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Wedding Planning

Last updated March 7th, 2013

Approach any bride in the week preceding her wedding to ask how things are going and she will respond with some variation of: ‘Oh everything’s fine, just finishing up some last minute details, it will all come together on the day’. This is usually true; by the time the cake has been cut and the in-laws are suitably merry, she probably won’t mind that she walked down the aisle to the wrong music or that the guests ate pudding with fish forks. However, as you ask the question, you will see from her strained smile and twitching eye that the road to the big day has been less than smooth and that all of the organisation and decision-making has taken its toll.
This is because planning and managing a large event, and particularly a wedding, is akin to coordinating a military operation and as with any complicated endeavour, it is best to equip yourself with the appropriate tools for the job.
The first item of business on any bride-to-be’s list is setting the event budget; knowing how much you have to play with and allocating a figure to each area of spending is key. Balancing quality with cost can be a difficult task, as a visit to a wedding fair will demonstrate, every supplier testifies that they can offer you the best deal with the highest possible standard at a more than reasonable price. The problem that arises is knowing who to trust. This is an area where a qualified wedding planner can be at an advantage. Having professional connections with suppliers and venues, usually accompanied by a healthy industry discount can make all the difference, and ensure that you get the best quality service, without breaking the bank.
As soon as you have a firm budget set, the next move is to make an event checklist of everything that needs to be done, with deadlines for each decision. This stage is crucial if you don’t want to find yourself, a fortnight to go, with no one to officiate the ceremony and no lovingly handcrafted orders of service made. The obvious problem here is that no matter how many helpful websites you visit or copies of ‘wedding planning for dummies’ you buy, it is probably the first (and if all goes well, the last) wedding you’ve ever planned, and the correct timing of every step can be difficult. Wedding planners and events organisers have the benefit of access to specialist scheduling software, in addition to the infinitely more valuable experience and resources to ensure that every stage of planning happens when it needs to.
With all the preparation done, the icing on the (wedding) cake in terms of organisation is the big day itself. As easy as J-Lo made it look, with her headset and stilettos, project management on the day can be the biggest challenge of all. Ensuring that the venue is decorated in time and that the band has the music for the first dance may seem simple enough, but it’s the small details that often need the most supervision. From knowing exactly the right moment to start the speeches, to ensuring that the photographer is primed with the best angles to capture the cake cutting, a qualified wedding planner will have all the insider tricks at his or her disposal and will be trained in how to handle last minute disasters, an inevitability at any large event.
When all is said and done, and the last guest has been put in a taxi, the planning and trouble-free execution of a wedding is a difficult business, and one that thorough training in events management will inevitably simplify. The specialist skills and industry connections gained provide a thorough preparation for planning events on any scale and that, alongside experience, is an invaluable addition to any professional’s arsenal.
Article by Laura Bennett

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