Planning a wedding is something most women dream about from the time they are little girls. They imagine exactly what it will be like and picture a beautiful dress and lovely flowers. What fun!
As adults, we come to realize that planning a wedding can indeed be fun, but it can also be overwhelming and anxiety laden. All those small details to think about, contracts to read, and seating plans! And what may have been difficult in the past has now become even more challenging. COVID-19 is a guest no one wants at their celebration.
How does a couple plan a wedding in the midst of a pandemic when the rules and regulations are ever changing for large affairs? How can they ensure that family and friends stay safe and still have a good time?
The answer is to hire a professional wedding planner. Even pre-COVID, having someone on your side who has the experience to handle the details and challenges that come along when planning a wedding is invaluable. Someone who has seen it all and has learned how to navigate all the complexities that are involved. Hiring a planner is not a luxury, but a necessity, especially these days.
“Planners are working overtime now to stay abreast of all the different executive orders, restrictions and regulations,” says Adrienne Nutter, event planner and owner of Fandangle Event Design in Metro Detroit. “Part of what I view as a planner’s job is to anticipate potential issues and then plan so that those issues don’t occur. Or, if they do occur, to have alternate plans in place to mitigate them.”
Last year, she had to completely replan several events, and none of them took place in their original venues. Now, she is very candid with people wanting to book indoor spaces for their events. The best advice she has for a bride and groom when planning a wedding in today’s world is to be flexible and realistic about what they’re looking to do.
“I’m not booking anyone in a venue right now that does not have an external capacity for their events,” says Adrienne. “So, if a couple really, really wants to be inside, great, but they have to understand that, A, they’re going to be bound by the current indoor gathering restrictions in place at that time, and, B, that they have to be willing to move outside and potentially take on the cost of renting a tent to both legally and safely accommodate their number of guests.”
Tent weddings have become very popular since being outdoors means the opportunity to have more guests. But that’s a very different wedding, she says, than going into a facility that has tables and chairs, running water, and electricity. When you’re doing a tented event, you’re basically building a venue from the ground up. Not only can that get expensive, but cutting corners can mean a real disaster.
“It’s raining on your wedding day and you think, ‘Oh great, I have a tent’. Except, the ground under the tent turns into a sponge and you didn’t spend the money for a subfloor; now your guests are wading around in mud.”
Again, these are the details that a planner will think about. Adrienne has planned hundreds of events and in most cases, brides and grooms haven’t planned any. “I’m looking for different things as I plan an event than my clients generally are. They are focused on the fun details and I’m focused on everything that is happening behind the scenes. For example, I always review my client’s contracts on their behalf. I do all the background stuff so our clients can spend more time on the fun stuff.”
She says most people don’t realize what goes into planning an event, and often discover too late that they should have had a professional planner. “Planning a successful event takes a lot of time,” she says. “It’s not making a couple of phone calls. And I don’t have to do the research on all of the vendors in the same way that someone just starting planning an event has to do. ”
Adrienne looks at her team of vendors as an extension of herself and knows the event planner is only as good as his or her vendor team. “I have an arsenal of people. I can very easily pick the two or three that are going to work best for your style.”
Planners can also sometimes get discounts or better prices than the general public, or can have extras added into the contract that might not normally be included, because they have relationships with vendors. “Sometimes, I’ll notice an overlap and advise a client not to get something because something similar is coming from another vendor,” she says. “Right there, these savings add up. No matter what a couple’s budget is, it’s a lot of money to them and I know a lot of ways to maximize or best spend those dollars.”
Every event is different than the last one, she says, and her team reflects that as needed. “I’m kind of the general contractor to pull all of your vendors together.”
People also need to understand that individual vendors have their own requirements now. For example, there are a lot of caterers that won’t do buffets, requiring plated meals instead. Bands are requesting roped stanchions six feet in front of the stage.
“These are things that we’ve never had to deal with before and now we have to expect them,” says Adrienne. “The best thing clients can do is to trust their planners. I’m here to be their advocate, to make sure that the vendor team is doing what my clients paid them to do. I make sure once the day begins, or even before the day itself, things are running smoothly and in accordance with my client’s vision.
“It’s been really nice in the midst of all this craziness to be able to see people being flexible and thinking outside the box in order to be together and celebrate these life moments.”
To find out how Adrienne can help with your next event, go to http://www.fandangleevents.com/.