|These articles on wedding etiquette are not designed to cover
every single situation that come up during a wedding, but to point
out the general principles of wedding etiquette and offer some tips
in dealing with awkward situations that often arise.
Hiring a wedding planner can be a monkey on your back or the best
thing you ever did. Since most wedding planners are female, in this
article, we will be referring to a "she," but there are good male
wedding planners out there are well.
She knows all the tricks, she knows the best places to get things,
she can check all your contracts to make sure you are getting what
you paid for and she can see to it during the wedding that your
suppliers live up to their contracts. Consider the fact that your
suppliers will be a lot more influenced by a wedding planner they
would like to see and do business with again then they are a couple
who is going to have one single wedding (one hopes!) regardless of
the size of the wedding, so her displeasure has "teeth" with them.
She can negotiate prices and contract terms, and she knows how much
you should pay.
Obviously, you and your parents will not be available to deal with
any crises that arise during the ceremony, and it is difficult for
any of you to deal with crises that come up during the reception.
She will be there from beginning to end on that day to make sure
things go smoothly, people are in their places, and she can deal
with unusual circumstances with a steadiness and familiarity that
none of you will have.
She can shield you from being overwhelmed before, during and after
the wedding. Many a family relationship has been strained because of
tensions and circumstances before a wedding; she can alleviate that.
Often, an engaged couple will wait until the last minute until
they're impossibly overwhelmed before they hire a wedding planner --
and then pay full price for their services with half the benefits. A
good wedding planner can save you endless time and aggravation --
and if you hire a good one -- a lot of money, but if you are
too late in hiring one you can't take advantages of the benefits one
has to offer.
Some wedding planners will steer you to their suppliers, who will
mark up the price as a commission to the planner--in addition to
taking a percentage payment from you directly!
Wedding planners will work for a percentage of the total price of
the wedding, a flat fee, or for the wedding day only. Some wedding
planners are available as an add-on service through hotels, if you
are having your reception or ceremony and reception at that
location. Those planners work as employees of the hotel, and their
services are generally more limited than a full-service, independent
How Do You Tell?
First, decide on the role you want the wedding planner to take in
your wedding, so you can decide which type of planner you are going
to hire. The very best way to hire a wedding planner is by referral.
If you know of a bride or brides who have used one they are
satisfied with, that is probably the best way to hire one. When you
get a referral, though, consider the source as well.
The former bride who is giving a negative review may have been
difficult to deal with!
Another way you can check is to make tentative contact with her and
focus on something you need to purchase, for instance the wedding
cake. See who she recommends (don't pump her for multiple sources,
though -- one category only), then stop by the store and take a look
around. With a brief visit, you can get a good idea of the prices of
their wedding cakes. Stop by another store and do the same thing.
Are the two stores comparable in price and quality? When you go
there to look at wedding cakes with her, are the prices different?
When you go to a store she recommends, are the prices marked, or are
they quoted? This will give you a good idea of whether or not you
are being set up--particularly if your arrangement with her is a
If you decide not to hire a wedding planner, it is essential you
have a friend or family member to perform in that role on the day of
the wedding -- you will simply not be available. Make sure that the
person who agrees to do be your representative receives a gift for
her services--preferably after the reception is over. You can put it
in the trunk of your parent's car--and make sure it's a nice one!
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Wedding etiquette is really just a guideline based on tradition. It
actually the art of making those around you feel comfortable and
accepted. The most important part of etiquette is the latter--making
those around you feel comfortable and accepted. That requires
putting yourself in their shoes, and it can be an especially tough
thing to do when you are up to your elbows in wedding preparations.
It's a necessity, though--with the merger of two families, this is a
big day for your friends and relatives too and your behavior, good
and bad, will be remembered for years and years to come.