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Pulling off a successful wedding requires a lot more than just picking out a venue or centerpiece décor. A wedding planner essentially juggles the roles of concept designer and decorator, legal counsel, budget manager, and coordinator—all while helping you pull together your wedding. They’ll tick off all your to-do list items, from choosing aesthetic details to going over vendor contracts and dealing with day-of emergencies—a huge asset for busy couples hoping to plan their day with minimal stress. They’re very knowledgable about throwing a wedding, so you’ll be in good hands whether your issue is bouquets or overbearing in-laws. But most importantly, they’re connected with top venues and pros in your area, ensuring you have the best team of experts to pull off your celebration. Simply put, an experienced planner is one of the key investments you can make when bringing your day to life.
First and foremost, there are about a hundred reasons I could mention off the head but hey!! people are busy and most don’t like to read long lines of text. So if this heading said “100 reasons to hire a wedding planner,” most of you wouldn’t be on this page.
That said, many people think that hiring a wedding planner is adding an extra cost to their already full budget. So what do most do? Wake up in the morning, wear a flexible pair of jeans or sweat pants, get into their car, taxi or “boda” and hit the streets of Kampala. Initially, they think it will be easy; they imagine they’ll walk along Kampala Road and find their ideal decorator, gown and accessories, suit, cake, venue, photographer, etc, etc, but along the way, they realize it’s not as easy as they expected. It’s actually harder finding the right service providers. Some are way too expensive, others don’t seem reliable and trustworthy or realistic. How sure are you they’ll even show up on your wedding day?
After a long hectic day, they return home. Tired. Hungry. Disappointed.
So what do they do the next day?
For the tech-savvy, they boot up their computers- or phones and head straight for Google: “Mr. Google sir, show me the best and cheapest wedding decorators in Uganda.” Others head to Facebook and his halfbrother, Instagram. But later they realize that those service providers with “wow” pictures and many comments and likes are not just famous on social media- they’re also very expensive. To hire them, you’ll partly be paying for their fame[brand name].
Another lot get hit the street again. This time, they’ll invite a friend to come along. They’ve learned that this kind of stress is not bearable by one person. So they need someone to share the burden with.
But time is also now running out and there’s so much to do. You have a day job to attend to and look for service providers. By now you are angry, frustrated and exhausted. But that’s just the beginning; most service providers will overcharge you but deliver poor quality work since you don’t understand their industry and if you are unlucky, they not even show up on the D-day.
Such scenarios and more – as I explain below – is the reason you need to hire a wedding planner to oversee the success of your wedding.
- A wedding planner will get you vendor discounts but get you professional and reliable vendors. When you approach a vendor, you are simply a one-time business but a vendor sees a wedding planner as repeat business. As repeat business, vendors always want to please us. So they are willing to cut the price to even 40% because they are certain we will bring them more business. What’s more; if on the wedding day a florist brings flowers that aren’t as fresh as we like, we can reject them and ask for fresher ones at no extra cost but we can’t say the same for you [client] or your committee member.
Recently, our client was hiring a photographer for a package of 7m because she was convinced he was offering her a discount, after hiring us, we got her a better photographer at half the price. Saving her about 2million shillings.
- Manage your budget efficiently without compromising quality. A wedding planner has a huge experience and knowledge of weddings. Many people shy away from hiring a wedding planner because they think it will be too expensive. However, the opposite is often true: a wedding planner can actually save you money by keeping you on budget. They know what’s more important. For example, a client might spend 10 million on a venue yet we could get them a better venue in a better location at half the price.
- A wedding planner will fight for your wedding vision and keep the wheels running. In addition to helping couples with their budget and supervising tricky details like legal contracts, the most important use of a planner is having someone who’ll fight for your wedding vision from start to finish. He/She has sat with you and listened to you throughout the planning process, so they know the kind of person you and[most importantly] what you want. As a planner, it’s their role to see their client’s vision come to pass. While many vendors handle more than one wedding per day or per weekend, a planner is focused only on your special day and will push to make sure everything goes according to your unique plan.
Often times, a couple’s family members will have ideas that are parallel to the couple’s vision, and they’ll want things done their way. Having a wedding planner ensures that your wedding will go your way.
Sometimes I tell couples that they can “blame the wedding planner” in situations where they are making a decision that they know may upset a family member or friend.
- Your family and friends are not a substitute for a professional wedding planner. In Uganda and Africa in general, weddings are mostly organized by a couple’s family members and friends. And I get it, they honestly want to be involved in your marriage process, and yes, they play an important role in the entire process. However, I sincerely believe that a couple will save themselves time, energy and stress by letting their friends/family celebrate their wedding day with them and leaving the work of wedding planning to a professional.
Here is why family and friends won’t be a substitute for a professional wedding planner:1. Even the most well-intentioned friend helping out on your wedding day might get distracted from their official wedding responsibilities by having a few beers or catching up with an old friend. Many times, it’s best not to blur the line between friend and worker. Additionally, after an hour of running around, they’ll get tired and sit. After all, other family members are also seated enjoying the party.
2. Friends and family members have their own jobs and personal responsibilities to attend to. They may not have the necessary amount of time and energy to devote to your wedding even though they promised to yet wedding planning is time-consuming and time-sensitive work. A wedding planner will devote all their time to your event since it is her job to do so.
3. Since weddings are deeply personal by nature, conflicts can quickly arise between friends and family over wedding-related time expectations, vendors (your friend wants to hire their decor friend but your sister also wants you to hire theirs), and many other issues that bring about conflicts.
4. The most important role family and friends at your event is to have you and them get soaked into the moment, witness and enjoy you have the time of your life on your special day. You want them to cheer you on and boost your morale. That role is crucial and not one that is easily accomplished if they have the added responsibilities of managing the event. So, even if your friends and family members are playing an active role in the wedding planning process prior to the wedding day, hiring a day-of wedding planner will free them up to play their most important role on your wedding day.
- A wedding planner keeps everything on track and coordinated. Recently, I attended an expensive kwanjula (customary wedding) in Kampala where the bride’s father was the one running around to coordinate vendors throughout the day until late in the night. He had hired every vendor- even ushers/hostesses – but he kept on running around to get them to serve his guests. It was like having a brand new disassembled Audi R8, you have one of the best cars but you can’t drive it.
At around 7 pm, he got really mad because his guests were starved with empty tables before them yet he had bought all sorts of drinks but no one was serving them. In fact, service providers were eating and drinking backstage while his guests starved away. His problem? Trusting his friends and family [who also wanted to enjoy the party] to keep the wheels running. If he had hired a wedding planner, he would’ve saved himself and his family the headache. They would’ve sat back, enjoyed their daughter’s kwanjula and stayed in peace with each but I doubt that’s the case since some of them didn’t do their job as they should’ve or had promised.
Suit up. Get Married and Enjoy your day! We’ll take care of the rest
Your wedding planner is your shield. It’s his name on the line- and not yours. If anything goes wrong (and something always does) they’re there to absorb it and solve it without you even being aware. The plan is to have you enjoy your day without any interruption. They’ll be the one able to make the rain call to move your affair indoors when the climate changes. On your wedding day, your only job is to soak up every memorable second, so trust the pro you’ve hired to do their job, and let go of control day-of. Hiring a pro also means you’ll get to spend precious extra time with loved ones instead of worrying about the cake not showing up or a missing flower arrangement. You want (and deserve) a helping hand and some room to breathe. After all, this is going to be the happiest day of your life.