Weddings can be honey-traps. People on the make. Look at wedding planners, for example.
These people may well charge thousands of pounds for what appears to be about 4 hours’ toil. The work might be something you could do yourself too.
Money for old rope?
But, if we dig a bit deeper, we may actually not be talking rip-offs at all.
In reality, the wedding planner spends many hours before the wedding day, planning, communicating, organising rehearsals, meeting suppliers, travelling and dealing with paperwork.
Similarly, people often think that civil celebrants, like myself, just turn up on the day and present the ceremony. Does that justify our fee? But what about all the research and crafting that goes into the ceremony, the professionalism of the presentation, not to mention the time spent communicating so that the client ends up with their dream ceremony?
Likewise, photographers, florists, DJs and other professionals appear on the day, but don’t assume that that is the only time that they are working on the wedding!
Far from it.
Rant over. Back to the Wedding Planner!
Choosing your Wedding Planner
Ideally, you will know someone who has worked with the wedding planner and can personally recommend her/him. Failing that, their website will help, but an exploratory phone call – have a list of questions ready – will give you an idea whether you even want to work with this particular person.
Your wedding is a major event. You don’t want things getting forgotten or going wrong. So leaving things to amateurs could be a huge risk.
You can expect professionals to have experience, training and passion. Those qualities – rightly – don’t come cheap. Skill and specialisation are keys in this business, and you have to pay for these.
Wedding professionals are not like many solicitors, invoicing you per e-mail and itemising each expense. You pay the full fee and this may encompass many planning meetings, calls and consultations, not to mention countless e-mails with the client over the course of what may be a year or more.
Like a civil celebrant, again, each wedding planner values their reputation. They can’t afford to mess up, so the professional goes the extra mile to ensure things don’t go wrong. Actually, something probably will go wrong at some point in the day – that’s the way it is. But the wedding planner can reduce and minimise any negative impact.
The professional wedding planner will offer advice – not for their own convenience, but for your benefit. Their experience and knowledge can be invaluable.
You may actually save money by employing a wedding planner. If you are taking on the hire of a venue or marquee, arranging the food, drink and catering, crockery, silverware, rentals, flowers, centerpieces and the rest, all by yourself, not only will that set you back more than you might expect, but you won’t have peace of mind (especially if you are a perfectionist).
So weigh up the pros and cons, inform yourself, and do what makes most sense to you.