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Wedding planners & "Wedding Planners"

UNDERSTANDING that THerE Are DIFFERENCEs & WHY they're IMPORTANT

Hello and welcome to the official Everything But The Ring blog!
Let me begin by thanking you all for taking the time to stop by and give this and future posts a read! I hope you find the thoughts here interesting and engaging, funny and thoughtful!
Wedding planners are, by nature, opinionated and forthright people. We have to be- we are often individual small business owners trying to make it big in the entrepeneurial world and this is what allows us to stand up for our clients interests at an emotional and daunting time in their lives. Rolled into a single word, what any (good) wedding planner has- is PASSION.
It is with similar passion that I write to you (hopefully often and even more hopefully giving you wisdom and encouragement in your wedding and other endeavors.) I strongly encourage dialogue (‘cause this girl LOVES to talk!) and I welcome any and all suggestions for topics to write about. Feel free to contact me anytime by email with suggestions at Chelsea@ebtrweddings.com!

With that said, let’s first talk about reasons why you NEED to hire a WEDDING PLANNER…..

You probably already know the basic reasons to hire a wedding planner. To save time, money, to have quick access to the best industry experts in your area, to not have to worry yourself (or your family and friends- we’ll talk about that important one another time!) What I want to talk about today is why you need to be sure the person you’re hiring is, in fact, capable and qualified to handle your wedding. If you don't happen to know the basics of why you need one, here is a great article by a Bride who didn't have a planner and wish she had on Huffpost Weddings.

A wedding is like no other event you will host. If it were, we would have lots of weddings all the time because they’re fun and pretty and everyone loves LOVE, don’t they? I would have my wedding all over again a hundred different ways just for fun to try all the things that didn’t go with my first theme. (I would keep the groom the same though, naturally!)

It is because these events in your life are so unique that you are not likely emotionally and mentally capable of producing the largest and greatest event of your lifetime- your WEDDING. Please take no offense- Pinterest can be awesome but it is NOT HANDS ON EXPERIENCE!)

So you have by this point decided to look into or are curious about hiring a wedding planner. And then, as if out of nowhere, one of your vendors mentions to you during a meeting or consult:

“Oh and by the way, I AM ALSO A WEDDING PLANNER!” 

A florist/stationer/baker/photographer AND a wedding planner in one? Sounds like a perfect One Stop Shop, right?

Wrong. Take a breath, tell her you’ll consider this (after you’ve seen her wedding planning portfolio, of course*) and step away from the vendor.

*(FYI, If this person does not have a wedding portfolio, they are without question NOT a wedding planner.)

I will let you in on a secret. Most, if not all of these people are NOT wedding planners and they do NOT know how to plan and execute your wedding day from start to finish.

We are entering an era of  "Combination Planners" who are not qualified to be what you want and deserve in a proper wedding planner. Many of them have no real experience planning a wedding from Engagement to Day-After Brunch (except perhaps their own, which doesn't count) and are looking to supplement their current income by adding what they don't understand is an entirely separate Full Time job.

I won't deny it- these are not people I wish to compete with for your business. There is obviously competition in the wedding industry. Hooray! In one way, this is because you wonderful couples are finally understanding the value of a wedding professional and what they can bring to your (sweetheart) table. I believe in strong competition because there are a LOT of weddings to be held out there (according to Wikipedia, 2.5 MILLION weddings happen every year in the United States!) and that means there is a LOT of work out there for us to share! This invariably means that there is income to be made which is obviously great too. But, like the partner of your dreams, you deserve the best in a wedding planner.

 A real wedding planner is likely to be certified by some educating institution on event planning (such as the WPIC, for example.) When you have hired a real wedding planner, they spend most of their time researching and contacting all of the vendors in your style and price range, reviewing your contracts and negotiating items, contacting EVERY one of your wedding vendors before the wedding day and making sure they’ll be on time (and the wrath if she/he needs to call on a last minute replacement vendor- and we have lists of those). They will have painstakingly created a very specific timeline for the wedding day and they make sure everyone sticks to it- not to mention the finer details like checking every glass and piece of silverware for spots. They already know that at precisely 1:41 in Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major they will open those doors and  as if by magic to your guests on the other side, suddenly THERE YOU'LL BE. In your gorgeous glory, walking up the aisle to your beloved and the tears will flow through the room and the stars will align. THESE are things a real wedding planner does and knows like the back of their hand. I will tell you that being good at that job does not leave time for me to be capable of bringing you additional services on your wedding day.

 Let's discuss the example of a Florist/Planner. Sally Florist knows what flowers are in season and who to order from to get the best price AND the best quality and she spends painstaking hours storing, cutting, wrapping and delivering your stunning flowers. She is amazing at what she does and she has spent time perfecting her craft to be the best at what she does. Suzy Florist is completely invested in being a florist and her free time (if there is any) is spent brushing up on new floral trends, classes, networking and just becoming the best florist in your area. Does it sound like she has time to take on a second career?

 By offering you wedding planning services as a side business, she is telling you that she can take a gargantuan amount of time and significant funds out of her floral business to take on the array of services your planner does. This should tell you two very important things:

 1.  She may not be busy enough as a florist if she has this kind of time and is likely looking to supplement her income without being necessarily qualified to do so- she is a "dabbler" if you will, and

2. She is not fully investing herself in her original choice of work and may not be sure (through lack of passion or hands on experience) what she really wants to be. 

Trust me, when you can only get this moment and this day right once, you want a planner who loves being completely absorbed in the painstaking and minute details of organizing a wedding. This does not leave time to run a completely separate business.

Let's think about it the other way around- would it make sense to hire a florist who needs to prepare your bouquets, boutonnieres and centrepieces the day before your wedding (rehearsal day), transport them and deliver them to separate locations where you are each getting ready, go deliver and set up your centrepieces and all the while be making sure your other photographer and your cake are arriving on time, your chiavari chairs are being set up properly, running out to pick up any last minute items you need and making sure the timeline of the entire day runs smoothly? A human being cannot be in this many places at once and successfully do both jobs.

There is one important qualification here: if this company you have hired has a team of staff who can tackle all of these things. However, you will find these companies typically list themselves as Wedding Planning and Designing companies, not as their vendor type-slash-planner on the side. 

The team of people you choose to create your wedding can (and arguably should) all be excellent at what they do in their own right. I respect florists enough to know that I can't walk into Costco, grab a Market Bunch from a bucket, shake off the veggie-style shower spray, slap some lace on it and call it a bouquet. I will happily leave that job to a professional.  

It's your day, your moment, your party and your money. Don't you think you deserve the best?

"I Do."

To Your Love, 

Chelsea