So I am betting you are in the middle of planning your wedding, or perhaps you are a fellow wedding planner reading this for ideas on what you could blog about. I beg you, either way, read this and soak up all of the knowledge!
I have been in the wedding industry for 18 years, so I have seen so many businesses come and go. I also have a very solid grasp on what works and what doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I am constantly learning and improving and adjusting my services. I am by no means, a know it all. But, let me tell you that any wedding planner that is offering "Day of Coordination" (when they specifically only show up on the wedding day) is out of their mind. That can't possibly work. Now "month of coordination" or more appropriately called "wedding management", that works. The wedding industry is literally the only industry that has no barrier to entry. Anyone can purchase a clipboard, and suddenly they have become a wedding coordinator. The number of wedding planners that pop up and disappear is completely astounding to me. As a bride, I hope you enjoy this post and walk away feeling empowered, educated and informed!
So, what's the difference? Let's dig in.
First off, here are a few quotes from well-known planners websites, who are preaching the same messages as me.
Renee from Moxie Bright Events is a wedding planning genius. I am obsessed with her training materials and her unbelievable podcast. Here is a quote directly from her website. Renee offers Wedding Management starting in-person, 6 weeks prior to the wedding date:
You are probably more familiar with the term "Day-Of Coordination", but honestly? That doesn't really exist. And furthermore, we don't offer it. But keep reading...
Wedding Management is for those of you who are excited to plan your wedding yourselves but need some professional assistance to get things rolling or to get you to the proverbial finish line - and for those who definitely don't want to deal with all the particulars on your wedding day.
Here is another quote from a well-known wedding planner in British Colombia, Filsophi:
The craziest among you are actually amped at the idea of doing your own wedding planning - you go girls! And/or guys! So for you, our Takeover Service is just what you need for that final home stretch. This is our version of a "Day-Of Coordination" type service, but its much more than Day-Of so we refuse to call it that. Anyone who thinks they can meet with you once and then run your day perfectly is probably high.
So now that we are all on the same page and know that I am not some crazy planner trying to start a new trend, let's dig in a bit deeper.
I want all of you brides and grooms to read this and feel educated, and have a better grasp on your wedding planning and understand the best point to have a professional step in to help you!
Wedding Management generally starts 4-8 weeks prior to the wedding day. This gives your planner plenty of time to meet with you (1-3 times) to discuss all of the vendors that have been hired to date, to go over all of the logistics of the wedding day, to create a wedding timeline and to go to know you both personally. This also gives your planner a chance to take over your vendor management and build a relationship with your vendors. There would literally be no way for a planner (of any education or experience level) to show up legitimately on your wedding day and take over. How would that planner know what time anything starts? Or who your vendors are? Or know the slightest bit about your family dynamics or who is who in your wedding party? It's. not. possible. Unless of course, this planner is offering you a "day of coordination" and actually working with you for a month or longer. That's a whole other blog topic that should appropriately be titled "undercutting to get bookings and not being compensated fairly".
I don't want this blog post to sound harsh or insensitive. I truly want you to read this, process it and understand what goes into Wedding Management. My best example is that I know nothing about the plumbing industry. I wouldn't know who to call, who is reputable or what to expect. So if I needed to hire a plumber, I would likely be quite upset that they charge $75 per hour without truly understanding the service per hour fee. How about a kitchen renovation? You know what you want it to look like at the end, and you probably have a budget in mind but have no idea what each item actually costs, how long it takes, where to buy it or how to install it. You could, of course, attempt the renovation on your own. Watch some you-tube videos on how to do things. It will probably save you a bit of money, give you a lot of headaches and be much more time-consuming than hiring a professional.
My goal with this blog post is to help you understand why experienced, legitimate planners are "so expensive".
With our Wedding Management package, you don't need to feel pressured to accomplish anything on your own prior to a magical date that we start working together. With Wedding Management, we are available via email at any point throughout the planning process. We want to oversee a contract that you are signing before the wedding. We want to be cc'ed on your emails so we are in the loop while you book vendors. We want to make sure that everything is being taken care of. We will also provide you with our exclusive booking package to get your planning on track from day 1.
