I tell every single potential and new client that if wedding planning isn't fun, you're doing something wrong. Or if you're my client, I'm doing something wrong, and we need to fix it. What I mean is that the whole process of creating the most important day of your life should be entertaining -- not that there isn't any work involved, because there is. But you should feel excited about planning your wedding details, and your consultations with your wedding planner should be something you enjoy, not something that stresses you out.
I have some tips for brides and groom who want to make meetings with their wedding planners go smoothly, and have fun planning the wedding at the same time.
1) Be prepared for your conference calls (or meetings if you're working with a planner in your hometown) and do your homework from the last call. That means send the pictures of flowers and décor that you promised to forward. Email the names of your wedding party to us along with your wedding website info. Fill out the beauty appointment and massage forms and email them back to us. Work on your wedding ceremony early and get it over with so it's not hanging over your head. For God's sake, fill out the DJ playlist request form.
If your planner is the type (like me) who makes a point to set a time for each and every call you'll do together, the very least you can do is attempt to have done some of the homework from your last call. Did you discuss the things on your "think about it" list with your fiancé (cake flavors, guest book options, venues selections)? When your wedding planner asks you again on the next call, you should have answers -- or at least good questions that she can answer and help you make choices. Unless you're paying for your wedding planner by the hour, it isn't fair to make them re-ask you the same questions week after week.
2) Be present for the conference calls. By that I mean, have your act together and be ready to actually focus on the task at hand. You cannot possibly have productive planning calls if you are surrounded by screaming children or trying to navigate rush hour. You must be able to sit down, access the internet and take notes safely (and I do mean not while in a moving vehicle). I have lots of clients who do their calls from a conference room at work during lunch -- nothing wrong with that. If the groom wants to be involved, by all means, involve him. If your mother wants to participate, that's fine too -- but discuss things with her before the call or after the call if there is a strong disagreement. It's only fun to listen to you argue with mom for the first five minutes.
3) Communicate in a professional manner with your wedding planner. What does that mean? Act like your wedding planner is any other consultant or attorney. Unless she tells you to call her "whenever," don't. Please make appointments to talk or call her when you absolutely need her in a timely manner for something critical. Imagine that she has lots of clients who have random thoughts about their weddings all day long, and many of them want to share their thoughts in real time too. It's much better to email those items to your planner. It gives her a record to work with, and she'll be able to open your file and know what she's talking about when she responds to your inquiry.
Don't text message your wedding planner unless it's the actual week of your wedding, or you're trapped in a meeting and are going to miss a wedding planning call. Can you even imagine what it's like for a planner with 50-plus active clients who are all texting her pictures of their wedding gowns as they try them on? Oh yes, it happens all the time. Brides are excited. And we are excited for them. But the constant text messages will make your planner insane quickly and the little details may be lost since they won't be documented in her email.
4) Create inspiration boards for yourself, but narrow them down before you share them with your wedding planner. Some of my clients send me to their Pinterest pages to look at 600 pictures that have absolutely nothing in common with each other except that they're all completely different. Before you share your "inspiration" with your wedding planner or florist, narrow that list of pictures down. A lot. Show us what you like, and be able to articulate what you like about it. It's okay to say "I like this about this one," or "this is my favorite except for the long tables," or "I want it to look like that, but in red instead of orange." We can follow that. Just give us some direction so we can help you. We're not mind readers.
5) Don't play stupid about the money. You are supposed to be reading all the contracts you are signing and your wedding planner should be giving you periodic budget updates, but you know what you're committing to as you go along. Acting surprised when you see final numbers is sort of a joke when you've been blowing money left and right on arbitrary or unnecessary things.
Most wedding planners do what they love, and so talking with clients about wedding details is a pleasure -- it's the most fun part of my job. But when clients cannot or will not make decisions, it makes a wedding planner's job very difficult, and takes twice as much time. One of our interns last summer, after participating in a planning call with a particularly difficult young bride, asked "Do you think if we give her a lollipop each time she chooses something, she'll start to make some decisions?"