Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Planners Than You Can Shake A Stick At....

Odd title - I know. But this post has a lot to do with what I'll call the "saturation" of wedding planners in the marketplace. Not just in my neck of the woods - but everywhere.

Somewhere along the way - folks got the groovy idea that being a wedding planner must be the THING to do. Gee - on television it looks like fun, you get to go to parties (for free), you get to look at pretty flowers, eat great food, walk around with a clipboard and look important - yada, yada. So now, I can take off one of my Manolo's and throw it - and guarantee that I'll "hit" a "wedding planner/coordinator/producer/designer" in passing. The hardcore truth of the matter is this - it ain't like it is on television or in print. I wish it were - but it's not. I've reiterated this theory to many folks in the past - so humor me if you've heard it previously...it is something that definitely bears repeating.

1) It's a job..it's a profession. IT IS NOT A HOBBY
My hobbies are reading trashy romance novels and watching television. Planning a wedding for someone does not qualify as a "little something for me to do". Weddings are investments, both financially and emotionally - so the planner's mindset has to concur and understand that statement. This is how I earn my living, pay for tuition, drive my car, pay for the outrageous gas that goes into my car...you get the drift. Which leads me to number 2..

2) I charge for my services
And you are not going to get them for free - or for cheap. The price I quote you for service covers a myriad of facets and as such, they have to be taken care of. And that 3 pounds of grey matter residing in my head is worth a lot...it's a little piece of anatomy which causes me to think and create an event that is unlike any other - and that event will belong to you and your beloved. Nope - I'm not the most expensive game in town , but I'm not the cheapest either. I can never say this enough - in the wedding business, you DO get what you pay for. Like the kids say (mine especially) - "Don't get it twisted".

3) Experience matters
Yep - it sure does. I've got almost 16 years under my belt as a planner and trust me, I have been baptized by fire, brimstone and a few other things to get me where I am now. The road has not been easy...but I honestly wouldn't trade a thing for what I've learned along the way. Those 15+ years? They make a difference between being able to assertively think on your feet - or stand there looking like a deer caught in the headlights....

4) Cheap...is cheap.
It's nothing else. Not even remotely. Yes..there are many, many, many "wedding planners" out there who will quote you a fee of $250 to provide "day of" coordination services (actually, there is no such thing as "day of" - any true planner worth their salt will be happy to give you more details on that), but please......don't expect a lot of work for $250. If you really sit down and do a few computations, for the amount of work a coordinator does prior to the wedding (yes - we must work before the event, because we CANNOT just come in the day before and make things happen!) as well as on the day of.....let's just say for $250 - you'd be better off working in a retail store or a fast food joint..and let your employee discount be the "perk".

5) Think About It
When you make the decision to hire a wedding planner - it's a pretty big one. This is the ONE person who will know everything about your event, all of it's machinations, quirks, complexities...the planner has the eagle eye on it all. So you want to mesh with someone who can see eye to eye with you AND beyond the realm of what most people think about. Your wedding is YOUR wedding and as such, should reflect who you are as a couple. Your relationship, your "love style" are all things which should be ever present on this day...the planner is the person who takes it all and makes it happen in wonderful, glorious form.

It's okay to interview a few planners - after all, next to the photographer, this is the person you'll be spending the most time with. Ask hard questions, see how the planner's overall persona and personality is - and does it vibe with yours? Don't let price be your only criteria for selection - 'cause honestly, that WILL be your undoing. Ask me how I know........

Seriously, everybody and their mama is jumping on the wedding planning bandwagon. Make sure that whomever you select is not a follower...but a leader. This is a decision that if made correctly and with thought - will net you a day that you've only dreamed of.....

12 comments:

Sincerely, Katasha {at} K Sherrie+Company Weddings said...

Kudos to you for this posting!!

Leslie Wright said...

I love this!!!

mas@elegantengagements.com said...

THANKS for writing that - I can't believe all the new planners out there.

Pearls Of Wisdom, LLC said...

{Touche'} !!!

cakegrl said...

Amen! I've seen this phenomenon and the aftermath is not pretty. And from a cake vendor's point of view...it is also much harder to deal with an inexperienced "planner" who treats it like a hobby, and it really makes my job harder to do on so many levels. Great post Linnyette!

Linnyette Richardson-Hall said...

I knew that other professionals would understand my frame of reference.......thanks for all of your comments and keep em' coming!

Loretta said...

O.M.G! This was the topic of conversation this morning with the young lady that assist me in my event planning business. We are appalled and insulted by those who have not prepared for this industry yet call themselves our equal.

Thank you!! or AMEN! whichever you prefer.

Distinctively Yours Event Management said...

AMEN!!! Everyone who plans there own wedding all of a sudden thinks they can plan everyone's wedding and then we have a new "wedding planner." Everything you have said here is truth.

Anonymous said...

YOu are the only planner for me. I understand, being a chef that has done a few events. I have unfortunately run across some of those whom deem themselves "event/wedding planners" that know absolutely nothing, from etiquette to pricing for food and such. Its embarrassing, cause I feel like if you come to me, then I need to be on top of my game and thinking 3-4 steps ahead of my client.

For instance, I had a new planner come to me with a bride for catering of the rehearsal dinner and the small reception. Now when I laid out a few menus and the pricing, she was appalled at the pricing and I asked her how many chefs she has dealt with. I told her to shop around and then let me know. Just her sheer reaction told me that she was going to have this bride dis-satisfied and upset.

KUDOS!!!! to you for posting this.

YOu are my only wedding planner for me. I can't wait til that day.

Karrin
Norfolk, VA

Anonymous said...

OMG - I enjoyed this post as well - and can appreicate all of the perspectives offered. However, let us not forget that we were ALL new to this game at one point in time. Give it a rest - I am new to the business and will not let another persons OPINION deter me from what I love. Seems like some of us are either intimidated by the new crop of planners or higher on their own self-appreciating pedistal a bit more than they need to be. I would like to think that us newbies would be embraced and encouraged by our counterparts...was I wrong. You guys keep your chin up, I won't take too much of your business.

- Smooches -

Linnyette Richardson-Hall said...

Anonymous:
Oh, trust me - I am quite certain that all of the "veteran" wedding planners out there DO welcome our newest sisters (and brothers!) to the craft. This post isn't about those folks out there for whom wedding planning is a passionate profession - rather, it was written to comment (and yes - give opinion) on those person who are not serious AND not willing to do all that has to be done in order to hone their skills and be a credit to the industry.

I am all for competition - I think it's one of the most healthiest outlets in the running of a business but I am also realistic enough to know that in order to be a successful, thriving, respected wedding planner - you have to be willing and able to work at it 24/7and 365 days a year. You have to be willing to get as educated as possible, come through the trenches, the fire, the many storms that you will encounter as you develop a business.

I really think that at the crux of it all is the notion of "entitlement" - for there are many, many people out there who think that indeed - no real work is required, no dues need to be paid..in short, they expect someone (namely folks who've been in the game a minute or two) to just "hand" over to them all of the knowledge, resources and innate abilities that come with the territory. I think not.
If you want to call yourself a wedding planner - be ready and able to do what's necessary, ethical and professional to make it happen.

No short cuts - hard work, realistic expectations and the drive to succeed are just a few of the hands you will be dealt in this game. The people who end up winning are those who know how to play........

Anonymous said...

Give me a 24/7 Wedding Planner any day. One who understands the business and one who will partner with me the caterer...

Not the friend or family member who needs guidence thru the entire event. This is not a hobby but a career choice. The friends and family members make my job 100 time harder because they do not truly understand the complex nature of the business.