When you hire an experienced planner for a Wedding Management, with true systems and processes in place to operate their business, you get what you pay for. This person will generally work with you for hours prior to the wedding meeting with you, potentially meeting with your vendors, and spending hours behind the computer screen preparing for your big day. This person will also be able to respond to unlimited numbers of emails and phone calls from you during the month leading up to the wedding day. What is the price tag for peace of mind?
So let's imagine that your "Day of Coordinator" charges $600. That person will be paying approximately 30% in taxes on that $600. (Assuming they are a legitimate business claiming all of their income). So now they are making $420. They will also be paying an assistant to work the wedding day with them. Let's imagine that they pay their assistant $15 per hour for 10 hours. There goes another $150. They are now taking home $270. Out of this $270, it's probably costing them a half tank of gas to get to the rehearsal and wedding day. If they are working with you for the standard 30-40 hours it would take to pull off a wedding, they are making approximately $6.75 per hour after taxes. This doesn't count the hydro/electrical costs to respond to your emails. The money it costs to heat their office, or the monthly cell phone bill they pay to answer your phone calls. How about the computer and the internet connection to work with you? In all honestly, at a price tag of $600 they are probably just breaking even, or maybe losing money. It would literally cost you more money to walk into a McDonald's restaurant and hire a teenager working behind the counter. So, let me ask you, what's the price tag on peace of mind? I am going to be very honest with you guys for a minute here. I hired my "month of coordinator" for my wedding, and I paid $2800. I didn't bat an eye. Not because I am rich, because I am not. Not because I have so much disposable income that I didn't know what to do with it. Because I broke it down and figured out how much that person would be making per hour and made an educated decision that they were worth it.
I worked with my coordinators for 6 weeks prior to the wedding and I paid $2800. After taxes that person took home $1960. I had 2 coordinators for 10 hours on my wedding and rehearsal dates. That's $980 each. We exchanged hundreds (I am not kidding) of emails, and I am not even sure about how many emails they had with my vendors. I imagine that they both worked 40 hours working up to my wedding day, which would be about $25 per hour each. Out of that $25, they are paying for their gas, their office space, their software programs, their computers, their phones, etc... So are experienced planners worth it? Absolutely. I would honestly have paid more than $2800 if I knew what I would have received and the peace of mind that I would get. I also saw the confidence behind this planning company, and I valued their worth. I would never hire the cheapest planner offering the quickest planning package so I don't expect you to do that either.
Wedding Planners are not in this industry to get rich. They are in this industry because they truly love their clients. Working 12-14 hour days, responding to emails in the wee hours of the night or having a phone ring off the hook is not for the faint of heart. We don't get to spend evenings or weekends with our families. We often miss holiday events and we rarely have dinner with our spouses. But we truly do love what we do. Seeing brides and grooms faces light up when they see the reception space for the first time, or watching a groom tear up seeing his wife walk down the aisle, I live for those moments. I wouldn't change a single thing over the past 18 years. I am so happy knowing that I was the person they selected to be a part of those special moments.
When you meet with a prospective planner, they will be able to provide you with a very detailed list of what their Wedding Management package includes. Everyone's packages will be different, and start and end at different times. So please, take the time to meet with a few planners. Chat. Find out which planner would work best for you, and which planner would reduce the most amount of stress for you during this very busy time in your life.
I understand that weddings are super expensive. I also know that there is this myth that vendors hike up the prices when you mention the word "wedding". I promise that I will treat you fairly. I will not overcharge you. I will take time to explain each package, service and price to you so you can make an informed decision about your wedding day. I hope that you have taken some valuable information from this post, but of course I am always open to questions and comments. If you have questions that have not been answered, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to help!
Venue: Bentwood Hall
Style/Design and Planning: Tricia Bachewich Events
Photo: Casey Nolin Photography
Linens/Decor: Simply Perfect Decor
Gown/Fur Shawl: Anna Lang Bridal
Rentals: C & T Rentals, Something Borrowed
Hair and Make Up: Made Beauty Co
Suit: Mallabar Apparel
Sweets: Something about Cake
Flowers: Jan Berry Florals
Lighting: Platinum Productions
Stationery: Kindred Paper Co