Wedding planners are professionals who are trained to plan, execute, and design the perfect event. They help you organize your wedding plans and dreams. But if you want to start planning your own wedding without a wedding planner, it will require more work on your end. Such as needing an extra hand from your family, friends and relatives to help you with the wedding tasks. Or (what I strongly recommend) you can always assemble your own personal wedding “dream team” to help you.
If you are planning to orchestrate your own entire wedding without a wedding planner then you should, at least, know the different ways you can lessen the load on your plate. This blog will tell you how you can get the help you need from your network of supportive loved ones.
No. 1 – Your Own Personal Wedding Team
Start by creating your own personal wedding team, what is a personal wedding team you say? Let’s start with who they are not, your wedding party (the people who stand beside you at the altar) and wedding vendors (the professionals you hired for your wedding day – i.e. caterer, photographer, etc.).
A personal wedding team are people who essentially take the place of a wedding planner and/or coordinator. Although you are not hiring a professional wedding planner, you still need help with some wedding planning essentials to ensure you are not missing a thing (This concept also goes for those of you who are working with a venue coordinator in lieu of a planner)! This team requires 2-3 people who can help (and support) you and be in-charge of the wedding planning and preparations. (Again, please don’t confuse this with your wedding party. I will talk about this more later, just keep reading). These are the people whom you trust to help you with the tasks leading to and on the big day. Trust me, wedding planning is more than just a checklist, more like a full-time job at times. You’ll need a set of 2-3 hands to help you with every detail.
You might be thinking… “I can do it on my own, I’ve got more than enough time!”
Ummmmm not so much! Sorry, but you are the brains of this entire production and you should not take on a ton of extra tasks. Since you are the bride or the groom, you will be making a lot of decisions along the way and will need people whom you can trust and can become your sounding board. But keep in mind that your wedding team does not include your wedding party, they will have a separate role that is discussed below.
How will you know who’s perfect for your personal wedding team? Here are some things to consider when it comes to finding the right people for your personal wedding team:
The organized, detailed person. You need an organized person who can keep you accountable with vendor meetings, payments, and financial goals and help manage the wedding day logistics (you know, herding the cats – I mean guests). This member of your personal wedding planning team can help with budget management, wedding planning checklist, guest management, wedding day timeline, and help find and vet the right vendors for the wedding.
The creative crafty. You need someone crafty and creative who can help with the execution of your DIY projects, design, style and/or vision. This person can help you source out what is needed for those DIY projects as well as make sure the decor is placed just right at the venue. Using their creative juices and incorporating their fresh ideas to better enhance the backdrops, invitations, and favors making your wedding day more unique and unforgettable.
What else makes for a great personal wedding team?
Your personal wedding team members should be resilient and adaptive (basically they do well under pressure and can even keep you calm when things are crazy! – trust me you will need sound voices when you are in the middle of a meltdown). In planning a wedding, the possibilities of encountering an unwanted situation and failures are pretty realistic. Pick out people who are flexible enough to turn around unexpected surprises, those who have the “go-with-the-flow” attitude, and can bend with the wedding pressures without breaking.
No. 2 – So, where to find help for your personal wedding team?
Someone from your church, a co-worker, a former coworker you keep in touch with, a distant family member/friend, a trusted friend of a friend, that person you want to be in your wedding but are not the best fit to be a bridesmaid or groomsmen, or even someone you meet remotely to hold you accountable and help with online searches for the perfect vendor. There are a lot of people who are willing to help, you just have to ask and be clear about your needs.
If you must have a family member or close friend help make sure that they should only be doing things during the planning phase, not on the wedding day. I know I just told you not to use them, but honestly sometimes that is all you got. If that is your situation (and you have exhausted all your other options) then give them tasks that will not consume them on the wedding day. Maybe they can help you schedule vendor meetings, keep up with payment dates, and help manage the wedding party attire needs, there are so many ways they can pitch in.
No. 3 – The “I Do Crew” (aka Wedding Party)
Your “I do crew” or the wedding party are the people you want to be by your side for moral support. I would like to clarify that the members of the wedding party should not include people from the personal wedding team. Your wedding party or “I Do Crew” are here for moral support, to create fun memories, arrange the bachelor(ette) party and/or bridal shower and are a great asset to help you get things done before the wedding begins.
You want these people to take part on your wedding day but exclude them from most of the work and task of the wedding planning logistics. You want them to be there to witness one of your life’s momentous events, join you on the wedding photos, and be your backbone when you need them the most. They can be a family member, a best friend or your closest co-worker.
As they should participate in the wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, bachelor/ette parties, bridal shower, and on the wedding day but should not be burdened with the wedding planning and arrangements.
