Dear Preston: Where Do I Start When Planning a Wedding?


wedding planning

(Image via thimbleanna)

Dear Preston,

My daughter’s getting married, and I’m excited for her, but I’m also feeling overwhelmed. When I got married (many years ago), my mom planned my entire wedding, and I’d like to help my daughter plan her wedding. But I don’t know where to start. Do we need both a planner and a designer?

A Confused Mom

Dear Confused Mom,

Congratulations! Your daughter’s engagement is wonderful news. But, I understand your frustration. Even those of us in the wedding and event planning business sometimes find it difficult to say which vendors do what. Here’s my breakdown of the key components. I hope this helps!

Florists: I started as a florist. A florist does just that, flowers, and they’re capable of taking care of all your flower needs. Many florists will also be able to help you choose tablecloths, napkins and other tabletop accessories that should complement your floral centerpieces.

Caution: If you ask a florist to do more than this, such as help you plan seating, you should expect to pay an additional fee.

Planners: A planner can be extremely helpful, especially on the day of your daughter’s wedding. Having a planner should ensure that both you and your daughter enjoy a stress-free wedding day. Planners are also industry experts. A good planner will give you insight and ideas that you wouldn’t think of on your own. He or she can also help you control your budget, find a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses, select a venue, hire other vendors, create a schedule for the ceremony and reception, manage day-of duties, and many, many other tasks.

Caution: Make sure you choose a planner who understands your needs and is drama free.

Event Designers: I may have started out as a florist, but, over the years, I’ve become an event designer. If you and your daughter want someone to help design the wedding, including florals, draping, lighting, invitations, food display, decor, dance floor, and the list goes on and on… you should consider hiring an event designer.

Caution: There’s often a great deal of confusion between what is a designer’s job and what is a planner’s job. Don’t expect your designer to be your planner, and don’t ask your planner to be your designer. Planners plan, and designers design!

Also, keep in mind that, depending on where you live, some wedding and event firms may offer all of the above services in one package. And remember, ask for references. Just like in other industries, not all vendors are created equal.

Dear Readers, tell me, what do you do and how would you describe your strengths? Do you agree that a planner’s job should remain separate from that of a florist or designer? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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