“I’m really organized.”
“I planned a work event once so I know what I’m doing.”
“I have a lot of friends who have gotten married recently so they can help me.”
“My cousin is going to be my planner.”
These are all things that brides have said to me to justify not wanting to spend money on planning services. And guess what? I understand! You don’t know what you don’t know, and I certainly didn’t know how much went into planning weddings and events when I started in the industry back in 2015. Now that I do know, though, I can’t help but cringe a little when I hear things like this. Planning a successful, cohesive, memorable event is not just color-coded agendas or setting votives on cocktail tables for happy hour; it’s long hours poring over contracts, keeping up with hundreds of emails, and, quite frankly, a lot of very high-stress and not-glamorous work. Ultimately, if you don’t have a planner, all of that falls to you – or to your friends and family, who likely don’t have any more time or patience to handle these tasks than you do.
So when you start to think, Maybe I’ll just save that money and do this all myself, you really need to consider the time investment that you’ll be putting into this process – not just into getting quotes and scrolling Pinterest for ideas, but into researching the very large, very saturated event industry for the vendors that you need to even get the ball rolling.
Already feeling overwhelmed? Read on; below are ten major reasons why you should consider adding a planner to your vendor team to help to bring your event to life in a way that no one else can.
1. Planning is stressful.
It’s not all cake tastings and picking out flowers; it’s setting deadlines, researching vendors, making phone calls, reviewing contracts, and creating down-to-the-minute timelines. When you already have a busy schedule with work, social obligations, and everything else you have going on, do you really want to devote what little downtime you have left to the planning process? Burnout is real, and the last thing you want is to end up dreading having to think about your wedding.
2. Bringing your vision to life is hard.
You may know what you want, but not how to get it – or even how to articulate it. I did an event for SXSW where the client wanted a 15’x15′ fully-functioning Etch-A-Sketch. While he was asking, “Does that even exist?”, I was asking, “What color do you want it to be?” Planners have resources and contacts. We know where to go and who to talk to to get what you want. Nothing is impossible.
3. A planner can complement your skills.
Are you very creative but have a hard time with contracts and timelines? Are you more detail-oriented and struggle with figuring out a cohesive wedding vision? The right planner for you will handle the parts of the process that you have trouble with. Whether you want someone to take your plans and put them into action or someone to help you figure out your design and decor, you can find a planner that helps round out your team and make the whole process easier.
4. It’s hard to narrow down vendors.
Every cake looks delicious. Every DJ plays good music. Every photographer has a beautiful, perfectly curated website. What you don’t see is the reputation, specialty, and personality of each vendor. Planners work with literally hundreds of other industry professionals and can figure out who will be the best fit for your team.
5. Planners know the right questions to ask.
In the same vein, planners can figure out your needs and make sure that the vendors you choose will deliver. It can be so easy to make assumptions about services; for example, a friend of mine who got married recently (without a planner) hired a caterer whose contract said they would drop off the food and leave, and then was confused as to why the caterer wasn’t staying to serve or clean up. Contracts are confusing, but planners know exactly what to look for.
6. Planners are intermediaries.
It can be really awkward if you’re planning an event and your sweet best friend or family member is trying to take over. If they want red flowers and you want yellow, you might feel swayed to choose their idea for the sake of not hurting feelings. When you have a planner, you’re the client, and the planner will step in and handle those awkward conversations to make sure that you get exactly what you want.
7. A planner wants to help.
Your bridesmaid won’t want to skip mimosas on the morning of the wedding to arrange 120 place settings. Your best friend won’t want to get to your fundraiser frazzled and already tired from driving all over town to pick up linens and flowers. Your mom won’t want to miss the first half of your birthday party because she’s on the phone with a vendor who’s running late. Your planner, on the other hand, is ready and willing to do what you don’t have time for. It’s in the job description.
8. Sticking to a budget is hard.
If your dream vendor is out of your price range, you may feel discouraged – or worse, you may be tempted to go overboard on spending. When you have a planner, he or she can figure out great ways to make your dream come true without breaking the bank. With a little bit of creativity and industry know-how, any event can look like it has a champagne budget, even if it doesn’t.
9. Things go wrong at the last minute.
A table setting may get lost in the mix. People may decline their RSVP but show up anyway. Transportation may get lost on the way to your venue. A bridesmaid’s gel bra may explode all over her dress five minutes before the ceremony (speaking from experience here!). I’ve dealt with all of these issues, and that’s kept the client from having to deal with them. Even if things are easy fixes – a call to a vendor, an extra chair placed here or there, a phone call to give step-by-step directions, a draped sash made out of a table runner – these fixes would fall to the client and make their day hectic and stressful when it should be fun and easy.
10. You should be able to enjoy the event.
If you’re the one in charge of sticking to the timeline, coordinating vendor arrivals and departures, running the setup and breakdown, managing the flow of the event, lighting candles, keeping an eye on the food and drinks, adjusting the lighting, rounding people up for photos, and ensuring that everyone else is happy, your event will pass in the blink of an eye – and you won’t even know what happened. Your event, no matter how big or how small, is your day and your time to shine, so give yourself a chance to enjoy it. Be present. Let someone else handle the stress.