Pre Wedding Journals | Bringing in a helping hand and who does what
Locking in a helping hand when it comes to bringing your big day together is quite possibly one of the single most stress-lifting decisions you can make as a bride or groom. But with it comes the question of what type of person do you need for the job, and why? More and more often the lines between the four roles of Wedding Planner, Stylist, Venue Manager and Caterer are blurred, so today I’ve brought in the big guns Em from Emma Newman Weddings, and Olivia who is a part of the Moveable Feasts group to talk about each different role in the traditional sense, and of course adding my two cents as a fellow planner and creative - because adding the Lucy love is what I do best!
What is a the role of a Wedding Planner?
Your wedding planner is the details fairy, focused primarily on the logistics leading up to the event and works in with contract negotiation and the execution of your vision. Think of a planner the way you would think of an Architect. They take care of essentially all the grunt work behind planning a wedding. Duties include keeping track of your budget and handling all the logistics and meetings with your different vendors and suppliers. When considering a wedding planner, it’s important to look at their experience and credentials as this role is significant if you’re someone that wants to sit back and let someone else manage the tasks of planning an event much larger than the average backyard BBQ. Depending on the package you have chosen, a wedding planner will create detailed timelines of the months leading up to your event along with determining and managing your budget. They often attend venue tours and tastings with you as well, along with helping to brainstorm design ideas for the day.
My two cents: I personally tend to find that Kiwi’s aren’t afraid of planning their own wedding, or at least DIY elements and booking their main vendors, which is why under the Christchurch Weddings umbrella I have a really big focus on providing coordination services for the day of your wedding, which in turn can be a really cost-effective way of bringing in hired help for a fraction of the cost. It’s about bringing that KISS method to life because planning just shouldn’t be difficult! How does it work? I’m so glad you asked! My favourite plan of attack is for us to meet during the initial planning stages to talk about your ideas and vision, hopes and dreams for the day - and of course the budget! I summarise this for you and planning continues, you’re welcome to sing out when and if you need me and of course I’ll get in touch for a sanity check every few months! Then in the two to three months out from your big day we reconnect for a full handover and I take over vendor communications and bringing the day to life - leaving you completely stress-free and able to fully enjoy the rest of your wedding lead up, and the most incredible day imaginable!
What is the role of a Wedding Stylist?
The best way to thinking of wedding styling is to think of it as interior design. A wedding stylist is focused mainly on the aesthetics of event and ensuring cohesion between all the visual and atmospheric elements. They will help a client come up with a design for the day that is unique to them and can partner with your choice of vendors, or vendors they suggest to create a look or atmosphere that is in line with your overall aesthetic. A wedding stylist is a great option when you’re unsure of where to start or what sort of look you would like to go for, e.g colour palates, tables and chairs, florals, table settings etc. It’s their role to tie all your favourite visual elements together nicely.
The difference between a Planner and a Stylist? Em has a couple of examples that perfectly highlight the differences.
Let’s talk stationery for instance:
“I work on the wording of the invites and Hayley (of Hayley and Co) the design, this is a great example of how we (a planner and stylist) work together.”
And on your big day:
“On the day Hayley and I love it when we help each other with setting up and then I come in more as host and run-sheet person."
My two cents: Whilst some planners will jump at the opportunity to help you put your initial styling concept together, it is outside their role to handle all the details around it, and it can become a bit of a struggle to complete an entire set up on their own - Believe me, I have done it before on two occasions! Using a stylist will truly bring your vision to life and can really help you save money.
What is the role of the Venue Coordinator / Manager
The Venue Manager is your first point of contact for questions relating to that venue and they will work on any details of your day relating to the venue and any information requested by your selected vendors. A Venue Manager often goes outside their role to provide advice and recommendations to help the couple-to-be due to their knowledge of the industry and vendors they find great to work with. They will have a good knowledge base around which suppliers can cater to your budget and in some instances may have a list of preferred suppliers. In the lead up to the wedding they will help coordinate the rehearsal, setup of the ceremony and reception and on the day of your wedding ensure the venue is as it should be. Depending on your venue, the manager may not be present on the day and in this instance, your lead contact will be your planner, or catering and beverage staff.
What is the role of your Caterer?
Never underestimate the value you get with your choice of a catering company. If you opt not to have a wedding planner and the venue manager isn’t around they are often the unsung heroes that work closely with your MC to guarantee your big day goes as planned. In the lead up to the wedding catering companies often step outside their role to ask you for information relating to your selected vendors including florist, stylist, musicians and photographers. This ensures they have all the details to ensure a smooth operation on the day and that any unexpected events are taken care of.
Timings for caterers are crucial and for your guests to enjoy a great food and service experience, so you will most likely find a catering company will guide you on the timings for the day based on their previous experience. For those looking to use a private property or host a marquee or tipi wedding, a meeting with your caterer can be a fabulous starting point. They can assist with the logistical requirements including access, power and water as well as suggesting fellow vendors with proven experience in the industry.
My two cents: While it can seem straightforward, handling all of this detail on your own can prove to be a difficult task, especially when you’re timing it with planning the rest of the affair and juggling your own lifestyle amongst it all. Make the most of a planner or coordinator and let them take care of this detail for you.
Us wedding vendors are special breed - One that will always go above and beyond to bring pure magic to your wedding day. But, no matter who you have on board to make that magic happen, it’s really important to know exactly what to expect from your vendors. So, do your research, ask all the questions, hand things over and enjoy the amazing time in between the not-so-single life and your newly married life as a wife or hubby!
Until next, and always in favour of hiring the planner,