The Ten Commandments for Brides

Why you should hire a professional wedding planner

10. REPEAT BUSINESS ALWAYS TRUMPS A ONE-TIME CUSTOMER. Therefore, clients of wedding planners often do get special treatment/pricing from vendors, and we pass those savings on to the client. Wedding planners have continuous business each month with numerous vendors. When they call a vendor with a brand new referral, they know the bride that they are referring will always receive extra-special treatment, and typically we receive discounts.   Also,Lillis Affairs does not receive “kickbacks” or commission from referring a client to a vendor.  This is frowned upon and usually does not last very long, as the good reputation of vendors is so important to maintain.  Quite often after the wedding/event is over and all the invoices have been paid– the final numbers usually show how the wedding planner’s fee more than paid for itself from the discounts received from vendors and overall time saved from their labor.

9. THE “COORDINATOR” PROVIDED BY YOUR VENUE IS NOT THE SAME AS A WEDDING PLANNER. We have hundreds of personal experiences with this one, as Stacy was a former on-site event manager for 35+ weddings per year.  This can be very misleading and dangerous to assume these individuals will take on multiple roles beyond checking up on their own staff, food, etc.   Granted, it is sometimes nice to have as many people on-site as you can to assist when necessary; however–often they make an appearance and don’t stay very long, because there are usually multiple events taking place that same day/night that an on-site manager must attend to.   Speaking of busy—your on-site manager deals with an average of 35+ weddings per year, representing sometimes 80+ clients at once.   You will have unforeseen questions 6-9 months in advance, with all 30 questions sent individually from your smart phone—frustrating the event manager and not making you look very organized—and getting you both off to a rough start already.  We’ve experienced this multiple times, where on-site venue/catering managers are frustrated because of the things that brides assume that they will do prior to and on their wedding day—all for them to take on at the expense of managing their own duties (expediting hot food, overseeing banquet staff, ensuring lighting/safety/maintenance issues are taken care of, etc.).   It is typically not their job to attend vendor meetings with you, offer advice on cake toppers, bustle a dress, prepare your detailed weekend itinerary, ensure your wedding party is on time and ready to go, prepare a detailed floor diagram with seating assignments, refer you to a makeup/dress vendor, queue the D.J./musicians for your ceremony, tell you when to have a farewell, etc.   Remember:  assumption (especially in planning your wedding) is the lowest form of knowledge.   Don’t chance it!

8. YOU WILL NOT HAVE A LIFE (OR SANITY) IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMEONE TO DEAL WITH YOUR VENDORS. The average wedding deals with 22+ vendors after the vendor selection process.  This ranges from contacts for the reception venue, florist, photographer, the band/DJ, linens, cakes, the church, transportation, hotels and lodging, and much more.  If you visit/call five vendors per category, you can easily add them up to hundreds of phone calls/emails—all to do typically during your work day—hoping you reach them the first time.  To take it even a step further, each vendor usually has one or more contacts, all with individual work numbers, emails addresses, and cell phone numbers. Now the database of total contacts for a wedding quickly rises to a staggering amount—and this is after you have narrowed your vendors down to one from each category.   Most couples, just a few months into the process of planning, start to very quickly get easily overwhelmed – and rightly so.   Using a planner is a wise use of resources to leverage your time and delegate the duties to deal with these 22+ different vendors. This way you can still have a life – and stay sane during this important time.

7. YOU WOULDN’T PURCHASE A HOUSE OR CAR WITHOUT AN EXPERT, SO WHY RISK MISMANAGING YOUR WEDDING BUDGET? The two largest one-time purchases a person usually makes in their lifetime are a house and a car. Paying for a wedding can often rank at number three (sometimes even number two).  Usually the majority of people use a real estate agent to assist in such a large purchase of a home and to handle all the logistics, some of which are very confusing to the average home buyer. Most people often buy a car from a dealership that does involve talking to a car salesman.  Hiring a wedding consultant expert to assist in how to manage your budget, where you can save, what you need to cut out and what is an absolute must.   

6. PINTEREST WILL MAKE YOUR WEDDING LOOK PRETTY, BUT NOT SAVE IT FROM IMPENDING DOOM.   Inspiration boards are terrific, but they won’t walk you down the aisle or keep your groomsmen in check when they’re not cooperating, que your musicians, direct your guests to their seats, tip your banquet captain or send your gifts to your hotel room while you’re standing there in your gown, looking calm and beautiful.  We’ve seen hundreds of clients try to accomplish a successful event or wedding by doing all their own pre-planning, then leaving all her work to someone who is typically emotionally involved in the wedding, does not know to anticipate “hiccups” and how to deal with them calmly, or is already standing in the wedding ceremony and cannot physically be in two or three places at once.   And–trust us–your mother will be better off just looking beautiful and not trying to be MacGyver when she her nerves are already at a breaking point–because her little girl is getting married.   Your mother or Aunt Sue are not seasoned event professionals, and they shouldn’t be expected to be.  Brides often think that their event will be the exception, not the rule, but our experience says otherwise.  Typically weddings who do not have professional consultants will begin 35-60 minutes late.   You can take it to the bank—your “volunteers” will not be the reliable staff you think they will be, and it is not the bride’s job to be the drill sergeant on her wedding day to keep her wedding party, staff, and guests in line.  As you can see, consultants are not a wedding luxury; they are a necessity!

