Sometimes, I really don't get why people see wedding planning and the events industry in general as such a glamorous career. Now don't get me wrong- I absolutely LOVE what I do. I basically live for logistics and eat, sleep and breathe spreadsheets. But that aside- being the bride, client, or guest of honor is glamorous. What we do with our headsets and clipboards day in and day out is far from it. It occurs to me that many of you have no idea what goes on behind the scenes- and for good reason. We planners are a secretive bunch. If we shared everything we did, we wouldn't be doing a good job of reducing our clients' stress! But in my world there is always a space for authenticity and transparency. So I'm pulling back that curtain and letting you get a sneak peek at five secret things we wedding planners do that you may never see. Let's go!
1) While you're being creative, we're being practical. - I always encourage my clients to think outside of the box for almost every element of their wedding day. From the venue to the many details that will grace your event, feel free to be as creative and imaginative as you want to! Just remember with every choice comes a contingency. If you're thinking about a gorgeous tented wedding under the starlight, we're thinking about vendor access to the site, rain plans, and the best place to source ponchos and golf umbrellas. Want to do a cocktail style soiree in an abandoned warehouse? Awesome- just let us find out about noise ordinances, the parking situation and whether the caterer will have access to potable water. We're not trying to be all gloom and doom about your big day; on the contrary, it pays to be one-hundred percent prepared for any potential situation. The logistics behind any sizable event can be overwhelming and even confusing if it's something you're not used to dealing with on a day to day basis. Wedding planners do this all the time, so we know which questions to ask to avoid issues.
2) We're tracking your numbers - Oh, the wedding budget. A source of anxiety for everyone involved in your planning process. I've had potential clients get weird about revealing their budget to me. I swear we're not being nosy about your financial situation- we really need to know so we can warn you if you're in danger of overextending yourself. If you mention a fellow wedding professional whose rates we know won't fit into your budget, we can make alternative recommendations. We'll negotiate the prices on your proposals down before you even see them, if we can. If you get a proposal that doesn't fit into your budget, we'll talk to the vendor and see if they can do something comparable in a more reasonable price range. We're reminding you about sales tax and service charges, shipping costs, postage and gratuities. We're reminding you about the little things you may have forgotten about- like breakfast and lunch for the bridal party on the big day, or gifts for your hostesses and ushers. Our goal is to make sure that your wedding happens at a cost that you can actually afford!
3) We're running damage control. - I tell my couples all the time that it's not IF something goes wrong, it's WHEN. Something WILL go wrong at your wedding. The awesome thing though- if you have a kick-ass wedding planner on your side, you'll probably never know about it! Say a few extra guests arrive who didn't RSVP- we'll work with the venue and catering staff to whip up some extra place settings. What if the DJ is missing the music you planned for your choreographed father-daughter dance? No problem- your planner should have it on her smartphone - with an aux cable to plug right into the DJ's setup. Situation handled. (Please note - this ACTUALLY HAPPENED at a wedding I did in 2014. it was a tense few moments-but we made it work). From standard mini-emergencies like broken gown straps (emergency kit the rescue!), paper cuts, and bad breath; to decor issues like wrinkled linens (yes, I DO have an iron in my kit) and AWOL candles - we are there to make sure the show goes on, and that you keep smiling through it all.
4) We're reading your vendor contracts like lawyers. - Granted I am NOT a lawyer - but I audit my client's contracts with an eagle eye. The goal is to make sure that everyone on the team is on the same page. We want to make sure that your expectations line up with what you think you're getting, and that both line up with what the vendor is providing per the contract. Even if your photographer is a friend of the family, get everything in writing- from what time they will arrive, to what they will wear, whether or not they are expecting a meal- all that good stuff. And if you get a "special" deal from a pro, get it in writing! You do not want an awkward situation the day of the wedding where one thing was promised and another delivered.
5) We see the big picture. - When you are mired in the details and caught up in the emotion of the day, it's good to have an impartial party on your side. It's not that we don't care about your wedding, it's just that the level of care is different. We don't have emotional attachment to the color of the linens on the candy buffet, or the brand of pain killer included in your restroom amenities baskets. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the minutiae of the day and become obsessed with finding the perfect "insert wedding day detail here." When that happens, you forget the point- and the point is that you get married, have a rocking celebration with your nearest and dearest and start the rest of your life off with a bang! Our impartiality helps us to refocus your vision on what really matters for your wedding day. Remember, the details are just gravy!
Our goal is one-hundred percent to get you the celebration you set out to have, without drama, without stress, and with a whole bunch of fun. So if it seems like we're keeping secrets, believe me, it's in your best interest.