Planning your own wedding is an admirable feat, but for some, it sounds less than ideal, overwhelming or just not feasible due to distance, work or other obligations. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, but hiring a wedding planner could also turn your big day into something better than ever before! There are so many great things about having a coordinator by your side every step of the way while planning your wedding. We asked eight Houston wedding planners why you absolutely need a planner or coordinator on your big day and they gave us all the inside scoop! Read on to hear what these wedding pros had to say about just why you should hire a wedding planner to bring your dream vision to life.
1. Bring Your Dream Wedding Vision to Life
From Love Birds & Co.
“I really feel like exceptional event production is finding that delicate balance between beauty, design and personal expression. From our first meeting, I encourage our clients to start collecting items and images that speak to them both personally and as a couple. Favorite colors and textures, vacation destinations, clothing, even the style of engagement ring gives insight into a couple’s collective personality. That’s why it is so important to get to know our clients on a deeply personal level. We want to make sure that they feel included and heard throughout the creative process. Events must be a true expression of their personalities to be both aesthetically beautiful and wonderfully meaningful.
The million-dollar question! I feel like a planner/designer should be your very first call when you take that leap into the world of wedding planning. A great event planner will not only help you tick the boxes on the long to-do list, but should take the time to truly get to know you and your fiancé. Developing that relationship and building that trust early on in the process is essential to helping couples both create designs that are beautiful, meaningful and within budget, but also choosing the right team of creatives to bring those inspirations to life.
Trust your creative team and remember why we are all here — to celebrate the union of two people madly in love. Yes, nailing down the design and personal details of your event are so important, but at the end of the day, you are going to leave this beautiful party and embark on a beautiful life together. Make sure you stay focused on the forever part.”
Featured Photo: Kelley Craig Photography // Also Pictured: Mia Bridal Couture, Flora + Fauna, Elm Beauty, Flower Power Productions, Hair by Alyx, Iron Manor, Blooming Gallery, Untamed Petals
2. Manage Your Budget
From Two Be Wed
“First, we help our couples determine the 3 E’s of their event – Emotion, Environment and Experience. What emotion do they want to invoke, what kind of environment do they want to create, and what kind of experience do they want for themselves and for their guests.
Once they determine the ‘why and what’ of their event we are able to identify priorities and determine their ideal investment. It’s also important to know who is contributing to the wedding planning fund. Many families are co-contributing to the wedding and more and more couples are paying for or supplementing their wedding budgets.
Once we establish the ideal and realistic budget, we allocate their dollars according to their top 3 priorities. Oftentimes, we educate our clients on the market value of services. We help them to understand the overall cost for a wedding and how factors such as guest count, day of the week, venue and vendor selection ultimately influence the bottom line.
Budget management gives the couple a realistic expectation for their investment. It helps keep them on target and to consider every financial decision and commitment they make with the bigger picture in mind. We strive to make every purchase thoughtful and intentional.
We encourage our clients, whether they are spending 25K or 250K, to respect their budget and to avoid impulsive purchases that may result in buyer’s remorse. Entering into a marriage with debt, financial stress and anxiety is not recommended. We want our couples and their families to feel good about their investment and to enjoy every part of the wedding planning experience.”
Featured Photo: Josh & Dana Fernandez Photography // Also Pictured: Oliver and Penelope Vintage Rentals, Edges Wild Studio, Brickhouse Bridal, Butter Artistry, Swift + Company, Carr Mansion, Legacy Lapels
3. Problem Solving Pros
“Chancey Charm Weddings’ knowledge of the industry can help streamline the decision process while confidently building a trustworthy team. Wedding planners cut through the hours of research and connect you directly with trusted vendors based on your style and budget.
Build a realistic budget taking both market rate and priorities into consideration. Most couples are in the dark when it comes to what it costs to create the wedding images they’re seeing in magazines and on social media. Planners are reviewing vendor pricing sheets and client invoices almost daily, making us a valuable asset when starting to determine how you’ll allocate your wedding funds.
