I am someone that would describe myself as type A. I like to be in control of a situation, I like knowing what’s going on and what the next step of the gameplan is. I tend to take on leadership roles in team activities, I’m usually more of the aggressor in a relationship, and I’m usually the one that plans the parties/outings with friends and family. Not to sound like a controlling monster, I do appreciate collaboration and have learned to balance my personality with compromise. If these traits resonate with you, read on! If you’re thinking, “okay, that’s definitely not me!” read on anyway, and do the opposite!
I should mention here that I was a budget bride. My fiancé was of the “it’s crazy to spend that much on a single day” mindset and was very adamant on a small budget. Not to say that I was forbidden from spending my own money on it, but… marriage … compromise… yadda yadda yadda. I should also mention that we had a two year engagement, during which time I became a wedding vendor and got to meet planners, and other vendors and really get to know the wedding process, very intimately. I went from thinking, “Oh, I can have a family member do that”, and “The venue day of coordinator can queue that” to, “Okay, I really need a designated person or persons that will handle everything for me so that my family and I can have a good time”. Then came the tricky part, realizing that I didn’t want to relinquish control over anything.
For someone that takes comfort in doing things myself and being aware of what is going on, I didn’t really want someone that would do it all for me. It was important to me to find someone that would operate more as an assistant to my plan making: someone that would take the criteria for a certain vendor and find me options, so that I could contact the vendors and make the arrangements myself.
Being familiar with the process and the things I needed to get done, with the assistance of a handy dandy, wedding planning book from Amazon, I decided that a day of coordinator would be the best fit for me. If you’re wanting a little more guidance throughout the process, I’d recommend looking at 6 month planning or longer. Let me tell you right now, the day of coordinator that comes with the venue will not do anywhere near what a wedding planner for the day of will do. They are there to send people down the aisle, make sure tables and chairs are put up and that the tables stay clean. They’re there to handle to venue stuff, not all the tiny stuff that you might need. From there, I got real with myself. I surrendered to the fact that my hands weren’t big enough to hold every single, tiny, minute detail that I wanted to incorporate into my wedding. I admitted that some things would need to be handed off to someone else.
Then came the process or selecting a planner. Price came first. I posted in swap and shops, talked to other vendors that I was friends with and ones that I’d already hired to see who they recommended. When posting in the swap and shops – pay attention, this is a biggie – post your budget! It’s not helpful to you or the vendors to use terminology like “affordable” or “doesn’t cost an arm and a leg”. Vendors want to find you just as much as you want to find them. Make sure you’re specific in what your price range is and what you’re looking for. If you have a lot of little things that need to be handled, especially that need to happen simultaneously, you may want to find a planner that brings an assistant. While my day went fine, there were some times when having that additional set of hands would have made a difference. For example, an assistant could have been picking the bees out of my dress while the lead planner queued my girls down the aisle. Additionally, while inexperienced planners are cheaper, they’re also (often) not equipped to handle the demands of a type A bride, because let’s be honest: we’re extremely particular and probably more prone to bridezilla syndrome.
It’s important to be clear about your expectations. Once you’ve narrowed down the pool of applicants to fit your budget and date availability, start arranging meetings. Talk to potential planners about their style- how hands on are they, how do they handle issues during weddings, how many weddings have they coordinated, what is included in their packages. Then talk to them about your expectations: How much or little you want them involved, the intricacies you have planned already, (for brides like you and me) items that you don’t want them to handle and would prefer be directed to you. This is going to feel like dating: not everyone is going to be a good fit. There is a wedding planner that I have worked with as a vendor, that I really didn’t enjoy. I’d heard other vendors describe her as “militant” and I would definitely agree, but that rigid, unwavering style is what makes her a great fit with her specific type of client. My vendor friends even suggested that she would have been a good fit for me, as that unrelenting, get it done, attitude would have been great for making sure all the specific things I’d envisioned, happened. Find a planner that fits your dreams like a puzzle piece.
It’s alright to tell your planner no. During the planning process I was direct. I ended up hiring a great lady for day of coordination that helped me with little tasks along the way as well. There were things that came up that I just told her “no” on. There were things that I didn’t want touched, and I said so. I was polite but honest about areas that I was in control of. I’ve been told I’m too short or “mean” over the years for being direct and it’s absurd. There is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and being forthcoming about it, while still being polite. Assertive doesn’t mean rude.
Your vendors are there to help you, definitely let them, but appropriate that help into areas that you’ve decided to ease your grip on. I didn’t say you have to give up control completely, but giving guidelines and then letting your planner work, and report their findings back to you is going to be a great help! Delving deeper into the example I mentioned earlier, I was looking for florists and cake bakers. I had decided that I wasn’t too picky about these items so I asked my planner to find me options. I sent her my inspiration photos and budget, and she did the research and came back to me with options that might fit. It saved me a lot of time to have someone lay the ground work and helped ease my stress knowing that the task was in capable hands.
It is important to find vendors that compliment your personality and vision for you wedding day. If you’re a Type A person, don’t feel like you need to change your personality into something else for your wedding day. Find people that compliment those traits instead. Prioritize what’s most important and delegate what’s not. Happy planning!