Part 2: Dispelling Myths of Wedding Planning Guides and Websites
Need to repair your plumbing, learn a language, or build a tree house? There is a “… for Dummies” book designed for you. While some of these books may give you an insight or general information to accomplish a task, I have yet to discover a book or website that thoroughly explains how to plan a Wedding or Event. During initial consultations or even at Bridal Shows I have met many brides that utilize these books in the beginning and think that is all they need. You can immediately tell from the canned questions that they are reading from a script that was designed to cover a range of general considerations. Of course a hotel has chairs and tables! These guides give you a general overview of what is needed for planning but they do not take into consideration regional differences, seasonality, current trends, personal style, variation in budget or anyone who is looking to have a more customized experience. That is what a qualified Wedding Designer and Coordinator is for.
For example, while most of the websites and books give a consistent breakdown of the budget they are basing this on the average budget of the average couple. But the average budget varies by city and state along with the cost of resources. Anyone who has worked with Weddings knows that every couple is unique and brings with them a different perspective of what they would like for their celebration. Also, the percentages do not work the same if you have a budget of $10,000 compared to $100,000. What you can afford in Manhattan, Kansas with your budget is definitely not the same as what you can afford in Manhattan, New York. Your budget can also be the difference between the Four Seasons or the Four Queens depending on how many guests you have. For instance, many couples believe $10,000 is their magical number. Just because your book says that 8% of your budget should be applied to photography does not mean you are going to be able to find a quality photographer (or any photographer) for $800. Even if you doubled your budget to $20,000 if your guest count is also increased it may not work. The books (and internet sites) are two dimensional suggestions in a three dimensional world where emotions and dreams paint a much different picture.
Couples may also turn to blogs, chats, friends, and event others in the industry to inquire about particular topics. While some of the information may share the same challenges and triumphs, or direct you to where to find the best resources, these resources rarely gives the full or accurate picture. For instance, I met with a bride that indicated she had too many people to offer a buffet for her Wedding – only to find out that she was told this by a venue which was not equipped for this type of service. Another couple heard that it was much less expensive to use a faux cake instead of a real one not realizing that this also meant that they had to use the same faux cake that every other bride had used without the ability to customize it with colors or design.
The reviews on websites and awards can also be misleading. The websites are designed for marketing and reviews of past customers truly rely on how effective the venue or Event Professional staff are at soliciting these reviews. Case in point, I met a DJ who was up for an award with one of the top national Wedding websites and worked in the Las Vegas market. Being very involved in the local Wedding industry I asked my colleagues about this person and none had ever ever heard of this DJ or used the company before. Some highly qualified professionals may simply not advertise on these websites so you may not even realize there are other options available.
Let’s consider planning your Wedding in different terms to give you a better idea of how it works. You have probably heard of E-Harmony and many of the other popular dating sites. You may have even met many couples that have met through on-line dating who have then been married. These sites don’t succeed by just asking you just basic information of height, age, and weight – they ask a myriad of questions to make sure they are finding the right match. They understand that there are a multitude of factors in finding the right match. It is the same for planning your Wedding. Just learning your budget, Wedding date, and guest list is only skimming the surface. A really good planner will not just qualify you with the basic questions of “who, what, when, where” but will go into much more detail in assessing your needs, your personality, and preferences to guide you to the people and businesses that are best fit for your budget and what you are looking for. Rely on a seasoned professional with a list of resources and experience to deliver an event that is perfectly you!
At JMT Eventology we want to know the whole story and help plan every detail based on a personalized experience. If you are planning something more modest for your reception or just need a starting point, definitely use all of the resources available to make an informed decision. But if you are looking for a truly exceptional experience or want to save time (and money) rely on a qualified Wedding professional to make your experience easier and stress free!
For our third installment of Event Design look for our blog next week!