Do I need a wedding planner?
Wedding planning can be stressful at the best of times, let alone in a pandemic! After the latest guidelines were released, it seems like everyone has hit the ground running now there’s more clarity and hope for couples to tie the knot.
I often get asked a lot about planning and styling by my couples. Whilst I’m happy to chat ideas and give advice on which hire items work well together, or share with you how past couples have used or styled our items, I am not a planner or a stylist. There are many talented stylists, planners and on the day coordinators in the South West who can work effectively with you to make your wedding your picture perfect dream day, many of which I can recommend.
Image by Holly Collings
There’s a common misconception that a planner and a stylist are the same thing! Whilst some elements may cross over, they are totally different roles.
It’s a stylist’s job to bring together all the aesthetic elements of the day, from tablescapes, décor, food & drinks stations, welcome signs and the like. It’s their job to bring the couples vision to life which as you can imagine, is an incredibly important part to play.
A planner on the other hand deals with all the logistical elements, from booking and liaising with suppliers and making sure everything runs on time and smoothly (and a million other jobs you don’t even realise!). They are the octopuses of the wedding industry and use their organisational finesse to make your day as easy and stress free as possible.
From personal experience for my own wedding, we didn’t hire either. I’m a bit of a control freak, so at the time, this suited me quite well! As the day came nearer however, it did get rather stressful and on the day itself, I felt like I was the only one who knew anything. I wasn’t relaxed and spent most of the day looking for things or making sure things were going to schedule. If I could go back and change one thing, it would be to seriously look at hiring some help. Your day should be about you celebrating a union of love with the people you adore the most in your life, and bringing someone to take on the operational and specific chores of the day which will ultimately stress you out is invaluable.
Your friends and family may say they are happy to help, so use them wherever possible for your prep. However, they want to be able enjoy the day too so you don’t really want them working on your wedding day! Last thing you want to do is be searching and hunting for your maid of honour when you need her to hold up your dress whilst you take a bathroom break.
Affordability is a huge topic when the discussion of whether to hire a planner or stylist arises. For a good planner, you’re looking at roughly 10% of your entire budget, or a minimum amount which varies from planner to planner. Everyone has particular budgets that can only stretch so far, but the stress a good planner can relieve and serenity they will bring can prove unbelievably worthwhile.
Planners are flexible too, and can offer a variety of services. For example, if you don’t want a full planning service, you could opt for an ‘On the day coordination’ service. This may be for you if you want full control of all the planning or have a smaller budget and just want to hand over the reins to someone else to manage the day itself.
Who better to ask a bit more about planning than Jenny Wren, one of Cornwall’s most respected and experienced wedding and event organisers.
Image by South Weds Wedding Photography
What are the advantages of booking a wedding planner and/or on the day coordinator?
If you are anything like me, it is likely you have been dreaming about your wedding ever since you were little and now that you are engaged are very excited to begin the planning process. Going to cake tastings, choosing your dress and swooning over elegant centrepieces all sounds very appealing, however the fact is planning your wedding is not all fun and games and it can be hugely time consuming and very stressful.
On average between 250-300 hours is spent planning a wedding and trust me this is not all spent on the enjoyable tasks!
Having a wedding planner working for you means you can really enjoy the journey to ‘I do’ as they can take care of everything from the hours of supplier research, managing your budget and reviewing contracts to providing a wealth of creative ideas and insights, managing logistical elements and using their expert skills and contacts will make your day come together seamlessly. Keeping you involved as much or as little as you prefer, working closely with you to ensure the day is exactly as you envisage.
In a nutshell they can…
Save you money- Often our suppliers will give our clients discount as we work with them regularly.. Planners are in a much better position to negotiate with suppliers as they can potentially get them repeat business. Saving you time- Especially important for those time poor couples who have demanding jobs or small children perhaps. A planner will be your suppliers point of contact, giving you regular updates so you do not need to spend your valuable time dealing with everyone involved in your day. Minimize stress and anxiety- During the lead up to this special day emotions can run high and spoil what should be a really lovely and exciting time. Having a planner on board alleviates this stress so you can enjoy the lead up to your day. Reputable suppliers- There are likely to be many people involved in your day and you need to feel confident that they will deliver an exceptional service. I am extremely picky about the suppliers I will put forward to my clients and our recommendations are based on experience, reputation, integrity and suitability. Knowledge and expertise – A planners knowledge and experience of weddings is invaluable. We know what works and what doesn’t and can foresee potential issues, remedying them before they have the chance to arise. When it comes to the day itself we will know the ins and outs of your wedding day to the same level of detail (if not more) as you, making us the best equipped to manage the day.
Using a wedding planner doesn't mean you couldn't plan your own wedding, it just means that you recognise the value of professional assistance on what is arguably the most important day of your life.
Image by Kirsten Prisk Photography
What is the role of an On the day Coordinator?
Looking ravishing, relaxed and relishing every single moment should be how any couple should feel on their big day. Not dashing off mid conversation with their guests, red faced and flustered to sort out yet another problem, or constantly checking their watch to ensure all is running to schedule. Unfortunately, this is the role many couples end up playing on their big day that do not hire a coordinator; that of the ‘host’ dealing with mini crisis after mini crisis.
The fact is no matter how many months, even years are put into the planning of a wedding and how perfect it looks on paper, it is all about the control on the day, something which in my view, the couple should not be responsible for.
Many couples approach me for this service after they have planned the whole wedding themselves and need the back up on the day knowing all that they had hoped, wished and spent hours planning for themselves will run like clockwork.
After a full handover of plans. contact is made with each and every supplier involved, managing them from that point forward and creating a very detailed schedule of the day. On the wedding day itself your planner will be there early in the morning to oversee the set-up of the venue, coordinate all the suppliers involved and provide that extra level of detail required to ensure the rooms look perfect. Leaving you and your wedding party with no on the day jobs to deal with, instead you will have time to relax, sip champagne and think about marrying your best friend.
Management of proceedings throughout the day will ensure you are not constantly checking your watch or worrying that the speeches are over running which will upset the caterers for example. Your coordinator will ensure all of your guests are comfortable and deal with any problems that may occur behind the scenes, so you don’t even know about them.
The wedding emergency kit, which comes with me to every wedding and contains over fifty items is at your and your guests disposal throughout the day, with everything from a sewing kit to rescue remedy your coordinator will be well equipped to deal with pretty much anything!
In my view a on the day coordinator should be at the top of your wedding planning list, it really is an invaluable service that you owe to yourselves after doing all of that work to create your day plans. Leaving you both to simply turn up on your wedding day and excel in being fabulous!
Image by Debs Alexander Photography
Thanks Jenny! Well, I hope that has answered a few questions. There really is so much work and organisation that goes into planning a wedding! If you’d like to find out more about Jenny’s services then check out her website at www.jennywrenweddingsandevents.co.uk and take a look at her Insta feed for some totally swoonworthy inspiration! @jennywrenweddingsandevents