When people ask me, “What do you do for a living?” and I tell them I am a wedding planner, you cannot imagine the look of elation and interest that immediately floods their faces. The next, almost patented inquiry from their behalf is, “Just like J. Lo, right? I love that movie!” I  smile and agree – I loved the movie too.

As much as I love Law and Order, you will not see me out making citizens’ arrests on the metropolitan streets. I know my boundaries. Watching a movie or a show doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to do what it is you saw – no matter how many times you’ve seen it, or can quote from its leading actor. What most brides don’t understand is that this may be (hopefully!) the only wedding they will ever plan. I, and my colleagues do this on a regular basis; so it is safe to say we’ve been around the block.

I love meeting new brides, and especially newly engaged couples – it is great to see how you interact with each other and what your conjoined vision is for your beautiful wedding day.

I will admit, there are times where a couple and I have spent hours just talking during our initial consultation that we actually forget that it is “business as usual”. I try at this time to dispel the misconception that a wedding planner turns into a dictator that takes complete control of your wedding. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m going to share some things with you which may help you decide if a wedding planner is for you. Trust me, I will be the first to tell you if it is not; but if it is, you should definitely consider interviewing a few during your planning process. If your planner does not share these philosophies, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is wrong, but you may want to consider what is important to you in the grand scheme of your event.

Ok, so let’s get started, shall we?

1. You are important. When I greet my potential and contracted clients, you would never know that I have other events or other things going on in my life. That is because when it comes to you – I don’t! Each client who walks through my door has on a sign that says, “Make me feel important”. It is very imperative that you feel very special and comfortable with your planner, and dare I say it, immediately. You should feel like you are meeting with an old friend to discuss the details of your upcoming wedding. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or unsure, do speak up and ask questions. Gain as much clarity as possible.

2. You are always the boss. You are paying for a service – your planner should report to you in a courteous and professional manner. While your planner does have a level of expertise and savvy, if you feel like the reins are being yanked from your hand or you are made to feel inferior, thank them for their time and move on.

3. Your wedding is your wedding. There are so many variables that can be thrown into the dynamics of planning a wedding. Your planner should not try to make your special day “cookie-cutter”. Instead they should see and become intimately familiar with your vision for your wedding. As your personal liaison, your wedding planner will be the one to represent your needs and wants to other vendors, handle sticky situations with family and execute your plans during your event.

4. Trust is important. Your wedding is an investment – never again will you spend so much money at one time. You need to be able to entrust the details of your wedding to a consummate professional. Your wedding planner should explain everything to you at length and work with in your budget and vision.

5. Be accountable, organized and responsible. These are not only good character traits, but are required skills in this trade. All paperwork, dossiers, contracts, etc. pertaining to your account should be kept in an organized format and ready at all of your appointments. Any payments or decisions made on your behalf should be done under your watchful eye and with your approval. You should be able to trust all of the details of your wedding with your planner.

6. Creative Genius. You should be able to give some of your best ideas to your coordinator, and she can “sweeten the pot” with her creations and style. Also, your planner should have several types of resources and inspirations to pull from to create your ultimate wedding fantasy.

Remember these simple characteristics and you will be able to get the assistance you need for your wedding day. You will be stress-free at the wedding that has always been your dream, which means you can enjoy your family and friends more knowing it is in capable hands.

by Terrica Skaggs

Photo by DelPrincipe Photography of Pittsburgh