What kind of planning/coordination do I need?
Have you gotten to the point in wedding planning where these wedding details are daunting and are totally getting in the way of date nights? You may or may not be sort of over all.the.details. This is usually the point where you ask yourself, what can I do to take some of this work (and stress) off me?
Well… in steps a wedding planner! Ta-da! There isn’t an easy button to press to make all the details go away but a wedding planner is definitely a step in that direction. A wedding planner is fully vested in your wedding from the very beginning; sometimes before there is even a venue booked.
WHAT TYPE OF WEDDING PLANNER IS BEST FOR YOU?
First, you have to think about what type of planning you want and what your budget will allow. Remember that a wedding planner is not your "personal assistant", you are hiring a wedding industry expert because (let's face it) if you really knew everything about planning a wedding or already had connections with the top wedding professionals in your area, you wouldn't need a planner, right? Many planners have different packages ranging from full or partial planning to wedding design or event management/month of coordination.
"a wedding planner doesn't plan your wedding...a wedding planner helps you plan your wedding!"
FULL PLANNING + COORDINATION
If you hire a planner for full planning and design they will be with you every step of the way. This means they get to know you and your wedding from the beginning. They help you come up with a look and feel that is unique to you and assist you with finding and booking a dynamic vendor team to make this come to life. They work alongside you for the creative elements but also tackle the behind the scenes elements and logistics for your day. Your planner will help you with the big things like catering, photographer and flowers while also managing other elements like hotel room blocks and transportation for both you and your guests. They are your companion in this crazy wedding ride.
But don't misunderstand full planning! Full planning doesn't mean your planner does everything for you, such as picking up tasting samples for you or sending your invitations...it just means that your have a higher level of assistance through the planning process. If you are looking for more...ask about All-Inclusive Full Service Planning packages.
Some planners do both planning and design while others limit services to strictly planning. Both of these are very valuable. Some planners have that creative side to be able to help you come up with new and fun ideas to make your wedding stand out while others are killer with the checklists and spreadsheets to keep you on track. Both can help you accomplish the wedding of your dreams while still maintaining the other aspects of your life.
All planning companies are different and handle the process in different ways.
PARTIAL PLANNING & COORDINATION
Partial planning is a step down from full planning and a little less inclusive. Typically with partial planning a planner is handling some aspects of the planning but not all of them. For instance, based on your vison your planner will recommend specific vendors that are best suited to meet your expectations. You will often be the one to reach out to those vendors to secure quotes and initiate bookings. This is a good option for you if you have a fair amount of free time, a great handle on certain aspects of the wedding but would like some guidance and help in other arenas. If you are really detail focused but not sure where to go and logistical details are just not your thing, this could be a good package for you.
Partial planning is still going to make sure your wedding day runs smoothly and coordinate with all the vendors, even the ones you have been communicating with through the planning process. While not as inclusive, this can be a more cost effective option if you are committed to a higher level of involvement.
MONTH OF COORDINATION
Your budget may not allow for a planner to walk you through every step but having someone to provide you with the tools and guidance, then be there to run your wedding day is very important. You, your wedding party and your mom will be busy getting ready and enjoying the day and you will not want to have to stop to oversee your vendors. This is where a coordinator steps in. They will take over logistics and communications within the final month leading up to your wedding and then ensure that the wedding day runs smoothly.
A coordinator can come in and review your contracts, details and needs. They can point out any holes in the planning and assist you in fixing those before wedding day arrives. Your coordinator can manage the little logistics and free you up to enjoy time with your family and friends.
WHAT YOUR PLANNER IS not!
There is often a misconceptions about what a wedding planner's job is and many couples go in to booking a planner thinking that a planner will quite literally do e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! So think about the words in the job title...planner and coordinator. Their job is to PLAN & COORDINATE. While your planner will place some of your details (guest book, welcome sign, table numbers, favors etc) a planners responsibilities do not encompass things like rolling out tables, putting on all the table linens, laying out 150 place settings, tying cushions on 250 chairs, decorating or cleaning up the mess afterwards, but not to worry...most of this can be contracted through the appropriate vendors and most planners can recommend (or may offer) a Set Up & Strike Team, but know that whether through your vendors or through a set up/strike team...these additional services will come with a cost.
No matter the type of planning assistance you end up choosing, all still require you to be directly and actively involved in the process. There is not really a "hands of" method of planning unless you are willing to invest in truly All-Inclusive services from your planner where all you have to do is make the final decisions and show up on wedding day.
There is much more to planning that most people realize, until they are in the midst of it. The best thing you can do is to openly assess the level to which you are able to commit to the process, how organized you are and your ability to follow thru and complete what needs to be done.