5. BRIDES WHO HIRE CONSULTANTS HAVE A STATISTICALLY HAPPIER EXPERIENCE THAN THOSE THAT DO NOT.  Do take the time to interview brides that used a wedding consultant and those that did not. Most of the feedback quite often will show that the brides that did hire a consultant say things like “I don’t know how we would have done everything without her help”. On the flip side, brides that often try to save money and not use a consultant, if they are candid, will admit that things might have gone smoother if they would have used one (instead of relying on Aunt Sue, a cousin or, God forbid, your maid of honor). Remember, a wedding planner wants you at the end of the experience to refer your single bridesmaids, your cousin that is getting engaged next month and your friend at work who getting married soon – all to her. Thus, there is an incredible incentive for a planner to bend over backwards in order to exceed all your expectations and make your wedding an incredible experience.

4. BRIDES SHOULD ONLY SHED “HAPPY TEARS” ON THEIR DAY.  The bride does not need to be concerned about the “little hiccups” that sometimes happen at the wedding—it is supposed to be a happy day.   Often the bride is never aware of the frantic panic behind the scenes due to unforeseen issues.   If you take the time to interview consultants and ask if things ever “go wrong” during the reception or if they have had some “close calls” — the stories you might hear will probably astound you. Little things like the fact that the band is late or the best man forgot the rings or the hotel does not have a credit card on file for the honeymoon suite, etc…..these small challenges do happen and are there for the planner to stay on top of and solve.  Typically if the bride doesn’t have a planner, all of these problems fall on her, while she’s in her wedding dress.   A mother, friend or relative will certainly not know what to do, and will go to the bride each time something goes awry.  The consultant will make executive decisions about these things, anticipating most of them based on experience with hundreds of weddings.  The wedding day is the day for the bride. She has enough on her mind to be concerned about!!

3. IT TAKES A VILLAGE OF ON-SITE COORDINATORS TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL WEDDING CEREMONY.   To be specific, it takes at least two who work professionally together.  Again, do not trust anyone that is in your wedding or viewing your wedding to run this! This is a formula for disaster, and why most weddings without consultants begin very late.    Why do you think planners have at least one assistant with them on game day?   Because it is necessary for clear, timely communication for everything to fall into place just right.    We place the groomsmen and ensure that they’re ready to go, that the ushers know exactly what to do and when, that you are happy and have a pre-wedding snack and plenty of fluids, that you/your groom receive your personal notes (if written), that your parents are happy and not overwhelmed with anything logistical,  that no straggling guests are still walking in, etc.    You only get one shot at a successful procession—that one moment.   Don’t leave it to someONE who does not know what they’re doing, and does not have the resources to do it right.

2. INSTEAD OF SPLURGING ON THY WEDDING SHOES OR EXPENSIVE PARTY FAVORS, SPEND IT ON SOMETHING TO BE REMEMBERED FOR YEARS. Some studies say that most girls have been dreaming, thinking and preparing mentally for their wedding since about age 12.  That is a long time with usually some very high expectations. The wedding day is obviously supposed to be a very special day. To put things in perspective, usually the three most important timeline photographs you will ever take in your life will be: your high school graduation picture, college graduation picture and your wedding picture.  So what is it worth so that the bride and groom’s families don’t worry about everything coming together a month before the big day?  What is it worth to know that all the 97 little details on the schedule of events on your wedding day will be taken care of and executed flawlessly?    To the brides who were wise enough to hire a planner, it was worth every penny.

1. HOW YOUR WEDDING DAY PANS OUT IS A REFLECTION OF YOU. Your wedding day is all in the details. Your wedding day is a reflection of you and your personality.   People go to a lot of weddings each year – make yours the one they remember—and they will remember the details.  Typically couples remember very little about their own wedding because it’s an emotional roller-coaster.    Your guests, on the other hand, will remember if something goes wrong, i.e. if the music is not queued right, there weren’t enough vegetarian meals for all, the sign-in photo didn’t have a marker, etc. You have probably been reading The Knot and all the other bridal magazines for months now. You have been talking to all your friends that have been married and getting their advice. You have lots of ideas of your own. However, you probably have not attended, yet literally planned hundreds of weddings. Think about these few simple questions: What are gifts for the groomsmen that aren’t boring? What do you absolutely have to put in gift baskets for out of town guests? Why do certain flowers cost what they do?  Draw upon that expertise of a planner who is on top of all the current trends, who knows what trends are “in” right now, who knows who are the top designers, the best places to go, vendors to talk to, what you could use from Colorado Sites and Services magazine last month in your ceremony, etc… Remember, the bride’s job is to be the bride. Not to be a wedding planner. Have fun, keep things in perspective and enjoy the experience!

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