Monday, May 4, 2015

Wedding Planner Confessions

Happy Monday UnBrides! I am very happy to bring you another installment of Planner Confessions. This one being from Jennifer Hartman, Owner & Lead Event Coordinator of Heart 2 Heart Occasions in Northeast Ohio. Check out her insider scoop and gain some inspiration from pictures of her past events. Enjoy Jennifer's story in her own words below!

Why I Have to Say Thank You to All of My Brides

It seems as time goes on I take away something from each of my weddings. You would think after 10 years in the business I would have seen it all, heard it all, experience it all. But it never fails that every night when I drive home after a wedding I recall what new and different piece I could take away and learn from. And for that I have to thank each of my brides.

I have to thank the bride that told me to trust her, when she wanted to put dancing between each course of the meal (thus making dinner a nearly 4 hour affair). Although it was new to me, and I was concerned about the flow of the evening, she clearly had a vision and asked me to trust in her. I did, of course, and the evening was a fantastic success. 

Lesson learned: Sometimes you have to trust your client’s vision and know it's just better than yours.

Thank you to the bride that taught me too many options is just too many options. I used to operate under the guidelines of pulling together all of my ideas and presenting them to a bride. But, I have learned that the more options you give someone the less likely they are to be happy with the decision they make. I learned that after we went venue shopping at no less than 45 locations and hair and makeup shopping with no less than eight beauticians. And I won't even tell you how many rounds of invitations we went through.

Lesson learned: Keep the options minimal and the client will be happier with the decision that they make.

Thank you to the bride that taught me wedding planner, equals psychologist. I learned this lesson very early on. When you hire a wedding planner you also hire a best friend, confidant, ringleader, colleague, mediator, psychologist, etc. I have smoothed over more relationships between mother and daughter and in-laws than I care to mention here. My favorite is the client that had a mom, a step mom and four aunts. And each thought they knew exactly how her wedding should look. Once everyone felt they were part of the planning, they fought less to be involved.

Lesson learned: It’s not only my job to keep everything coordinated, but to keep the boat from rocking. Usually close family members are the ones making waves. Everyone needs to feel important and part of the process. But no one is more important than the bride.

Thank you to the bride that allowed me to remind her that a wedding is about two people joining their lives forever. I love outdoor weddings, but I always caution my clients that if you choose to have a wedding outside you also have to be able to fully let go of the weather. There's just nothing you can do about it (other than having a million backup plans). This particular bride experienced some rain right before her ceremony was about to begin. As tears began to come down her face I looked at her and reminded her what the day was about, come rain or shine, she was there for one reason. And as long as we were able to make that happen everything else would fall into place. Although I'm not quite sure she agreed with me in the moment, I know by the end of the day she was thankful for my pep-talk.

Lesson learned: Weddings are more than just parties. And sometimes it’s easy to forget that, and get caught up in the festivities. But it’s so important to always remember exactly why you are there. And the weather won’t change that.

Lastly, thank you to the bride that allowed me to be honest. As a wedding planner, I find myself always wanting please clients regardless of the situation. I learned early on that it's much more important to express concern over a poor decision, than to agree with it, just to keep the peace. Like the bride that wanted to ask her guest to walk half a mile to the “perfect” group picture spot. Or the bride that wanted to dismiss rows post ceremony…. For 500 guests.

Lesson Learned: The key is actively communicating why you disagree, and then, let it go. I feel good knowing that I have said my reasoning, but at the end of the day it is ultimately the bride’s decision.

I think growing and learning is a healthy part of any career. I am just very fortunate to be able to learn from such amazing clients. To be asked to play such an integral role for the biggest day of their lives, is a huge responsibility. So I say thank you to each of my clients!

A big thanks to Jennifer for sharing her stories behind the pretty pictures. Be sure to show Heart 2 Heart Occasions some love on Facebook & Twitter!

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