One of the many comments I receive as a professional wedding planner is “I cannot imagine what today would have been like without you!”. This simple and flattering feedback surprises me every time as I am usually so focused on a wedding while I am there, that I give little thought to what it would be like without a planner present. With a bit of reflection, I am about to explore what a wedding day would be like with and without a planner. Please note that the following are examples of worse case scenarios, although they have been known to happen – they do not happen to everyone.
Scenario One: Morning Preparations
Without: It is 9:00 a.m. and the hair and make-up artists are running late and are most likely lost because they are not familiar with the area. Bride has to call her mother to get the hair dresser’s phone number, she Google’s the directions, and texts the artists her hotel room number.
With: It is 9:00 am, the hair and make-up artists have arrived on time having been provided with a map, clear directions, and hotel room number of the Bride from the wedding planner. The Bride calmly sips on a mimosa as she receives a confirmation phone call from her planner to ensure that everyone has arrived alright.
Scenario Two: Getting Dressed
Without: It is 2:00 pm, the Bridal Party is already running behind and the zipper on one of the bridesmaid dress won’t stay up. The Mother of the Bride does what she can to fix it but can’t get it zip all the way.
With: It is 12:00 p.m., the Bridal Party is running late so the planner stops by the hotel room to check on the delay and discovers the bridesmaid’s zipper won’t stay up. The planner pulls out her “emergency kit”; produces a mini sewing kit, stitches the zipper into place and gets the bridal party on their way.
Scenario Three: En Route
Without: It is 2:00 p.m., the Bridal Party is in the hotel lobby waiting to be picked up – the limo is a no show. Bride has to call the limo company and then arrange for taxis to take her party to the ceremony site.
With: It is 2:00 p.m., the Bridal Party is picked up at the hotel by a limo with chilled champagne being poured; the planner having confirmed the date, time and address of the pick up and drop off with the limo company the day prior.
Scenario Four: Set Up & Ceremony
Without: Finally! It is 3:00 p.m. and everyone has arrived at the ceremony site, the Bride gives the decor to the caterer, who is her aunt, and helps her set up escort cards, guest book and signage. The Bride then frantically organizes the wedding party into the procession order.
With: Finally! It is 3 p.m. and everyone arrives at the ceremony site, the Bride has a quiet and special moment with her parents. Meanwhile, her wedding planner oversees the set up of the decor, confirms the final cocktail period details with the caterer, and prepares the wedding party for the processional.
Scenario Five: Introduction & Reception
Without: It is 5:00 p.m., despite a late start, the ceremony and family photos went well. The Bride and Groom now try to gather their wedding party and line them in the correct order so the DJ can formally announce them into the reception but no one can find the Best Man. The Groom goes looking for this friend, delaying the evening further.
With: It is 5 p.m., the ceremony and family photos went great and everything is on schedule. The planner collects the wedding party and lines everyone in order for the formal introduction. The planner confirms the proper pronunciation of the Groom’s last name with the DJ, preparing to queue him. Meanwhile, the newlyweds relax and share a laugh with their friends, waiting for their big moment.
Scenario Six: Dinner & Dance
Without: It is 6 p.m., the DJ senses a lull in the evening and asks the couple if they are ready for speeches and toasts. The Bride leaves the table to tell the Maid of Honor and Best Man that their speeches will be early. The toasts run long, resulting in the main course having to sit under the heat lamps, drying out.
With: It is 6 p.m., the planner checks with the banquet captain that the main courses are being served shortly. She then confirms with the DJ that the speeches and toasts will begin once the dessert course is served, ensuring the meal is served in its optimum condition and satisfied guests give their full attention to speakers.
Scenario Seven: Send Off
Without: It is midnight and the DJ has just announced the Bride and Groom’s last dance. As the newlyweds take the dance floor, the Bride’s mother misses the moment having been too busy boxing up left over personal items (i.e.: toasting glasses, Bride’s veil, presents) and loading them into her car. She then misses their farewell because she was finding the banquet captain to pay the final bill and writing checks for the final vendor payments that are still due.
With: It is midnight, the planner has already loaded the personal items into the limo before the last dance and has packed up the remaining wedding day items. The planner handles giving vendors their last payments and tips in envelopes she had her clients prepare the day before. The Bride’s mother is busy being a great hostess, enjoying the evening with friends and family. The Bride and Groom are blissful as they get into their getaway car having just been a guest at their own wedding, fully able to savor each moment and enjoy their friends and family. The planner has sent them off with a small slice of boxed wedding cake and chilled champagne to enjoy in their hotel room.
The planner is the neutral party who sees the bigger picture of the day. She is not a guest. She is there to ensure the event runs smoothly providing convenience and a piece of mind. Most importantly, as a wedding planner, she provides a service to couples allowing them to experience their wedding day to the fullest — making all the difference!