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Wedding Planning: a serious affair

There’s some controversy attached to the role of the Wedding Planner. This is mainly because it’s not always clear which services they have to offer and the actual added value provided.

Taken literally, a wedding planner is an event organiser, specialising, of course, in nuptials.  Put this way, it could seem that just anyone with a flair for design and event planning could turn their hand to the trade.  But this is not strictly the case and, in actual fact, a high degree of skill is required of this ever more popular figure, as we will explain.

We spoke to Caterina Testardi, founder of Caterina Weddings, given her emblematic professional history.  Caterina has a degree in Economics and Commerce, with a dissertation on female entrepreneurship, gained some years ago in Puglia, when female business opportunities were just taking off.  With her education behind her, and having organised her own wedding, to her family’s surprise Caterina decided to invest her know-how and organisational skills in this new profession.

As Caterina likes to point out, a wedding planner is an entrepreneur with a true professional role, albeit this is not as yet officially recognised.
To become a successful wedding planner, as well as possession of good organisational skills, you also have to be capable of managing the budget assigned, finding and engaging suppliers without going over budget, and take care of a myriad of other aspects from timing, to the bureaucracy and logistical aspects surrounding the event, to the decorations and ‘mise en place’. For the latter it’s not unusual nowadays to involve architects and interior designers, and employ the use of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to plan the graphics and place settings.
Set on this new career, and looking for confirmation of her own personal idea on what wedding planning should involve, Caterina embarked on her first training course.  And here that the true passion unfolded, as this only confirmed her conviction and gave her the final push to go ahead.

As well as the skills already mentioned, the human aspect is extremely important to Caterina.  The ability to create empathy and put yourself in your client’s shoes is essential. This enables you to “dream” of the day along with the couple, discovering all of their wishes and taking them on board.  This requires enthusiasm, creativity and good practical sense, because, as she says, the dream needs to become reality but it also has to meet the exact budget planned!

So, what exactly is the added value of a wedding planner? According to Caterina, this means giving complete peace of mind to the couple during the whole organisational process and being sure to create unforgettable moments, not only for the newlyweds, but for their guests too! This entails preparing for an absolutely perfect day, where every single detail has the wow! factor and any unexpected hitch is taken care of by the planner and her staff, without having to rely on mothers, siblings or witnesses.

An example?  Amused, Caterina tells us of an occasion where she had to quickly stitch the groom’s trousers after these gave way on the way out of the church!  And that her staff always carry a sewing kit just in case!  With the same spirit, Caterina helps the bride get herself ready, with no intent other than that to instil complete calm and confidence.

In the case of a destination wedding, the value of a wedding planner becomes even greater, as this requires knowledge of other languages and the ability to embrace and often harmonise different cultures.  Another example? An Italian-French-Indonesian wedding, where the guests from all over the world learned typical games of the three cultures and even how to sing a song in Italian!
If this has given you a clearer example of what a wedding planner should be, we can give you a few tips on how to select on.

First, you have to feel completely at ease.  If you feel empathy, listened to and understood, then you can be sure that you’ll sleep easily in the run up to the big day.

And, of course, you have to look for absolute professionality and skill.  This is the person that you’ll entrust with your budget, all of your hopes and dreams for the day and those of your loved ones, so you have to feel 100% sure. If you have the slightest niggle, then perhaps you’re not in the right place.

Ask for an idea board, because as well as the undoubted beauty of the day, you have to find variety and, of course, personalisation.  Each wedding has to tell the story of the couple and capture their personality, not that of the wedding planner. So you must perceive that you will be at the centre of this wonderful experience.

Of course, some will think “Wonderful idea..but what about the cost?” And, in part, this is true. But any professional service has a price tag attached.  If you consider a wedding planner as an additional cost, there are at least two factors you should to take into account.

A good wedding planner can actually help you save money by optimising your budget.  They will be able to use their experience and relationship with suppliers in the sector to get you the best quality at the best price.  They’ll also guide you with confidence through the essential and the superfluous, helping you make the right choices.

Finally, the services of a wedding planner can be modulated.  You can opt for the complete organisation of your wedding, or the so called “keys in hand” solution, or you can simply entrust the wedding design, making sure the aesthetics are taken care of, or the oversight of the event, ensuring that everything is managed to take place at the right time. It’s to you to decide on the basis of your preferences and possibilities, but we’re sure that in the end the cost of a wedding planner will make up a minimal percentage of your budget.

You’re still not convinced? Then pay a visit to at least one wedding planner … you’ll probably discover that the serenity they can guarantee is within your reach!