Wedding Planners – An Officiant’s Perspective

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When I began as a wedding officiant I wasn’t sure of the value or necessity of a wedding planner. Three and a half years later, I am convinced that the value is real and the necessity is basic.

There are checklists all over the Internet that offer a “Do you need a planner?” set of questions. These questions are helpful but may not give you a real world view of your special day – with and without an advocate. I’m going to use the word advocate because that is how I see a good wedding planner – your ADVOCATE. A wedding planner hired by you is your advocate, the person in charge of making sure everything is coordinated together for YOU!

I thought it might be helpful to give a perspective from observing over 150 weddings and seeing examples of where a planner may have been of value.

Wedding planning can be a lot of fun; it can also be time consuming and stressful. It doesn’t matter if your wedding is large or small, don’t you want an advocate, who knows your vision; whom you could depend on when you get bored or overwhelmed with choices; someone on your side who knows the market, vendors, venues and loves to put the details together. Good planners can save you a lot of time, money and stress. A good planner knows their market and whether quoted prices from vendors are fair or inflated and can make good recommendations based on their experience. Your planner will know what you want and expect, will read your contracts, know exactly what your vendors’ responsibilities are, and will orchestrate everything so you and your guests have the wonderful experience you seek for your wedding day.

Many wedding venues have terrific and competent coordinators who do a great job, nevertheless, they are advocates for the venue – and will concentrate on making sure the venue is set up and perfect – but may not even be aware of the hundred other things going on. I still believe you need a planner.

Just suppose (a few things I have personally witnessed)…

  • your caterer doesn’t use a contract – they make great food but don’t guarantee anything;
  • the staff at your venue misses a whole table – doesn’t set it;
  • you find a great photo booth vendor but don’t read the contract carefully and realize too late they aren’t scheduled to set up the booth until your guests are arriving for the ceremony;
  • your maid of honor or your BFF promises to put out the favors but gets lazy and the favors are sitting on the bar in boxes when the guests arrive;
  • your mom has the seating chart and place cards and promises to set up everything but stays out too late at the rehearsal dinner and doesn’t arrive until right before the guests;
  • you can’t get your guests out of the hotel bar to come into the reception;
  • you leave your marriage license home;
  • your baker doesn’t show up and has no record of your order;
  • the flower girls forget their shoes;
  • the rings get thrown away by mistake

You may think having a planner is an extra expense you don’t need to incur. However, just a few missteps, forgotten items, mistakes, miscalculations, etc. can spoil your special day or make it uncomfortable for you and your guests. Think about hiring a wedding planner – peace of mind is hard to calculate.

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About Author

Ann Eastwick, a former paralegal for 30 years, is now a local wedding officiant who loves to work with couples to make their ceremony unique and special. When not performing weddings, she loves spending time with her grandsons and family at the beach.

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