It’s time for our second post from Weddings by Rachel – a professional wedding planner based in South Wales. Each fortnight she’ll cover a different wedding planning topic and this week she’s debunking those wedding planning myths!
When I talk to couples who are starting the wedding planning process, I find the same questions and assumptions often come up. Some people have the wrong opinions of wedding planners and the way that they work, so here are some common wedding planning myths: busted! :)
Myth: I can’t afford a planner
Busted: Most couples think that hiring a wedding planner is a huge expense and is only for big budget weddings, but this is not necessarily the case! There are a lot of benefits from hiring a wedding planner that work well for smaller budget weddings too.
For example, budget management. This is key, especially if you have a strict amount of money to spend; negotiating deals and getting the most for your money is imperative. My packages start from as little as £350 for on the day packages and the complete coordination packages are created bespoke for your individual wedding and budget. I have worked with large budgets and very small ones, delivering the same level of service every time.
A good wedding planner will keep you organised, help you think of unique ideas and create something extra special for you both, but can also save you lots of money (I have saved brides literally thousands of pounds in the past negotiating deals and getting freebies!) and keep track of your budget. I also work with lots of suppliers who offer discounts which I always pass onto my clients! :)
Bride’s Opinion – Rebecca Hampson
Other than my dress, Rachel was the one thing I couldn’t do without. Aside from all the effort, stress and time she saved me she also saved me a lot of money by finding me some great deals and getting me discounts. She basically paid for herself! I would definitely recommend having a wedding planner to anyone. Rachel covered everything for us, but there are lots of different levels of help available, so if you can’t afford the full package just some help with the planning or on the day support can make a huge difference.
Myth: A wedding planner will take over the planning process
Busted: This is something that worries a lot of brides (and grooms) and the first thing I would say is this: I would NEVER want to take that away from you! Planning your wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life – but it can also be stressful, time consuming and expensive. What I do is pull together all of the resources required to create your perfect wedding day.
I work with you to select the best suppliers and will always offer suggestions and advice but the power stays in your hands. If there are areas you want to handle then that’s fine, of course! Think of a wedding planner as your personal PA for the duration of your planning (and a short while afterwards).
My aim is to make sure that you have the best possible outcome for your wedding day, keeping the process fun for you. Every bride I have spoken to who has used a planner was happy that they did – this is always something to think about :)
Myth: I don’t need a planner, my wedding is going to be simple!
Busted: While this may have a large element of truth in it, every wedding, irrespective of size, requires planning and coordination. If you think that the whole planning and executing a wedding day process is simple then maybe you just haven’t gotten to the details yet :)
There are a number of elements that you do not want to worry about in the build up or on the day, such as arrival of guests, late arrivals of suppliers and ensuring the day runs to schedule.
I have been on hand to eliminate crises in the past, have my (as the lovely Maria Farrelly calls it) ‘Mary Poppins’ emergency wedding kit in case someone forgets cufflinks or you need an emergency chocolate bar for some sugar, and try to always be ready for every eventuality. All of these are something that a professional will take care of, leaving you to enjoy your wedding day.
Myth: I don’t need a planner, I have an on-site wedding coordinator
Busted: As a wedding planner I am someone who the bride, groom and bridal party may contact if they need extra reassurance on the actual wedding day. I meet with clients, double check details with suppliers, introduce myself, and finally am in attendance on your wedding day to make sure that everything happens the way it’s supposed to.
A venue coordinator works for the venue – which means that often that is where their loyalties lie. Their job is to answer your questions about the venue and assist you with your venue layout and decor. It isn’t their job to assist you with all the many details that go into planning your big day! :)
The venue coordinator (or on-site wedding planner as they are often called) probably won’t help you with your bustle in the bathroom, help your grandmother to her room at the end of the night, make sure your suppliers are set up on time and to your specifications, pin buttonholes on groomsmen, dry church floors in the rain to stop your dress getting dirty, and much more – trust me, I’ve done all sorts.
I do however work closely with the onsite coordinators, as this is often the best way to achieve results and they do a fab job!
Bride’s Opinion – Jenny Evans
Although the New House Hotel offered a coordinator of sorts it was not really a personal service, unlike the service I had with Rachel. They were dealt with more prior to the wedding as opposed to the actual day itself. Other than confirm the room layout, order of the day and menu selections, they really didn’t know anything else about us or our wedding.
Having a wedding planner was a much more personal thing. We’d had so much communication in the run up to the big day (a year), that I felt confident Rachel really knew me (and Leigh) and what was important to us both by the time the wedding day came around. Namely that we wanted to give our guests the best day we could.
