The definition of the Wedding Planner has been explained more and more times, but it seems to me that some operators didn’t really get the meaning. I’ve had the chance to observe a growing number of venues offering their so-called wedding planning services, sometimes adding such a service as a complementary wedding cadeau in some extravagant “menu proposals”, as if the WP were part of bizarre offers to grab customers (especially foreigners).
I must point out that customers clearly consider the WP as a professional who has an exclusive and pivotal role; ranging from a simple advice and ending up being the person of reference of the spouses. She is not only the event day manager during the wedding, or the figure appointed to choose the most fashionable table set up or a tantalizing menu.
The role of the WP is at the central stage of the network of collaboration with all the selected professionals; in her role she has to go through countless meetings with the spouses, following their practices to the embassies, supporting emotionally and logistically the couple and their guests at any stage – they even get to contact her late at night for their luggage lost during one of the several connecting flights.She then orchestrates the suppliers during the selection of each and any individual service concerning the wedding (graphics, music, light design, cadeaux de mariage, flowers and the whole event design) – giving life to what the spouses have idealized.On the other hand, the surrogated WP proposed by the venues is more often “just” an employee of the structure, usually “the right arm” of the maître instead of a real wedding planner.
In most of the case she hasn’t the required soft and hard skills, she has no experience in legal paperwork administrations, she is not able to communicate with the public officers and has no clue of the time spent in the municipal offices and embassies to present valid documents.
What I see happening in those places is the following: wedding professionals suggested by the venue as preferred suppliers in an exclusive non-competitive position – not a real added value but a “red herring”.
If the owner of the venue promotes his own WP, then she has to be put in the condition to operate independently, free of schedules and working in places potentially different from the venue; she must have the possibility to follow the customers around the town and then “close the loop” back to her location of origin.Finally, if the bride happens to not appreciate much the style of the proposed suppliers, then it is the goal of a professional WP to come up with other options, avoiding to fall into the trap of a dead-locked “exclusivity”.
A free advice for my professional colleagues: if a timing conflict arises between the spouses’ availability and the venue’s constraints, you are probably going to be asked to “split yourself in two”, hence you’d better ask for a “double compensation” – unless you’re also the owner of the hosting wedding venue!
PHOTO: Francesco Gravina