This week we've shared some serious inspiration from some of our favorite Charleston wedding vendors for your big Lowcountry Wedding! We had Magnus + Rachel's Charleston wedding engagement at Marion Square, Meghann + Jordan's stunning wedding at The Sanctuary and Christine + Garrett's College of Charleston e-session! To wrap up this week we're welcoming Charleston wedding planner Ashley, of Ashley Nicole Events, to give us some much needed guidance on just why you need to hire a wedding planner. She addresses many common questions and even shares a few personal experiences that will have you running to hire a planner! So, ladies, let's welcome Ashley Nicole Events...
The Importance of a planner
Who will tell me when to walk down the aisle? Who will help decorate while I’m getting dressed? Who will make sure all of my gifts are gathered when the reception is over?
These are some of the questions I get all the time from brides, moms, dads, and friends of the family. At the end of a reception I get these questions followed by “without you this would have never gotten done”. A planner has many roles the day of the wedding and throughout the planning process. From being the “go between” with the couple and vendors to being the DJ announcer because the “Friend” that you decided to use didn’t want to DJ anymore. There is always something that is going to arise that a planner will assist with and make sure everything still runs smoothly.
Here are a few stories and how I remedied the situation:
Just recently, while handling a “day of’ wedding, there was a cake crisis. The room was a little on the stuffy side and not to mention about 200 bodies were in this room. The 4 tiered cake had begun to slip, thus cracking the entire bottom layer. With the help of the catering manager and my assistant we moved that baby out from the center of the room as fast as we could. The top three layers had to be taken off, then placed back on the cake stand, and the bottom layer re-iced to make it look presentable. The bride and groom had no idea this was even happening until a few days after the wedding. I received a phone call from the bride thanking me for saving her cake!
I received a phone call from a couple that was getting ready to wed that very weekend. They needed help with the ceremony coordination and a few other things. Normally I don’t just do ceremony coordination, but I certainly didn’t want to leave them high and dry to do it on their own. So I agreed. We went for our final walk though and the bride asked the venue manager about placement of the candles. He told her they did not handle those things and recommended hiring a planner for the “little things that are always forgotten”. Enter planner. This poor bride just needed help with a placement of a few items, so I agreed to help. I wanted to make sure her day was just the way she envisioned it in her mind. And so it was.
These are just some of the stories from my personal experience and trust me there are many, many more. Having a friend designated to handle certain things throughout your wedding day is not the best plan for any couple getting married. Often times that friend may get tired or bored doing what you have asked them to do and completely quit on you. Then what? What if your limo is a half hour late? Who will handle getting another limo or even a refund while you are on your honeymoon?
Here are a few questions and answers that I hope will clear up the misconception of having a planner vs. someone else.
I can’t afford a planner; it’s just not in the budget!
Everyone is budget savvy these days and quite frankly I can see why. To put on a wedding is very expensive. That is why hiring a planner is a key element. A true planner (and I’ll get to that below) has relationships with many wedding professionals in the area. They will help negotiate with your dj, catering company, photographer, etc to stay within your budget. But you say, I still can’t afford one. Well think about it this way. If a planner costs $2500, and she has helped save you $700 from the photographer’s package, $400 from the rental company, $800 off the venue, and $600 off the dj service, then you have just paid for your planner!! Plus I’m sure there will be more savings throughout the remainder of the planning process.
Why can’t the catering manager/venue manager handle it?
He or she already has plenty on his/her plate. From making sure the cocktail hour food is out and ready for those hungry guests, to making sure the servers are clearing tables and replenishing the food as needed. A venue manager is there to make sure the music isn’t too loud and the staff is doing as told. They don’t want to have to worry about 105 candles being lit before the guests arrive or making sure all other vendors are there at the time they are supposed to be. A planner will do all of those things for you. Check in vendors and make sure they are on time and have everything they need and were supposed to bring. FYI – a lot of catering and venue managers say they help out with all of this stuff, but remember, they will make sure all of their duties are completed before getting to your list of to do’s.
True Planners vs. hobby planners
I mentioned it briefly above, but having a true planner that plans weddings on an everyday basis is key. Anyone can call themselves a planner, but someone that is a professional will have special connections with well known wedding vendors. Plus, planners are familiar with venues and their special requirements. A person who does it for a hobby might not know the particular requirements and might be the cause of you not receiving your deposit back or even worse. Stick with a professional!
I have a plenty of blogs bookmarked and my Pinterest board is overflowing with great ideas, I can handle this myself.
Who doesn’t love Pinterest? I certainly do. It is full of amazing ideas from previous weddings and styled photo shoots. But wouldn’t it be nice to get fresh new ideas from someone who knows whether or not that centerpiece will go with the theme or ideas you have chosen? A planner not only is there the day of, but we are available throughout the whole planning process. We want to make your vision come to life. You see something in your mind and want it a certain way, we will make that happen. Planners also bring fresh new ideas to the table. New color schemes that you would never have thought to put together. Layout processes, centerpieces, rentals, how big of a tent do I need, I need my dress steamed, so on and so forth. These are all things a planner will do to make sure everything runs smoothly. This is a season in your life that you should enjoy and a wedding planner will help take the stress out of planning
So all in all, it is a great idea to have a planner. Be it a full wedding planner/designer, or a day of coordinator. It will make things much easier on you, your family, all the wedding vendors involved, and help you enjoy this special time in your life! It is well worth the ease of mind to have someone taking care of all those little things you forgot or to help sort through all those pins you have been working on over the past year.
“Designing an event is more than just the planning; it’s turning your dreams into reality!”