Why Should You Hire A Wedding Planner?
The story below describes an honorary bridesmaid's experience at a friend's wedding and the challenges she witnessed and tried to resolve when the bride had no one in charge of her big day.
In retrospect, this honorary bridesmaid realized she'd actually made a wise decision in hiring a wedding coordinator for her own wedding coming up, and felt sorry for this bride who could have had a lovely day if someone had just been the leader.
Read her story if you are wondering if it's worth it to hire a wedding planner...
Why You Need a Wedding Planner...
"Last weekend, I was considered an "honorary bridesmaid" at a good friend, Allie's* wedding along with 2 other girls. The three of us were close with the bride, but she only had enough space at the altar for a few bridesmaids.
The night before the wedding, Allie wanted all the girls to stay at her hotel with her and work on the centerpieces and bouquets (which were not assembled. at this point she had a couple of buckets of flowers), and paint nails. We didn't have time to work on anything before the rehearsal, so that was the first thing we did. At this point the officiant clearly has not been given any instruction as to how the wedding will play out. Allie and her now-husband, Mike, were trying to figure out when Mike would come in, what the parents' roles would be, etc. They were still trying to figure out who would press play on the iPod for the music. There was nobody in charge so nobody really took it seriously. They didn't get through a single run through without someone pausing to ask a question, or messing anything up.. It was also clear that the bride and groom had no idea what the officiant would be saying at the ceremony. But they called it good and we went to dinner.
The rehearsal dinner was (I think) Mike's parents' big contribution, so it was pretty formal. It was a 6 course meal and unlimited beer and wine. The waiter continuously filled my glass without asking multiple times, which I wasn't complaining about, but it led to everyone getting a little sloppy.
Cue, Sarah. Sarah is the girlfriend of one of the groomsmen. Because the dinner was traditional, the bride and groom and all of the attendants were at the head table. So I sit with Sarah and one of the "honorary bridesmaids," Kathy. As we drink more throughout the evening, the 3 of us start talking about silly things and seem to be having a great conversation. I am asking both girls questions about their jobs, pets, etc. and feel like the conversation is really inclusive. By about course 4, Kathy and I notice Sarah is gone, then we see her up by the head table getting upset. Turns out she was upset that her boyfriend wasn't checking on her and they get in a huge fight on the balcony, which everyone in the room can clearly see.
After dinner, Allie decides she wants to go bar hopping, and the wedding party goes along. Of course, not including Sarah and her boyfriend who are still fighting and they go to their hotel. Everyone gets really drunk, but the girls make it back to the hotel by 1am. Everyone is too drunk to do anything so the girls just go to sleep. The next morning we wake up and I ask Allie what her day-of schedule is. She basically says "we can eat breakfast here, then paint nails and make the bouquets. Our hair appointment is at 2 and I have to check into our hotel for Mike and I at some point.. and we can get into the venue at 3:30." (Guests are supposed to arrive at 5:30).
By the time we start assembling the bouquets, I realize Allie never did a trial run. Nobody has ever made a bouquet before, so we are all winging it. We get most of the way done, flowers and trash just all over the hotel room floor, when housekeeping comes in to tell us we missed checkout and it's time to go... Nobody made sure they had the room all day. Luckily Allie's sister was staying at that hotel that night so we quickly pack up all of our stuff and move it all into her room and finish everything. The other honorary bridesmaids and I make sure we do our hair then and I also went ahead and did my makeup so I would be ready.
I am one of few people who was actually from the city where this wedding took place, so I ended up driving everywhere and leading the caravan to the salon and the venue. It was supposed to rain that day, so the venue put all of the tables for dinner inside. It was perfectly sunny so Allie was calling around trying to figure out how to get the tables outside like they had planned from the beginning. When we get to the salon, I find out Allie never had a hair trial either. So she spent some time showing the stylist inspiration pictures, while the bridesmaids get their hair done.
We get her checked into her hotel and get to the venue around 3:45. Which is when she actually asks the person in charge at the venue to move the tables. She says she can't do that, they talk about it, and move on. Then the photographer shows up and starts asking if she can take pictures of the ceremony space. At this point, there are no decorations up. She has the centerpieces in bags labeled by tables, but she starts running around like a crazy person and the rest of us are kind of left to assemble them and hope she likes it. Sometime around 4:30, Kathy finds a bag full of place cards. no table numbers on them. So we have a floor plan of the venue and tables, and handwritten notes as to who goes where, so we have to sort all 70-something of these place cards.
By 5, Allie still has no makeup on. Neither do any of the bridesmaids. The photographer keeps asking Allie random questions about where her rings and her dress are so she can take pictures of those, and people are still running around like idiots. There is nobody in charge. around 5:45 Allie is finally ready to put her dress on, but even that is crazy because she just took it and went to another room by herself and put it on, then her mom helped her zip it and button it, then they realize she doesn't have on her bra or whatever, so they start over..
They finally start taking a few pictures, and the other honorary bridesmaids and I head down to take our seats. As the room is very full and small, when we walk in, a guy has to actually stand up to let us get past him. This guy was on the aisle, and in order for us to get towards the front of the room, he had to move... This is the aisle the bride and her father are about to walk down...
Then the officiant and Mike show up from another door and we assume it begins. Before the processional, some teenager comes running in late and walks halfway down the aisle before he realizes what he has just done.
The ceremony goes about how you would expect it to. The officiant never tells everyone to be seated, so its awkward, nothing was rehearsed, but they got it done.
The bride and groom and party went outside to take pictures and the venue employees move the tables into the ceremony space for dinner. But then Kathy and I realize the tables are bare and nobody is doing anything about it. So we are scrambling (along with some guests who happened to notice) to set up the place cards and centerpieces and hope that we got it right.
Eventually it all works out and everyone comes back in for dinner. The DJ releases tables, but at this point nobody has any idea who this guy is, and why he is talking to us or releasing us for dinner. Dinner is BBQ, all on disposable plates and plastic cutlery, but there are no knives, so nobody can eat the brisket.
By the time everyone heads outside for the reception, it's clear that most of the bridal party is still hungover, and exhausted. But we make the best of it. When Allie and Mike come in, they get announced and stand on the dance floor for toasts. When the MOH starts talking, she blows a fuse on the DJ equipment. He eventually fixes it, but it keeps happening.
Then the DJ announces the "shoe game" and it's obvious Allie and Mike knew nothing about this, or even how to play as they kept asking for clarification. Before this is even over, all the wine is gone and they are down to the keg and water. Finally the dancing begins and everything is pretty normal from there. Until the DJ announces the last song, and the couple never leaves. Everyone just kind of stops dancing and the couple walks around and everyone feels like they have to hug them again before they leave. So the couple actually ends up being some of the last people to get to leave.
Oh and Sarah, the crazy girlfriend, the entire wedding is pouting and is clearly still very angry with her boyfriend. Several people ask the bride what was wrong with her throughout the night. Until she got incredibly drunk and started "club dancing" (you know what I mean) on her boyfriend. She was the only person dancing like that. Grandmothers were watching.
Most of this craziness could have been avoided by just putting someone in charge, let alone hiring a Day of Coordinator who has experience and can see these problems coming before they ever cause an issue. I left feeling overly exhausted and stressed when I was assuming I was just supposed to be a guest who got to get ready with the bride."
*Names have been changed.