As you embark on your wedding planning journey (be it 6 months or 5 years), you've either felt like you want to faint at the thought of even thinking about the theme, you've thought maybe you'd hiring a day-of planner OR you've thought, "girlll, I've got this." In my next Vendor Series about Wedding Planners, I'll go into the pros and cons of each through my experience myself and while helping others around me.
As simple as this may sound, wedding planners are there to plan your wedding. Um... duh, Rita. But if you really think about it, they are there to help YOU plan YOUR PERFECT WEDDING DAY. They aren't there to rip you off or tell you what to do. In essense, think of wedding planners as your personal guide, advising you what you need to do and when. You won't have to piece-mail and research your brain out on Pinterest. You'll have your own personal Pinterest feed guiding you along a less stressful journey, AND taking on most of the tasks for you. Of course, they won't be able to give you more money your budget or give you advice on whether you really need to invite your aunt who you don't really like, however, they are there to make your journey a little less stress and a little more enjoyable.
Now that you have a better understanding of where the planner is coming from, it's important you know the different type of planners (or offerings) there out there.
FULL WEDDING PLANNERS
Full wedding planners help you from start to finish. You truly have a partner guiding you along the way. They will help you hire the right vendors, do all your vendor coordination, and essentially pull you in for your approval and direction. However, you're involvement in the planning portion is very minimal, if you'd like it to be. This is the best option for those brides who just do not care for planning or it isn't their cup of tea. With this said, you're going to have to consider pricing. Remember, in all things wedding, it really is time vs. money. Your freed up time, less stress, piece of mind comes at a price and it may be a steep one. Have a chat with your fiancee about whether you'd like to invest in a wedding planner and whether it would make your life that much easier.
MONTH OF WEDDING PLANNERS / WEEK OF WEDDING PLANNERS
The last month can be somewhat intense. You're sending in final RSVP count to your venue, you're sending final food counts to your caterer. You're putting together timelines and working with vendors to make sure everyone is clear about when they should be there and to make sure they are getting all their payments. It's really finalizing all that you've worked hard on and making it a reality. Month-of wedding planners come in the last month ready to bring in all these details. The final month can be a bit overwhelming and these month-of planners are there to do all these final wrap up items for you. They'll be your middle man to deal with vendors to keep them up to date. They're there to make sure all those details are still on schedule and to keep everyone in line, so you, the bride, can relax and enjoy all those fun wedding events, such as your bridal shower and bachelorette. Week of planners do the same, however, they gather the details that you've put together already. Both of these planners are much cheaper than full wedding planners, however, you must realize that you will be doing most of the work.
DAY OF WEDDING PLANNERS
You're getting married! You should be fully in "bride" mode and not in "wedding planner" mode. You want to relax, to enjoy moments with family and friends, and to feel all the feelings for this huge and loving commitment. You do not want to be working with vendors or coordinating people in your beautiful dress! Day-of planners are by far the most affordable option and probably the best! Unless you've prompted EVERYONE involved with your wedding the weeks before, than most likely you'll be coordinating the day of, and you really ought to enjoy this wonderful day.
Venue coordinators are just that--they coordinate the ins and outs of the venue. Essentially, whatever you've hired your venue to do (whether it's JUST the venue, or the drinks and food, as well, that is all they will coordinate). Unless you've spoken to your venue coordinator and have worked out a deal where they act as a day of wedding planner, they will only stay in their lane and do as they were communicated to do. Make sure to ask if this is an option as it can save you some money AND give you freedom!
Full disclaimer, I've planned a couple of weddings before and I'm innately organized. I'm a designer by nature and profession, so I was able to design everything and knew exactly how I wanted the venue to look like.
I'll end with my route of planning. Since I decided to DIY plan my own wedding, it was very time consuming and required me to be super organized and meticulous. I kept a thorough and extensive Google Doc sheet with about 20 tabs (guestlist, budget, music list, photography list, timeline, ceremony timeline, etc). I had a huge planning to-do list where I assigned each task to a month. Then I broke up each task into smaller tasks to accomplish per week... then per day. I invited my Bridesbabes to about 4 "Production Parties" to help create all our decorations. I met with every vendor and coordinated with them throughout the planning period. I delegated some (not many) items to close family and friends. As we came to the last week or days, I sent out timelines to each of the vendors highlighting when they are supposed to be there and any key items they should know about. I also printed out every single tab I had in my Google Doc that any of my bridesbabes or venue coordinator could access.
Since I wanted to be able to enjoy the day as a bride and not a planner, I assigned each of my bridesmaids 1 task for the day (example, I assigned one babe to give the tips to our vendors, I assigned one babe to keep us on schedule, I assigned another one to make sure everyone found a ride home safe, etc).
I previously photographed each section of the venue we were going to decorate with a photo of the decorations to go in each section, so my friends and family knew where to place each item. I printed out a map of where they could find everything, in case they couldn't identify the photos we took. Another helpful tip is I packaged all our decorations per section. Example, all our table decorations were in the same 2 boxes. Or our dessert decorations were all in one box. This way, our family and friends could decorate as best as possible and all I had to do was tweak. My thinking behind this was I wanted it to be as fool-proof as possible. Our friends and family wanted to help and I wanted to be able to let them help without me having to hover over everyone.
With that all said, it was TIME CONSUMING. I HAD to be meticulous. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, however you, as a bride and as a person, have to be able to commit and enjoy this process. If you are not, I highly suggest hiring a planner of some sort. You will have piece of mind and will be able to enjoy the process and wedding day!
I may have rambled a bit, however, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! firstname.lastname@example.org