The day of your wedding will consist of taking turns in hair and makeup chairs, drinking champagne, taking photos with the bridal party and putting on the dress. The last thing that should be on your mind is meeting vendors early, making sure everyone gets paid or decorating a venue. Leave the stress and headaches up to a professional wedding planner and enjoy the best day of your life worry-free.
From helping a bride a year before the wedding, to being brought on board as a day-of director, a wedding planner can make a noticeable difference in even the smallest of ceremonies. The involvement of a planner is up to you; they can help make decisions about the design of your wedding from the onset or they can be minimally involved and only participate on the day of the wedding, directing traffic and making sure everything comes together. If your wedding includes more than just a small group of friends and family, a planner is well worth the consideration.
Guests at the wedding should not be responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly. Guests and family can’t enjoy the ceremony and reception if they have to worry about setting up or staying after to clean up. Money may be saved by having friends help out, but generosity can’t replace years of knowledge and work in the industry.
“You cannot be a guest and work. How many friends know how to do a French bustle with safety pins and rubber bands?” said Rachel Deere, owner of Bridal by the Sea and Tildy Designs, Morehead City. Deere has been in the business for 15 years and is certified with the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants.
Rachel keeps a stock of centerpieces and decorations that brides can rent from the company. She said that renting is better than buying things at a craft store and not being able to use them again.
Pam DuVal, owner of Promised Hearts, New Bern, and a master bridal consultant with the Association of Bridal Consultants, said that brides without a planner tend to buy too much.
“If they do not have a planner, they go out and see things on sale and buy too much stuff. They buy everything they see in their color,” she said, noting that sometimes they’ve spent hundreds of dollars on things they’re not going to use, or have purchased decorations under the premise that they might be used.
“The only time I personally feel you don’t need a wedding planner is if it’s a more family style gathering with less than 20 people,” said DuVal. “Most planners have been doing this a while and have contacts and can lead you in the right direction.”
When dealing with a budget for a wedding, a planner can be your best asset. Planners know vendors and caterers and have most likely worked together in the past. Let them do the work for you and find the vendors that fit your budget and your tastes. As Amy Otis, owner of Amy Otis Designs, said, planners are the “one stop shop with knowledge.”
Otis has been designing weddings start to finish for two years. She also offers day-of packages for couples that have already planned the wedding but need someone to make sure everything goes well.
“I find that brides really want someone to help them ease their stress, not take away them being able to say they did it. They can take full credit. I’m just in the background making sure everything goes perfect.”
Bridal consultants are the experts in terms of weddings, and they have the bases covered for planning. Most provide an all-inclusive experience, offering help with design ideas, budget, vendors, meetings, checklists, assigning responsibilities and full schedules for the rehearsal dinner and wedding. Consultants do it all, even setting up and cleaning after.
Hours before a ceremony, the planner can be found at the venue setting up centerpieces and meeting the vendors. The planner will make sure everyone who needs flowers or boutonnieres gets them, and if the weather is a problem, they’re the ones that come up with a plan B on the fly. If a vendor is short handed, don’t be surprised if the planner jumps in to get the job done.
“Why would you leave your most important day to chance?” said DuVal.
When looking for a planner, Deere said to choose someone who does it as a full-time job. If you want a consultant for the entire planning process, you need to hire one as soon as possible, anywhere from 9-14 months before the wedding date.
“I had a bride and groom come, really like a band, and the band was booked even five months in advance,” said Otis, making the process less overwhelming from the beginning.
If the wedding has already been planned and the vendors have been selected but you still want someone to be at the venue early to meet the vendors, set up decorations and have a schedule for the day, a day-of director is what you should be looking for. With a day-of director, couples will usually have an initial consultation and prior to the wedding day the consultant will finalize details with the vendors, make schedules for the day of the wedding and help with the wedding rehearsal. On the day of the wedding, the consultant will be on hand for the whole day and will meet the vendors, hand out vendor payments, conduct general set up of the wedding and reception, coordinate a flow for the day and assist in general clean up.
You don’t get a second chance at planning your dream wedding. With some professional help, it should go off without a hitch.