NACE Panel Discussion – Wedding Planning Advice
I was honored to have been invited to represent wedding/event planners in the Houston wedding/event industry at the National Association of Catering Executives monthly meeting. The meeting was held at the beautiful “Bell Tower on 34th”, and featured a discussion panel with questions presented by a moderator. I enjoyed the opportunity to provide my insights and personal wedding planning advice, along with three other excellent wedding professionals to those in attendance.
Probably the number one question was how vendors (photographers, linen suppliers, etc) could encourage brides who do not have a wedding planner to hire a planner. These vendors know first hand how an wedding planner creates a much smoother event, as the vendors are part of weddings every single weekend.
When a bride decides that she can do it all herself, along with the help of bridesmaids and family members, disaster on some level is sure to occur. When planning a once in a life time event, and with the average wedding costing $30-$50K, what insurance does a bride have that it is going to go off seamlessly?
Believe me, as a planner I understand the DIY bride and the joy of planning, and even though I would rather be there from conception to completion, I gladly accept event day management (which starts six weeks from event day) to provide seamless execution and a day that can truly be enjoyed. If nothing else, all weddings should at least have a wedding professional on the wedding day.
While the bridesmaids and family members have been there along the way, the event day is filled with lots of tasks in which time does not allow for them to participate. They are not able to deal with tedious tasks such as vendor arrivals, set up, ensuring the vision is complete, and, heaven forbid, a disaster occurs. These loving people that surround the bride on the wedding day, will partake in bridal breakfasts, getting ready, hair, makeup, pictures, and before you know it, it is ceremony time. It really is physics, you can’t be in two places at one time, and you truly cannot enjoy yourself if you keep answering your phone to handle vendor questions. Seriously, your hairstylist might just have your head.
Another stumbling block that planners run into are venues that are a one-stop shop and inform brides that a wedding planner is included in their package. By no means, is this to offend these types of venues; I love you, and you play a vital role in what we do. As a former event planning professional for venues, I can honestly say that this is misleading.
Unless you are truly planning the wedding along side the bride the entire way, meaning you have worked out a budget, are attending vendor meetings, and being instrumental in the design and not just handing them a list of your preferred vendors, then this is not wedding planning. It is undermining everything that we do. Be truthful. Wedding coordination on the event day is an accurate statement, please let them know what it means. Of course, if the bride needs a little extra guidance along the way, Enjoy Events would be honored to assist.
At the end of the day, event planning services are intangible. You can see how many flowers you get for your money, or the difference in a duponi silk linen next to a pintuck linen, but you can feel the difference when an event professional is there with you. Every. Step. Of. The Way. I hope you have enjoyed this bit of wedding planning advice.