We are in the business of weddings here at White Oak Farms, and I’ve been in the wedding business over 12 years! First, as a full-time wedding planner, and now as wedding venue owner, I’ve seen both sides of the business. One of the number one things I tell families when they are getting ready for a wedding is to HIRE A PLANNER. Seriously, it’s such an important part of the wedding budget, and there are so many people who still see a planner as a luxury add-on or as an afterthought, if there is money left over at the end. I’m here to tell you—a planner is a crucial part of any wedding! I’ve seen hundreds of weddings over the years, and the ones that have a professional planner run more seamlessly.
Let me run y’all through some real-life examples to tell you why I’m so passionate about spreading this message.
When I was a full-time planner in Nashville, Tennessee, I could have written a book on my experiences. You would not believe the fires I put out *literally*, or the wedding day chaos that my clients never saw. During one amazingly beautiful backyard wedding under the most gorgeous clear-ceiling tent, my business partner and I watched as one of the custom menus caught on fire on a table. We casually strolled over (so as not to cause a scene) and quickly extinguished that fire! Had we not been there, I hate to think of what could have happened. (The guests were focused on the bride and groom’s first dance and had no idea this was happening behind them).
Another time, I was working a wedding outside in the June heat in Franklin, Tennessee. The cake cutting was not scheduled to happen for another hour, and I could see the cake sliding in the heat. I quickly escalated that timeline up so that the cake was in one piece for the cake cutting and not in a pile on the ground!
I have had cakes show up that were either not iced correctly or had damage from the car ride. I’ve literally had to ice cakes before at a wedding. I had a groom’s cake separate in half one time that I put back together. I’ve had florists forget to add flowers to cakes, and I’ve had to decorate them. And in all of these situations, the brides never knew! At the end of the day, that’s the goal for a planner. A good professional wedding planner wants a bride and her family to enjoy the day and not know the behind-the-scenes things that can happen!
Over the years, I’ve had to fix bridesmaids’ hair and makeup because they didn’t like the way it was styled. I’ve had to calm crying babies so they wouldn’t interfere with the ceremony. A lot of times I’ve helped act as a “therapist” to the brides and their moms who take on so much stress with planning a wedding.
So as you think about your own wedding or your child’s wedding, let’s talk about a few good reasons why it’s important to hire a planner:
You need someone to create and direct your timeline. In case you’re wondering, “What timeline?” I’m talking about every moving part that makes a successful wedding. Everything from vendor load-in and load-out, photography timeline, wedding party arrival timeline and what they need to bring, caterer timeline, rentals, linens, and so much more!
Professional planners can help with choosing vendors and signing contracts. Often times they have relationships with vendors that give special discounts to their clients. They also are familiar with what vendors would work with an individual bride’s style and budget.
Planners can be the go-between for you and your vendors. Instead of the bride or her family having to worry about the back and forth communication, a full-service planner can help facilitate those details.
They help make your event less stressful. You don’t have to stress—that’s the job of a planner. The great thing about professional planners is that they can take on your stress, but they do it with grace and poise. If you hire a good one, you and your family won’t know if something went wrong! Planners are in the business of fixing it and making it right.
You and your family get to be guests at your wedding and not work it! Enough said. You won’t be the one having to put out centerpieces, light candles, tell the cake person where to put the cake or the DJ where to set up. You won’t have to load up gifts at the end of the night, or make sure the flower girl makes it down the aisle. These details are what the planner is there to handle!
Planners can help guide you in decision-making. Because they have experienced dozens, if not hundreds of weddings, professional planners know what decisions need to be made, and they can help guide you to make the best ones.
They know where you can save and where you can splurge. This specific answer might vary based on each client, the bride and groom’s wedding vision and budget, and the time of year. Planners have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves, and they know where you should spend your wedding budget.
They know how to navigate family dynamics. Weddings can be stressful, especially when so many people have an opinion. Your grandmother might feel strongly about you doing a First Look, and your mom may feel like you really should have your cousin as your maid of honor instead of your best friend. A professional planner is experienced at dealing with family dynamics, and can be the one who helps you navigate this.
