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What Does Full-Service Wedding Planning Really Mean?

Planning your wedding

The term can be confusing, so we are breaking it down.

Hiring a wedding planner is no easy task. There is an overwhelming number of wedding planners and coordinators who pop up on Google and plenty of differences in their services. Some spout specialties, like destination wedding planning, while others list what is included in wedding planning packages tiered by price. Because being a wedding planner is not a regulated industry like being a doctor or lawyer—there is no degree or overseeing institution that accredits planners—the process is fraught with challenges.

The biggest issue that planners and couples face is that pricing is not regulated either. Cheaper is not necessarily better, and just because two pros say they offer full-service wedding planning does not mean that they offer all the same services. For some planners, full-service means a few hours of planning help while for others, that number can reach 1,000-plus hours of work to pull off your big day. You can not compare the costs of two pros without understanding what exactly is included in their interpretation of “full-service.”

To help you get a start, we dug into what full-service wedding planning really means, below I will go in to more details on what full service wedding planner means.

It Includes Help Hiring Vendors

Whether or not you have a venue or vendors in mind, a full-service wedding planner will help you book every professional you need for your dream day. A wedding planner like myself point out vendors that you never even thought about, such as a glassware rental company or sari drapers to help guests get ready for your Hindu ceremony. Even if you have already found your venue, your planner will be there to manage the conversations between you and that venue, negotiating rates for things like catering and confirming the timeline to ensure everything goes smoothly. Emma Louise Wedding Planner includes site inspections under the umbrella of hiring vendors, which means I am on the ground checking out the space and noting any potential logistical issues before you make a final booking. It is a critical aspect of the planning process.

It is About More Than the Décor

Couples tend to mistake wedding décor for all that a planner does, but it is really the unseen details that matter most. A successful wedding planning is about more than just the pretty. It is about the process and the work we do together. Planners keep your event running on time, put out fires you did not even know started, manage small situations like adjusting the room temperature, and function as the mediator between you and, well, everyone. You should be enjoying your wedding day, not worried about the bartender running out of ice. Full-service planning means anticipating your every need, but also educating you on the options that exist to create something that speaks to who you are. Successful wedding planning is about more than just the pretty.

It Goes Beyond Just the Couple

Of course your planner will be focused on you. But I will also ensure your guests will have a memorable experience. I will brainstorm interactive moments to keep your guests entertained while you take photographs, manage the ease of RSVPs, and have your welcome bags delivered to every guest's room at the hotel—any touchpoint that a guest has during your wedding planning process and celebration will be addressed. It is really thoughtful to all the details, large and small, for ‘every’ guest's experience.

It is Not Just for the Wedding Day

With the rise of wedding weekends, the popularity of destination affairs, and an abundance of pre-wedding festivities, full-service planners know they may be tapped to help create dream bridal showers and rehearsal dinners that rival the reception.

It Requires the Help of an Entire Team

One person can not do it all when it comes to hosting a wedding, be it you, your mother, or your wedding planner. Truly full-service planners arrive onsite with an entire team. That means having staff dedicated to specific areas of expertise, like food and beverage, service, décor, and transportation. Each serves as a point person during the planning process as well as day-of, knowing the nitty-gritty details of what is been organised to avoid any chaotic mess. That also means I will hire onsite producers to build décor or facilities for the celebration, noting that sometimes these staff are onsite for the two weeks leading up to the wedding to complete any installations.

It Includes Contracts and Budgeting

Not into negotiating fine print? That is where your full-service wedding planner will come in. From the onset, I build the master budget and manage the payment schedule. That includes educating couples about the process and what things cost, since it is a huge learning curve for most to-be-weds. Plus, some couples may not know the budget at the beginning and that is okay. Budget discovery takes time. You have never thrown a party of this magnitude before.

It Often Includes Design and Production

For many full-service planners, their services go beyond setting up the logistics of the day. They also serve as event designers and producers, who can form a concept or idea of the look and feel of your day then organise the means to build out the vision. Others focus solely on logistics, but partner with an event designer to produce the décor. It is important to understand the difference between the art of planning, the art of design, and ultimately, the art of production.

Be clear before hiring a planner where they fall on the spectrum to manage expectations and your budget.

It is Having an Ally

This person will be a part of your most intimate moments and you want to feel an immediate trust of hiring a planner. It is a long journey with a lot of emotions along the way, and having someone talented and fun on your side is crucial. Your planner will serve as your wedding guru during the planning process and can help mediate situations between families when it comes to décor choices and menu picks. That said, your planner is not a therapist nor is he or she available 24-7 to manage your (or your mother’s) anxiety. Some couples think they are the only couple the planner is working with. That is obviously not the case. Most industry pros are planning weddings for multiple couples at once. It is important to understand where to draw the line. Express compassion if they do not get back to you immediately or can not resolve an intimate interpersonal familial conflict.

It May Still Require Additional Charges for Services

Just because it is full-service, does not mean that the planner can do everything for you. Some services require additional effort, such as travel planning, tracking guests’ flights, and building custom wedding websites. Be clear about what your planner does and does not include under the term full-service. Be okay with additional fees for services that require many more hours of work, such as hiring a developer to code a website or enlisting travel agents to organize guests’ airline itineraries and tourist visas.

It Includes Getting the Little Things Done

Full-service means going above and beyond answering any beck and call, like arranging group photos, wake-up calls, and steaming clothes. Your planner is on-hand from the moment you sign the contract to the day your wedding photo album and final video are delivered, even if that is weeks after the festivities.

Hope you enjoyed this read of What Does Full-Service Wedding Planning Really Mean? and you have gained some knowledge of what a planner does and the meaning of full service package.

Bridgend wedding planner

Hope you enjoyed the read

Emma Louise x

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