I’m Done Dating. I Do!
Should I Proceed With the Wedding Preparations From A to Z on My Own?
Simone summarizes her love relationship as such: “Many relationships, lots of dating…, Then, I found The One. We fell in love on the spot and we dated for few months (42 months to be exact! … few months, few years…, who’s counting) before he proposed.
We had some drama in our relationship and several breakups and couple of stormy discussions (stormy! I believe “hurricane-like” better describes the situation) of what a married life is like after dating glow wears off. Finally, the whole drama, discussions, and being in love led my partner-in-crime to propose and I to say “I Do” (Well, it was more of “I do, I do, I do”)”.
Simone’s friends are thankful that the emotional roller-coaster of the dating phase is over (all expressed a big sigh of relief). Her friends, including me, want to concentrate on the “I Do” part.
Simone approaches me, as a friend who is well established in the hospitality field, with a significant question: “Should I proceed with the wedding preparations from A to Z on my own? (as a couple she means) or should I hire a wedding planner?”
Planning Your Wedding
Planning a wedding is definitely stressful for couples. Firstly, they have to contact and collect bids from flower shops, photographers, entertainment companies, caterers, wedding venues, and many other vendors, takes enormous energy and time. Then comes the decision part, which of these bidders to sign up with? This is a hectic process that requires experience and attention to detail. The searching, the contacting, the analysis, the decisions, etc… all have to be attended to while couples are still doing their daily jobs. It is a lot to juggle and pretty soon couples have no spare fun time together (and pretty sure the drama will start again). Mind you, all of this is still phase I of the process. The follow-up and the coordination among all the services during the
I offer couples two suggestions—and that’s what I told Simone: either hire a wedding-planning person/company or choose a package from the pre-set complete packages offered by wedding venues. Of course, each option has its pros and cons.
Wedding planner can lay out a plan for the couple’s dream wedding based on their desired theme, style and expectations, and budget. The wedding planner has already established a network of wedding vendors and professional companies to hire services based on the preferred options. A reputed wedding planner often negotiates better services for lower prices. Additionally, the wedding planner eliminates unrelated choices and presents the couple with select options to choose from. If the couple is lucky and the wedding planner is extremely good, he/she also can accommodate future in-laws’ preferences too. Do not take this skill lightly. In-laws have agendas too. If not accommodated into the wedding plan, in-laws can, often covertly, make life difficult for all. (This commentary does not apply to Simone’s in-laws, of course. They are angels!). Wedding planners allow couples to advance towards the count-down of the Big Day with fewer worries and lessened drama.
On the other hand, hiring a wedding planner means more money is added upfront to the wedding budget. Well, if the wedding planner delivers the dream wedding, he/she deserves every penny. The big dilemma is if he/she turns out to be professionally incompetent or has a vision that neglects the couple’s desired theme (now, the plot thickens and the drama is double). Moreover, wedding planners who sometimes stretch the budget by engaging in unrealistic trial and error ideas just to extend their business portfolios.(I bet Simone and her partner will not survive this drama and go back to dating phase, not together necessarily!)
Must Do: Couples, who decide to hire a wedding planner, have to take time to research options. Research carefully and choose wisely the planner that comprehends fully your ideas, accomplishes the required theme skillfully, and executes the job within the set budget.
Most wedding venues have pre-set complete packages for the wedding celebration and specialized in-house coordinators to work with couples and offer guidance throughout the wedding event process. Within the set price, packages usually include most of the following: a venue, catering, sound/light, photo/video, hospitality service, fireworks, and entertainment programs. Certainly, these pre-set packages limit in-laws’ interference (how wonderful!). Pre-set packages may be somewhat customized to fit a couple’s needs and make the wedding unique.
A big advantage for this pre-set package option is that the cost of the whole package is known upfront—no additional charges or hidden fees will pop up later. Additionally, the venue hires service companies they have worked with previously. Thus, this gives peace of mind in terms of the quality of professional shared and their ability to execute the job up to the standard you expect. Also, this shared experience helps in terms attention to detail and ensures smoother coordination among all the provided services.
Still, the major drawback for this option is the wardrobe. (Shopping with friends, not bad at all!) Simone’s big smile implies that she likes this drawback.
Must Do: If you decide on the pre-set package, you have to do your homework. You have to research and choose the ideal venue, decide on the package that accommodates your needs within the set budget, meet with the in-house wedding coordinator, and negotiate all the desired details. After that, relax and let the experts do their job.
Simone, choose one of the two proposals. Skip the drama and live the dream!
By Mona Chalhoub
Pictures: Courtesy of Janna Sur Mer- jannaresorts website