Professional vs. amateur approach - what’s the difference?
When newly engaged look for a wedding planner they expect only the best and professional services. They may even be a little wary at first and consider all planners as the same hotshots who can magically sell their services. They also can be risen to the bait and put an amateur planner down for a professional one. Is there any chance to avoid this?
The First and the most important advice - listen to your heart and an internal voice. If you basically click with a potential planner from the very first word, it can be a right choice. See if he is really involved into your story or it is just a next project for him.
The Second - pay attention who is talking. If planner talks a lot about his achievements and doesn’t give you a room to express yourself, you can finish your conversation.
The Third - keep an eye on how he acts. To be nervous is absolutely okay (even top planners with a solid experience can have kittens sometimes). We mean to pay attention if he answers phone calls, emails, social networks messages. During your conversation a planner has to dive into your world and forget about other stuff.
The Fourth - your planner is the face of your couple for the planning period, so he has to be neat, organized, positive and open-minded.
The Fifth - check website and social networks for his adequacy. Everything has to be professional - it is a little weird to post personal vacation photos in a swimming pool costume on a professional FB page.
The last but not least - ask a planner to tell you something interesting about his work. It can be anything: an inspiring book he is reading now, a conference for event planning professionals, some insider tips or even a practical case from previous events. This method can be a little tricky but very effective. An amateur is someone with a keen interest on a subject. A professional is someone who never stops exploring.
As you see, you have a bunch of options to check if you pick the right planner for you. We didn’t specify “be guided by references” only. It is extremely important, no doubt. But sometimes even a young planner with only 10 events behind his back can create your fairytale in the most professional way. Instead, a top notch planner with huge portfolio can conduct only the first meeting and send you to an assistant who considers your wedding as just another one project.
Our personal belief that a planner who does a celebration must enjoy it as a personal one. And we can honestly claim that we still have goosebumps when we listen to every story of our couples.
Although we hope you can use some tips above for making your right choice, we still want to show you the difference between the professional and amateur approach during the work, by giving the vivid examples.
Let's not go into extremes and compare top-level photographers as Platon and other photographers who are mentally stuck somewhere in 1990's. Imagine, we have two good photographers - Photographer A is referred from Planner A and Photographer B works with Planner B. Both of them have the same task - to make a wedding photoshoot that reflects emotions and ambience. The work is done and we compare the results. Photos from Planner A' wedding are fresh, bright and live. Photos from Planner B' wedding are dull, staging and formal. The couple from wedding B is not satisfied with the result, writes a bad review for Photographer B and leaves home depressed. How do you think what was the problem? One photographer is more talented than another one? Or the first one has better equipment? Considering the fact that we took two same level photographers with identical cameras, it is not an excuse. The issue is the communication between Planner B and Photographer B. Planner B expressed an amateur way just being the employer for the Photographer B. It wasn’t a teamwork, just an independent contractor relationship.
How can a planner help? A planner has to introduce a photographer to a couple. It is essential for building a personal connection and taking into consideration the specific wishes from bride and groom. A planner is obliged to provide a photographer with a timeline and inform about any changes in a timely manner. A planner has to provide comfortable work environment for a vendor. Timely payment, food, a chance to freshen up and charge some equipment are simple steps for smooth and seamless work. Inform about any specific requirement and do not interfere with the process as much as possible. If bride wants to capture her blue Louboutins during a first dance, then it is necessary to inform a photographer in advance. The lighting is really important. If it is not set up professionally, then the wow effect would not have been reached even by Elizabeth Messina in the Plaza Hotel. If planner is responsible for a good program of the celebration, a photographer will be able to shoot happy guest’s faces. Instead, if program is dull and poor, no one will be able to cheer up your guests and make happy photos.
It still can be a long list. The essence of the professional approach is that a planner and a photographer collaborate as a team together. They must cooperate, because it makes an influence on the couple and guests overall.
Considering that the big part of the wedding budget goes to the floristics, consistent communication and teamwork are the main challenges for a planner. Florists are very creative people and they need an individual approach. We happened to be a rescue team for some brides who had a failed experience with previous planners. The issue was in the miscommunication between a planner and a florist. As we were told, during few meetings a florist and a planner used to interrupt each other with no respect and provided completely different ideas. As a result, such planning was declined by a client - lost project, wasted money and spoiled impression. This is an amateur approach. Professionals always negotiate, discuss and find a compromise. If it is required they go to a venue and try to find the best place for a certain floral arrangement. If it goes this way, the bride approves the final design and waits for her wedding day peaceably.
But what should be done if bride doesn’t hire a planner, but communicates with a florists directly? Key principles of communication remain the same. Dear brides-to-be, Be as muсh detailed as you can about your expectations, hidden dreams and everything that inspires you. Talk about all details and make a conclusion at the end of the meeting - make sure you are on the same page. Be respectful to the people you are dealing with. The fact you pay for their services gives you the right to be strict, but not mean. If a florist (or any other vendor) feels your positive attitude and appreciation, believe us, he will do everything possible and beyond to make your dreams come true. A florist will add the same or exchangeable flowers you wanted so much, but cut of the budget. Your photographer will tell you what side and time is the best for the ceremony considering the season of your wedding (you don’t want too light or too gloomy photos, right?)
This is your helper and magician and his mission is to make everything perfect - from the very first meeting till...no, not till the wedding, but the moment when you get all photo and video content.
Imagine, newlyweds come to a meeting and tell about a dream conceptual wedding based on the story of their first meeting. Planner seems to listen to them and leaves asap to get a dream wedding proposal to be done. At the second meeting newlyweds wait for a tentative visualization of their ideas. They realize it is not a final version, but all they need now is to be reassured they were heard during the first discussion. As a result a planner shows references and impressive sketches of the lush classical wedding with crystal chandeliers and high centerpieces on each table. A wedding planner continues talking about the project, not letting the guys even say a word. It is very unprofessional. It's the failure to listen to your client and feel what he wants.
Also, an amateur approach can appear during your working process with a planner. When should you worry? If your planner doesn’t give you a project status, doesn’t update cost, timing, doesn’t pick up/return your calls. What has to be done? Try to speak to a planner strictly and honestly. If you can’t get any reasonable explanations and clean options of your further communication, get rid of such planner. Yes, you will lose money, but you won’t lose a chance to still make your wedding perfect.
Professional wedding planner has to become not just your companion, but also your soulmate. Believe us, every bride/groom has a moment when they just need a little mental support and calming “everything will be fine”. Maybe, it is a little secret for brides, but even the best planned weddings sometimes have tiny blunders. It is called the Murphy Law or, in other words, the human factor. But having a reliable professional wedding planner you will never know or even feel it.
This is the difference between professional and amateur approach to the wedding planning. There is no place for for stress here - just pleasant vibes of your celebration.
If you want a seamless wedding and enjoyable planning, contact us.