How to get the most out your wedding planner

I am (obviously) an advocate for hiring a wedding planner. I truly believe that hiring the right planner can reduce your stress level, save you a boatload of time, connect you with amazing vendors, keep you organized . . . the list goes on. I’ve been in the crazy and wonderful world of weddings for a while now and I’ve learned along the way, that there are certain things a couple can do to get the most out of our service. I wanted to take the time to break down some suggestions for any engaged couples looking to hire or who are working with a planner. These suggestions come from a lot of experience and analysis of the planning process. I hope this helps!

1. Utilize our vendor recommendations

Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds, probably even thousands of different wedding vendors. Some wedding vendors are top notch and really care about the couple - while to be honest - some just don’t make the cut. Here is the thing: someone might have a beautiful and well-branded instagram page - but they might be a bit of a diva to work with. You just don’t know until you’ve worked with someone what the experience is going to be like. Which is where your handy dandy wedding planner comes in. At Blush & Bowties, we narrow in our recommendations to folks we know and love. Who are passionate about what they do, are kind and easy to work with, and pros in their field.

I highly recommend heeding your planner’s advice when it comes to vendor recommendations. And that includes hiring vendors for projects that might seem like an easy DIY project - for example string lighting. It might seem easy peasy to throw a few strands of string lighting up - but I can tell you from personal experience - it is not.

2. Allow us to help you create a realistic budget

This is a tricky subject. I learned very early on not to over promise when it comes to budgeting. If you are having a 150 person wedding with a 35K budget and are hoping to get married in downtown Toronto, realistically, it’s pretty much impossible (that is if you plan on having an open bar and serving food). As much as I would love to control the costs of how much weddings are - alas I don’t do not. What a planner can do is guide you through pricing options out there and can help create a realistic and comprehensible wedding budget.

When helping with my client’s budgets, I use my personal experience of over 200 weddings to help create a line by line spreadsheet of expected costs. We advise on expected ranges for each line item and talk to our couples about what is most important to them. I highly suggest listening to your planner’s advice when it comes to cost. Under budgeting with unrealistic numbers will only lead to disappointment and costly surprises down the line.

3. Let us keep you on schedule

When diving into wedding planner, it can be overwhelming to tackle the 150 plus tasks that need to be completed between now and the wedding date. What I find much more helpful, is to breakdown task lists by month. It creates a more manageable list of to do’s and a rough timeline to accomplish them by. What I have found a bit challenging, is when a couple wants to do everything at once. It’s just is too much to tackle.

My suggestion is to allow your planner to gently guide you through the task list. Once something is accomplished, I will look to what is next on the list and communicate that with my client. I find this the most effective way to tackle a big project. Take those little steps each and every week or month, and before you know it, you are check marking that task list like no one’s business.

4. Stay timely on communication

This one might seem obvious, but it’s so important when working with a planner to respond to them in a timely manner - otherwise it’s pretty much impossible to get stuff done. I’ve definitely found myself on the merry go round of trying to lock in a specific detail with a couple and it can make the process challenging (more so for the couple). Weddings are time sensitive, and personally I try to tackle big ticket items sooner than later so that the last few months of planning can be focused on logistics. I do this for the benefit of my couple and to try to lessen their stress levels. But if we don’t hear back, well we just can’t move forward with the process. The other important factor with getting back to your planner is that vendors get booked up. It’s happened more than once that a couple has waited too long to respond to suggestions and then the vendor is no longer available.

So if you’re diving into working with a planner, it’s important to make room in your schedule for emails and communication. At the end of the day, decisions are in your court and a planner needs your thumbs up in order to move on to the next to do.

5. Focus and decisiveness are your best friend

I totally empathize with how hard making decisions for your wedding can be. There are a LOT of choices that need to be made. Which is why hopefully hiring a planner will help you focus in on the options. I think sometimes there is the thinking that more options are always better but I have to say from experience, I don’t agree with this. Over the years I’ve learned to try to narrow in the amount of options I send based on the couple’s style and personalities. I find, for example, sending 2-3 photographer suggestions VS 10 is a more effective and make my client’s lives easier. It can be tempting to want to see ALL the options out there, but trust me, it’s better to stay decisive and focused.

Decisiveness, in general, is a helpful tool for any engaged couple to have on hand. So where possible, try to stay deceive and allow your planner to focus in your options. Trust me, this will save you a lot of headache and time.