Sunday, June 04, 2006

So What Does A Wedding Planner Do?

Yesterday I staged with one of the very best wedding planners around. Do not ask me to either walk or smile today, I can do neither. I put in about four days worth in 12 hours .

The skill set needed to be a good event planner is enormous. If we took the top 20 wedding planners in America and gave them the UN I am convinced they could turn the world into the garden of eden (before that whole apple fiasco).

First you must be an organizational whiz and a logistics wizard. The planner is responsible for juggling the acquisition of goods and services from 10 or more vendors. And those are just the main ones. Yesterday there were the venue, three rental companies, the florists, the baker and the draping company; the caterer, two sets of musicians, the lighting crew, the limo, the photographer and the videographer. Just like the general contractor on a building project, the planner is responsible for ensuring that each vendor arrives in the proper order. For instance, if the baker were scheduled to arrive before the rental company had arrived to set up tables and linen the baker would not be a happy camper. Or if the group pictures are scheduled before the bouquets are slated to arrive you have an angry bride. Add to this that at least three of the vendors will call and want to change their delivery time because of other weddings. Ok, now remember that sometimes the window for all this can be as little as four hours. I have actually seen it done in less than that but IT WAS NOT PRETTY.
Also on the organizational front, is stuff. Stuff that you would never in a million years think of, but a good planner has packed in the trunk of her car. Ok, some stuff you may have thought of like extra panty hose and aspirin and a steamer for the dress. How about surgical tape for the bridesmaid that thought her boobs needed a little more lift. (could I make that up, people?) How about a cigar cutter for the two-dozen Cuban cigars the bestman wanted to pass out. I think David Copperfield lives in her trunk and just makes stuff appear as needed.
Another skill needed to be a great planner is the ability to be a time-line enforcement cop with out being a witch about it. Days before the event the planner and the bride hammer out a time-line to keep the event rolling. As you plan your wedding you will begin to notice things like overtime charges and hourly rates, that is why your planner has to be on top of it. The day of the event, the bride, the groom, the bridal party and every parent involved refuses to acknowledge that time even exists. Weddings do not come with an infinite time frame. You have given the planner a list of things you wish to take place at your wedding, let her get them done in a fashion that won’t rush either you or your guests yet doesn’t leave anything out.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Unlike other vendors, your planner is the de facto hostess of your wedding and reception. As she juggles multiple vendors and guest, smoothes out any wrinkles in the fabric of time and sees to the needs of one and all present she does it in heels with a smile on her face. NO MATTER WHAT. No matter what else happens that day, a great planner must exhibit the diplomatic skills Solomon could only hope to possess. That is a large part of the job.
There is good reason why wedding planners earn their keep. The things they do that no one sees are the little things that can make a good party great. It's the little things that you don't even notice unless they aren't there.
Look for more posts about last night. There were so many great tidbits I picked up I just can’t put them all in one post.

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