From Maple Weddings and Events | Wedding Planners
It’s glamourous. It’s beautiful. How fun. I bet it’s easy. I would love to do that. We hear these things all the time about people saying they want to become a wedding planner, or they were going to do it when they were younger.
Being a wedding planner is not for the faint hearted. It’s not all glitz and glamour. Front of house is amazing. Of course, the wedding itself looks beautiful. The ceremony, reception, people. It’s all immaculate. However, the back of house behind the scenes is a very different story. Its dirty, hot and sweaty work. You need to think quickly, avert any situation when they arise – so don’t panic especially when there is blood, work long days and hours and you really need to like people!
As we embark on a new year and can’t wait to see what 2020 has install for us, we reflect on our previous year as wedding planners here on the Sunshine Coast. During ‘peak season’ we had been on site EVERY weekend at various locations around the Sunshine Coast and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. So, first thing is weddings mean weekend work. You give up precious family time and any social life you had when there are weddings on. When you are giving up many weekends and missing your own personal events you really want to ensure you love what you do.
Upon reflection of 2019 something that stood out for both Naomi and I was when we had a bar staff member ask us ‘why the hell we do what we do’?! She was a tad cranky and hadn’t really worked at a wedding. She didn’t quite understand the concept of the DIY wedding and the way weddings work here on the Sunshine Coast. Naomi and I were quite shocked and taken aback by what she said and how she said it that we looked at each other and didn’t really know what to say!! Not often we are left speechless!!! We had both had a fabulous day on site for this wedding and everything was cracking along as it should be so weren’t sure why she would even ask us such a question. The truth is I bloody LOVE what I do. That’s the simple answer. I am a wedding planner on the Sunshine Coast and based on the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland living the dream. I am a HUGE believer in do what makes you happy. We are only here for one short life so make the most of it. If we don’t, we all become that cranky sour lady who is just doing it for the sake of it and becoming unhappy or for the money. Though reality is the money in weddings isn’t that grand so if you don’t do it for the love then why do it at all!!!!! Small business is tough!!! Real Tough!!!!
Talking about $$$, this is the toughest part of being a wedding planner. We are so frequently questioned about our costings especially on the day coordination which is by far our most popular package. I often feel I have to justify myself and the pricing structure. We are small business making a living for our families and hoping we can make the wedding day for our couples AMAZING and stress free. Yes, having that help is a luxury but really, we hope you only get married once and will be the best money you ever spent. As an average we can spend 15-17 hours on site as a coordinator plus the time liaising beforehand with couples and suppliers, we can spend up to a good 30 hours for this package and with 2 of us on site. Let’s say our hourly rate won’t buy us a mansion!!! We don’t get a lunch break. We eat on the run with dirty hands and sweat. We are lucky to sit and eat dinner whilst its warm. We miss out on family time and weekends with loved ones. Sometimes we have 3 of us on site to ensure it’s everything is running smoothly and so we can jump in and help other suppliers when needed. So, therefore as a wedding planner we find this the most frustrating part of our job. We work bloody hard for our couples and love every part of being planners. The dirt, sweat, rain, hail, shine and the product of how your day comes together and you enjoy every single moment.
Despite the frustration and trying to make an income I love what I do as I’m bloody good at it. Just as Naomi is fabulous at helping me and creating unique gorgeous settings. Not often people say they are good at something and it’s quite hard to say a loud, but I feel honoured and privileged when couples ask us to share their wedding day and help them as their wedding planner, on the day coordination or styling. It’s a humbling feeling being part of the journey and ensuring the day goes to plan. Virtually every wedding we do we have at least one wedding supplier comment on how hard we work as wedding planners as they don’t often see wedding planners work as hard as us. It’s comforting knowing that other wedding industry professionals see what we do and how hard we work for our couples.
Being a wedding planner means you must be 150% organised. If you aren’t organised, then let’s face it you will never make a professional wedding planner! We can work with couples for years when helping plan a wedding from start to finish. We recommend wedding suppliers, gather quotes, work to a budget, organise invitations and guests, guests transport and accommodation, styling, catering, everything right through until the day when on site when we then become the on the day wedding coordinator. Years and months of emails, phone calls and organisation to bring this one day to life and make happy memories for the couple that will last a lifetime.
On the day coordination sees us working with couples’ months in advance to liaise with their booked wedding suppliers and coordinate their day. We love that the couple can sit back and enjoy their day. The boys go off fishing, swimming, play a game of golf, play pool and have a few beers whilst the girls drink bubbles, eat cheese and be pampered whilst we do the ‘dirty work’ so to speak. We are yet to walk off a wedding site not sweaty, dusty, muddy, blood blisters, blisters on our feet, barely able to walk and just smelly!
When I say we can be on site on the day for 15 hours plus I mean it. We will help catering teams and bar staff to clear and clean, wash up, help carry drinks from the cold room, work with the MC all night to keep them on track with the run sheet we have supplied, support guests when they need help. Just recently I was just about to leave after a loooong day when a guest cut themselves with a glass. Let’s say there was a lot of worried people and a LOT of blood and vomiting. It was a nasty cut that meant I had to turn from wedding planner into ‘paramedic’ yet I don’t do blood well at all but that when adrenaline kicks in and you just gotta do what you gotta do. After a trip to hospital he was ok and was stitched up but I on the other hand was in bed the whole next day sick myself. Most likely shock as I don’t do blood and had been on site almost 20 hours by the time I left. Not so glamorous but crisis was averted and panic was overcome with calm with us on site. Though it was a long day I was so thrilled to receive a phone call from the bride thanking us for all our hard work and knowing she called all the suppliers from her wedding. It’s the small things like a simple phone call that make it all worthwhile in knowing we helped a couple along with their family and friends make memories to last a lifetime.
Being a wedding planner can be tough at times, its exhilarating and exciting all in one. You give up your weekends, small business is not easy, constant bartering of pricing, being on your feet ALL day and night, dealing with emergencies, ensuring the safety of guests, working with industry suppliers can make for gruelling yet satisfying work. It’s the satisfaction that keeps me going, the lovely couples we can help and all the fantastic suppliers we get to work with. It’s always a team effort when we are around. Our job is made easier when working with professional wedding industry folks and is why we have a full list of recommended suppliers we like to liaise with and know will excel for your wedding day.
So next time that person says to us we would love to be a wedding planner we nod and smile and hope they follow their dream if that what it is!