Planners, Designers, and Coordinators….Oh My!

Like most brides, you spend many hours looking over the latest and greatest wedding trends and fashions, featured in countless bridal publications.  You might be asking yourself, if you even have the time, energy, or even the budget to pull it off!  Maybe you are going through the check list of all that you have to do in order to create the wedding of your dreams, and worrying that you don’t even know where to start!  Then there’s the consideration of hiring someone to ease your burden….but who?  And what exactly do you need them for?  Hopefully I can sort a few things out for you……….

I too, was recently perusing through the latest bride’s magazine for my particular region of Northern California, when I came across an article describing the varying duties of a wedding planner.  I think the confusion over “who to hire for what” is valid, considering that for years, a “wedding planner,” was someone you hired to help you create your wedding from top to bottom, and start to finish.  However, the role of the wedding planner in 2011 and beyond, has certainly changed…………and we are more affordable than you think!

Girls and guys, from the perspective of a long time florist that has heard every excuse under the sun for not hiring a planner…………trust me…………….try to budget for one!!!  Please, not only will you most likely save a significant amount of time and money, but I guarantee you will SAVE YOUR SANITY!!!  So what exactly is the difference between a planner, designer, and “day of” coordinator, and which one do you need?

A wedding planner, although they can wear many hats, is often hired to assist the bride and groom in helping them choose everything from the invitations to arranging accommodations and transportation for the guests.  A planner……….well plans!  He or she can negotiate on your behalf the best price from local vendors in the area of your choosing, and even handle the job of making sure everyone is paid on time, and that everything is running on time and hopefully without a hitch.  A planner that is experienced in the wedding industry, should be able to handle any situation that arises, and without adding to the stress of the bride.  I would highly recommend a full service planner when getting married in an unfamiliar destination. He or she is familiar with the local vendors, and has often established a good working relationship with them.  And, if possible,  I DO NOT suggest that you allow a friend or relative to volunteer to do this job.  The stress can often lead to hard feelings, and more stress leading up to the wedding!! However, a full service planner that is familiar with the area, and with the local vendors, can and should save precious time, money, and oh yeah STRESS!

A wedding designer is a fairly new term in the industry.  In the past this role, if hired to do so, was often that of the florist, and at times, it still is.  Today a wedding designer may or may not be a florist at all!  He or she may also be experienced in interior design, or might just have a knack for designing the ultimate wedding! In any case, a wedding designer goal is to….well….DESIGN the overall look and feel of the wedding….and not to negotiate for the venue, food, music, etc….like a planner does.  A wedding designer is going to help you with color, style, and mood.  And trust me, as a long time florist and often part-time wedding designer myself, I know how important this individual can be in creating and delivering your exact vision for your day!  This person is invaluable, and again should not be a relative or friend if you can help it!  A good designer, like a good planner, should help you wade through the differences in what you really need, and what you can really do without!  It is not unusual for brides to get very overwhelmed in trying to figure out where to start in creating an overall theme for her wedding. It is easy to be influenced by some in  the industry that try to sell high-priced ideas, and items, that frankly for many in this economy, are often a waste of money!

Ok, so what about a coordinator?  Isn’t a coordinator the same as a planner?  Well, yes and no.  A planner/coordinator may or may not be one in the same.  As described above, a planner can be hired to help you…well…again PLAN every little detail of the wedding from beginning to end.  However, many brides are surprised to learn that they can hire a coordinator for merely a few hours leading up to, and/or just for the day of the wedding!  If you are a bride that is savvy enough to have everything in place leading up to the day, but you could use a little help in getting your guests where they need to go, and at what time throughout the day, then you could use the services of a coordinator!  Honestly, if you have a few extra dollars in your budget…by all means, hire a “day of” coordinator!  Or better yet, budget out some money to hire a professional to handle the stresses of the day.  He or should make sure that the wedding starts on time, that the guests are seated when and where they need to be, and the vendors are all in place and ready to serve your every need.  Brides, if you are not able to spend the money to hire a planner from beginning to end, or even a designer to create your overall theme, please, please, please, consider budgeting for a “day of” coordinator.  Coordinators often charge by the hour, so you can determine what you can afford, and for how long.  My suggestion is that you hire a coordinator from a few hours before the start of the wedding, and until at least the cutting of the cake, to insure that all is running smoothly, and you and your groom can now kick back and enjoying the party!!!

Whichever expert you hire for your wedding, be sure to keep the lines of communication open to avoid any last-minute disappointments and frustrations.  Any one of the above is there to assist you in creating the wedding of your dreams, and should LISTEN very carefully to your vision, and in turn, help you save money, time, and stress, stress, stress!  At Silver Leaf Events, I believe in sitting down with the bride and groom for a free 2 hour consultation to get to know you and for you to get to know me.  It is important for all of us to feel comfortable with each other, and to know we are on the same page.  After all, this is one of the most important days of your life, and I want to help you make it all you hoped it would be, and more!

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