Putting a wedding together requires a steady heart and a steady head. The phone is ringing off the hook. Your maid of honor just found out she’s expecting and is due on your wedding day. You need to schedule alterations, catering, invitations, a reception space, and hire a band. The “to-do” list grows longer and longer. You have a busy life, work, family, and a future husband to consider when putting it all together. You need to go to Plan B, or rather Plan W, for your wedding day.
That’s where a wedding consultant comes in. Trends show that more and more brides and grooms have decided to make room in their budget for a wedding planner. “It’s not beyond our clients’ ability to plan their own wedding,” says wedding consultant Paulette Mendler of Audubon Productions, “Couples are simply looking to get the most value for their money while also getting a professional job done for their most important day.”
So what can a wedding consultant do that any average bride- or groom-to-be cannot? Simply put, it comes down to two things – time and resources. According to Mendler, “Couples are getting married older these days. They’ve moved out of their early twenties and now have careers to think about.” But it’s not just time restraints that have couples seeking an alternative to a DIY wedding, it’s about style and personality. “Our clients simply want things done right. We can pull it all together and get those details and special touches to match with their personalities. We have the inside track, the time to make those calls, and the resources to match likes and dislikes.”
For couples who decide to “go pro” with their wedding, matching personal style with the right consultant or coordinator is the first step in getting a truly magical day. The most important thing to look for in an event specialist is the right communication and a lot of trust. “The match between a couple and their wedding consultant should be just right,” says Mendler. “There must be a foundation of trust and respect. A bride should feel that the coordinator is as committed to her wedding as she is. It’s that intangible feeling you get when you connect with someone who understands what you are looking for.”
So you’ve decided to hire a wedding coordinator, now how do you find that perfect match? Luckily, finding the right coordinator isn’t as hard as finding the right groom, you just need to ask the right questions. According to Mendler, there are five that will put you on the right path. “I suggest brides ask first, what types of packages are offered and next what the coordinator’s prices are for their services.” Finding out prices and packages will help a couple narrow the field of consultants that fit their budget, from large to small.
“Next, a bride should ask the coordinator how they compare to others in the area and what sets them apart,” says Mendler. Getting an idea of the personality of the coordinator or consultant will help establish a match with the couple’s personality. A couple looking for a traditional day will want to look for a coordinator with classic ideas to match, while brides and grooms looking for something modern will want someone with perhaps more non-traditional ideas.
“Finally, I suggest brides ask about how that coordinator communicates with his or her clients. Communication is so important, you’ll want to find out if your ideas of meeting and planning match up with your consultant.” A busy bride and groom will need to identify specific dates and times that are best for them to meet with a coordinator in person or via the phone. A coordinator should be willing to set up times that match almost any schedule.
Serenity now! For couples who decide to hire a consultant, taking away the emotional stress of planning it themselves is an added benefit of investing in professional planning. A wedding coordinator can help pull together a couple’s unique likes and dislikes, while taking some of the stress out of the big day. “A wedding is an emotional event, but planning it should not be,” says Mendler. “Those little things that make the day special should not be those things that cause stress for the bride and the groom.” Because, in the end, the most blissful day of your life should not be the most stressful. –Tara McLellan

What’s the difference?
Wedding consultant – A professional wedding consultant owns his or her business and can take the event from conception to the big day, doing all the legwork for the bride and the groom.
Wedding planner – A professional planner works for a consultant’s group and plans the entire event; again, they do the legwork for the bride and groom.
Wedding coordinator – A coordinator provides a couple with a list of vendors that would be appropriate for their wedding; the bride and groom make the calls.