By Jennifer; TeNeil Hartley Events Contributor
Amidst the engagement excitement, you’re probably eager, enthusiastic and a little overwhelmed by the months ahead. The timelines and cost and details of planning a wedding can be a lot to take on, especially if you have a full-time job and ambitious visions for your big day. It is important that you are realistic about your abilities with both organization and availability when it comes to planning and executing your wedding. Fortunately there are experts and professionals to assist with these tasks, and in my opinion, a wedding planner is a top priority in the wedding budget (which they can help you set!).
While I don’t want to add more to your plate, it is important that you find a wedding planner that suits you, so you can get the ball rolling with your wedding planning timeline. Reach out to newly-wed friends, seek recommendations from your chosen venue (if you have one in mind) and do some online research. Priority one, decide what type of planner you want, there are three typical wedding planner packages: 1. Full Service, 2. Month Of, and 3 Day Of.
If you are fine asking your parents and two good friends to go with you to the courthouse, exchange vows and maybe have a nice dinner out that evening, then you probably don’t need the help of a wedding planner. Is your wedding a destination wedding, in a special venue, outside, inside or both? What about a rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, guest list, RSVP management, over-night lodging, reception, buffet, plated dinner, a cake, desserts, dance, a DJ, guest favors, guest book, photo booth, table numbers, flowers, candles, centerpieces, decorations, booking vendors, timelines to vendors, and paying vendors? It can be overwhelming. If you don’t work, have a very understanding boss that doesn’t mind you running errands and making and taking numerous calls at work, or you have weeks of accrued personal leave, then you might be able to put a whole wedding together. You just might be able to find the time to put this all together while still working, maintaining your relationship and enjoying your engagement, but a wedding planner could provide much needed stress relief and professional advice and assistance. Hiring a wedding planner will be one of the best wedding gifts you can give yourselves. Deciding whether you need a Full Service Wedding Planner, Month Of Coordinator or Day Of Coordinator will depend on what you can comfortably and realistically handle on your own.
FULL SERVICE: A full service wedding planner can be a crucial investment, saving you time and money. To execute the seamless and beautiful wedding day you’ve dreamt of while maintaining your career and relationship, you may need help in the form of a full-service wedding planner. Considering you should pick your date and venue almost immediately, your photographer at least nine months out, and your cake baker and caterer at least six to nine months out, a full-service wedding planner can be instrumental in laying the groundwork for your big day. Additionally, you’ll want your theme and colors decided early, a guest count and a basic timeline on paper and a band or DJ retained as early as possible. Unless you can devote most of your free time to this cause, you need some help.
For starters, a wedding planner will help you set your budget and stay on track. They can guide you in a direction that is realistic and steer you away from unnecessary expenses and waste. Wedding planners have the contacts and experience to bring your dream to life, within your financial means. In addition to knowing the quality and quantity of items you’ll need from linens and wine glasses to passed hors d’oeuvre’s and floral arrangements, your wedding planner knows the best vendors and the accurate costs of goods. Sometimes they even get discounts based on their rapport with vendors they work with regularly. These relationships coupled with their knowledge of the business, can save you time, money and stress during the planning stages. Best of all, they are familiar with your vision from the start and will follow though until your wedding day is complete, fulfilling your dream until the end. As with any investment, you should take time to determine what level of assistance and type of planner you require, considering your timeline and other commitments.
MONTH OF: A month of coordinator will help with some of the last-minute planning challenges. You will still have to have made all the vendor contacts and wedding plans. A month of coordinator will start by reviewing all your vendor contracts and contact each vendor the month prior to your wedding to coordinate with and confirm arrival times and services booked. The coordinator will be your vendor point of contact and coordinator on your wedding day and cover all the duties that a day of coordinator would.
DAY OF: A day of wedding planner assists you on the day of your wedding, not in the planning process. This person will be focused on your day of priorities as outlined by you, to make sure everything runs smoothly. They keep the wedding party on schedule, make judgments on weather and handle your payments, tipping, etc. They will also handle the set up and styling of your escort cards, favors, guest books, table numbers, photo booth props, etc. and keep the usual hiccups from interrupting your time. Your day of planner will often create a detailed timeline for your day, distribute it to all relevant vendors the week of the wedding, and ensure that this timeline is followed. A day of coordinator will provide you and your partner some relief on the day of your wedding so you can enjoy every moment. If you think this service sounds like a major relief, imagine what a month of or full-service coordinator can do for you!
This is a once-in- a –lifetime experience that creates forever memories. Don’t let wedding planning stress overshadow this wonder time in your life. You deserve the seamless and beautiful wedding day you are dreaming about and maintaining your career and relationship is a top priority. If you can comfortably and efficiently do all the planning leading up to the month before or day of your wedding, then you should definitely consider unburdening the memories of your wedding day by retaining the month of or day of services of a wedding coordinator.
While there are a lot of decisions to be made, it is important that you don’t procrastinate when deciding what type of planning meets your needs and take action. Most wedding planners book up 9-12 months out for weekend dates, especially during prime wedding months (June-October). TeNeil Hartley Events offers Day Of, Month Of and Full Service Wedding Planning Packages, or can customize a package to meet your specific needs. TeNeil Hartley Events brings experience and expertise to your engagement and the wedding of your dreams!