Monday, November 23, 2015

The Wedding Planner Disaster

I recently attended two weddings, one in Texas and the other in New Jersey. Both were beautiful and although they had entirely different themes, the outpouring of love was extraordinary. And both were great fun.

As an event planner myself, I had the opportunity to observe the difference between a fabulous wedding planner and the most incompetent, lazy event planner imaginable. It made me consider, what are the qualities of a “good” event planner? And, why was the one in Texas so awful? Why was the one in New Jersey so spectacular? Experience was certainly a factor. The one in New Jersey has been planning weddings for 40 years.

But there were far more factors than experience. Here are a few of the things I observed: The Texan was unwilling to help the bride or the mother with anything out of the ordinary. That included decorating the venue. It included delivering the goodie bags to guests staying at nearby hotel. She mistakenly had the dessert table presented with hors d’oeuvres. What was wrong?

First, she had no time line. As an event planner, I know the timeline is the single most important thing to have in your hand at all times. It keeps the caterer, the musicians, and the entire staff on schedule, working together at a reasonable pace.

Second, she was incapable of resolving issues as they arose. She broke the bridal portrait frame and instead of presenting it without the frame, she hid it. In contrast, the New Jersey planner was solving problems right and left and the bride didn't even notice that anything was amiss.

But most importantly, it was attitude. The New Jersey planner smiled with joy throughout the event. The Texan scowled and didn’t move from the bar the entire evening. She wasn’t drinking; she was just guarding the bar.  She didn’t help and as it turned out, friends of the bride’s mom stayed half the night and cleaned up with the venue owner while the event planner simply left.

Its important to have a planner but even more important to get references so you know that the planner can make the day easier for the couple and the guests. Meet with your event planner. Make sure that it is a good mix of personalities, in other words, that you get along. And lastly, read that contract and the time line. Make sure your vision is the same that is on paper.