Many couples nowadays are so busy with their day-to-day lives that they barely have the time to sit down and plan their own wedding. It can be a really overwhelming and daunting task to some couples because they don't even know where to start. Thankfully, wedding planners are here to save the day.
We interviewed a professional wedding planner in Cebu to help us understand the intricacies of planning a wedding. Veteran wedding planner Claire Villaflor of Right Connect Weddings has been in the industry for 16 years. Right Connect Weddings started out as a wedding hosting service that eventually evolved into a full-time wedding planning service. She has been graceful enough to share her thoughts and secrets to being a successful wedding planner and achieving that dream wedding.
1. What does a wedding planner actually do? How does it differ from a wedding coordinator?
Wedding coordinators usually come in during the final weeks of the wedding preparations. By then, everything has already been taken care of, and all that’s left is making sure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the wedding.
The difference with wedding planners is that they usually start from scratch. When a couple comes to them, usually all they have is just their budget and sometimes a vague idea of what they want. Wedding planners, with close coordination with the couple, plan out everything starting from the theme, to the invitations, to the gown, the venue, the caterer, the wedding cake, the flowers, the host, photo and video documentation, lights and sounds provider, the giveaways. They make sure that things fall into place as they should and on time. Wedding planners are there since day one until your wedding day.
2. How do you choose your suppliers?
I choose my suppliers from the heart. When I sit down and interview a potential suppliers, I just feel it, you just “click.” These suppliers have worked with me in many, many weddings, so they already know my demands, my preferences, and how I work. Everything becomes automatic, easy, and harmonious. And the client feels it when they see that everything went seamless and perfect.
3. Where do you get your ideas and inspirations?
Wedding planners and suppliers attend a lot of conferences and seminars, usually in Manila. There, other planners and suppliers get to share the newest trends and the latest news about weddings. From there alone, you can get a lot of new ideas. Another is wedding magazines. You can find tons of ideas and inspirations there. Attending different weddings is also another way of getting fresh ideas. Then of course, there is the Internet. What's important is you research and constantly learn something new.
4. Before a client approaches you for consultation, what are the things they should figure out by themselves?
They should know their wedding budget, at the very least. The budget will determine which theme to go with, which venue to book, the suppliers to get, etc. We will also be able to determine what we can forego or cut down to meet the budget. Everything really starts with the budget.
5. How soon should one start looking for a planner?
Ideally, around 8 to 12 months before your planned wedding date. Why? Because sometimes it takes 1-2 months to talk to several wedding planners and decide which one to go with, then there’s the contract signing and the planning and the researching. Before your know it, you're already down to six months before your wedding date! Generally, the earlier you scout for a planner, the better, and the earlier you start on your wedding preps, the better. One year is already good lead time.
6. How much does a typical wedding cost these days? How about wedding planners?
A typical low-cost wedding can amount from P250,000 to P500,000. More than that, you can already expect a pretty grandiose wedding. But of course, if the couple has less than that, you can still push through with your wedding. They just have to choose their suppliers well and to cut down on the guest list.
Wedding planning services, on the other hand, can range from P30,000 to P100,000, depending on who you’re getting and the amount of work that has to be done. Wedding planners usually have all-inclusive packages that clients can choose from.
7. If a couple is on a budget, what are the items that they can usually forego or trim down?
If a couple comes to me with a small budget, I tell them to focus on ONE item that they want to highlight or spend on, and we can adjust based on the remaining budget. For example, if the couple has a budget of P250,000 and decides they want to put most of their budget on the wedding gown, we can trim the guest list, opt for basic flower arrangement, choose a more affordable reception venue, print out the invitations on a desktop printer, etc.
8. How do you ensure that the wedding goes smooth and seamless?
A week before the wedding, I make sure that everything is ready and accounted for. I hold a meeting with my assistants and make sure that all bases are covered. My staff and I always keep a checklist so that we don't miss anything.
You need to assure your couple that everything is in control and you should be confident that it really is. They must have that peace of mind and confidence that their wedding planner will be able to execute their wedding perfectly.
9. What are the common misconceptions about wedding planners, if there are?
Some people think that wedding planners are also their yayas. Some wedding planners are treated with less respect than they deserve, which is why I always tell my staff to dress up, put on a little make-up, to look presentable. People can be very judgmental, but when they see that you are very professional your dealings with them, they will treat you with respect. Some planners even go the extra mile and become not just your supplier, but also your friend and confidant.
Some people also think that wedding planners are magicians. They’re not! Give them also the right budget and ample time if you want to make things happen.
10. Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring wedding planners?
They must have patience and hard work, but most important of all is your love for your work. Once you love your job, everything becomes bearable. There will be times when you feel like surrendering to fatigue and stress, but if you love your customers, you will find a reason not to give up on them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and always be open to learn new things. Never burn bridges; instead make long-lasting friendships with those you work with. A good (and bad) word will go a long way. It becomes a meaningful job when you realize that you are doing this for the most important day of their lives, and they are trusting you to make it the most memorable one too.
For a personalized consultation, contact Claire Villaflor of Righconnect Weddings
Phone: 416-1519 / 0921-285-8600
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