By Denise Georgiou, WPICC of Weddings Jubilee
One of the first things I do when a Toronto Engaged Couple contacts me is ask them some screening questions. Questions like: What date are they hoping for? how many guests they are hoping to invite? what city they want to have their wedding in? and; what is their budget? Contrary to some beliefs, I don’t ask these questions because I want to know how much to charge them, I ask because it let’s me gage how realistic they are about their budget. In other words, if my couple wants a Saturday July Wedding for 150 guests in downtown Toronto for a budget of $15,000.00, I know that I need to put on my ‘reality check’ hat to educate them of some real costs.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a lower budget wedding in downtown Toronto is impossible, I’m saying that they first need to understand how much things cost. They need to know the compromises & cuts that must be made in order to make that happen. Compromises like: a smaller guest list, different reception time and type, choosing a less popular day of the week etc.
Many couples tend to wrongly think that hiring a Wedding Planner will automatically mean negotiations with vendors to get them better deals. Sometimes we can get some added value with vendors and on occasion a discount or two, but nobody works for free. Think of it this way, if your boss came to you and said “I’m on a tight budget and can only pay you 1/2 of your pay for the same amount of work”, how would you feel? I bet that it would not bode well and you’d think your boss didn’t appreciate you; it would be unacceptable. You, rightfully, want to get paid for your hard work. Same goes with your Toronto Wedding vendors including your wedding planner.
Remember that your wedding planner will spend countless of hours researching all your needs, emailing, calling and visiting venues and vendor’s to find ones that are perfect for your wedding; create and manage your budget, produce your timeline, fully develop the wedding theme or vision you have, handle confirmations, follow-up calls and visits with your vendors, create your itinerary for you and your vendors, attend, manage and even direct your rehearsal and wedding ceremony, if you need it and coordinate and manage your wedding day. By the way, that’s just the condensed list.
A common misconception that couples (and sometimes their wedding party and family has) is that we wedding planners will pick up ALL the slack that you either didn’t have time to do or forgot to do all free of charge because we want to make you happy and give you a stress-free day. Although it’s true that we are there to make your day exceptional and as low-maintenance as can be, and it’s also true we do whatever is in our power to solve and divert any last minute issues, we are not miracle workers. We cannot make your delivered $50 centrepieces look identical to the photo you printed off Pinterest of the $300.00 one you asked your florist to scale down to save costs. We cannot simply add in unordered champagne for your guests on the day-of because your ‘fave uncle’ decided he wants to make a toast. If you didn’t purchase the champagne, the venue likely would not have it kicking around. We cannot challenge signed contractual agreements or coerce your wedding vendors to do things you did not agree to prior to your wedding day. For example: I can’t guarantee that your photographer will be convinced to stay later at no cost because you were late to your ceremony and everything is running late. Likewise, I can’t convince your venue to keep the bar open later just because your guests are having a great time. As a planner it is my job to help plan your wedding based on your budget and try to make it work with your vision in some way. My job is to help on the day to manage your event to have it all run smoothy and hopefully without incident. It’s my job to direct the wedding and troubleshoot any situations or problems that may arise. So, if your ‘fave uncle’ did want to make a toast, I could instead ask that a wine or sparkling cider be provided for your guests for an extra fee by your venue; although there are never guarantees, it would be a more likely scenario to expedite.
Although I can’t guarantee or promise perfection, I can promise that my team and I will do a perfect job in putting our best foot forward every step of the way and providing prompt, quality service during your planning and wedding day; I can promise that I will always advise you of all your options; the upsides and downsides to all your wedding ideas; I can also promise that I will be your eyes and ears on your wedding day to make it a beautiful experience for you and your loved ones.
Keep in mind that hiring a planner, even for just a series of consults will help. Regardless of your budget, it is important to meet with a professional coordinator to, at the very least, help get you organized and on the right track.