By Rina Shah, The Arpan Group
The novelty of being engaged has worn off and reality hits with full force. There’s a wedding to plan! The entire process can be challenging – from compromising on style to managing the many opinions of all involved. With ample information available online via popular websites such as The Knot, MyShadi, Desh-Videsh, and South Asian Bride as well as a vast array of blogs dedicated to all things wedding, couples feel a bit of information overload. Pinterest will no doubt be both a bride’s best friend and her worst enemy. And while some brides know exactly what they want right down to the seating arrangement at the reception, others are overwhelmed by the myriad of choices.
Couples can easily become sidetracked during the beginning stages with the many details to finalize – color scheme, flowers, dresses, cake, food, and more. Though enjoying the process should be a top priority, becoming bogged down in the details can create undue stress during this special time. Staying organized and focused will ease the process. As you begin planning, Tracie Domino (Tracie Domino Events) suggests couples focus their energy first on budgets, date and venue, and whether to hire a wedding planner. She says couples should “discuss budget and what you really want your wedding to feel like. Decide on your date and your venue. It is pointless to make any other decisions before these are confirmed. Decide if you want a planner sooner than later, because when a planner gets on board right from the beginning, they can create the most value for you with their relationships.”
With so many details to plan, family members to keep happy, and a long list of vendors to manage, some couples consider hiring a wedding planner to ease the process. What role does a wedding planner play? Brittany Ellis Cole (Eventrics Weddings) believes that a wedding planner “becomes an extension of the family for the months the planning process takes place and is someone who should treat each wedding event as if it were his or her own.” Most wedding planners offer a full-range of services from planning every detail of a wedding to just being the point-person on the day of the celebration.
Wedding planners rely on trusted vendors, remember forgotten details, and serve as a buffer between couples and families to ensure a couple’s wedding vision comes to life. Understanding budget constraints and having a firm grasp of the couple’s style allows wedding planners to choose the right vendors and make the vision reality. Seema Patel and Megha Kothur (Two Ladies and Events) stress that couples can “choose which service is right for them based on the amount of time and commitment they are able to make to wedding planning on their own. As wedding planners our goals are to help take the stress and anxiety out of wedding planning for our clients, help them save money and stick to theirbudget, and make sure everything is perfect on their big day.”
Why Hire a Wedding Planner?
When it comes to considering whether to hire a wedding planner, some couples either want to do all of the planning themselves or believe a planner will be too expensive. Nareen Bukhari (All That Shines Event Planning) shares, “Unfortunately, wedding planners are not always seen as a necessary vendor. […] hiring a wedding planner is the most crucial part of the wedding planning process. You want to know that all of your hard work and attention to detail comes to place and that your friends and family are able to enjoy with you on the day-of. You never want to think back on your day and wish, ‘If I only hired a wedding planner…’”
While budget is a key factor, so are time and stress. Carefully consider how much time you can realistically invest during the planning process. If you work in a profession that demands a lot of time or you are trying to navigate multiple family requests, a wedding planner can help ease the load. Domino encourages couples to strongly consider a wedding planner. “When you hire a wedding planner, you get the luxury of being as involved as you want to be without all the stress. You get to participate in all the fun decisions like tastings and décor selection, while all the logistics are planned by a professional. The last thing you want to do is stare at spreadsheets and try to navigate all your vendors when you should be in the makeup chair drinking champagne the morning of your wedding.”
Though hiring a wedding planner may seem expensive, couples should consider the savings in terms of their time and stress as well as the benefit of having access to a wedding planner’s extensive vendor network. Patel and Kothur share that “hiring an event planner will save you money, time and stress. Wedding planners have the experience to help prioritize and organize all that it entails to plan a wedding. They can focus and use their book of vendors and referrals to help a couple find the perfect set of vendors for their big day.” Wedding planners work closely with other wedding vendors on a regular basis, and they not only have good working relationships, they often also have access to the best rates.
Prepare for Your First Meeting
Regardless of whether a couple chooses to someone to plan their entire wedding or just be the main contact on the day-of, an initial consultation with a wedding planner will determine next steps and help establish a timeline. Wedding planners like Bukhari also use the initial meeting to gauge a couple’s sense of style and their wedding vision. She adds that it is important to know “where the couple is in the planning process and what their expectations are from a planner. We do not want the bride and groom to feel that meeting with us is another task on their to-do list. Our meetings are casual, but well thought out. Initially, we try to obtain as much information as we can to understand the couple’s vision for their big day.”
Before going to the first meeting, couples should have a few key items in mind to help the wedding planner decided the best course of action. Cole asks couples to have “dates in mind, estimated guest counts for each event, expectations from the planner (i.e. full service, partial or day of coordination), and personality. It is always important you feel as if you ‘click’ with your wedding planner.” The planner will truly become another member of your family during the planning process, so choosing one is as much about personality as it is about cost and expertise.
Wedding planners are organized, detailed, and resourceful, but above all, they listen to and pay close attention to a couple’s wants and desires. Knowing what to prioritize and exactly which vendors will best complement a couple’s style and vision is what makes hiring a wedding professional a necessity. Whether used for full-scale planning or just to be the main contact on the wedding day, hiring a planner is sure to save couples time, money, and stress.
Favorite Wedding Moments
The experts share their favorite wedding moments.
Naureen: If I had to choose just one moment throughout the entire event, it would definitely be the bride’s entrance. As she walks down the aisle, time stands still. Silence fills the room, and the amount of emotion reaches its peak. The groom’s expression is always priceless to watch.
Brittany: More often than not it is when the Groom sees the Bride for the first time. It is as if time stands still and for that moment the only thing that matters is how much love you feel in the room.
Tracie: My favorite moment is the end of the ceremony, when the stress lifts a little for the couple and the fun really starts!
Seema/Megha: By far our favorite wedding moment is the first look between the couple. Seeing that pure love in each other partner’s sparkling eyes just melts our hearts and is the reason we love what we do!
Special thanks to the experts who contributed their thoughts and advice to this article.
All That Shines Event Planning
Tel: (813) 785-9017
Naureen Bukhari is the owner of All That Shines Event Planning, a boutique coordination and consultation company. All That Shines Event Planning specializes in events ranging from intimate soirees to extravagant weddings and everything in between. From choosing a venue to day-of coordination, they offer customized packages to best fit your needs and strive to make your reality better than your dreams.
Tel: (863) 683-3905
Brittany Ellis Cole is a Wedding & Event Planner at Eventrics Weddings, whose event team has over 30 years of special event planning and understands the key elements that make celebrations unique and special. The team is committed to designing your wedding full of memorable moments and provide lasting memories for you and your guests.
Tracie Domino Events
Tel: (813) 810-0621
For over ten years, owner Tracie Domino’s stylish expertise and relatable sophistication has made her a trusted consultant to business leaders, professional athletes and high society. Specializing in luxury, destination, and Indian weddings, Tracie Domino Events makes fun, memorable weddings happen.
Two Ladies and Events
Tel: Megha Kothur – (608) 217-5687 and Seema Patel – (727) 772-3491
With over ten years of experience, Seema Patel, founder of Two Ladies and Events, along with partner Megha Kothur, are dedicated to creating an organized and stress free event for all clients. They love providing their expertise in custom event planning to create unique and memorable events for their clients.
About the Author
Rina Shah is the CEO and founder of The Arpan Group, a boutique ad agency and public relations firm that specializes in capturing untouched ethnic markets. From press releases and media kits to marketing materials and by-line articles, The Arpan Group customizes solutions based on the client’s needs. For more information, visit www.thearpangroup.comor call (703) 651-6670.
Article appeared in Desh-Videsh March 2015