The Wedding Planners

The following excerpts are from the current issue of I Do Magazine

The rings $$$$ …

The dress $$$$ …

The venue $$$$ …

The peace of mind provided by a nuptial know-it-all?   PRICELESS

As soon as the proposal is announced, the barrage of inquiries begin:  “Did you set a date?”  Have you started planning?”  “How many guests?”  “Where’s the honeymoon?”

Panic attacks ensue, inevitably gaining momentum with the increasing input – and demands – from the people on the periphery of the festivities.

Her mom has venue “suggestions” (er, expectations).  His dad has a “short” guest list (100 people).

Her friends have strong opinions about bridesmaid dresses (in all the wrong colors).

Grandma needs a place to stay (for three weeks).

WHOA!!!!

For some couples, ditching the ceremony and reception idea and neaking off to Las Vegas to elope starts to seem like a rosy option.  Such extremes are hardly necessary, however.  For many brides and grooms to be, a wedding planner can be just the person to deal with all the meticulous details – and ecessary diplomacy – to pull of the wedding of their dreams.

“A lot of people ask what does a wedding planner do?” says Ana S, a certified professional wedding planner.  The answer is, “We can do everything.”  “We can be involved as much or as little as a couple would like.  We can help organized, create and execute a very memorable event.”

Wedding planners have been relieving stress and providing guidance for decades, but many people ahve the wrong ideas about them.  These images were formed by the likes of Martin Short with that crazy accent as Franck Eggelhoffer in “Father of the Bride,” and Jennifer Lopez with her stash of emergency supplies as Mary Fiore in “The Wedding Planner.”

“We do have emergency kits like hers, but mine’s in a suitcase,” Paula Marrero says, reminding that in the movie Lopez wore her supplies strapped to her body.

Marrero founded Marrero Weddings and Events in 2005.  Prior to that she was an event planner for celebrity chef Todd English and once worked on a wedding with Oprah Winfrey’s personal event designer, Colin Cowie.

“Not every wedding needs a planner,” she points out.  In many instances, however, couples do need assistance with one or more aspects of the event.  “Some people need help with design. Some people need help setting a timeline. Some people are so stressed due to family issues,” she says.  “A wedding planner can be a great asset.”

In general, wedding planners offer several types of packages, each tailored to what a couple needs, though services and fees will vary.  “We conduct a pretty comprehensive consultation to make sure it’s right on both sides,” says Marrero.  “We don’t take everybody on because that doesn’t benefit anyone.”

Most wedding planners move the getting-to-know you process forward with the help of questionnaires.  “It’s mean for you and your fiance to sit down and really think about the things you like,” Marrero explains.  “I think people get so intent on planning a wedding, they forget who they are and what they love.  You want to make it your life, but just more special for that day.”

And yet, no matter how much a couple prepares, the chance that something can go wrong exists.  Marrero’s story of Mother Nature throwing a wrench into the plan involves hurricane Irene.

“We had a 350-person wedding, outside, tented, which didn’t really scare me,” she says, “but an hour or so before the guests were to arrive, the worst rain I’ve ever seen in my life began coming down.”

The tent puckered and two feet of water seeped in, causing the furniture to float.

“It was awful.  We took all the chairs and tables and moved them up on a raised dance floor and then ran out to get sump pumps,” she recalls.  “It was the worst wedding fo my life, but it ended up going off without a hitch after that and the guests didn’t know what had happened.”

While it’s obvious that wedding planners can help save the day, what’s no so obvious is that they can also save you money.

“People think that having a wedding planner is a luxury they can’t afford.  That’s just not true,” Marrero says.  “We designed our packages so that you will have an overall savings of the cost of our fee, if not more.”

Ana agrees.  “Weddings are really expensive, but a planner can save you money, simply because we know what we’re doing.  This is our job.””

“We’re here to support and guide,” Marrero adds.  “It’s about maximizing your day.”

Article by Sarah Ashley Durrell