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Wedding Wisdom

Wedding Wisdom: Hire a Planner

Welcome to Wedding Wisdom! Every week, JET experts will help you plan your dream nuptials from engagement to “I do.” This week, wedding planner and bride-to-be Tami Smallwood, CEO of blush|WEDDING and EVENT PLANNING FIRM, schools us on the benefits of hiring a professional wedding planner and the pitfalls of planning without one.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Satisfied couples are my biggest reward as a wedding planner. Getting a heartfelt thank-you for making their wedding the smooth and well-executed day of their dreams makes my day. I chuckle when I think back to the fires we put out that day without the client having a clue. Or, the problems we avoided by using experience, planning and execution.

If you think you can do this without help, listen to this story, then think again. We once had a bride who “hired” her aunt to decorate and make the floral arrangements.  Of course, the aunt was also a guest and didn’t consider she needed time to assemble bouquets and get dressed.

While our team was busy with a sound check, the aunt slipped out to get ready before completing the bouquets or letting anyone know.  She left the fresh cut flowers on a table in the reception space–unattended on a hot day.

We were shocked to discover the calla lilies and hydrangeas during our final walk through, only 10 minutes before the start of the procession.  Being the planners we are–we grabbed our emergency bag, scissors, tape and ribbon and created three bouquets just in time for the ceremony.  To this day, the bride has no idea her expensive buds were left to wilt on table 14.

Having a wedding planner can save you from dealing with stress and potential disappointments like this.  Here are a few ways a professional can help:

Execute the couples’ vision: Social media sites such as Pinterest are full of beautiful images and ideas. It can become difficult to stay focused with so many great color schemes and favor ideas available.  A qualified wedding planner will get to know you and your styles then narrow down and execute a vision that incorporates both your personalities, yet form a cohesive focus.

Manage your timelines: Juggling a career and other commitments while planning your wedding will be overwhelming if you try to wing it on your own.  A wedding planner will handle the legwork and research beforehand, but most of the intense juggling happens on the Big Day. Overzealous brides (and their loved ones, like the aunt in my story) underestimate how impossible it can be to get dressed, take pictures and track down the videographer stuck in traffic a few blocks away.

Help select the best vendors: There is no need to second guess if you’ve hired the right DJ. With our own reputations on the line, we will only offer qualified vendor referrals. Great planners will have several professional connections with sought after service providers as well as unique, typically hard-to-find vendors. Let’s just say, it’s both what you know and who you know!

Coach all of your vendors: Wondering why there are only six bouquets, when you ordered seven should not be your concern neither who will cue the musician for the procession. It is your planner’s responsibility to make sure the photographer is not in the bathroom when it’s time to cut the cake. Think of us as the coaches of the dream vendor team you (with the help of your coach, of course) hand-picked!

Other hats wedding planners may wear:

The Creative: Most planners have the gift of design and a knack for making things beautiful.

The Guru: Trust me when I tell you, we know what we’re doing. We literally get married over 20 times each year!

The Scapegoat: We take the pressure off of you and deal with those strange requests from your friends and family. Remember, you still have to face Aunt Mable at Thanksgiving dinner!

The Control Freak: Relax, and leave the next-to-impossible tasks to us!