I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about the Top 10 questions my brides and grooms ask. For most of my clients, this is the first large-scale party they have ever planned, so they are faced with so many questions, and I want to be there for them to answer all of their questions and address their concerns.
Q. What time does the planner come, and what time do you leave?
A. I usually start my day half an hour before the photos begin so that I can help prepare the bride for her pictures. I am there to distribute the flowers to the bridesmaids and pin the boutonnieres on the groomsmen. I usually assist the bride get into her wedding gown as well. I leave only when all of the formalities are completed, the sweet table has been opened, and there is nothing left to do but dance and enjoy the end of the party.
Q. Do I need to have a sweet table? No one eats it anyway?
A. I’m afraid I have to disagree with this statement. The guests always line up for the sweets at every function I have attended. Of course, you can pass on serving a dessert to the table. Still, I recommend doing a sweet table or giving desserts on the dance or both for an evening function.
Q. When should I send out my invitations?
A. I recommend sending your invitations out eight weeks before your event. You can also send a hold the date card four to six months before your wedding so that out-of-town guests can consider travel arrangements.
Q. Should I have a wedding rehearsal, or is that not necessary?
A. I would say it is almost mandatory to hold a wedding rehearsal. I would suggest having a rehearsal a few days before the wedding so that it is fresh in everyone’s mind. Even if you can’t rehearse before the day, I would still take a few minutes on the day of the wedding to do a quick run-through of the ceremony. It will help calm everyone’s nerves and there are no surprises on the wedding day. Your bridal party will feel at ease, as you know exactly what to expect.
Q. My niece or nephew is under three years old. Would you recommend that they march down the aisle?
A. Of course, it depends on the child as every child is different. My standard rule of thumb is, that if the child is under three, I would suggest that they don’t walk down the aisle. Usually, children under three are very unpredictable, and it can be somewhat of an overwhelming experience. Once they see all the guests and all eyes are on them, it can be very intimidating. If you do choose to have younger children walk, then I would suggest that they walk with a child that is a little bit older so they can help lead them in the right direction and comfort them. I also suggest that you have a parent or grandparent waiting to scoop them up at the end of the aisle with a special treat in hand to reward them for making it down the aisle.
Q. What is the appropriate length of speeches as I don't want to bore my guests?
A. I suggest you allot five minutes for the bride’s parents and five minutes for the groom’s parents. I usually give two minutes to those that are making toasts to the bride and groom. Then I allow 10 minutes each for the bride and the groom. Once you have gone over the 10-minute mark your guests will typically start to tune out.
Q. My clients always ask, "why can't I do the speeches during my meal?"
A. Through my 20+ years of experience, I know quite a bit about scheduling and flow and what works and what doesn’t. It is essential that your guests feel they are at a celebration, so breaking up the speeches throughout the evening enables guests to get up and do some dancing in between the courses. Also, you cannot have the wait staff serving the next course while someone is speaking; it simply makes too much noise and can be very disruptive.
Q. How do I alphabetize all of my guest lists and place cards?
A. I ask all my clients to provide me with the place cards in alphabetical order so that on the day of the event, I can expedite the process and put them out quickly and properly. It would help if you alphabetized it by the last name of the guest. If you have several guests with the same last name, you can go to the first name and start with the earliest letter in the alphabet.
Q. What exactly do you do?
A. I help my clients create a vision for their parties and make them a reality.
A planner will share their breadth of experience to guide you in the right direction.
A planner will recommend reputable vendors in the industry.
Will organize a detailed itinerary for your event.
Will be available to come with the clients to meetings with caterers and florists to give their advice and share their experiences.
Will put together a makeup, hair and portrait schedule.
Will help you determine a budget for your event.
Will give you tips on speech writing.
Will provide detailed checklists for all clients as well as a timeline for how to complete everything on that list.
Will act as an intermediary between all of the vendors on the day of the event.
Will rectify any unexpected situations that may arise on the day of your event.
Will make sure that every detail is looked after so that the client can enjoy their party.
Q. Lastly, I think the most important question that one needs to ask is not of the planner but themselves, is this the right planner for me?
A. you must meet the planner face to face to get a sense of their personality. The planner is the person that will give you advice and hold your hand in the months leading up to your event, Will they be flexible? Will they care to put their heart and soul into your event? Will they be the right person to make your vision a reality?