Saturday, January 31, 2009

Warning Comes Before Destruction

Bride-to-bes, please prepare yourselves for this post because this is not a post that some of you have crossed my path (physically and virtually) would not want to read right now. I really want you to know the facts of some costly decisions that you can run into without "real" professional opinion...okay facts.

I am surprised at the number of brides that want to save money by letting a friend, family member, co-worker, church member, best friend's auntie, etc. "plan" their wedding. It is great that the volunteered person stepped up to help you plan your dream wedding. But please be warned that this can result in an expensive, store bought, chaotic, unorganized mess! Now, there are some nonpros that tend to get the job done but the chance is very slim to none that they will really know how to get it done.

Wedding planning looks like a glamorous job, but only at the end of the meticulous planning, roundabouts with venues, endless vendor negotiations and contract reviews, long hours charting timelines and budgets, extensive last minute problem solving, and sore feet is it a somewhat glamorous job. These sweet people that enjoy the fact that they get a chance to implement what they saw on TV or read in tons of magazines should probably read this, too. TV, magazines, and baby's birthday parties does not qualify one to be a wedding and event planner. Even if you only planned your wedding and it turned out great doesn't qualify you to be a wedding planner. What does? Experience, Knowledge, and Discernment.

If you are a bride on a budget and/or limited planning time, you really need to raise your hand so a professional wedding planner can come your way. It's enticing to hear "the promises" of what a close person or for that matter, a wedding planner, has for your invitations, decorations, and favors. But will they deliver with the spirit of excellence. Will your wedding be a mere copycat of another's wedding or the dreadful style of an unorganized wedding that you have been going to since you could remember?

Here are just a few questions that you should ask yourself before ruling out hiring a professional wedding planner: (now that I look at it, ask these questions before hiring a specific wedding planner, too) Please beware of bogus "planners"as well.

1. Have you seen previous work?
2. Will your "volunteered" planner (VP) know how to minimize costs without looking cheap and "homemade"?
3. Will you see the decorations before the big surprise on your wedding day?
4. When looking for a dress, is the only store that pops into your VPs head, David's Bridal?
5. Does your VP know the visible format of a ceremony and the reception? What's the invisible format? The stuff that is bound to go wrong behind the scenes. Despite distractions, will VP still be able to begin on time?
6. Vendors. Who in the world do they know to use? Do they have various vendors that are within your price range and style?
7. Does VP even know that round and banquet tables are not referred to as circle and rectangle?
8. Will you see the timeline and format of the reception before you're at the reception and they're still setting up?
9. No contract with VP, you say? Uh-Oh. Enough said.
10. How "really" available will VP be to you when he/she has to take their kids to soccer, go to the grocery store, take a nap, or who knows what else?
11. SCENARIO. The day of the wedding, one of your bridesmaids broke the zipper on her dress, the flower girl lost one of her shoes, the programs have not arrived at the church, your father is lost in traffic, the cake arrived at the church because the reception venue is locked, and guests are steady arriving and walking around talking and your maid of honor is woozy from the wild night before. First question: Will you (the bride) know that any of this mess is going on? Second question: What in the world will your VP discreetly do about it? keyword discreetly.

I, along with fellow planners, has had to step in and rectify a huge mess when a bride has relied on her volunteered planner to get things done. You end up spending more money cleaning up a mess that could've been prevented. I do feel bad when I get a phone call of a teary bride that has tons of questions and unmarked checklists because of the inexperienced doings of the VP. But, like the title of this post suggests, warning comes before destruction and you need to be in the know before you have horrific memories of your wedding for years to come.

Consider yourself warned.

Happy Planning,
Tish B.

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