…and why I wish I’d hired one!
When I got married in 2008, I had never come across a wedding planner – except for the ones hailing from Hollywood! No-one I knew had hired one, I didn’t really know what they did and to be honest, even if someone had suggested one, I’d have discounted the idea because I thought they’d be far too expensive for my budget and anyway, my venue had an in-house coordinator so I couldn’t possibly need one, could I? So I thought!
I wanted to organise our wedding by myself, in my own way. I knew what I wanted to create, my fiancé was quite relaxed and happy to let me get on with it (some things haven’t changed!) and I’ve always been one for double checking every minute detail, keeping all of the plates spinning and not to mention keeping lists…… and lists…… and lists of lists! OK, let’s call it what it is, I’m a control freak, plain and simple!
Planning and organising have always come naturally to me and I was confident that I could arrange a fabulous and memorable party for 120 or so of our nearest and dearest. I had a reasonable wedding budget – it certainly wasn’t exhaustive – but I felt confident that I could achieve the look that I wanted, using locally available suppliers and that I could probably negotiate some useful discounts along the way.
So, all good. The planning all went well and the wedding coordinator at the venue was really helpful, totally on board with everything that I wanted to achieve on my big day and knew her stuff! I was, if truth be told, pretty relaxed about it all and I loved the process!
As the week of the wedding dawned, I had schedules for everyone – the groom, our parents, the groomsmen and our lovely bridesmaids, not to mention myself! I double-checked everything with the church, the full catalogue of suppliers and of course, the venue. Everything was perfectly organised (if I do say so myself!) down to the smallest detail…
…until the wedding coordinator at the venue informed me in passing that she didn’t actually work on Saturdays ‘errrrr pardon??? you are joking, right??? So who’s going to be checking all of the little details I have painstakingly gone through with you over the last few months???’.
Apparently, that would not be a problem, as the point of contact on the day would be the manager from the outside catering company who would take over and she will pass on full details of all of my requirements to them ‘oh well that’s alright then…<cue nervous panicky laugh>’
So, finally the morning arrived. Everything went swimmingly. Well, aside from a gentle panic on my brother’s part until the gorgeous flowers finally arrived (two hours later than promised – they’d got lost).
And our wonderful photographer’s keys getting inadvertently locked in someone’s car, rendering her stuck and unable to meet the boys for photos at the church.
And the heavens opening just as I arrived at the church (thank heavens for the white brollies I’d hired on the off-chance).
Ooh did I mention the car breaking down just as my Dad and I were leaving for the church??? Whilst my Dad got increasingly stressed, I was still calm…
We had a lovely Church ceremony, a few pics and then onwards to the reception at a beautiful converted barn some 40 minutes away (no more car dramas this time luckily!)
The dark clouds made for some fabulous photos of our guests turning up in big yellow double decker bus that (slightly off piste, I accept) I’d hired, as it used to be my school bus.
The weather cleared, we had some lovely snaps taken in the grounds and then proceeded inside to cut the cake…
The room looked perfect (phew!) and the cake was in situ (massive sigh of relief!), however just as we were about to slice into the stunning masterpiece…… ‘errrr, we appear to be missing a cake knife!’
Really? Was that not an obvious thing for someone to have remembered to place in readiness? A knife was finally unearthed from the deepest darkest depths of the kitchen and we were good to go. Hooray!
The food was lovely, the service was great and the candles twinkled prettily….. ‘um, at 3pm on a hot and bright summer’s day? They were for the evening’
After finding someone to blow them out so that they didn’t burn down completely before the evening celebrations kicked in, we finally got down to the business of polishing off the gorgeous wedding breakfast.
The cake was amazing, the speeches were fab and the evening celebrations kicked in merrily, ably assisted by the bar-staff handing out full bottles of the wine which had been reserved for dinner to all and sundry!!! ‘You’re not getting off work any sooner just cos you’ve managed to shift all of the booze early, you know!’ After managing to calm their over-exuberance down a bit and ensure the wine was dispensed into glasses only, I spent the rest of the evening chatting to everyone (except the groom, typically, who was off drinking with his mates), having a bop on the dance-floor with the girls and trying to find someone to relight the candles before the night was over!
My new husband resurfaced, we were cheered and waved off by all of our lovely guests and off we went in the taxi to a gorgeous hotel for the night. ‘Ah, in Paul’s slightly less-than-sober state, he had successfully left his jacket at the reception venue, complete with our room keys, my phone and….. money for the taxi!’ Oops! Luckily the taxi driver let us off with an I.O.U. that I faithfully promised my Dad would sort out for him whilst we proceeded to leave the country for a fantastic honeymoon across the west coast of America!
And our guests went home too. They re-boarded the yellow bus and after a bit of a to-do with the driver whom (as I later discovered) had refused to do all of the drop off’s that I had previously agreed with his boss – finally got safely back to their homes and hotels.
And that basically was my future career sorted!
I wanted to be the one making sure that the flowers turned up on time and that the cake knife was ready to go. That the candles were lit at the right time and the wine was given out correctly. That the suppliers were paid and the place settings were all correct, that the taxis are booked and the confetti is thrown at the right time – the list goes on and on and for each wedding those little things will always be different, but just as important.
What you can be assured of is that without a wedding planner looking out for the little details the bride & groom, their wedding party, their family and friends will be the ones having to interrupt their celebrations to manage, organise, find out and perhaps get just a touch frustrated because organising a wedding is a monumental event and you can’t possibly cover and control every single aspect prior to the day itself.
I wanted to be the one making sure all of those little details were under control and that the bride, groom and all their guests had a perfect wedding day without the panics, stress, worries or running around that (as you have just seen), invariably ensues!
Would I – the control freak, the wedding planner – hire an on-the-day coordinator myself? I may not think I’m going to like it, I still may not think I’d really need it, but absolutely yes I would!!! And I know I’d have been relieved that I had.
To find out more about how I can help you to arrange your perfect wedding day, visit my planning page.