But do you really need a wedding planner?
BY MANDY WOLF DETWILER
So, you’ve just said “yes!” Now what? Brides and grooms can become inundated with choices, from the dress and tux colors to venue seating, flower decisions and thank-you notes. Hiring a wedding planner can certainly ease the load, but is it an affordable option for the average future married couple? We talked to Jamie Lott, owner of Louisville Events4U and a wedding planner for 11 years.
EXTOL MAGAZINE: Who should hire a wedding planner?
Jamie Lott: The value lies in having a professional who won’t forget even the smallest detail of the big day. Wedding planners are all about the details – things you might miss. If you’re a detail-oriented person and you’ve got a career of your own, maybe a busy life with your fiancé, it’s much, much easier in my opinion to turn (wedding planning) over to a professional so that nothing is missed as part of your wedding planning process.
EXTOL: What are some of the most overlooked details by couples who plan their own weddings?
Lott: Transportation to and from the venue and/or the church. Things like right down to the catering. Did you plan on just feeding (guests) the cake or did you plan on feeding them another dessert? I’ve been to so many weddings where I’ve just done day-of coordinating and they ran short of cake. Little things like that, I’m there to remind you about.
EXTOL: Is there anyone who shouldn’t hire a wedding planner?
Lott: By the day of the wedding, even the control freaks, even the very OCD brides, have been very grateful that (a wedding planner) is there because she can relax and not have to worry about the details. My standard line is, “I’ve got this. Please don’t worry.” I do this almost every weekend, and if you haven’t thought of it, I will. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t need a wedding planner. I think there are some girls who think they can do it on their own, but I actually feel bad for them on their wedding day because they are so stressed trying to do it, even with their girlfriends. They should be getting ready that day. They should be with their family. They should be relaxing and sipping mimosas or whatever makes them happy versus worrying about setting up their tables and their centerpieces, and going to pick up this or going to pick up that.
EXTOL: What should you look for in a good wedding planner?
Lott: It’s all about the details. Look for the person who asks all the right questions, the person that is the best fit for you. Your personalities need to mesh. You need to make sure that you like this planner and this planner is almost a member of your family because of the length of time you’re going to be spending with this person and what this planner is going to ask of you. As you go along in this process, you need to be willing to work with this planner and trust this person.
EXTOL: How do you help set a budget with the bride and groom?
Lott: I’m very brutally honest and I ask them what they think they can spend on this wedding. If it’s a certain amount and that amount is very low, I ask them if they’re willing to do some of the work themselves, like we make part of the centerpieces ourselves and then we add florals from a florist –– anything we can do to cut costs. I’m very good about keeping them on budget. They take themselves off budget!
EXTOL: As a wedding planner, how do you handle so-called bridezillas?
Lott: In the industry, we all laugh at the shows because they pick the worst of the worst. I have been very blessed … that I have had very few “bridezillas.” Most of these girls are very grateful for the help, which is why they hired me in the first place. If they get a little tense right before their wedding, which is very common, we talk it out. … I try very hard to let them know I’m on top of this.
EXTOL: What should the wedding planner do and what should the couple take care of?
Lott: Everything, down to scheduling everything. I create timelines and itineraries, an overall day-of timeline for the ceremony and the reception so everybody’s on the same page. I make sure the DJ’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, the venue’s doing what they’re supposed to do, and if that includes catering, we’ve gone over that menu 15 times. I don’t want that bride to think about anything but enjoying her day. … I keep a bride box with me on the day of the wedding of all the “what ifs.” If this breaks, if this needs to be taped, a first-aid kit, things like that that they would never have thought to bring.