I am asked the questions of “Why do we need a wedding planner?” and “Is a wedding planner worth it?” often. Let me share with you last summer’s wedding in Washington, DC and you can decide for yourself why hiring an experienced wedding planner could be worth every penny. Photo by Dreamworks Photography.
For the second time in my career, I had to relocate a client’s wedding reception overnight due to an electrical power outage. The first wedding relocation was during the Derecho storm of 2012. This time, the original wedding venue lost power due to a problem with the power company and I was informed while our clients were at their rehearsal dinner that power would not be restored for another 24 hours. I had the unpleasant job of informing my clients but not before we had a decent plan in motion. By this time, it was nearly 10pm on a Friday night. Overnight, we were able to relocate the reception and handle all of the logistics involved with that for the guests and for our event partners. We printed directions to the new venue for our guests; adjusted our timelines and logistics for our event partners; redesigned the floor plan based on the new space; revised the guest table assignments; created new file formats for the slideshow we had planned for cocktail hour; determined how to mimic the design we had planned for the original venue and use it in the new venue. I only slept for a handful of hours that night.
What are the factors that allowed us to successfully deal with such a rare and unexpected situation?
- Team Work. Here is where hiring the right team of wedding professionals makes a big difference. In choosing a wedding vendor, he or she needs to be a team player, with the overall goal of working together to make our clients happy and their event a success. They need to take pride in their work, have integrity, and high level of professionalism. Our event partners were all helpful and flexible, doing whatever was necessary to keep the bride and groom at ease. Our DJ brought extra lighting equipment to help me transform the space. The priest who married them broke the news to the guests at the ceremony in the most humorous way possible.
- Longevity. Having been in the special events industry for quite some time now, we have contacts within the industry we can call on to help in emergency situations. This is the case not only for us but for our partners as well. The original venue’s staff made many phone calls to explore all alternatives, from finding refrigerated trucks to move the food, to calling venue contacts, to finally contracting with the new venue. After all those years of networking, on days like that it is all worth it.
- Dedication. If you care about your client and about your quality of work, you will do nothing short of bringing your A game. Our entire team and all of our event partners were dedicated to giving our bride and groom and their guests the best wedding possible. At all cost, we were going to shield them from all the behind the scenes work that needed to be done. I wanted them to wake up the morning of their wedding, have fun getting ready with their wedding party and families, head to the church and enjoy the ceremony, and arrive for their reception like nothing had happened.
I will share with you the rest of the photographs by Dreamworks Photography from that wedding next week. In the end, our clients and their families had the best attitude and perspective towards this situation, and trusted us. The best reward was the following note I received from our bride and groom.
“I will always be grateful for going to our friend’s wedding … when he told us we had to get a wedding planner … Not only did you get us organized and lifted the weight off my shoulders … and attention to detail, you also completely transplanted our reception from one venue to another. Steve and I, as well as our families, could not be more impressed or grateful. You are professional and thoughtful, and we could not be happier.”
I hope I have shed some light on how a professional wedding planner can help you. While this type of incident is rare, it can happen and I would hate for our clients to have dealt with that on their own the night before their wedding. — Vicky