Okay folks. It's about to get real and that's that. Read if you dare.
Why your professional wedding planner should cost the same as your highest paid vendor, if not more.
Holy guacamole, we said it. Now hear us out. We understand that a lot of times a wedding planner is an "add on" service, a "if we can find room in the budget, I'd love to have a wedding planner, but if not, we'll figure it out on our own" kind of thing. Or even, "Holy crap it costs that much?! My friend Susie from work has planned a few events, I'm sure she'd do it for a couple hundred dollars." While we understand the budget is the budget (quite in depth in fact, since we create them) we want to explain to you why hiring a professional wedding planner should be a top priority for you, especially if you are having a destination wedding.
1.) Some of the highest costs of a wedding are the photographer, videographer, venue and catering. Let's stop right there. How did you even find these vendors in the first place? Most likely from your wedding planner, who supplied you with a preferred vendors list. Even further, your wedding planner then referenced your budget he/she created, checked your Pinterest board to make sure your top three chosen florists will actually meet your wants and needs, and then double checked that the photographer you want has that "light and airy" style you're going for, while still having a great personality and will deliver your photos promptly. So, your planner saved you time on checking a thousand reviews, saved you money by finding you the best deal, and saved your sanity knowing that the vendors you chose are going to show up on time and they're going to do a good job.
2.) Great! You've found a few amazing core vendors. Again, weddings are expensive, so you're on the couch eating Ben & Jerry's like: "Why does my wedding planner cost more than my 5k wedding video that I am going to be able to watch with my grandchildren someday?" We are not harping on other vendors here (if you know us, you know that's just not how we roll) we know how hard it is to do what everyone does, and we're so thankful for every vendor, because they are what make weddings weddings and it takes a village to put on a spectacular event! We think the best way to understand it is that wedding planners provide a service, that isn't necessarily tangible. Aka, after your wedding ends we're not handing you a gorgeous wedding video that will make you cry a thousand times over. Or, we're not giving you a gallery of photos of you and your loved one smooching by the Atlantic. A lot of what we are giving you is on the front end. A good wedding planner is setting you up to have the best day ever, and without them, the potential for disaster is high. We are spending hours researching, editing proposals, checking tides, checking radar, checking sunset times, checking table counts, centerpiece counts, linen counts, and then changing all of those six times because Susie just isn't sure if she can make the trip. We're making sure your bartender is bringing ice, setting up cleaning staff to clean the event home on the day of the wedding, getting the pool heated, the backyard sprayed for mosquitos, finding invitations, editing invitations, making the wedding website, securing room blocks, creating event layouts, changing event layouts, making sure all of your contracts have a hurricane clause, making sure the rolls are gluten free, and the butter dairy free, the guest book is classy but still under $20...and the list goes on. Unfortunately when we send out our initial proposal to you, we can't list all of those things in it. It's difficult to accurately portray all the services we'll do for you on paper. But, we'll tell you one thing: We are not above anything. When it comes to your happiness, and making things happen, we'll get er' done.
3.) If you are getting married in a location you're somewhat unfamiliar with, or live miles away from, your wedding planner is your PERSON. Though you'll probably want to visit and do the fun parts of planning a wedding (hello, cake tasting!) if you have a good wedding planner you shouldn't feel the need to visit whatsoever if you don't desire to. Your wedding planner is your GO TO. We really can't stress that enough. They can attend meetings in your place, tour your venue, go to the rental company and actually touch the linens you want to make sure they don't feel too cheap, etc. etc. etc.
4.) What this all leads us to is TIME. Your time and our time. You have a job don't you? You like going to see the occasional movie, or maybe even a concert here and there. Hiring a wedding planner is all about valuing your time, your sanity, and your relationship with your significant other. On the other hand, your wedding planner will by far exert the most energy, research, and time on your wedding. Some wedding planners have almost constant communication with their clients and every single one of their chosen vendors for over one year (we're talking phone, email, text, Facetime, Instagram messages, Facebook messages) multiple times weekly for an entire YEAR or more leading up to the big day associated with all the things. All the things people. Yes, you'll be in contact with your other vendors, maybe even often, but we promise you it will not be that much. A good wedding planner will take care of most of that communication for you anyway.
