Wedding! Wedding! Wedding! So much to prepare! What to start with? Planning a wedding usually includes many things: budgeting, establishing dates, selecting and reserving the event site, acquiring permits, coordinating transportation and parking, developing a theme or motif for the event, arranging for speakers and alternate speakers, coordinating location support (such as electricity and other utilities), arranging decor, tables, chairs, tents, wedding support and security, catering, police, fire, portable toilets, parking, signage, emergency plans, health care professionals, and cleanup. So, it might be a good idea to hire a wedding planner.
A wedding planner is a professional who assists with the design, planning and management of a wedding. Weddings are significant events in people’s lives and as such, couples are often willing to spend considerable sums of money to ensure their wedding is organized as perfectly as possible.
Wedding planners are often used by couples who work long hours and have little spare time available for sourcing and managing wedding venues and wedding suppliers.
The wedding planner needs to choose entertainment, location, guest list, speakers, and content. The location for events is endless, but with event planning they would likely be held at hotels, convention centers, reception halls, or outdoors depending on the event. Once the location is set the coordinator/planner needs to prepare the event with staff, set up the entertainment, and keep contact with the client. After all this is set the wedding planner has all the smaller details to address like set up of the event such as food, drinks, music, decorations, all this preparation is what is needed for an event to run smoothly. A wedding planner needs to be able to manage their time wisely for the event, and the length of preparation needed for each event so it is a success.
Professional wedding planners exist throughout the world, most notably in the USA, Canada, UK and Western Europe. There are various wedding planning courses available to those who wish to pursue the career.
Planners generally charge either a percentage (10-15%) of total the wedding cost (which can range between $20,000 to $2 million) or a flat fee. In Canada the fees typically range between $1500 to $5000 depending on the services provided and the planner’s experience.
Planners are also popular with couples planning a destination wedding, where the documentation and paperwork can be complicated. Any country where a wedding is held requires different procedures depending on the nationality of each the bride and the groom. For instance, Canadian citizens marrying in Italy require a Nulla Osta (affidavit sworn in front of the Canadian consulate in Italy), plus an Atto Notorio (sworn in front of the Italian consulate in Canada or at a court in Italy), and legalization of off of the above. Some countries instead, have agreements and the couple can get their No Impediment forms from their local registrar and have it translated by the consulate in the country of the wedding. A local wedding planner takes care and guides through all the different procedures for each different case.
The services of a wedding planner can include:
- Interviewing the couple and the parents to identify their needs.
- Budget preparation
- Planning detailed checklist (from about a year in advance to a few days after the wedding)
- Attendee list preparation
- Identification of event venues (hotels, wedding manor etc.)
- Identifying and hiring of wedding professionals and service providers (caterers, photographers, videographers, beautician, florists, bakers etc.), and preparation and execution of contracts.
- Procurement of customized decorations such as a journey map
- Coordination of deliveries/services on the wedding day.
- Have a back-up plan in the event of a disaster.
- Assist and prepare legal documentation and translations – especially for destination weddings
Resources can be found in various books and publications and on websites that can allow a couple or a family to do the planning on their own. Many planners also run their own blogs to help provide inspiration and creativity.
In popular culture
- The 2001 comedy The Wedding Planner, with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, was on the busy life of a wedding planner who falls in love with one of her clients. There are also many shows that have branched from wedding planning, such as TLC’s ‘Say Yes to the Dress’. This is a reality show that follows brides as they shop at the prestigious Kleinfelds for their perfect wedding dress. Another show is ‘My Fair Wedding’ with celebrity party planner David Tutera.
- More recently, Bollywood Film Band Baaja Baraat is about Marriage planners falling in love. Ranveer Singh made his debut with this film and won Best Debutant at several awards. The film had a successful run at the theaters.
- In the book series, Sweet L.A. Life, the Winslow Twins’ mother is a wedding planner.
- The 2011 Hong Kong television drama Only You tells the stories of a fictional wedding services agency and their clients.
- In Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner, Sarah and Chuck are scammed by their wedding planner.