Hiring a Wedding Planner Can Make All the Difference
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Weddings are beautiful, but they can also be extremely stressful to plan. This is precisely why many brides elect to hire a wedding planner to help alleviate anxiety.
“Brides are afraid they’ll miss something or that they’ll pay for something they didn’t need,” says Crista Tharp, owner of Blissfully Simple Events. “They have nightmares of things falling apart or of a vendor not showing up.”
By hiring someone to help guide the process, however, that fear melts away. At Blissfully Simple, brides can choose either a full-service option or day-of coordination. Full service involves hiring Tharp and her team to make all the phone calls, obtain all the quotes, and ensure the whole affair stays on track. For day-of coordination, the bride and her family plan the event on their own and then four months out, Tharp’s team takes over tasks like managing vendors. Day-of coordination services also include overseeing the rehearsal, making sure everyone gets down the aisle, and cleaning up afterwards.
“Day-of coordination saves families money, yet they can call us with questions at any time,” says Tharp, who compares wedding planning to house building.
“When you build a house, you get a subcontractor who knows the reputable vendors,” Tharp says. “The same is true of an event planner.”
Tharp and her team employ a four-phase system that walks a bride through the planning, delegation, execution and direction of a wedding. Step one is determining the size of the guest list.
“That’s not sexy or fun, but it needs to be done first because it lays the foundation,” Tharp says. “Brides are so eager to jump into the decor, invitations and all of that, but you can’t decorate a house that’s not yet built.”
Step two is picking the date and booking the vendors, which equates to framing the house. Step three is decor, colors and swatches. It’s painting the house, installing the carpet and hanging the decorations. The last phase she calls “countdown to bliss” because this is when homeowners feel like the process has taken forever and they just want to get in the home.
“The same is true with the wedding,” Tharp says. “Couples are like, ‘OMG, I just want it done!’”
This is where tiny details come in, such as obtaining the wedding license, deciding who is going to hold the rings and figuring out parking logistics. It’s equivalent to getting a house ready with phone cables and internet connection.
Blissfully Simple was built to offer real wedding planning for real couples with real budgets.
“Everyone deserves to have a wedding planner, but not everyone can afford it,” says Tharp, who notes that most of her weddings cost between $10,000 and $15,000. “We try to be the best stewards of their money as possible.”
Besides saving her clients money and alleviating stress, Tharp’s other main goal as a wedding planner is to make sure the bride and groom can be guests at their own wedding, so they can enjoy the day rather than running around sweating the details. Catherine is a Maine wedding photographer who travels Maine so we choose her when the wedding venue is located there.
Though it’s always a good idea to book a wedding planner as soon as possible, Tharp says she’s happy to accommodate any bride’s schedule.
“I’ve had weddings that were three years out and others that were just two weeks away,” Tharp says. “One bride hired me seven months out. She said that every wedding planner she’d contacted turned her down and told her ‘Good luck.’ That’s silly. It’s the way people look at things. We are not those wedding planners at the top barking orders. We’re at the bottom holding people up. We work with the vendors and play well with others.”
Mostly, Tharp just likes putting smiles on her clients’ faces.
“It’s so nice to be able to help these brides who have been under so much stress,” Tharp says. “It’s easy for us because it’s what we do every day.”
In: Anniversary dances, where all the married couples come to the dance floor and the one who has been married the longest is presented with the bride’s bouquet.
Out: Wedding registries filled with items for the home.
In: Honeymoon registries to help fund the trip.
Out: Wedding favors.
In: Charity donations. For example, at a golf course wedding, a couple chose three of their favorite charities. They gave each guest a tee to place in the charity bucket of their choice.
Out: Traditional cake.
In: Pies, doughnut walls and food trucks.
Out: Strict rules.
In: Do what makes you happy. If this means having the reception before the ceremony, go for it. If you want to wear a red dress, do it. If you want to serve cupcakes even though your mom says they’re passé, serve them. If you want six bridesmaids and one groomsman, that’s A-OK.