YAY!!! You are engaged and ready to get down to business with planning your destination wedding, but where do you start? Hopefully by this point, you are beginning to see how useful and important it is to have a wedding planner on-site for your destination wedding. (Still unsure, check out Part I of this article that covers some of the major roles of a wedding planner). In this Part II article, we are going to look at all the “little things” that good wedding planners do behind the scenes to ensure your day goes off without a hitch.
- Walking you through the experience
- Vendor Management
- Graphic Design and Print Needs
- Etiquette, traditions and momentos
- Overseeing the overall day-of events
- The all-seeing, all-knowing timekeeper
- Guest Services
- Let’s not ignore possible snafus
- At the end of the day…
Walking You Through the Experience
Even the simplest ceremonies still have a lot of moving parts and pieces. Remembering all of the details and keeping it all straight can be dizzying. You can think of your day in two parts: The first part is the theme and the feeling you want your family and guests to experience. From the food to the music to the lighting and ambiance… you have been planning this day for months and you want to make sure everything is simply perfect!
The second part involves the reason you have all gathered: you and your spouse. At the same time, you are tucked away from everyone, with your besties, enjoying a glass of stars and wondering what your soon-to-be spouse is thinking and doing. You don’t need to worry about anything at this point, other than being at the right place, at the right time. Period. That’s it. And if you are worried about all of these other things, then something is not right. Your wedding planner should make the world melt away and you should feel like the only person in the world. No worrying about whether uncle Bob made it from his hotel, or if the canapés are the right temperature or if the bubbly is flowing. None of that should matter because your wedding planner should have it all taken care of.
Now that you have assembled your perfect array of vendors, you will need someone running point and communicating with your vendors. While this will include reviewing all the initial paperwork and contracts to make sure everyone is on the same page, a significant amount of time will be spent communicating and revising your needs and your vision for the day.
Let’s face it, when you are planning a destination wedding from the other side of the world, there are bound to be a couple updates and revisions. These can be anything from tweaking your menu and revisiting your floral selections to discussing site inspections and assisting with transportation. Having someone keyed in to exactly what your vision is, that is knowledgeable and articulate, and able work with your vendors to secure the finishing touches will be worth every penny!
Graphic Design and Print Needs
Many couples these days manage their own RSVPs and try to take care of any and all needs themselves. And this is fabulous and we cannot thank you enough! However, when you are dealing with so many variables and lists and items and things, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Some wedding planners will offer packages where they can manage this part for you! From helping design your save-the-dates, invitations, menus, place cards and seating charts, these packages can make sure that everything is done promptly and professionally and printed here in Italy, at our favorite printers. Not having to remember to pack the menus, or manage last minute additions or cancellations on the seating chart can save time, precious packing space and money.
Etiquette, Traditions and Momentos
Getting married in a different country is every bride’s dream, especially Tuscany! Your knowledgeable wedding planner will be able to advise you every step of the way. And this may include offering input on some fantastic wedding day etiquette and traditions that could be fun to incorporate. It could also be something like incorporating your family’s traditions, to interesting ways to include something special from a loved one into your dress of bouquet or even helping navigate quirky superstitions. A good wedding planner will have you covered!
Overseeing the Overall Day-Of Events
When the big day finally arrives, it may feel a bit overwhelming. And that is 100% natural. Vendors will be arriving at all hours of the day and night to be ready for your wedding. Your wedding planner will have a pre-arrival plan for each vendor and will be onsite to make sure they are in the right place at the right time and that they have everything they need. Plus, it is your planner’s job to make sure that your vision is executed perfectly. From each flower in the right place to cold drinks ready on cue to making sure that your bridal party (and spouse!) ends up where they need to be.
However, as your day moves forward from one magical event to the next (from the welcome dinner the night before to the welcome drink, to the ceremony, to the aperitivo, to the dinner and finally afterparty), someone will need to be on hand to make sure that everything is taken care of. Not just the setting up, but the breaking down. Remember, just like when you arrived, there needs to be no trace left behind that could cause problems with your venue! It may seem like a small detail, but it can equate to a BIG savings!
The All-Seeing, All-Knowing Timekeeper
You and your destination wedding planner will spend the last few moments before your arrival carving out your schedule. This will include a broad timeline for the day like the start time of the ceremony, the aperitivo, ceremony, dinner and will relay this information to your guests. But… do you want to know a secret? (Ok, it’s not a “super” secret…) But we have a secret schedule! We call it our “Run-of-Show”. This document will be a minute to minute account of your events. From what time each vendor arrives, to when they need to be ready, to who needs to be in place when, where and why… It is a secret, magic document and it has been shown to ease even the most anxious of Type A personalities.
As an American, navigating my way in Tuscany, there are a lot of little differences that can add up to be a lot. One of the most time consuming (but extremely important) things we do, is moving people. Whether that is making sure your bridal party that just arrived at the train station (and doesn’t have a taxi appointment – yes, that is a real thing) makes it to their villa, to making sure Uncle Bob makes it from the hotel to the venue to making sure you and your spouse arrive at the alter at the right time, it is all a choreographed dance and it requires a lot of planning and forethought. A great wedding planner will help you think through your travel needs and scenarios and make sure no one is left “waiting at the station”.
Let’s Not Ignore Possible SNAFUs
No matter how organized you are… No matter how many lists you have and boxes you have ticked, things are bound to slip through the cracks. They always do. And that’s okay, because your wedding planner is there to help and take care of these little “inconveniences”. You should be concentrating on you, and enjoying the day you have been planning for months… not trying to find Aunt Martha sewing kit, your bridesmaid a steamer, your niece bobby pins and so on. Let alone, the possibility of a vendor running late, flowers that are not quite right or a bus load of people with no transportation in sight.
Some wedding planners even offer a special Day-Of Coordination because these are very real things that could happen. A good wedding planner will run interference and take care of all of these things and you will never even know it. And this insurance is priceless on your most special of days.
At the End of the Day…
In conclusion, while it may be the wee hours of the morning and you have danced yourself silly, there is still a lot of work to be done. From making sure that all of the vendors are paid to making sure the venue is left clean, your deposits and returned, all the linens are accounted for and the last drinks, cleaned up and glasses washed, there is still much to be done. And let’s face it, that is the absolute LAST thing you want to worry about, am I right? A great wedding planner will have a plan in place for everything before the first bottle of Prosecco is popped until the last drop is consumed.
All this on top of concentrating on getting ready, making sure you have everything you need plus your guests are all taken care of, it can be a bit unnerving. Having someone there to make sure the overall theme of the day shines through, but that also is there to help if you need a sewing kit, your lucky lipstick, a stray bobby pin, a spare tissue, or a shoulder to cry on, having a wedding planner there, every step of the way will make a world of difference.
How did we do? Did we cover nearly every aspect of what a wedding planner does, or are we off a bit? Did we miss something big that should be added? Please leave a comment so that we can continue to build our knowledge and share it with the world.