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Once they have got over the excitement of deciding to get married, a couple faces one of the most daunting periods of their new life together – planning the wedding itself. Admittedly, the bride is usually far more involved in the nitty-gritty of the actual planning of the Big Day itself, mainly because the majority of men are simply not all that interested in the details and are happy to leave it to their future wives. But even with the additional help of her parents, girlfriends, bridesmaids, sisters and any other willing female presence, it is sometimes too big a task to handle, more so if the wedding is only a few months away. This is when the input of a wedding planner is so necessary.
A wedding planner will take on much of the organisational burden that comes with planning a wedding. She will become the “go-to” person who assists in planning specific parts or all of the wedding activities and ensures that everyone involved in the organisation of the day itself is doing their job as required, and that suppliers are paid on time.
If she is involved in the planning of the entire day, a wedding planner will meet with the bride and groom and work out the budget, personal preferences regarding venue and availability, entertainment at the reception venue, catering (including the menu options and possible future substitutions), and decorations for the church and the venue. She will usually be familiar with the best caterers and bakers, especially those who make wedding cakes, and will be able to offer advice on which florists and photographers to use, depending on the style of the occasion.
If involved well before the wedding itself, she may also be involved in the design and negotiating with the printers regarding the invitations and ensuring that they are delivered and sent out to the guests in plenty of time, and that the table place cards, menus or programmes are proofed and delivered on time. If there is a rehearsal dinner, a wedding planner will be involved in this as well, from the menu to the decorations.
She may also be tasked with finding the right venue for the dinner, and ensuring that the evening goes according to plan, which includes sorting out last-minute problems such as unavailability and substitution of any menu items. It is her job to organise the tables at the reception, ensuring that the guests are seated according to the wishes of the bridal party and that potential friction between guests who do not like one another is avoided by ensuring that they are not seated together. No matter how happy the occasion, it will not change the personalities of guests who simply refuse to get along with one another!
A wedding planner will normally attend the wedding and reception to ensure that any unexpected problems and hitches are resolved quickly and without any undue fuss. After all, the bride and groom are not going to want to have to resolve problems like the seafood cocktail being unavailable or cream going sour because a fridge at the venue has broken down, or the arrival of the wedding cake being delayed due to unexpected traffic congestion en-route to the venue. Despite our most careful planning, things DO go wrong sometimes and a calm and professional wedding planner will make alternative plans to save the situation through her contacts, skills and experience, and often without anyone being aware that a problem had arisen.
It is easy to find wedding planners by looking through bridal and some fashion magazines and visiting bridal shops, many of whom will have preferred contacts. Wedding planners are becoming more visible online as they join other specialists who are using the web to advertise their presence and where they are able to showcase previous work. Search sites such as Uptasker, in particular, are excellent resources, not only listing the various wedding planners in your specific geographical area but also providing their online ratings and client reviews, as well as getting comparative quotes from different suppliers. The Yellow pages is also a useful source of information. If possible, use word of mouth referrals, although this may be difficult as not every bridal couple uses a wedding planner, especially if the wedding is small and on a very tight budget.
For busy couples who simply don’t have the time to plan the intricate details of their wedding but still want a memorable and worry-free celebration of their big day, opting to use the services of a wedding planner will ease much of the stress and planning involved, and ensure that the occasion runs smoothly and without anxiety. For more tips, see our wedding planner articles.
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