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Building a Better Relationship With
Your Wedding Planner

December 19th, 2011 by Jeannine

 
Building a Better Relationship With Your Wedding Planner

The next installment in my “Building a Better Relationship” series relates to one of the most important vendors involved in your wedding. This is a person you put all of your trust in to turn your wedding visions into reality, without any hitches. I’m talking about your wedding planner. As I’ve done with the photographer article from a few months ago, I’ve surveyed a few of Vancouver’s wedding planners and asked for their thoughts. Here are the things you can do to help ensure a smoother planner/client relationship:

Trust Them

You hired your planner/coordinator for a reason, to represent you on your wedding day. They will be your eyes and ears that day and everyone will go to them if they have any questions or concerns. Trust them to do their job so that you can enjoy being a bride! If you don’t trust your planner, you probably shouldn’t have hired that person in the first place because that’s not how this relationship is supposed to work. Planners are experts in the field so consider their advice before pushing through with your plans. Yes, ultimately the decision is yours and they will adapt, but most likely, your planner has dealt with certain situations before and can give you feedback on what worked and what didn’t. They do this so you can make smart decisions to help your day flow seamlessly.

Be On the Same Page

One of the most important things to talk over with your fiancé is what you want your wedding to be like. Do you want a church wedding or outdoor ceremony? Do you want an overall theme? What is your colour scheme? How many people will you invite? Etc. etc. etc. Planners need to know all these details to help them visualize your dream wedding and research appropriate vendors for you to consider. This won’t work if you want one thing, and he wants another. Come together as a couple before meeting with your planner, at least on the big things like venue, date, budget, and guestlist. That way, your planner’s time won’t be wasted looking for options that won’t work. Besides, the more specific you are, the faster they can zero in on your perfect vendor, and the faster you can book them. If the searching process takes too long due to indecisiveness, you may lose the date that you want… especially during peak season. Another thing to make sure of is that BOTH of you like your planner. It helps with the trust issues and besides, why would you want to work with someone you don’t like?

Communicate!

Unlimited calls and emails are a normal perk when hiring planners so use it, but don’t abuse it! Be clear in your emails about what you want and report any and all changes in plans so they are in the loop. This includes a revised guest count or a change in the menu or even family or friend drama. If there are certain people that shouldn’t be sitting next to each other, let your planner know so the impending crisis can be averted. Be honest with your planner if you don’t like what they suggest. Their feelings won’t be hurt, in fact, it’s better that they know what you really think so they can plan accordingly. When emailing, remember to have good manners because you are dealing with a professional and certain tones can be misinterpreted online. Also, reply promptly, because a lot of the times, your opinions are needed so the quicker you reply, the sooner the planning process could move ahead. When it comes to phone calls and texts, follow etiquette and only contact them during “work hours.” They have personal lives too and emails are welcome 24/7 but phone calls and texts should be limited between the hours of 9-5, they will love you for that, I’m sure! Besides, would you call family or friend past midnight when you know they’d be sleeping? I thought so :) I know it seems like an exaggeration but it has happened, so I’m told.

Stick to your Budget

One of the first things a wedding planner will ask you is “how much do you want to spend?” Once they know what your budget is, they’ll stick to it and do whatever it takes to beat it or stay within it. As a couple you both have to agree on a budget from the get-go. Figure out your bottom line, let your planner know, and be disciplined. It’s not fair to your planner if you and your fiancé constantly have differing opinions on how much you want to spend. How can they make decisions when you can’t agree on something? Also, splurging on items without letting your planner know and then expecting them to find money elsewhere in the budget, is asking a lot. Wedding expenses add up pretty quickly and sometimes cutting corners mean cutting guests, cutting photography coverage, or even cutting the limo you’ve always wanted. Think before you spend. Your planner is there to help you prioritize or let you know if you’re expecting too much for what you can afford.

Clarify Your Planner’s Duties

Every planner’s package is different and it’s your responsibility to know what you are paying for. You can’t expect them to do something specific when there is no verbal or contractual agreement. If you want them to set up and take down wedding decor and chair covers, make sure it is in their contract that they will do it, included in your overall payment or for an extra fee. Unless the person you hired is a planner/decorator, those duties may not be one of their responsibilities. When in doubt, ask, never assume. It’s better to catch this early on rather than panicking at the last minute that something won’t be done.

Be Organized

If you are a DIY bride and providing all or most of your decor, make sure your planner knows all the details about it. Provide photos, if you can, of how you want your tables to look like, or at least write down a detailed description. Organize all your decor in labelled boxes or containers and include an itemized list of what is in each box. Make sure to note on the list where each piece of decor goes. Remember you won’t be there to supervise the room setup, that’s your planner/coordinator’s job, so you will want to be on the same page so what you envisioned will be realized.

Tell Your “Friendors” to Show Up

If you are enlisting the help of your friends or family to do wedding duties, make sure that they are aware of how important their job is, how much time it will take, and most of all, how important it is for them to show up. I was surprised when my anonymous planners told me of times when “friendors” caused major problems like being very late, not following the schedule of the day, or even missing the day itself! Discuss this with your friends and make sure all are in agreement and give your planner their contact info so that they can follow up with them and give them a schedule.

Feed Them!

I said this in my previous article but I’ll reiterate the importance of feeding your vendors. Always make room for them in your budget because they are working long hours for you, the least you can do is have a meal ready for them. A planner told me that one time the planner was fed, but not the photographers and other vendors that had to work late. They ended up leaving the building to get take-out. You do not want vendors leaving the premises for food because who knows what might happen? If they’re in the building, you will get all the coverage that you paid good money for.

Read other “Building a Better Relationship…” articles here.
Photographer |  Wedding Cake Baker

Feature photo courtesy Shutterstock

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