I’m going to put this out there right now: Unless you are incredibly busy and/or uninspired, you don’t have to hire a wedding planner. There are plenty of reasons you should hire a wedding planner, but with the right set of skills, I think the “average bride” could get away with planning her own wedding.
[Side note: Hiring a day of wedding coordinator may be what you need if you’re on a tight budget. You can have someone come in on the day and bring your wedding plans to life, without having to think about setting up your decor and telling your DJ where to plug in.]
I’ve been planning and coordinating weddings for a few years now, and I planned my own wedding too. It was literally one of the most fun experiences of my life and I had very few bridezilla meltdowns. I really think that you can enjoy this season, and I want to share with you a few skills that you should learn to master so that you can get the most out of your wedding planning experience.
1. The ability to make lists
This is a pretty big one. You are going to be making lots of decisions and you need to be able to keep track of them. Big ones like “Find a venue” can be broken down into smaller items on your list, like “Start Googling venues”, “Phone Venue X and make an appointment”, and “Pay venue deposit”.
There are some great apps that you can get, which will help you create lists and stick to them. Here are three that I’ve tried and loved:
2. A cool, calm, attitude
With your list of decisions in hand, you are probably going to have a moment here and there where you want to lose your cool. Your mom starts adding her friends to your guest list, people don’t RSVP on time, your bridesmaids can’t get their acts together and just pick a darn dress, and so on. Being able to keep cool and focus on what’s really important [the fact that you are marrying your best friend, even if not all the details are perfect] will save you a heck of a lot of stress and sleepless nights.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an app for this, but surrounding yourself with people that remind you of the big picture and offer to help with the smaller details will go a long way.
3. Multitasking skills
As with any event, planning a wedding involves thinking about a lot of different things at once. You’ve got to have your venue booked before you can send out invitations, but you also have to have an idea of what your guest list is going to look like before booking a venue so that you can keep your ideal headcount in mind. Multitasking in this instance means being able to think of all the scenarios and choose the best one for you.
For us, we made a guest list first, only looked for venues that could accommodate our 120 guests, booked our dream venue, and then sent out Save The Dates. There are a few ways to make this decision in particular, but the point I’m trying to make is that you’ll encounter a few of these types of decisions along the way and you need to be able to manage them all at the same time.
4. Project management
Someone’s got to make sure the deposits have been paid, the invoices have been filed away, and each wedding supplier knows where to be and when. All of this can be handled before the wedding day if you’ve got some good project management skills. Consider each aspect of your wedding as one of the projects [Ceremony, Pre-Reception Drinks, Reception] and you can tackle each task that comes with it.
Project management also involves site inspections (and knowing which questions to ask your venue), drawing up seating charts, and knowing which information each supplier needs, and when to communicate that.
I had a situation recently, where a wedding venue had offered their new Tiffany chairs to my client at no extra cost. After a little bit of deciding whether or not they were going to use them, I emailed the venue to confirm that we would be using their Tiffany chairs. I was met with an email stating that the chairs now come at an extra cost so that they can keep breakages in mind. Apparently a recently wedding involved rowdy guests who broke a few chairs. My negotiation skills kicked in because I simply don’t think this is acceptable. Introducing a new policy to an existing client who has already been offered these chairs at no cost seemed unfair to me.
Being able to think like a wedding planner means being willing to negotiate. You don’t want to be (or seem like) Scrooge; just looking for a good deal everywhere you go, but you do want to be able to recognize when someone is trying to take advantage of you.
Now that you know you can totally plan your own wedding, get started by using my free 12 month wedding checklist. You can get yours by clicking on the image above or by clicking right here.
Feel like you could do with some more wedding planning advice from the pros? I’ve created Wedding Planning Starter Kit to demystify wedding planning for you! It’s full of wedding planning tips that I’ve learnt from years of planning and coordinating weddings and it’s going to save you tons of time and money.
For more information, you can click right here.