Here are a few other examples of how your wedding party or “I Do Crew” can pitch in (without burning them out):
- Making sure the wedding party shows up for rehearsal
- Making sure the wedding party is eating & hydrated while getting ready on wedding day (you do not want someone to pass out at the altar!)
- Keeping up with the rings
- Helping plan ancillary events such as the bridal shower, bachelor(ette) party, spa days, groomsmen photoshoot, etc.
- Ensuring the wedding party has their travel plans set for all wedding and wedding related events
- Ensuring the wedding party’s attire details are confirmed (i.e. when to order dresses or suits, when to have fittings, when to make payments, finding a seamstress/tailor, shoes have been ordered, etc.)
- Making sure hair and makeup is scheduled and paid for within the wedding party (esp if everyone isnt getting hair and makeup done with the hired hair and makeup team the bride has hired for herself)
- Finding out what specific needs the bride and groom has leading up to wedding day and on wedding day – how can the wedding party help with those accomodations?
- Moral support – wedding planning is a lot on the bride & groom, so even a quick phone call is refreshing!
- And so much more! What other tasks did you think of when reading this short list? Jot those ideas down or add it to your notes app while the ideas are fresh! (and send me a DM too – I’d love to hear all about it!)
Being a part of the wedding party is a big ask, they have expenses they will incur and this can be a big-time commitment depending on what you and your fiance want to do during your engagement. So send them a formal invite via Evite or paper invite with a date of when you plan to gather them to discuss their roles and what is expected of them. That way they have a chance to say “yes” with a clear understanding or a respectful “no” because it might not be the right time for them to take on additional things. If they say no, that’s okay! They want to honor and respect you as their friend/loved one and not waste your time by flaking in the end.
No. 4 – Helpful Wedding Vendors
Choosing a reliable wedding vendor is just like speed dating. You are meeting a lot of new people in a short amount of time, you need to make a decision about all of them quickly. If you were speed dating you would probably ask some pretty important questions to get the most out of your limited time with that person. Well, finding wedding vendors is sort of the same process.
Martha Stewart suggests that in choosing your wedding vendors you have to trust your gut feeling (& I agree – from experience!). No matter how flawless or amazing their online reviews and photos are, you have to make sure that they should make you feel at ease, confident and secure about your preferences. You are going to rely on these groups of people to bring every element of your wedding to come together on the big day. Your wedding vendors play a significant role on your wedding day, it is ideal that you are comfortable with them and they check the important boxes of your wedding day needs.
How do you pick the right vendors for you?
Limit your scope of selection, start with 3 in each category (i.e. list out 3 photographers, 3 officiants, 3 florists, etc). If you do not like those 3 in a specific category then start fresh. Otherwise, if you have more than 3 in a category you might get overwhelmed and it will be harder to decide the right fit for you. Talk to your top choices and if you really hit it off on the first meeting mark them as a strong candidate. Do your research and find some vendors that seem like they are compatible with you and understand what you are looking for. Create a shortlist of vendors that you like from the following initial interactions…
- First impressions of their website
- Social media accounts
- Previous emails or DMs
- Previous phone calls or text messages
Being honest about what you can afford to pay and transparency is one way of vetting out vendors. I have been surprised to hear feedback from my clients when they reached out to high-end wedding vendors and how willing they were to customize their packages to accommodate the client. The vendor wasn’t able to give them exactly what they wanted but was able to offer them an alternative that still checked all the boxes for the clients. The bottom line is, that the worst that can happen is that it’s not a good fit and you move on to the next vendor on your list. Trust me, there is always someone else.
Once you’ve initially picked out your vendors, look over your list and ask for a meeting with the ones who really stood out to you. This can be through a video meeting, a call, in person or whatever you are most comfortable with and answer these questions:
- How well did you interact with them?
- Are they easy to talk to?
- Did they seem to understand your wedding vision?
- Does their work match what you want?
- Do they provide the value you need? (can they match your needs?)
- Do they have positive reviews?
- Do they fit in your budget? (If not, do they provide so much value it makes sense to spend more on them?)
- Did they get back to you in a reasonable time frame or communicate when they can get back to you if it is during their peak season? (vs leaving you to wonder if you will hear from them again)
- Bottomline, how do you feel about them overall?
These are just a few of the questions you should be thinking about after speaking with them to start.
If you are planning to tackle the different tasks of planning your wedding day without the help of a wedding planner, try to consider the different ways you can get the help discussed in this article. Creating a personal wedding team can certainly ease the stress and lighten the load of your wedding preparation. With the proper guidance and support, these reliable people can turn your dream wedding into a reality while allowing you to keep your budget in check.
If you want to start planning your own wedding today and your mind is still swamped with unanswered questions, you can visit https://simpleweddingplanning.com/blog. We provide guides and pro-tips on how you can make your wedding preparations simple and easy.