Wedding Planners Are Just For The Rich And Famous, Right?
Ummm, wrong! I used to think so, and they definitely were a bit of a status symbol back in the day. But now, not so much. Savvy couples have realised a good wedding planner can save them time, money and stress.
I spent the morning with wedding planner Ann Beggs, from Ann Nicholas Wedding Planning recently and we discussed why a wedding planners are not just for the rich and famous but actually, something every couple should consider.
I have attended a lot of weddings and without doubt, the ones that have run most smoothly and with the most relaxed couples are the ones with either a wedding planner or some sort of professional 'organiser'.
I love a DIY wedding. I love marquees in back gardens and barns on farms and everything that comes with them but in the absence of an 'event co-ordinator' the day and the plans that the couple have worked so hard on can often unravel a little at the seams. This is because the organisation on the day often falls to the Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid, or family members. These people are not often professional event organisers and invariably find the task significantly more demanding than they imagined.
They also want to enjoy your day and celebrate with you - they are your closest friends and family after all - and you certainly don't want to be dealing with the various issues that can arise on a wedding day. And there are always some, no matter how meticulously you plan!
Facilitating the smooth-running of the day is just one aspect of what a wedding planner can do for you. A good one can be invaluable and save you so much time, money and stress they practically pay for themselves.
Ann offers three tiers of wedding planning. A full plan, which is aimed at couples who don't have the time or the desire to spend hours trawling the internet searching for suppliers and products. Ann explained that it takes, on average, 300 hours to plan a wedding and while the internet is an amazing thing, it can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help, simply because it presents couples with too much choice. I think we've all experienced spending hours on Pinterest, seeing lots of lovely things but not really achieving anything. (I know I definitely have!) By asking the right questions Ann can really hone in on what you want, narrow your options to things and suppliers that are the right fit for you and your budget, and present you with a shortlist for you to choose from. Plus, you will often have the added reassurance of Ann having worked with the suppliers before.
A partial plan, is aimed at couples who have maybe started planning their own wedding and have found they don't really have the time, or have become completely overwhelmed and need some help. Or, Ann can simply work alongside you. You do the bits you want to and leave all the boring and annoying bits to her. You will benefit from her wealth of knowledge and contacts, which can save you considerable time and money and she's just phone call away if you need any advice or help, or just someone experienced to bounce ideas off.
"It takes on average, 300 hours to plan a wedding."
Ann can also be hired just for 'on the day co-ordination' where she will oversee everything from making sure the venue is set up exactly as you have planned to organising your sparkler send off - health and safety regulations at venues mean this is never as simple as it sounds!
I know so many of my couples really enjoy the planning process and want to do it themselves (and let's be honest here - stay completely in control!) but if you're going to do this, it's crucial that you have someone there on the day to make sure everything runs to plan.
Plenty of wedding venues provide a co-ordinator for you but you must remember that they are primarily working for the venue, not for you. If your DJ lets you down they're not going to find you another one, they won't sew up your dress and stick your eyelashes back on seconds before you walk down the aisle and they won't make sure your new mother-in-law is in the right place at the right time for the photos. Ann will make sure nothing is forgotten and that everything runs to time. She will make sure all your guests know where to be and when, and crucially, will deal with any little mishaps that happen - missing chairs, missing confetti, missing food, missing grannies - it's usually things and family members going astray!
One of Ann's previous clients has described her as a Fairy Godmother and she is exactly that. She's got your back and will swiftly fix anything that might need fixing, leaving you to relax and enjoy your special day without having to worry about a thing.
"Couples employ a professional for every aspect of their wedding, so it makes sense to employ a professional for the on-the-day management too."
And if you decide not to hire a wedding planner Ann has the following advice...
Be clear with the members of your wedding party what their roles entail and what is expected of them. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen are not there just to wear pretty dresses and sharp suits, they have responsibilities and a job to do. (I've written a blog about this which you can read here.) Also make sure that you have a detailed timeline, including one for getting ready and give it to someone who you trust to make it happen.
You can find out more about the services Ann offers at ann-nicholas.com.