When we are putting together the people that will be helping us make our day so special, what vendor do you think is the most important? Other than the photographer of course.
Well, I am of course biased towards the photographer, but I think we both knew that going into this question.
With that said, it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint who is the most important. A wedding, especially a large one, has a large number of people playing critical roles. It also depends on what is truly important to the couple. I think I’ll address this question by bringing up the most overlooked vendor in the wedding industry these days.
The wedding planner.
While I spend A LOT of time dealing with a world that has assumed that because someone paid a few hundred dollars for a camera that their friend can shoot their wedding. It also seems like everybody thinks they can handle the planning duties.
I will admit, it’s possible. We planned our wedding ourselves with the help of our family, but if it could’ve fit in the budget I would’ve LOVED to have gone back and had a planner.
In 2012 people are busy. Our lives are crammed to the brim with places we need to be, things we need to do, and thousands of distractions. That seriously limits the amount of people you can truly sit down with during the wedding planning process.
For example, you spend the night looking through photography website after photography website. You narrow it down to 2 or 3 that you would like to meet with and schedule that face to face time. The truth is you may have been impressed with their work, but out of the 3 photographers 2 of them didn’t have personalities that matched with yours and the other 1 didn’t actually fit into your budget. Now you can start the process over and you’ve wasted at minimum a few days.
A good wedding planner knows a large number of wedding vendors in each category. They know their quirks, pricing, and personalities and in the end can make sure when you meet with these people that you’re compatible in terms of financial and personality needs. The best wedding planners have also cultivated relationships with their vendors that can greatly benefit you. I have been known to make some concessions for couples because the planner was someone who always takes great care of me.
Event planning is a skill, don’t overlook that. A wedding day is a logistical nightmare. There are various arrival and setup times that are all poised like an infinite row of dominos waiting for someone to bump the table.
Being on the other side of the curtain during a wedding day, I’ve seen it. Something broke, didn’t get packed, spoiled, torn, etc and the couple and their family never were the wiser. Why? Because that planner fixed it, kept everything on schedule, and did it all with an air of calm in the eye of a storm.
Here’s another example. It’s 9am on your wedding day and your photographer is supposed to be there in 2 hours, but you’ve just found out that something has happened and they cannot make it. Is it likely, no, but it is a possibility. Our contract states that if this happens that we will find a suitable replacement at our cost, but that’s not the case for everyone. There are a few planners (not many) who could call me at 9am and say “Our photographer canceled and I need you here in 2 hours.” If I wasn’t already booked or in the middle of my own emergency, the gear would be in the car and I would be on my way. Why? Because 1. it would be tragic for someone who had planned their wedding to not have it documented because of someone else’s misfortune. 2. I know that these planners will make sure everything is taken care of for me following the wedding.
During the day of your wedding you need that General Patton figure to keep everyone marching in the same direction.
I actually think the need for a planner makes sense to most people, it’s the execution where I think some people miss the big picture. I am sure all of us have a friend or relative that can in some capacity fill the role, but is that really fair? If it is someone you’re truly close to, wouldn’t you rather let them enjoy the biggest day of your life up to this point? I very rarely shoot weddings for close friends. It’s not because they don’t want me too, it’s because I am so overjoyed for them that I want to participate in the celebration as opposed to document it. I am invested in their lives and want some emotional return on that investment.