Guidance in times of uncertainty. Although none of us may have planned through a global pandemic before, planners are adept at rescheduling weddings due to natural disasters like hurricanes and unexpected life changes like family illness. Our team specifically worked to quickly provide our couples with their options, gather vendor availability into an easy-to-read chart, and oversee the contract amendments process.
A professional wedding planner is someone who can objectively make quick decisions and develop unique solutions based on their years of experience and network. With Chancey Charm, we have access to our entire national team of over 20+ planners to assist with problem-solving and sourcing client needs. This teamwork model de-escalates a problem or can figure out a need quickly, saving time and often money. We also share our ‘what didn’t go so right’ stories with one another allowing us all to learn collectively from one another and helps us to spot situations that could turn into a problem and stop them in their tracks.
Even for couples who aren’t interested in a full-service planner, working with a wedding planner from the beginning to create a design and budget plan can be beneficial for getting off on the right foot planning your wedding. We offer a ‘design blueprint’ service focused on providing assistance for couples who want the handle the ins-and-outs of the planning process, but are concerned about their wedding day looking like the ideas they have in their head – or they aren’t even sure if they have a clear idea in their head. Through our signature design process, we create a refined, visual blueprint of their vision so they can clearly communicate their exceptions to their wedding day team resulting in the picture-ready wedding of their dreams.”
Featured Photo: The Cotton Collective // The Dunlavy, F. Dellit Designs, Aztec Events & Tents
4. Ensure No Key Detail is Overlooked
From Events by Sarah
“We are able to point couples in the right direction from the get-go in terms of selecting their vendors. Based on the couple’s theme, budget and such, we can take a lot of the leg work of searching out for them. Once they select a vendor, we are able to review proposals, suggest omissions/additions and really help them see the whole picture of the wedding very early in the planning process. Our relationships with various vendors around town also allow for our clients to receive monetary discounts extended to them as well!
Upsell is the name of any person providing a service or good. Sometimes those upsells are great and beneficial and add a lot to the space/event. Other times, there are better more impactful places to spend money or make a statement. Planners see the whole picture, and sometimes clients get hung up on one tiny detail. It is our job to steer them down a path where they can look back and say, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing.’
Especially in the COVID climate we are currently in, planners have become invaluable tools to help clients navigate these uncharted waters. We are always thinking twelve steps ahead and try to always be solution-oriented.”
Featured Photo: Lindsey Weitzel Photography // Also Pictured: Mia Bridal Couture, Fleur di Vie, Junior League of Houston, Beautique, Saks, Rita Vinieris
5. Ensuring You Stay On Track
From EPOCH CO+
“We utilize a cloud-based planning program for our planning clients where it houses our comprehensive checklist that covers everything big or small from start to finish. We start off by tailoring this list to each client and their individual needs, based on the events we are helping them plan and logistically coordinate, taking into consideration their individual work and travel schedules.
We know this overall checklist can get overwhelming when looking at the big picture, so to help our clients stay on track for a stress-free planning season, we have an assigned overview of specific items to focus on each week and month. As these items are checked off, we are able to assign new tasks. We review these checklists weekly and then do monthly recaps to touch base on items that may be falling behind and what needs to be an upcoming priority. We also take time to discuss anything they might need or we need to check off the next round of to-dos. It is very much a team effort depending on what level of service they hire us for. We keep them on track, streamline their schedule, handle all of their vendor relations, and help them stay organized and carefree throughout the whole process.
Some clients dive headfirst into planning pandemonium. But after being sucked down the rabbit hole of vendor searches and star-ratings, they realize they aren’t getting anywhere fast and the Google scroll isn’t much fun. So one of our first meetings would be an in-depth meeting to discuss the items they have already covered and allows us to come up with a custom game plan for the outstanding to-dos moving forward. We very much create a custom planning timeline around our clients and their busy schedules.
