My first course of action post engagement was to find a wedding planner. That’s because before I became engaged I devoured all the bride blogs, from The Knot to United with Love, and found there was A LOT involved in planning a wedding. Much more than I could have ever imagined! I realized I needed professional help figuring out exactly how to execute my dream wedding on my not so dreamy budget. Enter wedding planner!
We’ve all seen the movie The Wedding Planner. JLo takes care of the wedding from concept to execution. She contacted the vendors and venues, did the research, and then brought her soon-to-be married couple in to choose which they liked best. If there is a problem, torn dress, wrong flowers, the band is late, she fixes it behind the scenes so that all the wedding party experiences is perfection.
Once I started doing research on planners, I found that most have tiers of service. They are broken down into 4 clear categories. First comes full planning, which is concept to execution. Second is mid-planning, which includes a few vendor referrals, review of the planning the couple has done so far, review of vendor contracts and helping with any adjustments, and day of coordination. Day of Coordination is also available on its own for the brides that planned it on their own. At this level the wedding planner steps in day-of and works their magic behind the scenes so the wedding goes off without a hitch. Lastly is the custom package, where you can create a package that perfectly caters to your needs.
Planners are amazing. They have all of the contacts, they have experience and they have vision. Really, they know their stuff! Once Lee and I sat down and talked about it, we realized we didn’t want to be frantically planning our wedding. We wanted to enjoy our engagement as much as possible and found a wedding planner would best help us accomplish that.
Our first interview with a planner went incredibly. We met with Emilie, a local planner with incredible reviews. We met at Baked & Wired, an incredible sweets shop in D.C. She had picked up cake cups for us and handed us a folder with some information she had put together. We spoke about our budget, what we were looking for and why we looked to a planner. Lee and I had decided a while back that we wanted a rooftop wedding in D.C., with an incredible view of the city for our ceremony and reception. I wanted everything at my wedding to be as local and eco-friendly as possible, from the flowers to the catering. Emilie listened, took notes, asked questions and shared some of her own ideas for vendors and ideas that would work with our vision. She also told us the truth- that our budget would have to go up to cater to our vision if we wanted to stay in the city. She cushioned that by saying she had a lot of cost saving tactics up her sleeves, but that we would have to be open minded and realistic about cost and what was really important to us.
First, figure out what is most important to you. Lee and I decided it was a space overlooking the city in D.C. and the photos. We wanted our dream space, and amazing pictures to relive that special day together again and again. Everything else we could negotiate, but not that.
Second, look at your budget with a critical eye. Spend more on what matters most to you and spend less on everything else. Spending more on a venue means you have less to spend on arrangements and a DJ. Does that mean that you won’t have amazing flowers or a rockin’ DJ? No way! What it means is that you have to do a bit more work to find vendors you love at a better rate.
Third, don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep in mind what really matters: your family and friends gathered together to celebrate ese amor increible between you and your love. Everything else will fall into place.
Wedding planners are amazing, but they are pricey. Most run around 10% of your total event budget. Of course you can negotiate, and make a custom plan that fits best within your needs and budget. I feel a wedding planner worth every penny. Their expertise and experience can save you more than their initial cost, and they take care of every detail. Every detail!
And, the most important reason I am in love with the idea of a wedding planner is that they can handle my family while I drink a mojito and enjoy my day. Since I’m not getting married in a church, won’t have a puffy dress or have a big, Latin wedding, you can only imagine how planning has gone with mi familia. After the yelling, the pleading, the guilt trip, followed by more yelling, my family (aka Mami) started coming up with other ideas for the wedding. Some I loved, others not so much… and that’s where my planner can come in! She can say it’s against fire codes, it’s not in the vendor contract or that there isn’t enough time to put it together. That way Mami doesn’t get angry with me but fumes at the planner, ensuring I have the wedding of my dreams without some (of course not all!) of the drama.
I mean it’s a wedding, a girl needs some drama!
And although I haven’t booked a wedding planner yet, I am still very seriously considering it for all of the reasons mentioned (especially the last ones). :-p
What do you think of a wedding planner? Are you considering one or did you have one for your wedding? Sound of below and share your stories!
Next week: Tackling the Venue Search!