5.) When it comes to the wedding ceremony rehearsal and wedding day we could write a book. A wedding planner usually directs (sometimes alongside the officiant) the ceremony rehearsal to make sure everyone knows exactly when and where to go to ease everyones nerves. On the wedding day wedding planners average around 12-14 hours onsite, longer than any other vendor you will have hired. Before arriving to the venue planners are usually loading up their car with whatever you may have sent them months before, and are heading to pick up your wedding cake and/or donuts, or are running some kind of last minute errand. Upon arriving they'll usually check on the bride to make sure all is well and then begin setup. Planners are the ones in charge of all the other vendors associated with your wedding. They typically field any and all questions, making sure everything and everyone arrives on time, essentially making sure everyone has what they need to do their job successfully. Then there is the actual set up. This normally involves setting up tables and chairs to fit the layout, placing linens on all the tables, precisely folding napkins, setting up each and every plate/glass/fork, etc. Keep in mind on the Outer Banks a lot of weddings take place outside in the elements, under a tent, or in a 24 bedroom (and therefore multiple floor) event home. After set up is complete wedding planners are directing the timeline they have meticulously planned out so every single moment plays in your favor. From the first look, to the ceremony, to the reception, to the departure and even to the next morning. While sticking to this timeline, they greet guests, help grandma over the dune, move uncle Jimmy's car, schmooze the cops because people are parking illegally in the street (bet you didn't know that one did you?), cue the music for the ceremony so your special song starts at .22 seconds into the song, line up your bridal party for introductions, make sure the DJ plays the correct songs for all those special moments, make sure dinner is on time, make sure your new last name is spelt correctly in pepperonis on the special personal pizza you paid $50 extra for, give your maid of honor the 10 minute warning so she can down a glass of vino before her speech, bustle your dress because Grandma forgot how, make sure no one gets drunk enough to jump in the pool because you'll lose your security deposit, hand out all the gratuity envelopes to vendors, etc. Oh, and then when all your vendors are long gone at the end of the evening, we CLEAN UP. We box up all your DIY items and load them into the Uhaul (yes we have loaded Uhauls worth of items multiple times), wrap up the top tier of your wedding cake and place it in the fridge, re stack the tables and chairs for the rental company so they can pick them up at 9am the next morning, bag up all the dirty napkins and linens and count them so you don't get charged if Uncle Bob accidentally took one on the trolley with him, and tidy up the bridal suite so you don't get charged extra. YES SISTA, we do all that! We got your back!
6.) When we get asked questions like: "Why do you cost more than so and so?" what we want to try to portray to you is this. We are giving you an experience. Any good professional wedding planner is giving you an entire experience of planning your wedding from start to finish. A good wedding planner will most likely go WAY beyond what it says in their contract and half of the time you'll have no idea there are any of the extras. This time and effort comes at a cost, and if the cost isn't high enough you're probably not playing with the big dogs. Check and make sure you know what you're getting so you can feel 100% confident in your investment. We sincerely want you to love your wedding planner whoever you may choose. We cannot express how many times we hear "If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing!" or, "You guys are worth every penny!", or "We can't imagine going through this journey without you!" or "We had no idea you did ALL of that!" You know why? Because most of the tasks planners do, they do them so you don't have to. Because, you hired them so you can relax and enjoy your wedding.
Wedding planning is truly a LABOR of LOVE. It is hard work both mentally and physically, yet it is so rewarding to see every detail come to life. Honestly, nothing compares to seeing your clients faces when they see their venue decorated for the first time, or the bride finally having that first dance with her daddy. It is the essence of having the pleasure of watching two people we've grown to know so intimately over a years time fall in love with each other all over again in a magical setting. Professional wedding planners are book smart, street smart, proactive, witty, multitaskers who are known for getting it done all while having a smile on their face. They will know the exact moments that mean the most to you, and they will live them with you. They will cry when you walk down the aisle, they will know the unknown, ease worry, and fix the unfixable. It is a beautiful thing, invest in it.