February 15, 2008

Wedding Planners – A conversation

Posted in Planning Your Own Wedding: Step by Step at 4:33 pm by Jess

BeSpoke Blog recently wrote this post concerning brides who try to plan their own weddings. I found that post so interesting, along with this one.
She makes such a valid point – that brides who have never before exhibited skills in crafts, baking, interior lighting, managing and so on, suddenly don the hat of “wedding planner” for their own wedding, thereby essentially appointing themselves master of all these areas. Not just master, expert.

I think her blog makes this point and I agree with it, but I cannot quite agree with the sentiment that we should all “suck it up and be brides” and therefore hire a wedding planner. Simply put, there are many exceptions to the ideal situation where a bride who lacks exepertise in the hundreds of needed areas could and should hire a planner. For starters, what if there aren’t any planners? Some of us live in countries where the Wedding Planning Industry hasn’t quite hit. There are a couple planners here in Geneva, but if you know anything about Swiss prices then you can imagine that this really is not an option.

So that’s another thing. Prices. A wedding planner, no matter the price, is another price added to the budget. So here is the clincher – is this one of your priorities? Because if you really aren’t capable of juggling all of the details of an event, and you are adimant that the results look professional, then you should hire a wedding planner and drop something else from your budget, if need be.  

Also, there are some select few brides who set out to plan their own wedding and succeed. Some of them, ahem, go on to be successful, creative, well-known wedding planners in the industry. I am planning my own wedding, and it remains to be seen if I will be successful. I know that if I could, I would probably hire a wedding planner. But, there are none in Jon’s hometown – a town of about 20, 000 people. And even if I could find one, I could not afford it. But add to that the fact that I thrive on lists, I’m anal, I don’t work am bored constantly need a project, have insane attention to detail, am passionate about design, art, culture, history, creativity, inspiration and manifestation, and I’d say, I’ll at least make it look presentable. It will be stressful, but I personally will derive immense pleasure from the stress, the headaches, the insomnia and the hot glue gun wounds. I know, I’m sick like that!!

So really, if you are considering planning your own wedding, and you have the budget to hire someone, please do a self-check first:

Do you have the time? If you are working already, have at any point in the past you ever considered working two jobs at one time?

Do you have the backbone to fight and finagle with vendors, over a period of months?

Do you enjoy making lists, color coordinating them, and carrying them with you everywhere? And I mean everywhere. 

Are you anal?

Do you understand the staggering amount of details involved? (Have you made the Master List? Mine is about six pages).

Will you need to speak foreign languages for your destination wedding? (I’m now fluent in French so I can make the phone calls, except to the florist, who is ten minutes over an imaginary line in Switzerland so she speaks a garbled dialect of German!) 

If you have answered No to any of the following (ok, I’ll exclude the last) then Yes, you need to call a Wedding Planner stat!!  🙂

I read some of the comments in these posts and they make really great points too. A wedding planner has YOUR BACK. I loved that! (I don’t actually have anyone arguing with me about my choices, so far. I am dropping a lot of the things involved also, because I don’t feel it is all entirely necessary here. Like the shower, the rehearsal dinner, and more.) I also thought it was a fantastic point about the gas to and from vendors. Gas is expensive here. Try 12 dollars a gallon. But, I have that handy train pass. Moohaha.

I don’t have access to these books that the two post authors mention. Actually, I had never heard of them and have never seen one. I simply think I want to do something in this genre as a living (I have for a year before moving to Europe) and so this is my baby-step into it.

There ya go, that is my two cents 🙂



  1. Danielle said,

    Speaking as someone that IS a wedding planner… most of my brides come to me for my guidence and support and direction. I’ve done countless weddings and have strong ties with reputable vendors.

    However- my services do come at a price- a price that many just can not justify within their budgets. And quite honestly, if my services are that large of a chunk, then my resources STRETCHED as far as they possibly can be- will still most likely run you over budget. The truth of the matter is that if you are not planning a grand event… then there is not a need for a planner (mind you this is MY opinion, an opinion which I would never try to force as factual information). There are so many GREAT websites out there (Weddingwire.com comes to mind) which offer FREE wedding planning resources… everything from staying on budget, on task, and on time to managing a guestlist, invitations, and a seating chart. I applaud brides who are ready to try their luck at DIY projects. There was a time in our history as women when we were all Betty Homemakers- able to sew and cook and craft with finess… and sadly those days seemed to go with our liberation. I love it when I see a rebirth of that domestic spirit within professional women.

    Mostly, I love that women are not ashamed to take these risks. My mother is from a generation of courthouse weddings. Just about every one of my friends’ mothers either had a grand affair or a justice of the peace. Now there are more options out there. You can get married with a modest budget and still have flowers and cake and a lovely dress. Just like anything in life, we must find that balance and live within our means. I would LOVE to say that I’ll have a live-in nanny, a housekeeper, and a personal chef one day… but the truth is that my budget will be lucky to have a maid come once a week and takeout on Fridays. That being said, employ good help if you can afford it- and for the rest…. improvise! The internet is a brilliant thing… while we may not all be able to be “Experts in every trade” we can certainly be exposed to those that are and get a quick crash course that may just be enough to get by…

  2. Monica Rae said,

    Hi Jessica!

    Thanks so much for joining the conversation! You have some great thoughts, and a great self-test to determine whether or not you should take on the task of planning your own wedding. Seeing it on your blog, I realize that I did come across sort of harsh saying women need to “suck it up and be brides.” 🙂 What I mean by that is we shouldn’t feel like we have to do it all. As intelligent women, we should know our limits, recognizing our gifts and understanding that others may be better suited for the job. Is that the case in every situation? Absolutely not. You seem well-suited to the task. I just wanted to make it clear that we don’t need to be these “independent women”– we are not weak (or any less feminine) if we ask for help when we need it. 🙂

    I wish you the best with your wedding plans!

  3. Veronica said,

    Thank you for this post! I think it will be very helpful for brides that do not have access to or cannot afford wedding planner. I’m working on my Master List; brilliant idea!

    I too have seen several brides pull off beautiful weddings without a planner but I also know the process was not always pleasant or easy.

    Whether I use a planner is still to be decided. But it’s great to know that which ever I choose, there’s a good chance I’ll have an amazing wedding.

    Good luck with your plans!

  4. kelly said,

    hey Jessica! I just responded to your comment on my blog, but I realized that probably isn’t the best way to get in touch with you. Anyway, email me! I’d love to bounce ideas off each other! kgawrysiak@hotmail.com I just did some searching around your blog too and it looks like we have the same budget and similar mentality for our weddings, so it would be great to chat! Thanks!

  5. Jess said,

    Danielle, thanks for your comment. I think what you said, your opinions there, are as good advice for life as they are for weddings. Do what you can within moderation and with what you can afford, because life is a matter of balancing, and we don’t all need or want the biggest event possible.
    Monica, thanks for the good luck :). I agree, it’s better to be independent and know where our strengths lie.
    Thank you Veronica and best of luck with your planning as well. I wonder if some of the reasons it is not so easy to plan your own wedding in America is because of the extreme amount of choices. I find it frustrating here, but it sure is easier because I have very little choices 🙂 haha.

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