This is the time of year where couples start the planning process for their weddings. November to February is the biggest time for engagements which follows right along with the planning season. As a former groom (my wedding was this past October and I’ll talk about that process in a later blog), I know first hand what all goes into the planning process. There are a lot of decisions to be made and it seems that every time you turn around, there is another choice to be made. The venue, the food, the flowers, the photographer and the favors are just a few. So how do you go about choosing a wedding professional and why choose one at all?
I’m sure you’ve all seen the stories in the news about how event professionals automatically bump up the price the second you say the word “wedding”. Many news outlets have decided to go on a rant about how they do undercover reporting to prove that event professionals jack up the price just because the word “wedding” in the title. The fact of the matter is, weddings are a completely different animal then any other event you will ever attend. Thus, the need for professionals. But why?
A wedding, in most cases, is a once in a lifetime event for most couples. In theory, you should only get married once, right? With that thinking, you can’t really compare a wedding to a birthday party. Everyone has a birthday every year, but we don’t throw a party for it every year, only the big ones, like those ending in “0”. For those events, it’s fine to hire your uncle or cousin to work the event. It’s a birthday, but it’s not that huge an event as you may plan for a week or two for that event. But a wedding.
Let’s compare a wedding to a birthday party and see why a wedding professional is so important to your day; At a birthday you invite close friends and family to a nice venue, maybe your house. Serve them some cake, maybe some finger foods and play a little music in the background. After about an hour or two, everyone leaves and thanks for a nice evening. Not much to mess up there, right? I mean if you play music off your iPod and mess it up, who cares? Everyone has a phone with a camera and they are all taking pictures, that’s perfect. You may look back on those pictures in a few years and say, “what fun that was.”. But if no one took a single picture, would you be upset? Most likely not. And at most your may have put out a couple of hundred dollars for the day. Not to mention the couple of days it took you to plan the event.
Now, let’s look at the wedding: Most girls have been thinking of their wedding for years. Some since they were little girls. Most plan for months, some even for years. Brides worry and fret over every single detail of the day. Everything from the look of the dress, the color of the tux’s on the groomsmen, right down to the length of the table linens. It’s a memorable day, where a couple start a new chapter in their lives, new beginnings. It’s also the only time you have both sides of the family in one place, at the same time all in a good mood. In some cases, it may be the last time some family members will be around at all.
It’s a day that most couples will look back on every year on their anniversary as they remember the beauty, the love and the friendship of all those who came to celebrate their day. If the photos get messed up, it is a big deal. If the music is wrong, the food is not right or even if it rains, all that will be remembered for years to come. So, do you want to trust your wedding day, the day full of memories, to just anyone? Of course not. You want someone who knows what they are doing to be a part of your day.
If you were thrown in jail today for something you didn’t do, would you go to Craigslist to find an attorney? How about a doctor to do surgery on your heart? Would you let your cousin do open heart surgery on you if all he’s ever done is watch medical shows? Of course not, yet so many so called “experts” tell brides that if they want to save money to do just that. Find someone on Craigslist who is just staring out and let them shoot your wedding for cheap. If you’ve got a good playlist on your iPod, use that and save the money on a DJ. Have the ladies of the church or family member make the food for your wedding day. Nice ideas, but all have failed in the past. I know because I’ve seen it. It’s like that commercial for “Farmer’s Insurance”. “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.”.
I’ve worked weddings where they used Spotify for the music. The wifi was spotty and the music was not good as it would jump from song to song without any pattern. I’ve seen cousin Amy do the photography at the wedding where she used one hand to shoot pictures and the other to eat a Popsicle because she was hot. I’ve seen Aunt Polly try to be the wedding coordinator but do it from the chair she was on because she was talking to her second cousin she hadn’t seen in years and the couple missed their first dance because no one told them the DJ was playing their song.
Look, I can go on for pages, but the fact of the matter is you want to have a professional work your wedding. Not because we are expensive or because I’m in the business but because you want to have a day you will remember for all the good things and not the bad thing that will happen. And they will. Invite your friends and family to be guest, not to work your wedding. Let them enjoy the time there with everyone and hire the people who know how to handle anything that can come along.
In my next blog I will talk about how to find the right vendor, what to ask and how to choose between them.