Wedding Planner OR Personal Assistant?
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I am your wedding planner, not your personal assistant”? I would guess that nearly every wedding planner has had this thought cross their minds at some point in their career.
Earlier this week I was coaching Nicole, who has owned her Southern CA-based wedding planning company for two years, and we were going over the responsibilities of a wedding planner on the day of the wedding. Nicole shared that on the wedding day itself she has found that she is so busy answering texts and calls from the bride, the maid of honor, and the bridesmaids who need her to fetch this person or that thing. Consequently most of her weddings end up running off-schedule. I remember struggling with this same scenario myself. She asked a very valid question, Am I a wedding planner or a personal assistant? and I had a flashback to my first few years in business when I sometimes wondered the same thing.
This is one of the many reasons why I LOVE coaching wedding planners! Every week I am asked questions that take me back to when I was new and was grappling with the exact same situations. I remember how difficult navigating the ropes of the wedding industry was for me during those formidable years and how there was literally not one planner out there who was willing to coach, teach and share their own experience. I love that I can be that person for someone.
Today I want to share my opinion (based on my own personal experience) and I do hope that it will help you decide how to most effectively coordinate a wedding day. You all know that I like to break things down into points so here are the two main reasons why I do not believe a wedding planner should take on the role of personal wedding day assistant.
ONE :: I AM SIMPLY TOO BUSY
As a wedding planner, I was not hired to fetch coffee for the bridal party or to find Aunt Jane for the family photo or to stop by Ulta to pick up the brides favorite lipgloss, which she forgot to pack. I am busy overseeing and directing an entire wedding day from start to finish. I am greeting vendors (or as I try to refer to them: the creative team) as they arrive onsite. I am the point of contact for all members of the creative team for the day. I am setting out personal wedding decor items per the couple’s request. I liken it to a project manager of a house construction site; my team and I are overseeing the actual execution and building of a years worth of plans. And that’s just the first few hours of the day. While the couple is busy getting ready, this is what we are doing. Making sure what you see in all those resulting gorgeous photos on blogs is actually being built! The remainder of the day is spent coordinating flow of the day and serving as liaison between the couple and most of the creative team.
TWO :: THIS IS WHAT THE MAID OF HONOR AND BRIDESMAIDS ARE FOR
I think that sometimes the maid of honor and the bridesmaids forget their role is to support and assist the bride in preparing for – and especially on – her wedding day. They are her bff’s. Her crew. Her girls! Typically they have been in her life for a good amount of time. At least one of them knows Aunt Jane and can grab her for that photo. They are the ones who are supposed to be helpers to the bride, the ones who run out to the car to get her phone charger, who grab her a coffee or some chocolate if she’s just dying for it. They’re job is to attend to her personal needs in the hours before she makes the most important vow she will ever make.
Moral of the story: While I know firsthand that great wedding planners go above and beyond to make their clients happy, I also know that in order to deliver a truly amazing wedding that meets the expectations of your clients and runs on time you have to remember that if it is not directly related to the actual logistics of wedding planning and wedding coordination, it should not be your responsibility. Find a way to communicate this to your clients with kindness, elegance, and love before the contract is even signed so that everyone is on the same page.
Have you been mistaken for a personal assistant versus a wedding planner on the day of the wedding? How have you handled this situation? I’d love to know.