When planning an event first you should always hire professionals simply because
they have the knowledge, training and expertise to create a vision from an inspiration. Even with nearly two decades of experience and multiple certifications and a degree in event planning; I personally always love it when someone questions my reasoning of doing things and/or my logistical planning. We understand couples think they can DIY everything and that their family and friends will assist them in setting up and being half of their vendors to save them money… but truly most end up spending more time, energy and money trying to figure something out instead of hiring a professional that already knows how to do it. Trust me vendors are not trying to create more work for anyone. They have thought long and hard about each little details, moment and even the possible what if’s…
One of the biggest areas couples should listen and adhere to any advice given is
when it comes to the layout and design. For one there are several safety guidelines and fire codes that have to be followed. Yes I too hate big fire extinguishers, fire alarms, exit signs and sprinkler systems when it comes to a design but NO we can cover them or hide them because IF that day comes and something did happen we need to be able to find and use those items easily… plus that’s a HUGE fine with the fire marshal. The way the tables are laid out in a diagram are also a big safety factor. We need to make sure exits are clear and that there is plenty of room for not only staffing to properly do their job but for guests to move around throughout the event.
Design is another area couples should hire professionals in assisting with… DIY sounds fun at first but I can tell you in my over 18 years of experience, those couples are the main ones ready to elope the closer their day approaches. Couples tend to spend more money collecting items, time cleaning items and sometimes even waste money because the first few samples are mistakes or major Pinterest fails. Ask your planner, florist, rental company, baker, and catering company about their inventory prior going out and buying items. 9 out of 10 times we probably already own those items…as for KYAE anyone using our partial planning and/or our full service packages have full usage of any of our wedding items and props for free. Mainly because some of our past couples just didn’t know what to do with those items after the day….I mean really what are you going to do with 25 centerpieces? Does anyone really want to clean 1000 dishes the day after a very long wedding day? Does anyone really want to wash and irons linens prior and after an event to attempt to resell them (if they are not stained)? Plus you are inviting your family and friends to enjoy this special occasion with you and celebrate…not spend the week prepping, setting up, cleaning up, packing everything up, and then unpacking the day after the wedding… remember most couples exit their wedding before their guests and leaving them behind to clean up. As part of our logistical planning we list expectations as to which vendor and/or family member will be doing what tasks and services.
When it comes to logistics, another area it’s all about the timing and scheduling
of things. Talk to all of your vendors and find out how much time will THEY need to produce their services according to their brand and style. If anything you can never have TOO MUCH time on wedding day…some how we always need 15 more minutes somewhere, something runs over, someone is late and/or something takes a few more minutes to execute. Hair and Make-Up always takes longer than you think…and dressing is a process especially if you want photos of those moments… speaking of images and memories…. How long did you book your photographer and videographer for? If “memories” is your #1 item from your day… you should be booking companies that bring out at least two team members to truly capture your day and they should be booked for at least 8-12 hours. Just to give you a heads up for a “southern wedding” time frame:
Engagement photo session
Bridal Portrait photo session
3-7 hours for rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
30 minutes – 1 hour for special recordings, gift exchanges, first touches, prayers
1 hour for make-up
1.5 hours for hair
30 minutes – 1 hour getting dressed
30 minutes-45 minutes- girls photos
30 minutes guys photos
30 minutes- 1 hour for prelude music and guest arriving (are your groomsmen seating your guests? Then they can’t take pictures during that time)
30 minutes – 1 hour for ceremony (could be longer depending on religion & family traditions)
45 minutes-1 hours post photos IF you don’t do a first look…w/ first look still about 30 minutes
3-4 hours for a Traditional Southern Reception
….yes it’s a long day with lots of moving parts right? (don’t forget to fuel your wedding party, family and vendors….we encourage offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to make sure everyone makes it all 16 hours of this day….)
Speaking of timing… how long do you have your venue rented for? Think about the set up? Can it be done within an hour and half for venues with an 8-hour rental…. Yes most likely but realize you will most likely be adding more staffing to make sure it is completed in a timely matter.
While we are on the subject staffing, NEVER question a vendor’s reasoning for
their staffing or their staffing fees. You’ve most likely hired them because of their RAVE reviews, referrals and/or you’ve attended an event they were at and seen firsthand. Those experiences didn’t just happen…they were logistically planned and thought out. In my earlier days in my career, I thought one or two people could get the job done, and it did, but when KYAE began implementing the minimum 3 staff members to create a guest experience, not only did our couples and vendors noticed but so do our guests…and our reviews prove it. And the very few times a client talked me into less in the pass, just didn’t go as smooth and/or phenomenal as it could have gone. We too have an image and a brand to protect and ours is the guest experience. We love hearing our wedding parties say “this is the FIRST wedding I’ve been in and didn’t have to set up nor clean up….wow, I’m telling everyone about you guys!” Or when a guest states “THIS IS THE BEST WEDDING EVER!”
Never lie about your guest count to save “money” because you do not want to have leftovers or you think they’ll bring less staff… when you tell a vendor the wrong count, they put that into not only the food count, but supplies and staffing. When your vendors “think” they have less guests but then realize more are attending you are only setting yourself up for failure. Their staff can’t give the proper beverage and food service for one and most important is safety. We need to make sure we have enough guests per staff for safety reasons…while we hope nothing ever comes to that, we have a plan of action when and if something bad was to occur and you have to have the proper number of staff to move furniture for a flip, escort people to safety, serve during dinner service and most importantly clean up afterwards.
So just listen to us crazy professional vendors when we recommend something or suggest certain items… we are only here to assist in making the overall experience amazing and better for everyone…especially on the DAY of the event.
….Spoken from a Master Wedding Planner….