Wedding Inspirations | Do I Need to Hire a Wedding Planner?!?

5369 views since May 13, 2013

Today we are honored to introduce Leslie Short, an experienced wedding planner based in Brooklyn, New York City. Leslie is the CEO and President of K.I.M. Media LLC. We had the chance to meet Leslie personally during our trip to the States in March (find blog post here) and chat about the wedding industry as well as the differences between weddings in America and Europe. Leslie has extraordinary attention to detail as well as creativity and today she will highlight the most important reasons why it´s a good idea to hire a wedding coordinator - you should not miss her thoughts!

It has come to my attention that hiring a wedding planner/coordinator is fairly new in Europe. So are large, over the top weddings; engagement rings and many of the traditional customs that Americans use when arranging weddings. Times are changing and wedding planners are becoming the norm.

Why should I hire a planner you ask? As you can imagine, I get the same question all of the time here in the US as well. Sometimes I hear horror stories and other times I hear the best thing I did was hire a planner! My personal favorite is at the end of the evening when the groom (yes, the groom) comes to me and says I understand why we needed you and thanks!

Here are a few basic things to keep in mind when you´re considering whether or not you should hire an experienced planner (please note the key word experienced!)

  1. Do you really want the florist (or any vendor) calling you on the day of your wedding asking about the placement of the cake, candles and flowers as you are getting your hair and makeup completed? If that sounds like fun to you, don´t hire a planner.

  2. Do you want to be yelling go, go now! - to get the wedding party set and ready to head down the aisle? If so, don´t hire a planner.

  3. Do you want the chef or the venue director coming to you before dinner to inform you that four of your guests can´t have dairy and another five guests have food allergies so they´ll need to charge you to accommodate the change of menu? If that sounds like a relaxing way to celebrate your reception, don´t hire a planner.

  4. And what about the fact that you forgot to check to see if the venue has electricity outside for your outdoors wedding; enough for the band, lighting company and caterer? If you want to work on electrical grid connection layouts for the vendors instead of enjoying your special day, don´t hire a planner.

You get the idea. Working with a planner makes the process smoother; whether you hire him or her two days after getting engaged or a few months before your wedding to handle day of issues. The planner´s purpose is to take away the stress of having to worry about the details so that you don´t have to concern yourself with them on the day of your wedding.

When I execute full planning for a couple, one of the first questions I ask is what don´t you like? and we work from there. I am aware that most couples are working or finishing graduate school and just don´t have the time to thumb through the overwhelming amount of wedding information that is out there. So I streamline their options and once we agree on a direction I introduce them to vendors that have the same understanding of their vision and a similar personality. I am the primary point of contact and instead of the couple receiving a barrage of emails from various vendors I help negotiate contracts, catch mistakes and handle vendor walkthroughs. I´m also objective on dress, shoes and all other personal and non-personal items needed.

By the time the couple´s rehearsal night arrives I have already met their family and friends and instead of stress, we all have a great time while instructions are given for the next day. Timelines are handed out and even your bridal party knows to call me first!

As the day of planner, I´m hired a month out - this means that you have your vendors in place and you need me to come in and take them all off of your hands. Site visits are conducted at the venue and the final needs of each vendor and their load in and load out schedules are organized. I also assure you have your marriage license, accompany the bride to her final dress fitting so that I know how to bustle if needed and I create a timeline that outlines the day not only for the vendors but for the wedding party as well to calculate the amount of time needed between waking up and starting the day and the wedding. It is a long day and it´s my job to help the wedding party get through it by structuring time for you to eat, have your hair & makeup completed, and have time for pictures before and after. Again I am the main point of contact for the venue, vendors and family & friends. I also free up your mother or sister or whoever was helping you along the way to go back to being the mother of the bride, sister or friend so that they can enjoy the day as well.

No matter how organized I am or how much I speak to the vendors, create timelines and call for follow ups, I can guarantee that something will go wrong! The best part about having a planner is that you won´t have a clue until you catch up and speak days after the wedding and are regaled with the funny crazy stories about how the caterer got locked out of the kitchen or the chairs almost didn´t make it to the dessert room; or better yet, how the handle on the door came off as the production team went to light candles and had to super glue it back on and use a hair dryer that someone on staff just happened to have to dry it (true story)!

Bottom line, it´s my job to check the weather and advise you that we may want to rent tents for your outdoor wedding; as well as develop a way to design them regardless if they´re needed or not so that they don´t look strange sitting there empty if it turns out that they´re not required. Please know I am not there to be your slave nor a servant to the bridal party but I am there to assure your one and only concern is saying I do!

Oh and if you are interviewing - yes interviewing planners; you want a planner with a compatible personality and proven skills. Remember you get what you pay for and a planner that says I will answer all your emails and questions on Wednesday may not suit you if you know that you will have questions on Sunday and Tuesdays and it may not be a fit for you to work with someone that you can only speak to at certain times and on certain days. There are limits, but speaking to your planner and getting a response back in a timely fashion is a must!

These are just a few reasons to hire a planner ;)

Leslie Short

Best of Brooklyn Wedding Planner: 2012, 2013
Wedding Wire: brides Choice Awards 2012, 2013


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