Posts tagged wedding issues
A New Service from AEP
This weekend we had the pleasure of helping our friends at A Budding Tree with some setup for a wedding.  We loved helping and LOVE weddings but this was our first experience with a wedding WITHOUT a planner and I was in SHOCK!  
This wedding had a few issues in the very few hours I was there (all would have been solved by having a planner)
  • Layout was never completed so no ideas on how room was setup or where DJ should be placed in terms of the entrance and then also with the lighting he was providing
  • DJ had no playlist OR timeline
  • No one was in charge of setting up menu cards or favors
  • Venue said there was no cake on their sheet BUT bride had provided cake topper and cutting utensils 
  • Guest book was there but there were no pens available for signing (and they were going to need to be specialty pens based on the guest book.

The venue coordinator CALLED the Bride directly with these issues. (a HUGE no-no as far as I am concerned as a planner, we NEVER bother the bride on her day) 

These issues were apparent to me in the very FEW hours that I was there setting up and this was even before the wedding started!!  Who knows how it went once the evening started.  

I left the wedding (after attempting to fix a few of these issues since I was there and able) dismayed at how someone's wedding day could end up going so terribly and wondering HOW could I help?  How can I help the bride who doesn't have the budget (or interest) in hiring a full planner for her wedding.  I have to be able to stop this from happening so that EVERY bride can have an easy time with their wedding.

I met with the Manager of AEP and we discussed what could be done to save the planner-less bride.  What was created from this meeting was our very new service!

Wedding Planning Express- $250 
This service will provide a 2- hour meeting with all of the people involved in your wedding plans (mom, bridesmaid, friends).  We will review the full details of your wedding as well as provide you with a rough timeline to determine how your day should look and a check list of items that you will want to check and review before the big day.  This service will allow for you to take all of the information and manage the details and expectations ALL without a planner.

While, my plan isn't to have a bunch of brides NOT hiring a wedding planner, I couldn't help but think there needed to be something for all of the brides who just don't have the budget for full services.  My preference is that you do have a planner to manage your day, so that family and friends aren't working but I know that some brides won't/can't or don't want to hire a planner.  

My hope is that this service will save all of those weddings (like the one I mentioned above) and all of those brides from the chaos and mess of mistakes, oversights and missing items.  

If this sounds like something you'd like, please email us today! 
Things Always Go Wrong.
I can't claim to have just learned this in 2010 but I definitely found out that no matter how long you have to plan and no matter how many planning meetings you manage, something will always go wrong.  Once you accept that, it will make your life easier.  Brides, you'll be able to relax knowing that something that will go wrong, will be covered by your planner.  Planners, you'll stay on your toes, knowing that when something inevitably goes wrong, you'll be ready for it.  

Well, what could go wrong, you ask?  Anything.  There is a never ending list of things that can go wrong.  Different venues represent different complications.  Different vendors mean different personalities to work with, which means LOTS of different things.  Different Brides will always mean new styles of planning, different levels of planning and different needs from your planning process.  While all of that information doesn't help you to KNOW what will go wrong, it at least lets you know that there are SO many areas you have to cover when working on a wedding, so you have to be detailed to be safe.  

For new wedding planners, this is where you lack based only on not having the experience with all of the different people, places and things but it still doesn't mean you can't do a good job, you just have to be even more detailed and more prepared.  

For experienced wedding planners it means that you always have to be prepared and there is no such thing as being totally certain of how to run any wedding.  You'll always have issues, but the more experience you have the easier things are to handle, the more likely you are to expect things and the calmer you'll be, when things do come up.

During this year, things came up that I can say I just found to come from out of left field.  After almost 10 years in the event industry, you'd think that I'd expect anything but that's just not possible.  You'll never be able to expect everything.  You can be prepared for anything but being "ready" for everything is unrealistic.  If you are hiring a planner that is claiming to know it all/done it all and they are insisting your event will be PERFECT, you might want to reconsider this person as they clearly have never worked a wedding.  

However, as a planner my job is to make it "seem" like the event went perfect.  The greatest comment that client's leave (and you'll find this type of comment on any good planners feedback page) is saying that "if anything did go wrong, they didn't know."  You never want them to know, you never want to stop any part of their day to seek them out for help, assistance or questions.  A good planner has to know that and be prepared to handle anything.  That's why you always want to have plenty of planning meetings as well as lots of documentation that review all of your details, timeline, setup and expectations.  

Okay, so you've been waiting for examples and I'll give you a few.

My classic example from one of my earlier weddings was hands down the best example I have when I'm asked about fixing a difficult situation.

A May wedding was being planned and due to the amount of rain, I asked the tent vendors to setup the tent a week early so we were sure that the reception ground had time to dry.  They setup the tent and we had a long week of time that the reception area should have been drying.  Well, when we went to setup the wedding, the staff was setting up tables and hurrying along to get the chairs up, linens on and settings out before the florist arrived.  Halfway through setup, we realized half the tables were "crooked" and I asked the staff to go back and setup again.  Well, come to find out that the week of drying, hadn't really dried anything out.  The ground was soaked, wet and mushy and the tables were sinking into the ground.  There was NO indoor space available so we had to work with the outdoor swamp space.  We ended up having spare wood planks for the  fire-pit that we had at an even the night before.  We broke them up and used them under each leg, of each table to stop the sinking.  The tables stayed up, but halfway through the event, everyone was covered in mud. Thankfully, it was a great group and most of them ended up barefoot and dancing through the night.  The bride had no idea the tables were sinking, that they had sunk into the ground at one point and she just enjoyed her time. 

There was really no way to be ready for that and had the wood not been in the truck, I'm not exactly sure what we would have done but now I know.  If this were to happen again, we'd know what to do.  Hopefully, it doesn't happen again.  Hopefully and now I know that a week isn't long enough to dry out a field.  Lesson learned.  

Other, shorter examples.
Problem- DJ not showing up (this situation proved that you should always take your planners recommendations, NOT use someone that you "found" that is "cheap)
Solution- Call vendors in the are and find a DJ available that evening, offer to pay them LOTS of money and have them show up, on time and ready to play the music that is on the music list that the planner SHOULD have on hand.  

Problem- Bride realizes the garter she had is lost and now she has nothing for the garter removal ceremony.
Solution- This is an easy one as you should always have a backup for everything in your "wedding emergency kit."

Problem- Limo service leaves hotel with all of your wedding guests, except Great Grandma and Grandpa.  

So, those are just a few, but the list is endless.  There is usually something that happens at each wedding that makes you, the planner, realize how lucky the bride was to have you there.  Sometimes, they never know, but that's the point.  

Happy Planning!