On the day itself it was such a relief knowing that I literally only had to worry about myself and that Rachel was the main contact for everybody – the florist, the chair cover people, the cake lady, the singer – even Leigh, because she took my phone off me!! Every little detail I asked for was remembered and everything went to plan – even if it hadn’t I would have been none the wiser. So for me a hotel coordinator was not enough and having a wedding planner helped to ensure that the big day was as much fun for me as it was my guests :)
Myth: I have a friend who can do it
Busted: This is something that I come across a lot – please don’t take the risk! It is a money saving option (or so people think) and couples will often ask family members or friends to take care of the finer details of their wedding. This has a number of potential problems. First of all, asking them to be in charge of something means they might not be relaxed enough to enjoy the day. They will also be required for photo-taking and a number of other duties that they may be kept away from on the day and, even more importantly, what if something goes wrong? How will they feel about letting you down and how will you feel if they do?
Cutting out a coordinator is something that could end up costing you time, money and even more stress. Hiring an expert is sensible as the chances are you don’t have experience running events like this. Think about how friends and family will cope if an emergency happens, for example, if the cake doesn’t turn up, or falls over. My job is to take care of everything and leave you to enjoy your day, with all your friends and family :)
Bride’s Opinion – Jenny Ferries
Never underestimate the stress involved in planning and organising your own wedding; for all the lists you can write there are tons more things that can go wrong.
When I got married in April last year I had issues with arranging a timetable for the day to bring together the church and venue as well as planning something between whilst my venue was being prepared. Rachel helped me come up with loads of great ideas and I decided to go for a boat cruise and to have drinks, afternoon tea and speeches onboard. Rachel also helped to arrange a replacement (and as it turns out, better) boat when the company informed me a week before that it had been double booked!
Having a planner shares the stress without involving family and friends in your problems, brings new ideas for your special day and means that you can use yours and your helper’s ideas without then carrying the whole responsibility if things don’t go as planned. I enjoyed my day without once worrying about the finer details and my family, friends, husband and I could enjoy our day from start to finish.
Myth: Wedding planners are too expensive
Busted: This is a very common misconception. I say misconception because even though a planner will charge you a fee for their services, more often than not that fee is covered by the money saved for you.
You’d also be surprised how easy it is to go over budget. An extra £25 here and there adds up quickly – I make sure that this is all accounted for, preventing you from overspending, and recommended cheaper alternatives where possible.
The important question that I always ask is ‘Is my fee too expensive if it means having a professional on hand, almost as an insurance policy, to ensure everything runs exactly how you want it to, making it the perfect day for you?’
Also, please enquire as to a price – you may be pleasantly surprised by the quote you receive!
Myth: It’s easy to plan a destination wedding from home
Busted: A lot of the couples I work with are coming from outside of Wales to get married. Please do not underestimate the benefits of having a local wedding planner who knows the area and the local suppliers when planning a destination wedding.
I schedule regular Skype, email and telephone conversations with my destination clients, offering the same level of service that they would receive if they were just around the corner. I am on hand to visit suppliers, collect contracts etc., the finer details that you wouldn’t be able to do from further away.
Trying to coordinate all the details of a perfect wedding from miles away is more difficult than it first seems and can often prevent you from achieving exactly what you want. If you are travelling so far to get married then why take the risk?
If you were going to Hawaii would you use a planner? You would, because you don’t know the area and would need someone who can get you the best quality for the best price. It’s exactly the same when getting married in Wales (except for maybe the sunshine!).
Bride’s Opinion – Caitlin Morgan
My fiancé (now husband) and I live in Washington DC but wanted to get married in Wales where his family is from. Because neither of us are super particular we honestly didn’t think that planning a wedding would be that difficult – how mistaken we were!
Fortunately we managed to hire Rachel early in the process and are eternally grateful that we did. She managed to book meetings with all of our vendors, helped with the logistics of obtaining marriage licenses from abroad, got us a ton of discounts that we never would have known about and took care of all of our international money transfers (which otherwise would have been a huge hassle).
Rachel also took care of all the small details that we never would have planned for including: booking taxis for our families, finding local food options and even booking some family events in the days leading up to the wedding. Finally, it was just great having someone working in the UK and not five hours behind. This meant that instead of trying to coordinate with everyone ourselves we were able to just Skype with Rachel each week. From planning to the day of, Rachel allowed us to have a stress free wedding!
Phew! I hope you’re feeling a bit more informed about wedding planners now that we’ve busted those top wedding planning myths. I love to hear from you all so please do let me know if you have any questions! :)
Lots of love