HELLO folks, hope you are all good.
We are in the third month of the year, meaning that the first quarter of the year is nearly over. Time is moving and this week we are focusing on wedding planners and wedding managers.
In Africa, we tend not to go the route of hiring professional wedding managers or planners, unless the wedding is posh and the couple has lots of money to spare.
Most of us rely on family members, friends or relatives to help run our weddings.
Sadly, very few weddings run smoothly this way. I guess it is because most people want someone around that knows everyone in the family, etc.
But, there starts the issue. Before we discuss that, let’s look at the difference between the wedding manager and wedding planner.
Wedding planner: as the word “planner” states, it is someone who puts your wedding together. They plan it for you from beginning to end.
They step into your shoes and ensure that your wedding is done according to your specifications and or more, to the best of their ability.
The wedding planner is someone who takes over your wedding once your budget is done.
They then use your budget to find all the vendors (venue, photography, videography, décor, catering, bar, PA system, entertainment, cake, etc.) they negotiate prices, they hire people on your behalf, they have meetings with all the relevant people in your wedding to make sure things are on point.
They check on everyone to make sure everyone knows their duties. They basically take the stress away from you as a couple.
Having a wedding planner is great because they are not emotionally tied to anyone in the wedding. They are doing a job professionally, not emotionally.
So the issue of family trying to do their own thing behind your back will not happen.
Of c0urse this could become an issue according to some African traditions, but that is where your maid of honour or best man comes in as the go-between the wedding planner and some important family members.
The wedding planner, however, does not get involved in the traditional segments of the wedding. Their job is solely the wedding ceremony and reception, not the wedding traditions to be done running up to the big day. They are also the person who oversees the set-up of the wedding venue, etc the day before. From décor to catering, it’s their duty before the wedding to make sure everything is in order.
Wedding manager: Again as the word “manager” implies, this is someone who takes over the running of your wedding on the actual day.
So you can have a wedding planner running up to the day, and then have someone else managing the wedding on the day.
You could also have the same person doing the wedding planning and wedding managing (which makes sense). This person liaises with the wedding officiator, the best man and maid of honour, on bridal arrivals, photographs, eating times, etc.
The nice thing about having a wedding planner doubling as the wedding manager is that they know everything about the wedding and how it should look and work. They are on hand throughout, watching the venue being set-up, they are there when the décor is setup, they are there watching the caterers, they make sure the refreshments are there on time etc.
They even take care of paying the vendors during or after the wedding saving the couple the embarrassment of dealing with debts and people wanting their money.
All in all, I would encourage every couple whether they have money or not, to have a wedding planner or manager.
There is no reason why any couple should have stress with their wedding planning. Once you finalise your budget and venue and how many guests your want, let the planner take over and do the rest.
In fact most wedding planners know different venues, which will save you time.
You simply have to go and see what they suggest according to your wedding theme.
Lastly having someone organise your wedding means that you can hold them accountable when things failed to meet or exceed your expectation. Unlike when family or friends are in-charge, you have to maintain the relationship, so it gets complicated.
Having said all that though, there is nothing wrong with having a non-professional (friend, relative etc), do it for you. However, the success of your wedding day depends on their level of professionalism and experience.
Columnist contribution from Utate Wedding & Conference Venue, 0714 487 470.