One of the biggest illusions in the wedding industry is entitled “day of” wedding planning. The premise of this type of planning consists of a bride hiring a wedding planner to show up on her wedding day with little to no prior history of the event, and execute the wedding day’s activities. The bride does the front-end of the planning to the best of her ability: hiring her own vendors, putting together her own rental orders, creating her own timeline, managing her own transportation, and communicating layouts to the venues, just to name a few. The wedding planner arrives on they day of the wedding to pick up all of the pieces.
Unfortunately, most brides don’t have the experience to do the front end of the planning, which leads to potential disaster for the planner, the bride, and the event.
ANYONE CAN DO IT?
“Day of” planning became overwhelmingly popular when the economy took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, struggling event planners, weekend warriors, caterers, venues, DJs, florists and even photographers jumped on the bandwagon and started offering “day of” planning services as a way to stay afloat. These vendors not only offered the service, but at a vastly reduced cost. Most of these vendors do not have the experience to plan and execute a wedding. This inexperience and price deflation has been poisonous to experienced wedding professionals and has devalued the wedding industry overall.
“Day of” terminology has taught today’s bride to equate wedding planning with “cheap” and/or “what’s the least amount I can pay if I want a wedding planner?” Many brides no longer take the skills of a professional wedding planner seriously.
But wedding planning is not a profession to be taken lightly. Experienced wedding professionals deserve the same respect and recognition as a doctor or accountant. A well-executed wedding is just as important as a clean bill of health and proper tax reporting!
Why do we go to any professional? We go because we are not trained to do what they do. For example, we go to an accountant to prepare our taxes because we are not tax specialists. We work with lawyers to prepare contracts that protect us from litigation. Lawyers are to contracts as wedding planners are to weddings. Brides need to be taught that an experienced planner will go out of their way to create her perfect wedding day.
EDUCATION IS THE ANSWER
The time has come to eradicate “day of” terminology from bridal vocabulary. The key to doing so is education--education within the wedding industry and educating brides directly. Wedding professionals can continue to educate themselves by attending events hosted by associations such as ISES (International Special Events Society) and WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association).
In addition, there are a number of respected planners that have put together regional education platforms. The Academy for Planners and Designers by Wedding 360 was recently hosted in San Francisco. Celebrity event planner Sasha Souza has taken her skills on the road to numerous ISES chapters and is now hosting “Sashapalooza,” an intensive training seminar. The byproduct of this education trickles down to bridal clientele. Educated planners mean educated brides.
Wedding professionals must explain to potential clients the importance of working with the bride along the way. Obviously not all clients require full-service attention, but there are steps to guide them as they progress to the wedding day. Share your preferred vendor lists, work with the bride to create her timeline, talk about the venue layout, and find a way to insert yourself into the planning process along the way so that you have some control over the final outcome. Explain to clients why utilizing shuttles for transportation takes longer than driving in cars.
If she’s DIY, DIWH (Do It With Her). Incorporate her design elements and creativity by mindfully weaving them into the wedding day. If anything goes wrong, you’ll know how to handle it, as you’ve been a part of the planning process.
DIY OR DI-ASTER?
The bottom line is, most of today’s brides are hiring wedding vendors from the Internet rather than at the recommendation of a wedding professional. Most brides do not know how to create wedding day timelines. Most brides do not know how to manage transportation. Most brides do not know how to write rental orders. Most brides do not understand that DIY can spell DI-SASTER. Most brides think they can manage their wedding planning but as the day approaches, realize how little they have time for.
Most brides do not understand that having a planner with them throughout the planning process will actually save them time and money! There has never been a better time to explain the importance of a qualified wedding planner. Take the time to educate yourself, and your bride. Now is the time to restore credibility to the wedding industry, and it starts with you.
Jenne Hohn is the owner of Jenne Hohn Events in Napa, Calif. Visit www.hohnevents.com.