Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why Hire a Wedding Planner?

I recently returned from Cabo Mexico where I successfully planned my first international destination wedding!! My bride, Rebecca, was kind enough to draft up the below advice for other brides considering hiring a wedding planner. Read below to get Rebecca's insight on working with a planner. Thank you Rebecca for taking the time to put this together for future brides! xx

"Eleven months ago, my husband and I got engaged and began the journey of planning our wedding. As we listed out all that needed to be done, we became overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. That’s when a good friend of mine referred me to Constance Curtis Events. Within minutes of our first phone conversation I was at ease as she made wedding planning sound completely manageable. Days later my husband had the same experience at our first meeting. Constance assured us that she was there to help with each step, from locating our venue, to choosing vendors, to narrowing down décor. To get us started, she sent us a personalized month-by-month checklist of everything we needed to get done leading up to the wedding. Then, she took our total budget and created a detailed breakdown of her recommendations for how much to spend on each area so we knew exactly what we were working with.

One of the most valuable aspects of hiring Constance Curtis was having someone to locate venues and vendors within our budget and narrow them down to the best options. This prevented us from spending countless hours of our own research and teasing out vendors who were out of our price range or couldn’t provide what we needed. Since my husband and I both work full time, this was monumental! We found it tremendously helpful having someone navigate and compare the many contracts. My husband is a businessman, so he could have easily taken on this task, but what we didn’t know was what we didn’t know! For example, how many weddings does the venue allow per day? Will there be a coordinator that the venue provides on the day? Does the venue refuse or require outside vendors for certain things? Do they have a site fee or just fees for what is used? Furthermore, when all the contracts are finally compared, how in the world do we create a spreadsheet when they all bill things in different ways? The answer was that we didn’t have to because our coordinator did the job for us!

After sorting out the venue and the main vendors, it was time to start tackling some tricky projects. When I showed Constance a photo of my dream dress that was far beyond my budget, she linked me to a dress maker who gave me excellent advice to purchase an inexpensive, basic dress that was the frame of the original dress and then have a tailor reconstruct it into the dream dress. It turned out perfectly and was a tenth of the price of the original gown! When I let her know about my challenge finding the perfect bridesmaid dress, she sent me several links to bridesmaid dress designers I had never heard of before which helped expand my search. When I explained my thoughts for our table décor, including handmade table cloths from my mom, antique vases I had collected, and various flower arrangements, Constance took all of these ideas and made it come together perfectly. When we faced transportation issues in getting our guests from the airport to the resort and from the resort to both the welcome and rehearsal dinners, Constance arranged for a concierge company to set up a private website for us so guests could arrange their own transportation from the airport to the resort and we could arrange buses to the dinners. These were just a few of the countless situations in which we were able to rely on our coordinator to find the best solutions.

Once the wedding weekend arrived, we were not surprised to find that every detail was taken care of. When we arrived at the rehearsal, Constance handed out printed out instructions for each person to follow, including a detailed timeline of the wedding day, locations and times for family and bridal party photos, the ceremony outline, seating and standing charts, and reception outline including speeches and dances. Our family and friends held onto these like road maps for the next 24 hours, which saved me from hunting guests down and answering their many questions. Beyond leading the rehearsal, Constance acted as a guide and point person for our guests throughout their stay.

On the wedding day, she spent the entire day monitoring the vendors and making sure they followed the specific instructions for the table arrangements, reception setup, placement of décor items, specific lighting instructions, and so on. In between all of that, she was checking on my bridesmaids and I in the bridal suite, making sure we had lunch, advising me on what to tip the hair stylists and make-up artists, coordinating with the photographer, passing off payments to vendors, and making sure that everyone kept on schedule. She even handled details I hadn’t considered. When I was ready to change into my reception dress, she went to my room to get it, brought it down for me to change, and then returned my wedding gown to my room so that I wouldn’t miss any of the reception. After the receptions, she meticulously packed up every item we wanted to save and took it to our room so that we could immediately continue onto the after party. She even arranged a meeting for the day after the wedding so that she, the resort’s wedding coordinator, my husband, and I could review the bill and make sure everything matched our contract.

Of the million decisions we made surrounding our wedding, the best decision, hands down, was hiring a wedding coordinator. I looked in my “wedding” email folder just before the wedding and found over 600 emails from Constance in response to those that I had sent to her over the last year. These emails provided us with a wealth of information and meant that we didn’t have to spend our time researching things that we knew nothing about. We were continuously impressed with her knowledge of vendors and professionalism in working with them, her timeliness in responding to our calls and emails, her determination to make our wedding work within our budget, and her ability to quickly locate answers for us so that we could keep checking things off our list. After the last eleven months with Constance, I would recommend to any friend of mine going through the wedding planning process to hire a coordinator right from the start. Having Constance allowed us to relax and enjoy our engagement and provided us with a great sense of security that we were making educated decisions, saving money where possible, and making our dream wedding come to life."

Thanks for taking the time to read!



Jordan | Mintwich Design said...

Excellent post! Love Rebecca's insight!

Lissa (The Wedding Bistro at Bellenza) said...

Wonderful testimonial for you! Congrats!

jacin {lovely little details} said...

congrats on the cabo wedding! i am doing my first international wedding this weekend and your bride's sentiments are perfect!

congrats on the SMP feature, too :)

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