Recently we’ve been asked by wedding venues to help them to try and explain the value and importance of hiring a wedding planner. This is something that we feel varies from couple to couple as each couple has different values and priorities but as always, we will do our best. I honestly think anyone CAN do what we do, it's just that others won't necessarily know what to look for, what questions to ask, have the best resources to troubleshoot (ie: vendor/friends we can call on for help), how to troubleshoot (with as many options and years of past experience as we professionals have), & know how to prevent many things from even happening. Below are some examples of what I mean:
· Guest list, we ask couples to use OUR template because the guest list should be sorted into various versions. Anyone can do that but would they have known ahead of time TO do it? Or even WHY to do it? There are many problems that do happen but would require various versions to fix it.
o We ALSO MUST provide the registration table with the printed guest list to check-in guests. There were just TOOOO many times in the past where couples sent their guest list and wanted to personally print out a copy for their registration table only to find out on the wedding day that the lists don't match because of last minute changes we weren’t aware of, their parents made a change (and didn't know to tell me), or that they forgot to update on the list they printed for their helpers. Since we setup according to the list we have, the counts don't match and that creates havoc during check-in :-(.
o I've also had people who don't count their guests correctly (no seats for infants/children) or seat 15+ to 1 table and don't notice it until we bring it up.
o We have also had a number of couples who told me they wanted FEWER chairs than expected guests because they wanted guests to be "forced" to mingle. Of course, that's a BAD idea because guests feel like they are not wanted to stay, feel uncomfortable, and even more so don’t budge due to fear of not having a place to come back to and sit at.
· Even though music is provided to the person who will be responsible, we still ask for the specific song titles and artist "just in case" the music person doesn't follow through, doesn't bring it, can't get it, their equipment doesn't work, etc. Anyone can ask for the songs and artists BUT will they know TO do it, who SHOULD have that data, and WHY we ask for it?
· Even things as simple as not only making sure something for the wedding party to eat for lunch is planned, there is time for them to eat it but ALSO know exactly who they plan to feed (ie: just in case a friend "stops by" to congratulate them or say "hi" and they mistakenly eat the Bridesmaid's portion :-(). So again, this is a minor thing but would they know and remember to do this and who will be responsible/present to tell the "friend" who stops by that the food isn't for them (if there isn't a coordinator present who knows it's NOT for them)?
· Many couples still think they "need" a traditional guest book (for names and addresses) but since most tell me they don't like long lines of guests trying to "check in", I explain how there is NO reason to have a traditional guest book because they should already have everyone's names and addresses from sending them invitations...and how when I print and provide the guest list (via our template) to the registration table helpers, it will easily track all cards & gifts (even if you can't read the signature of the guest on the card).
On the day OF the wedding...let's say Uncle XXXX can't be found to give his speech, will their helper know and be able to notify everyone (ie: photo, video, MC, DJ, Banquet captain, etc.) who needs to be of the change and what will happen until Uncle returns OR will the MC be left hanging...and take a "break" until Uncle returns which will cue many guests to leave before the program resumes.
· On the day OF the wedding...if picture taking is running late or Grandma isn't present, will their helper know how to troubleshoot and which way the couple would prefer? For example, we always ask WAY in advanced to rank 1-5 what's most important so we will know how to troubleshoot for them (staying on time, taking all formal pictures, spending time with guests, as much open dancing as possible, or doing every activity listed in the formal program)
· Often what I see is that the couple may plan to have parents and siblings responsible for tasks at the exact same time they will be needed elsewhere for hair and makeup, picture taking, etc.. It really boils down to us learning throughout the years what works, what doesn't, how to make the day flow and execute as smoothly as possible, while allowing the wedding party and family to enjoy as much of the wedding day as possible.
Vendor payments due ON the wedding day. We always offer to pay vendors for our clients ON the wedding day so they won't need to worry about it. When we confirm ALL details with each vendor, we also confirm the amount due and how they will take their payment. Then ON the wedding day, we normally pay the vendor when the contract is completed. If for any reason it is NOT completed, we don't pay them BUT because we confirm EVERY detail, try to make each vendor’s job as easy as possible, and have been so good at troubleshooting (that vendors tend to fulfill their contracts), in over 16 years, we've only not paid 2 vendors and both times they knew they weren't getting paid, so they weren't upset, and both times the couples never knew the vendor didn't fulfill their contracts until we returned the payments and told them to contact the vendor after the wedding day to discuss what happened and how much they should be paid.
Happy Planning from all of us at A Perfect Day!