How to Select the Wedding Planner That's right for you - Sasha Souza published August 23, 2010
Sasha Souza from Beverly Hills California, one of the most highly regarded and sought after wedding and events designers of today, shares her thoughts on planning your wedding.
According to Sasha, the biggest mistake she sees brides making today, as they go about planning their wedding, is when they get 'wrapped up' in trying to make everything 'too perfect'. Some brides think, if it rains, it's a disaster, or if if every single thing doesn't go exactly to plan, then it's terrible. Her advice is to relax, and 'go with the flow' – clued up brides understand that their wedding needs to have it's own feeling and look, which makes it a unique event, weddings should not be formulaic, they also understand that perfection is unattainable... if something isn't exactly the way it should have been, make it seem like that's how it should have been e.g. if the lights go out, then cut the cake by candlelight! The idea of the 'perfect day' is something that brides to be need to get out of their mind.
You might not think you qualify as that sort of person, but Sasha also notes that brides might start out relaxed but end up straining for the unattainable. Planning a wedding should be an enjoyable experience and if it isn't you are doing something wrong. Of course one way of relieving the stress of planning for your special day is to hire a wedding planner.
Isn't a wedding planner too expensive?
The idea that a wedding planner is expensive is an idea that most people have, but in fact that isn't necessarily the case and it can be a cost effective option. They can help save money in the long run and give useful advice about keeping your wedding within your budget.
Sasha tells the story of a celebrity who claimed to have 'no budget' when it came to planning her wedding. Predicatably, when the husband to be was suddenly presented with astronomical bills e.g. $150,000 for a videographer, legally binding contracts that had already been signed etc. he claimed to know nothing! Even billionaires, which Sasha has dealt with, need to have a budget. No matter how much money you have, planning a wedding should not be an exercise in 'sticking ones head in the sand'. If you work out in advance, a range of cost you are comfortable with (getting an exact figure is another unattainable goal!), it will help the vendors to help you.
If you are a bride planning your wedding, the best advice is to go through the details with your future husband, meet the vendors together, and if parents are paying for the wedding, make sure they attend key meetings too! It can take A LOT of stress out of the wedding if everyone is on the 'same page'.
So what are the advantages to hiring a wedding planner?
Wedding planners are most useful for their knowledge of the industry – their knowledge for what is normal and reasonable. e.g. different vendors might propose different numbers of staff that are needed for wedding - if one proposes 14 another 21 and still another 7, you can be left wondering 'what's reasonable?' – a wedding planner can give valuable insight into such decisions. If they've been in the business for a while they can also tell you which venues and vendors to avoid. They will also help you think of things you didn't think you needed to consider and make sure you don't miss out on anything important.
What should a couple be looking for in a good wedding planner?
What a couple are looking for very much depends what they want out of a wedding planner – Sasha points out that there are 3 main types of planner:
1 – A full service event planner – their main job is to find vendors, manage contracts, create timelines, be there at the rehearsal and of course on the wedding day – essentially to be the hub of the wheel. Wedding planners will either adopt an approach whereby they work with you to choose appropriate vendors and suppliers whilst with others, you will present a 'look' to the planner and they will help create it. Such wedding designers will be more expensive than a straightforward wedding planner.
2 – 'Month of' or 'Day of' planners - These type of planners essentially manage the day for the couple. A 'month of' planner would be hired after everything is pretty much planned. However, for the couple who don't want to have to deal with people on the day of the wedding – they will be there at the rehersal etc. – to make sure the day runs smoothly.
Sasha advises that the idea of a 'Day of' planner is a bit of a misnomer – you wouldn'' want someone just to turn up on the day so be careful if you think about hiring such a service.
3 – Wedding planners who work for free - You could also think about hiring a planner that works for free - they make money from vendor referral – e.g. the photographer will pay a percentage to the wedding planner for the business they bring them. The cost may well be passed on though so you might end up paying indirectly for their services. Sasha also advices that, from her personal experience, it is better to do a full service packaged rate versus an hourly packaged with a planner.
In conclusion, wedding planners can be a great idea, and help reduce the stress associated with planning your wedding, and of course, can help then day run smoothly, if not perfectly. What's clear is that you certainly have to 'do the math' on what the most cost effective option is before hiring anyone and make sure that all the right people are involved in the planning of your special day.