Sounds Like A Plan

By Chelle Cordero

April 17, 2009 5 min read


Event planners keep your big day in check

Chelle Cordero

Creators News Service

Jennifer Lopez romanticized the role of wedding planners in 2001 when she starred opposite Matthew McConaughey in the movie called, as luck would have it, "The Wedding Planner." The heroine of the movie, she was also the savior of frazzled brides who wanted perfect weddings.

Real-life wedding planners also aid in creating magical, seemingly trouble-free days by coordinating all of the details that normally stress couples. When the wedding is far away, or the bride and groom are extremely busy, having that one person to run interference can be a huge plus.

"Couples simply want to be heard above their families' needs/wants, their friends' needs/wants and what the [wedding] industry is telling them they need/want," said Crystal Adair-Benning, a wedding planner from Toronto. "They want a wedding that reflects them -- their personalities, their wants or desires and the ability to seamlessly weave it all together into a beautiful day. A professional planner works with the couple to create a wedding filled with small touches, elegance and grace while maximizing their budget, minimizing the couples stress and creating a lifetime of memories."

Sarah B. Doheny of Sarah's Events and Bridal in Media, Pa., suggested that even if a couple doesn't use an event planner for everything leading up to the special day, they should still hire one for the actual wedding day. "Who is the contracted vendor going to call the day of [the event]?" she asked. "The bride, the groom, the mothers? No, us! We are the bride's advocate and if something should go wrong or a delivery is late that falls on us we handle every detail of that day for them so they are stress-free."

While there are many couples who hire a full-time or day-of wedding planner, some still make a conscious decision to do it themselves. Carol Berman, president of City Girl Media, is one such bride who plans to handle it herself for her upcoming September nuptials.

Berman said she would rather invest the fee for a wedding planner back into her reception. "It definitely takes more time to fully vet separate vendors, check references, read contracts, negotiate those contracts and ultimately hire all the people involved. But a little patience has saved me a lot of money and will make my wedding feel more personal in the end."

Allison Crane, assistant director of catering at The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, has a slightly different perspective on planning. "My title is 'assistant director of catering' but in essence I am a wedding planner," said Crane. "We try to make a bride's experience at our hotel as easy and as pleasant as possible. We offer 'one-stop shopping' and can help a bride coordinate music, floral decor, photography/video, ceremony, hair and spa appointments, guest rooms and rehearsal dinners."

There are advantages that planners have that the average bride or groom may not. "We have preferred vendors and relationships who give us preferred pricing based on the sheer volume that we do with them. Thus we are able to shave 20 to 25 percent of the overall cost of the wedding," said Elissa Fallo, the owner of Perfect Productions in Connecticut. "Wedding planners have the resources available to be able to create any type of wedding -- if you can dream it, we can do it."

Filling the role of a wedding planner, Elda Brouwer, weddings director at The Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Fla., has an amazing track record for meeting even the most unusual requests and catering to culturally authentic weddings. One such affair, the wedding of Nitin Motwani to his fiance Anshu took more than a year to plan and included securing an elephant for the groom to ride on according to Indian tradition.

Authentic Indian cuisine was served to 500 guests and the team efforts of the resort employees resulted in a memorable affair that was culturally sensitive and accurate.

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