I have found that while many people think a wedding planner's life must be super-glamourous, they don't often have a clear idea of exactly what we do. Yes, I have seen the movie 'The Wedding Planner' starring the fabulous Jennifer Lopez (in fact I love it and often pull out my battered DVD copy on a rainy Sunday afternoon for yet another viewing). Very occasionally my job does look like that, and that's awesome. But not often.
So I thought it was time to explain how we can help you in slightly more practical ways than Ms Lopez demonstrated, during what can be one of the most busy and challenging times of your life. Ready? Read on friends....
1. We do away with your stress - In a recent study 70% of engaged couples said planning their wedding felt even more stressful than buying a house, or public speaking. And this is a process that often runs for up to a year! If you were buying a house you'd hire a real estate agent, and if you had a big public speaking gig coming up you might hire a voice coach. Doesn't it make sense then to also hire a professional wedding planner? Someone to guide you through the planning process in an order that makes sense. Someone to be right by your side going through monthly checklists, making and attending appointments with vendors, building a comprehensive timeline of the day, designing a cohesive theme and colour scheme with you, creating and managing your budget, and handling a myriad of other details. Having someone take this on for you will give you the peace of mind of knowing that nothing has been forgotten. And of course we'll be there on the day, prepared for the unexpected, and making sure your big day is as perfect as it can possibly be.
2. We do away with your family's stress - A lot of couples are lucky enough to have wonderful family members whom they can ask to help with wedding-related tasks. This seems like a good idea at the time, but it almost always goes pear-shaped on the day. These jobs are all an enormous amount of work, they take a lot of time, and your well-meaning relatives may not quite know what they're getting themselves into. As an example, I typically spend three to four hours doing set-up on the morning of a wedding. It's things like moving furniture, setting out décor, greeting vendors as they arrive and making sure they have everything they need, and ensuring equipment is in working order. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. These things all need over-seeing during the event itself also. There are two big reasons why employing your family is not a good idea -
Firstly, your mum, dad, auntie and bestie all deserve to spend your wedding day doing nothing but being in the moment and celebrating with you. They've been there through the hard times of your life and they should be free to enjoy the best times with you.
Secondly, if anything should go wrong, a wedding planner has the experience and expertise to simply fix it and do their best to make sure you never hear about it. I always carry a tool-box full of dozens of odd things like bobby pins, a hammer, traffic cones, garden shears, and umbrellas, and I have needed every one of them more than once. And if your lovely auntie has made your wedding cake and it doesn't make it through the car ride in one piece, for example, there's probably no fall-back. A professional baker knows how to transport your cake safely and should the worst happen they will be tootling straight back to their bakery in a big hurry to make it right, and get it back to the reception on time.
3. We save you a TON of time - The average wedding takes 250 hours to plan from start to finish (even the 'simple' ones). That's more than six weeks of full-time work! Plus, you probably haven't hired too many wedding professionals in the past, so naturally you may not know what to look for in the many different vendors you'll need on the day. Instead of your having to decline all invitations in order to spend evenings and weekends trawling the internet, interviewing the candidates, and trying to compare the benefits of each (and doing this fifteen times over for all the different vendors), a wedding planner will listen to your needs, do the research, and present you with two options to choose from that suit both your personal style and your budget. Hey presto, you're done! And as a bonus you've maintained the balance of time in your everyday life. Well done you :)
4. We work for you, not the venue - Some venues offer a Venue Coordinator as part of their package. Please don't make the mistake of thinking this alleviates the need for a wedding planner. Venue Coordinators are lovely people who work very hard at their job, but they're only concerned with what happens at the venue. This is great for your reception. But your wedding day starts hours before that, probably early that morning when your hair and makeup artist arrives at your home. Who will be there for you when the mini-bus doesn't arrive on time to transport your guests to the ceremony? When you're starving mid-afternoon because you haven't had a chance to eat since breakfast and you need snacks? When there's a last minute shopping run to do because someone forgot the cake cutting set? Who will be at the ceremony early to ensure fans are running on a hot day, and flowers are set-up as arranged? You got it, it's your wedding planner.
5. You're planning a wedding somewhere other than where you live - It happens more often than you think, for many different reasons. Each year I work for at least a few couples who live interstate and are planning a destination wedding here in Adelaide. You need someone on the ground who knows the best vendors in town, and how to secure their services. Your wedding planner will also keep things moving during the planning process, and attend appointments on your behalf, when you can't be there to manage it.
6. We're going to save you money - Yes it's true, we do charge a fee to manage your wedding. But we're more affordable than you might think and there are financial benefits to having us on your team. For one thing we know all the best vendors in town! There are many wedding photographers who do amazing work, but we're going to direct you toward the one who is both amazing and considerate of your budget (and the one who is fun to hang out with all day!). Also, our favourite vendors give us a discount on their services, in return for referring couples to them. Some planners keep this as a commission which is cool if it's right for their business. Some of us, myself included, feel that one of the benefits of having us on-board is you get to take advantage of these discounts, and we pass them straight on to you.
Think of your wedding planner's fee as an insurance policy that protects you against mishaps on the day, and the wrong type of vendor, as well as wasted time and probably saving your sanity at some point. The average style and size of a wedding in Adelaide costs around $30-$35,000. If you bought a new car or an overseas holiday for that amount, I bet you'd invest in an insurance policy on them. Same goes for your wedding.
7. (I know, the title says six, I'm into surprises and this is your bonus. You're welcome xo)
We're going to help you define what you want - A common myth about wedding planners is that we're going to ignore your needs, go off on a tangent, and do things the way we want to, in order to boost our portfolio, or something. I wouldn't know, I don't do that, and neither do any of the other planners I know. Our job is to listen to you. Really listen. It's one of the most vital skills a wedding planner must have. Your dream wedding is our dream wedding, and if you're not sure what that looks like yet, we know the questions to ask you in order for us both to be able to work it out together. I figure one of the reasons you hired me is for my expertise and knowledge in this area, so I'm going to give you my best advice where it's needed. But you are in control of the final outcome on your wedding, I'm here to facilitate that and make sure it happens, exactly the way you want it.
Well that about wraps it up, I hope I've answered some of your questions about how a wedding planner can make your life soooo much easier and help to ensure you remember your wedding as a beautiful day spent celebrating with all your favourite people gathered around you, instead of a stress-filled chore you just had to get through (ugh, who needs that, right?)
If you'd like more info about exactly how Sparrow can help with your wedding, please visit our Services page and hit the Contact button to send an inquiry directly to our inbox. We'd love to hear from you! Cheers, Emma xo