I absolutely love my job - it is hands down one of my greatest passions in life. Sitting with couples and their loved ones and planning out their wedding is something I find great joy in. I also love planning large-scale events with challenging and complex logistical components. I find it so fulfilling to take a challenge and see an opportunity for a creative solution. Working on events with charitable components gives me great joy, and allowed me to utilize my skills for a greater purpose (in one year alone MDE worked on and donated services towards events that raised over $350,000 for various charities. THAT IS AWESOME!).
For me personally, the greatest asset I bring to my clients is my experience in this industry for over a decade that has given me so many valuable, interesting and sometimes crazy insights to put in my problem solving and creative solutions arsenal. When a couple invests in a planner, the most important thing that they can get out of that investment is the knowledge and experience of that planner. But there is so much more that a planner should know. Read below for 6 things that I think are quintessential.
1. Patience is key. Personality is essential. Style is paramount.
Planning a wedding or special event can get stressful. People have expectations, are investing a significant amount of financial resources, and there are so many emotions attached to the day - it is important to be able to go somewhere, or to someone that can remind you to exhale, keep calm, and within appropriate expectation parameters. As a planner, one of my biggest responsibilities is being available to my clients throughout the process to keep everything moving forward, keep my client informed, calm, comfortable and on earth! It sounds funny but sometimes the stress of planning can encourage even the most level-headed of people to float away in a cloud of uncertainty and stress. While providing all of this, it is my responsibility to be a source of style, humor, and creative solutions so that we work as a team and accomplish all of the right things while leaving out the time-wasters.
2. Creativity or BUST!
In a world overly full of Pinterest images that appear to be "DIY" but in reality are way too complicated, expectations can run amuck. It is so crucial as a planner to be able to sit down with my clients and look at what is inspiring their vision for their wedding and BE INSPIRED by it! The term inspiration does not imply exact replica, instead, it implies that you should create your own version of what you love, but with some unique piece of yourself in there. (For example, I had a client that was absolutely in love with a really opulent floral wall and wanted something similar but didn't want to break the bank. Solution? I spoke with my talented friend Renee at Kehoe Designs and she took the idea and created the most gorgeous boxwood wall that was a fantastic backdrop for the escort card table!)
3. Remember to see the commonalities and not be divided by the differences.
In-laws, your mother, your sister, your fiancé - each other - all of these people can really start to weigh in and weigh on you as you plan a wedding. The important thing to keep in mind is that everyone means well and that at the end of the day everyone wants a beautiful wedding day for you. If for whatever reason someone does not share that sentiment, then a respectful but direct conversation should be had immediately. I am often a sounding board for my clients. They come to me, knowing that they can vent and that nothing will be repeated. A solid set of well-honed skills in diplomacy, negotiation, and conflict resolution is how I get through my day. Period.
My clients need to know they have someone they can trust, who is looking out for them. Trust is key during the planning process because sometimes even your closest loved ones can feel like anything but your closest loved ones. And the most important thing I have learned is communication, respect and perspective are key. Let's face it, we are all human, sometimes we need reminding. And that is part of my job.
4. Know your Aliases: Project Manager, Task Master, Master Wrangler (to name a few!)
I am the central, primary point of contact for my client and all of the creative partners that my client chooses for their wedding or special event. Therefore it is my job, at all times, to communicate clearly and effectively. I must be organized, I must be aware and I must be communicative. I must have respect for everyone, and ensure that respect is exchanged between everyone at all times. There is no room for ego. Anywhere. Wedding planners are the gatekeepers to a wedding. When an investment is made in the right planner, every creative partner lets out a sigh of relief almost as heartfelt as the couple getting married, because they know that the management of the day is in capable hands and that we know how all of the parts to the day need and must fit together.
5. Have an emergency kit!
A well-stocked emergency kit is a must for events and weddings and something that every planner should have. I have a tackle box full of everything from paper clips to deodorant, and from smelling salts to a sewing kit. I leave this accessible to couples and their wedding parties at all times just in case. I also carry an advance kit. What is that, might you ask? An advance kit is my own personal planner emergency trunk that is full of supplies that keep me well "in advance" of any potential crises (get it?!). This is something I have with me at all times. (Actually, truth be told I have a mini one in my purse, a travel one in my car, and a large one in my office that comes to events. I am the definition of preparedness, LOL)
6. Couples stress about planner fees. So be prepared to Educate.
According to planningpod.com, 75% of brides who don't hire planners said they didn’t hire one because it was too expensive. Of the brides who did consider a wedding planner, cost was the top factor in deciding who to hire. What does this tell me? That I have the crucial task of educating my potential clients so they realize HOW a planner can help them, WHAT their investment provides them, and WHY having a planner makes a difference in the planning process. I am prepared to provide examples and references so that my potential clients feel comfortable and educated about working with MDE.
At the end of the day, I find my job to be one of the most interesting and complex jobs on the planet. It is often ranked as one of the ten most stressful jobs year after year, right between military personnel, airline pilots, and police believe it or not, (click here to see more) but for me, it is also the most fulfilling and awesome privileges that I have in life. Accompanying people through the planning journey during major milestones in their life is an honor and I love it.