I’m an event planner. That is precisely why I wanted to hire someone else to plan my wedding. Planning a party, event, wedding, shower- each of these things has its own stresses right up until it’s over, and planning all of these things within the space of six months is an overwhelming nightmare. I have long sympathized with ‘bridezillas’ knowing that under their scales they are generally lovely girls who are simply experiencing the stresses of event planning; stresses which I have learned to take on board (without anyone else seeing the external effects) over the course of a lengthy professional career. Much as an emergency ward nurse, I imagine, I see people crazed by the pain of a trying ordeal who immediately return to being sympathetic, friendly personalities as soon as the pain is alleviated- in this case meaning the event [wedding] is over. Is this how a person wants to feel on their wedding day? I certainly did not.
Why Hire a Wedding Planner?
Hiring an event planner is not about outdoing your friends’ or relatives’ weddings, or even about getting a better end result. Hiring an event planner is about alleviating as much stress from the shoulders of the couple as possible so they are able to fully enjoy their own big day. It’s about hiring a data entry specialist to get all the contact details, spellings and phone numbers of your friends and family into the event software quickly and correctly; it’s about having someone else taking twenty calls a day ringing up to RSVP, to ask what will be served on the menu (when the wedding is a year away), and to change their minds about attending over and over again; hiring someone to plan a wedding is an investment in always being shown the three best options on flowers, food, cakes, venues, etc. with all the proper research done and dusted, and you simply pointing and saying ‘that one.’
Why, then, doesn’t everyone hire an event planner? Why didn’t I? The problem with hiring an event planner is that it takes away from the actual wedding budget, and in the face of dropping all those zeros, a seasoned event planner must roll up her sleeves and say “I’ll do it myself.”
If like me you are planning to go it alone, I have a bit of solid advice for you to help arrive at the altar feeling fresh, prepared, and with only a few slight bumps where the scales are sticking out under your perfectly tailored satin gown.
- Lock in everything possible– right now. Sit down with only one other person, your soon-to-be spouse, and decide when and where you will have the bridal shower, the hens and bucks nights, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding and the honeymoon. Do not leave the room until this is done. Call and make bookings for everything. If you need to book catering, book the tasting now. Pick the three best options for each venue or option, and only explore those. Do not waste time hemming and hawing, or you will end up with choice #42 on the list instead of choice #3.
- Plan slightly under all across the board (except for booze and food). If you can fit 150 people in your reception hall, plan for 120. Plan to spend only 70% of your ‘full’ budget. Plan under, because as all event planners know at the last minute there will be expenses, you will have to take in extra guests, and you will have unforeseen battles to tackle. This wiggle room saves your skin over and over again. That being said, and for obvious reasons, over-plan for drinks and catering. A trick of the trade? Assume each adult will have 6 adult beverages, and 1 Bottle of Wine = 5 Beverages, 1 Bottle of Beer = 1 Beverage.
- Make technology your friend. There is fantastic, free, software out there which can help you keep track of everyone invited, their details, what events they are coming to leading up to the wedding, help you create table plans, remind you to call the caterers, remind you of the day to order the flowers, keep track of dietary requirements, and the list goes on and on. You will reach a point where you literally cannot remember everything and this will make you feel like you are losing your mind and the world is spinning out of control. Have one resource to go to where all the information has been recorded. Also remember that a paper wedding invitation is romantic, but that following up with emails, in this day and age, is a luxury that you should afford yourself without hesitation.
- Delegate. Ask a family member to take all the RSVP calls. Ask each bridesmaid and groomsman to take one task on board that you won’t be able to do on your own. Get the bridesmaids to pick their own dresses. Get the groomsmen to pick a few wedding bands for you to audition. Everyone is willing to do one task. TRUST YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS!
- Be where the buck stops. Let’s be honest, as the bride it’s your day that you graciously ask opinions about from one other person and one other person only- your partner. At the end of the day you are where the buck stops. There has to be one person sitting at the top of the pyramid that settles debates, makes final decisions, and throws out bad ideas- even the ones that come from your soon-to-be mother-in-law. Stand firm, stand tall, and put your foot down. Everyone else will get over it. Trust me. I’m a professional.
Jessica Josh has spent the past 5 years writing and blogging online. She has worked with a number of different companies in the wedding entertainment and corporate entertainment niche such as http://weddingbandsmelbourne.net.au/