Month-of coordination clients are typically the ones who have gotten dirty with the nitty-gritty details and have the planning portion under control. We utilize a completely different program with these clients, and our checklists are tailored to the final 30 days. We have our 30-day checklist pre-populated with things that we find our clients tend to overlook-like who’s bringing the ice? We then send out two digital questionnaires that help us better understand where they are in the planning process those final 30 days. One is the ceremony and wedding day VIP questionnaire, and the other is the wedding vendor questionnaire. It is pretty comprehensive and asks some questions the clients may not have thought of, but that is A-okay because we can then add those to their final checklist and help them tie up the loose ends those final weeks before the big day.
We always let our clients know that when tackling the wedding to-do list to focus on priority or key vendors first – these are typically dream vendors or vendors that can only accommodate one event a day/weekend. This is different for each client, so if you find a generic to-do list on Pinterest or The Knot, be sure to prioritize vendors based on your individual needs. If florals are a huge deal to you, you would want to book that dream vendor much earlier than recommended on those to-do lists.
It is also completely normal for the to-do list to be almost like an inverted bell curve – at the very beginning, there is a large number of to-dos, but it then starts to taper off a little bit as the dream team is secured and life resumes at a somewhat normal pace. Then the last few months, it picks up again as we start diving into the design details and finalizing the visual elements for the big day, as well as getting those final headcounts that allow us to tackle the layout, seating charts, and day-of details.
If you don’t have a wedding planner, do not be afraid to ask for help and outsourcing to-dos. Wedding party members are a great resource of help! Having your lead wedding party member assist with keeping the other wedding party members on task with special events, and ordering wedding day attire + accessories on time can be such a huge help, and takes one more thing off your lengthy list.”
6. Take Away Unwanted Stress
From Plan Our Day Events
“We start with open and honest communication from the beginning. We believe that it’s important to help our clients be more knowledgeable about the wedding and events industry, which in turn helps them make the best decisions for their big day. We look at our role in the planning process as a consultant and guide. We give them the information so they feel confident in booking the vendors they love while making sound decisions around their budget. Our Wedding Management package also includes a planning meeting right at booking, where we can openly talk ‘all-things-wedding.’ We’ve found that this is crucial to building trust and a relationship with our clients, while also giving them a road map for planning. For our full-service couples, we work through each decision together, keeping track of changes, ideas and notes along the way!
I think that just because couples are opting for a smaller gathering, they don’t want to forgo the personalization of their wedding. Small weddings don’t equal a ‘wedding in a box.’ Our clients still want to spend time selecting the things that are special to them. They still want and appreciate guidance during the planning and someone to ensure things run smoothly on the wedding day. We get to become an even more intimate part of their day!
When clients ask if they should be doing this or that, I ask them if it really matters to them. The truth is, some things just aren’t a priority for some couples, so I respond with ‘if you didn’t already have an idea or thought (or care) about X, then don’t stress about it!’ I like to focus on the experience of the wedding day, for our couples and their guests, so it can remove some of the stress of planning if we focus core decisions on that. I think a good support group is key as well. Also, while planning a wedding can sometimes turn into a full-time job, there will naturally be times during the planning process that we encourage you to take advantage of the lull, and date your partner a bit!”
Featured Photo: Theo Civitello of Theo-Graphics // Also Pictured: Hey Lovely, Briscoe Manor, Holyoak Floral Designs, Weddings by Debbie, Essense of Australia, BHLDN, Tiffany & Co., Indochino
7. Timeline Professionals
From Right as Rayne Events
“It is a full-time job making sure everything happens exactly when it is supposed to happen during a wedding. From organizing your vendors, corralling your wedding party and making sure that your beautiful wedding cake is cut, there is a lot to do! With all of their previous knowledge and experience, wedding planners know exactly how much time to allow for each wedding event, how to gently guide you through the day without demanding or rushing, and allow you to have the most amazing, stress-free day of your life! This is a special day to celebrate your love with your friends and family, not a day for you to worry about schedules or constantly looking at the time. On your wedding day, you should be focused on one thing… getting married!