They help organize details AFTER the wedding and reception are over. Details such as who gets the gifts at the end of the night? What car do they go in? Who gets the top layer of the cake? Who gets the leftover food? Where do the rentals go? Who makes sure the Bride and Groom’s Suites are emptied of personal belongings? Who makes sure the bride and groom leave with their luggage and marriage license for the honeymoon? At the end of a very long day, it’s stressful on the Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom to handle all of this. Having a professional oversee this part of the evening is super important.
They are full of ideas and inspiration. Professional planners have access to resources, and they know what the latest trends are in weddings. Yes, we know that you as a bride have probably been “pinning” for months, but weddings are a planner’s full-time job. They can help you create the wedding of your dreams, and will provide ideas and inspiration along the way.
Now, I want you to hear from three West Tennessee professional wedding planners. They will share why hiring a planner is so important. We’ve also included their website links so you can check them out for yourself.
Krisy Parker Thomas, Southern Sparkle Wedding & Event Planning www.southernsparkleweddings.com
“I know some people think this is just one day, but when you think about it, it’s so much more than that. This is a day that you will be celebrating for years and years to come. You are going to spend many anniversaries thinking about how you felt in that moment on your wedding day. Do you want to look back and cringe at how stressed out you were on your wedding day? Hiring a professional wedding planner will allow you to look back on this day and remember how smooth everything went. We are on top of every detail so you can focus on getting married, not the behind-the-scenes logistics. You will be able to remember all the fun details including the first time your fiancé saw you, dancing the night away with your bridesmaids, and hugging the necks of the family and friends who traveled to be see you.”
Lynn Ash-Isbell, LAI Weddings laiweddings.com
“That is a question that I would love for all brides to understand. A planner should be the first money you spend on a wedding as through this process a planner will fill many shoes to get the job done. She will become your business partner, family, friend and even sometimes counselor. She will know instinctively how to spend the allotted money so that it will make the biggest impact, not to mention the vetted list of professional vendors she has up her sleeve. She knows as well how to custom design everything to fit the brides personality. It is a highly stressful job but a CWP takes it all in stride and never lets any glitch get by her. My advice is always hire a CWP first and then you can sit back and enjoy your wedding!”
Kathleen Davenport , Pineapple Processions www.pineappleprocessions.com
“Many couples waste valuable time and energy chasing ideas that are outside of their budget. A quality planner/coordinator will have a network of vendors who are capable and talented at creating a variety affordable options for newly engaged couples. This saves the client time and money.
A former Bride recently joked that she met me on a Tuesday and that I had their wedding planned and ready to go by Thursday. She was partially correct. Once I established their budget and goals, I had a clear understanding of how I could help them have the best day ever.
An experienced wedding professional knows tips and tricks that will provide you with every advantage possible. Can’t afford a full bar? A beer and wine option might be perfect for your occasion. Maybe a few signature cocktails are just what you need to have a lively time with your friends. Worried about spending a small fortune on catering? Perhaps having an early afternoon ceremony with light hors d’oeuvres is something to ponder. Do you need to cut your floral expenses? Consider using your bridesmaid’s bouquets in a vase flanked by candles as an alternative.
Additionally, we are your watchdogs. When you book a venue, your contract will require you to leave the space in good condition. You certainly don’t want to lose your deposit or receive a hefty bill for damages to the facility. Your planner/coordinator will police the venue throughout the event to make sure you (and your guests) are abiding by the contractual rules and regulations. We also help call sober rides for guests in need. At the end of the event, we pack away personal items and leftover food for the client.
Lastly, a planner/coordinator allows your family and friends to be mentally present for your special day. We communicate and orchestrate all the necessary activities to achieve a flawless event from start to finish. Our goals is for your parents to enjoy the day without sweating and stressing over deliveries, details, set up and break down.”
There you have it—my top 10 reasons to hire a wedding planner, as well as the expert advice from three Tennessee wedding planning professionals.