Can you handle planning your own wedding? Of course you can. Which is not to say that it will be “easy” – you’ll need excellent time management skills, a Monica-Gellar-level passion for organization, and a notebook. Kyle and I bought a notebook shortly after we got engaged that we deemed “The wedding notebook” where we were only allowed to write “wedding things”. (Five months later we have two pages scribbled with notes like “Flowers?” and “Music…..
guitar? Violin. GUITAR.”)
If you have the time, and you’re “into” it – so, you’re not going to roll your eyes every time someone asks you about your ‘color scheme’ – you can plan your own wedding, no matter how busy you are, even if you have a full time job and you travel and you have a life outside of “wedding stuff”.
“But I’m REALLY busy.” I told Kyle, this is back when I was trying to convince him that we “needed” a wedding planner. “Plus we’re getting married in California – and I’m trying to plan everything from Chicago? I don’t really *know* California. I need to find someone who *knows* California. How else am I going to, like, find a florist and a minister and stuff?”
There’s also Google. But. That’s not as fancy as being able to say that you have “a wedding planner”, now is it?
So we justified our decision to do a destination wedding in California because we were going to find someone “locally” to do all of the planning. She will be the J-Lo in that movie “The Wedding Planner”. (Except she won’t sleep with my fiancé. Is that what that movie’s about? I don’t remember, it’s been awhile.) She will take all of my vendor meetings, respond to all of my emails, be in charge of set-up and tear-down of our decorations, and keep me in check the day-of so I’m not late to my own wedding.
OR maybe she won’t do any of that, and she’ll just forward emails to me from the florist that say “See below”. Because, honestly, I think that’s what a wedding planner actually does.
Maybe not ALL wedding planners do this? But that’s what ours did. She was really just one more person that I had to copy on emails. And when I asked her things like, “Do you have any recommendations for this area?” – she would take over a week to respond, and finally come back with some venue that offered “portable toilets”.
That really happened. She suggested a venue and tried to sell me on “portable toilets”. As if we’re planning a camping trip, and – oh, wait, nope – this is supposed to be a wedding, my bad.
“You know she can’t read your mind.” Kyle said. “Just tell her what you want. Maybe she’ll be able to offer better suggestions then.”
So I sent her pictures of what we wanted. “Inspo” pictures of Napa Valley weddings with white roses and rustic, wooden benches and greenery and twinkly lights. “How can we make our wedding look like this?” I asked her.
I get it – she can’t wave a magic wand and turn my wedding into a fairytale that somehow fits within our budget. I understand that she’s not a wedding elf, she’s a “planner”. She’s supposed to plan things. She’s not going to say “Got it! I’ll take care of everything from here!” and just create my magical, twinkly lights day.
But she took a week to respond – and sent me portable toilets.
So I responded back, “Uh… maybe some place with plumbing?” Look – I get that our budget isn’t exactly Megan Markle level, but we can afford bathrooms. We’re not hillbillies.
“Got it.” She said. “So, less boho.”
“Right. Less boho. More plumbing.” <— something that I never imagined myself saying when it came to planning my wedding. I had always assumed running water was IMPLIED.
Two weeks later – after I’d sent her a bunch of emails that said things like, “Can you get me a quote on this venue?” and “Hey if we do our wedding on the beach, do you think I can still wear heels?” and “Can we put down, like, a board or something?”, “What about chairs?? Do you know some place where we can rent benches like that? See pic attached.”
I get it. I was being a bit of a Bridezilla. Who asks their wedding planner to lay down “a board, or something” so that Princess Jenn doesn’t have to traipse through the sand in 4-inch heels? (Have you walked on the beach wearing shoes? Maybe it’s just because I don’t go to the beach that often, but I think it’s really hard.) Anyway, you’d have thought I was asking her to roll out a red carpet.
Speaking of red carpet — she sent me back, “Rugs.”
“Instead of chairs.” She said. “If you’re worried about people wanting to sit down during the ceremony, they can sit on the rugs! It’s very boho.”
“Right…” What is it with this lady and “boho”? Is that what my style is? “Boho”? Is it because of the twinkly lights? Is that why she thinks I want to get married on a camping trip? “Listen, we have a lot of older people coming…” I said. “And…” What’s a *nice* way to say – Kyle’s eighty-two year old grandmother is not going to sit criss-cross-apple-sauce at our wedding? “Did you get my e-mail?” I asked her. “About the benches?”
She got it. Probably. I don’t know. Granted – I sent her a bunch of e-mails, but there was a genuine disconnect there about the kind of wedding that I was planning versus whatever hippie camping trip she was planning.
Kyle and I ended up booking our venue, and our own vendors, and – believe it or not – we did it all right here in Chicago with VERY LITTLE help from anyone in California. (I say “very little” because the lady at the venue has actually been super helpful.) We have since parted ways with the wedding planner – not because she’s wasn’t A GREAT WEDDING PLANNER I’M SURE, just because… well, because it turns out I don’t need someone to hold my hand through this process. And also, because I was worried she might suggest we shoot and skin our own meat for the dinner.
Moral of the story – if you’re going to hire a wedding planner (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t) make sure you vibe well. Interview them. Read reviews. Don’t just hire them because they’re the cheapest you could find on the Internet and you’re on a budget.
Other moral of the story – don’t hire the cheapest wedding planner you can find on the Internet. If you don’t “think” you need a wedding planner – then just gdon’t hire a wedding planner. Don’t think you’re doing yourself some big favor by hiring “a cheap one” because “she doesn’t need to do that much anyway”. You don’t need it. You are likely the type of person who can do this all by yourself and will just stress out a wedding planner by asking her for things like plumbing and chairs.