Many events take place during a wedding: getting ready, the ceremony, taking photos, dinner, toasts, cake cutting, your first dance, throwing your bouquet and leaving the venue and cleaning up within your contracted time just to name a few! Accomplishing all of these things before time runs out can be a challenge! Timelines make sure everything runs smoothly, in the correct order and within your allotted time.
Time alone together is often overlooked by a couple planning their own wedding! We always try to schedule a few minutes after the ceremony and before your grand entrance for you to take a moment together as newlyweds. It is so easy to get swept up in the party and entertaining with your guests, it is worth it to schedule this time to remember why you are there in the first place: each other!
Vendor setup/break downs is another detail we see omitted from planning. Vendors often need to arrive hours before the wedding to set up and stay well after the newlyweds have made their exit to break everything down. You have to account for this time in your timeline!
And finally, transportation times. If your ceremony and reception take place in different locations, make sure you account for the time it takes you to get from one place to another. Consider traffic, alternate routes and possible weather delays in your timeline. Are you providing transportation for your wedding party and guests? Will they have to make multiple trips? If you plan for all of these things, you will have a more accurate timeline!”
Featured Photo: Fulleylove Photography // Also Pictured: Adorne Artistry, Kaira, Mia Bridal Couture, LBL Event Rentals, The Bowery House and Garden, Elegant Beginnings Inc, A Different Bloom, Allen Johnson Formalwear, Your Butler’s Pantry
8. Let Your Friends and Family Enjoy Your Wedding Day with You
From On Cloud9 Events
“If hiring an event management company does not fit your budget, it’s time to call on those close friends and/or family members! We suggest delegating specific tasks to a smaller group of people versus a larger group. This will make it easier for your confidants to communicate throughout the event. Also, make sure you trust them to make in-the-moment types of decisions to avoid having to take time out of your wedding day to tend to every detail. We also advocate being extremely specific and detailed with your vendors about the “point of contact” person for the event. You most likely won’t be around your phone all day, and some questions need answers that are crucial to the flow of your big day. One thing to note is that this may be more difficult to communicate last-minute adjustments to your vendors while keeping everyone on the same page.
It can be really difficult to facilitate all the details of a wedding while still attending as a guest. Many wedding planners, including Cloud9, offer a less expensive ‘Wedding Day Management’ package to help clients ensure the enjoyment of their family and friends. This budget-friendly package is perfect for our more ‘hands-on’ brides, because it allows them to take charge of selecting their vendors, and the day of coordinator can compile the details and schedule about three weeks out. Even if a full-service wedding planner is not in your budget, we definitely recommend hiring a day-of coordinator.
When it comes to crafting your wedding day schedule, it is truly a living document until the morning of your wedding. We will revise and distribute drafts to you and your vendor team throughout this process, however, we will put a fresh, fully up-to-date copy in every vendor’s hand on your wedding day. Cloud9 makes a point to emphasize any last-minute changes discussed overnight. Our schedules are detailed down to the minute and include direct contact information to your coordinators, so we are easily accessible at any moment of the day.
On Cloud9 Events takes great pride in going above and beyond for our clients. Regardless of the package the couple selects, we offer unlimited correspondence throughout the entire planning process. This helps us solve problems as they surface, as opposed to waiting to solve them during the contracted ‘full dedication’ period. We often recommend bundling as many vendors as possible (i.e. caterers who also do cakes or DJs who also offer photo booths etc.) On Cloud9 began as a decor rental company, in addition, we now offer event design and styling to our clients. The design of your event is a continuous process that we can add on to any package to simplify your vendor list as much as possible. Our favorite part of our job as a planner is seeing the smiles, not only on the bride and groom’s faces but on their family and friends’ as well. With a wedding planner working in the background, everyone can relax and take in every moment of the BEST DAY EVER!”
Featured Photo: Kaiti Moyers Photography // Also Pictured: THE SPRINGS Event Venue, Monica’s Brides, Something BLUE
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Other Local Vendors: Two Be Wed, Plan Our Day Events, Epoch Co+, Events By Sarah, Chancey Charm Weddings, Right as Rayne Events, Houston Soiree