You are in love, you are engaged, and you want to have the best wedding possible for your wedding budget. You also have a job or live in a town other than the one where you will be getting married and time is slipping away from you as if you were in an hourglass. What can you do to alleviate the stress and actually get to your wedding on time, on budget and happy?
Hire a wedding planner!
This does not take you off the hook for major decisions, but it does mean that you have someone connected to the wedding and event planning industry. Someone in your locale who will assist you in navigating the shoals of the wedding sea.
The wedding planner (or consultant or coordinator - they have many titles) should be certified. One of the best ways to find a person who will meet your needs is to ask friends for recommendations or to contact the Association of Bridal Consultants for professionals in your area. Ask for references and follow up on them. To get a hint of what wedding planners do, check out a few episodes of "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?" for a glimpse into their not-so-glamorous world.
There are many different kinds of services that a wedding planner provides. They can just consult for a couple of hours a month to keep you on task for your own wedding planning. They can be hired for just the day of wedding (and possibly rehearsal) to act as an on-site director for all details concerning the wedding day itself. That way you won't have to bother with a catering crisis as you walk down the aisle. But the most comprehensive wedding planner package is for full-service. This means the wedding planner will help you plan the wedding itself from start to finish and will be with you on your wedding day as the on-site coordinator.
The wedding planner you should hire, especially for a full service package, should:
- Listen to your ideas and research the options to satisfy your concept of your wedding
- Come up with an overall wedding plan that meets your tastes and wedding budget
- Make appointments with vendors (and go with you to get special deals)
- Help handle selection of bridesmaid’s dresses, wedding invitations, flowers, and caterer
- Organize and coordinate wedding programs, music for the ceremony and wedding reception, menus, place cards and table assignments
- Ensure that everything goes smoothly by staying in touch with the vendors and other service providers (this also means having an in-budget back up if the vendor screws up)
- Be on hand at the wedding itself to handle services and details
- Act as liaison between warring parties (parents, caterers, room providers) and find solutions to all difficulties
Make certain you can afford NOT to have a wedding planner, or budget one into your overall wedding budget at the very beginning of the planning process. A good wedding planner may be a necessity rather than a luxury, so think about it, and plan accordingly.