I’d say in the past five or six years, I have noticed a trend when I talk to wedding partners during the day of the wedding. It goes something like this:
Wedding Partner: “So, Carrie, when are you and the team leaving for the day?”
Me: “Um, we don’t leave until the bride and groom depart the building.”
Wedding Partner: “Really, no way?! Are you kidding? We haven’t seen a planner stay past the cutting of the cake at the latest.”
Naturally, as I’ve grown this business, I have to say, I have been a bit too busy to check with other planners to see when they leave during a wedding. I just assumed they were all staying until the end. I mean, why wouldn’t they? There is still a significant portion of the party that happens following the cutting of the cake. There are so many things that could go wrong; so many things that could go right if there is a person who can lead the charge and be a positive resource; so many things that need to be taken care of and/or organized for the smooth closure of the reception.
Now, to be honest, this means I am working a 16 hour day. And some days when I have to be up at 6:30 in the morning to unlock a facility or run an errand for our client; it makes the day seem super long. It isn’t easy. At about hour 14, it doesn’t feel like Jennifer Lopez “Wedding Planner” glamour or fun. It feels more like I’ve run a marathon in 16 hours, which is really like walking a marathon, I suppose. But, nonetheless, I love it.
Here’s the thing. We can’t leave. There is too much that can happen that we can help with. I realize there are other wedding partners that depart shortly after dancing starts. And, honestly, I wish that wasn’t the case. I have seen some amazing things happen while the dancing is happening. This includes: the bride jumping on stage to sing with the band; the bride’s brother and cousin jumping on stage with her to play a rock song; an impromptu toast from the groom to his new in-laws; a bride/brother dance where they both cried; bridesmaids bringing in mini tambourines for the bride as they all dance in a circle around her; and cousins doing a “one of a kind, cousin-only” dance they had created when they were kids that included “the worm”. In all cases we were able to lend a hand with the logistics of timing and communication, and to snap a few quick iPhone images. These are the good things that happen during the dance. The bad things include: a bridesmaid over imbibing; a spaghetti strap that breaks during the bride’s dance with her father; a red wine spill on the gown; guests losing personal items; transportation for the couple not showing up; guests not having a ride home and so much more.
Honestly, this isn’t a “Carrie likes to control all things” type of tirade, this is me genuinely saying we need to be there as a service to our clients. When I ask a potential client why they are considering a planner, the answer is ALWAYS we want someone to handle and execute all the details so we don’t have to worry about anything. Doesn’t that include anything that happens post cake-cutting? As planners, we should always finish the night for our clients. It is finishing our job, watching out for our clients and insuring that what we promised is delivered. It should be our “industry goal” to send our clients off in a fairy-tale way. It’s the icing on the wedding cake. Let’s make it happen. And for non-planners, I encourage you to offer an unlimited/extended coverage option, I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing moments you have missed that could add to your portfolio; create excitement for your clients; and in turn grow your bookings. Give it a try, see how it works out. Let me know. :)