re visualizing for your day, your planner will search for vendors who fit that style. They’ll collect a few vendors from each category (venue, photographer, florist, etc) and present them to you with investment prices. Once again, your planner has done all of the legwork by sifting through an endless choice of vendors while you have the fun choosing who you’d like to work with on your wedding day!
An important item on some couple's wedding to-do list is finding a transportation company. That being said, it's usually the last thing on that list. It’s definitely an investment and it’s not a fun portion of the planning to think about! However, it is incredibly important, especially if the transportation is getting you and your wedding party from one location to another (or multiple locations!) while getting your guests to those same locations! Your wedding planner will know which transportation companies are reputable, have friendly drivers, clean vehicles and deliver passengers safe and soundly.
Keep the Day Running Smoothly
Since your wedding planner will most likely have a minute-to-minute timeline, they’ll often coordinate with the venue and/or catering staff for reception activities. Planners often go over the reception timeline with the waitstaff so tables aren’t being cleared with the clinking of plates during a heartfelt speech or toast! They are also there onsite to troubleshoot and handle any spur of the moment issues that may arise.
Your planner will always be ahead of schedule to avoid any mishaps which would otherwise result to you being anything less than joyful and excited (after all, this is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your lives)! They’re experts and ironing out any wrinkles while ensuring you two avoid any hardship or bumps in the road on your big day. More often then not the snags of the day are handled with grace and fixed before you even become aware there was an issue!
Since most people who are getting married don’t work in the wedding or event industry, many couples are unsure of some basic wedding etiquette practices, and that’s totally okay! Your planner will be able to help you answer questions about situations such as proper wording on your wedding invitation if you’re choosing not to include children in your wedding celebration or reaching out to guests who have yet to RSVP to your event.
Accommodations & Weekend Weddings
Your wedding planner can also assist to plan for room blocks at local hotels for your out-of-town wedding guests. They even help negotiate pesky contracts and guaranteed minimums! Guaranteeing hotel rooms before you have even sent your invites can feel overwhelming. Your wedding planners are there to make this process seamless and void of frustration. If you’re having a weekend wedding celebration, they can help to organize dining events such as the welcome dinner, rehearsal dinner, and Sunday brunch. When guests plan to spend an entire weekend in the general area of the wedding, some couples like to set up smaller events or activities on the days the wedding isn’t taking place, such as a relaxing yoga session, nature hikes, and other soirées! As I mentioned above, they’ll also know the best transportation companies to help ensure your guests arrive to where they need to be in a timely manner.
Troubleshooting & Problem Solving
Often times a wedding planner will also use their diplomacy skills when working with you both and your families. They can act as a mediator of sorts while coming up with creative ways to make everyone happy, whether it comes to disputes on where the string quartet will be located during the ceremony or which hors d’oeuvres will be served during cocktail hour (these things may seem trivial, but believe me, arguments have been had over such topics!).
From vendor sourcing to budget to design and more, wedding planners definitely wear many different hats! They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to anything surrounding a couple’s wedding day. Allow your wedding planner or day-of coordinator to do the hard work so you truly get to be a guest at your own wedding and enjoy your day together to the fullest extent!!
Are you looking to chat with Aoife and Lauren about your wedding day? Contact them at the email below, and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram to see their beautiful events! I’ve worked with them multiple times and am constantly in awe of the beautiful and creative ways these ladies serve their couples. They’re sweet as pie and I know you’ll love them just as much as I do!