Things to Know
1. What’s the difference between a Wedding Planner, a Wedding Designer, and a Wedding Decorator?
With so many wedding related job titles being thrown around these days (with many of them being confused even by those performing the duties) it can be hard to understand the difference between these various jobs and types of services. In a nutshell, there is a lot of crossover between these roles whether it’s intended or not, but as with anything each individual company or person will have its area of expertise. This doesn’t mean they don’t perform in all areas, it just means they may not be able to perform all of them at the level expected. It comes down to what YOU feel you need after learning more. The simplest way to explain it is like this…
A Full Service Wedding Planner’s job (i.e. a DreamGroup Planner) is to oversee ALL aspects of the wedding planning from ensuring an overall thoughtful and fluid design plan — offering design ideas and suggestions — through to vendor referral and management, budget analysis, stationery consultation, etiquette advice, and on going support and insight on every little and big thing related to the planning journey. Where necessary a wedding planner will involve the right people to support a particular expectation or fill a service need in the right way. Basically, they are a Project Manager — well versed in all areas of the planning with a strong enough knowledge of each service category to advise and maximize each area of the planning. Although they themselves may not be the direct performer of a specific service (i.e. not the actual cake maker, florist, or decorator) they have enough experience and insight to know what’s going to matter, what works, what doesn’t work, and provide ideas and suggestions that will enhance their client’s wedding experience as a whole. The more experienced, reputable, and well connected a wedding planner is, the more value they will bring and in turn increase a couple’s chance of hosting a wedding without regret.
A Wedding Designer’s job tends to focus specifically on the more tangible and visual elements of the wedding. They will help a client hone in on a wedding style and from there bring together a design that takes into account everything from venue analysis, linen selection, tent and logistical elements, lighting needs, colour palettes, floor plan maximization, and many other little things that are par for the course when designing a fluid and successful event. For the record these design tasks listed are all tasks an experienced and dialed in full service planner is capable of performing when needed, albeit often in a less formal way. Side Note: A Wedding Designer is sometimes also referred to and even confused with that of a Wedding Decorator — who is typically someone who owns, promotes, and utilizes their own in house inventory. Whether or not a decorator calls themselves a designer will come down to brand positioning, confidence, industry awareness, and personal choice. Just know that a designer typically has a more formal level of education where design is concerned.
Now here’s where the confusion can be detrimental to the whole process… Some Wedding Designers call themselves Wedding Planners, but in our experience wedding design is only one aspect (albeit a significant one) of a far greater goal and objective when planning a wedding. There is so much more to creating a successful wedding than pretty linens, tabletop decor, stationery, and lighting! It’s just harder to “see” and understand intangible over tangible elements and how they affect the outcome, but all of them play a huge part in creating an overall successful wedding experience.
So what do you need to take away from this helpful yet likely overwhelming explanation? Just this… Whether you prefer to keep things simple and rely solely on your planner to offer enough design advice and connections to achieve your wedding style objectives or whether you have your heart set on working with one of Vancouver’s talented and well known Wedding Designers or Decorators, your DreamGroup Planner will tailor their level of design involvement accordingly based on your vendor preferences and design needs.
2. What are the benefits of working with a Wedding Planner?
It’s important to understand that not all wedding planners are created equal. There is no barrier to entry in becoming a wedding planner so it’s very important to do your due diligence before hiring one. Look for experience first, passion for the job, a strong industry presence, and a positive reputation.
There are many reasons to hire a professional, as within any field. We are the experts and it’s our job to help our clients “get it right”. Despite modern misconception Wedding Planners are not just glorified decorators. We are so much more than that! We are creators of Amazing Experiences! We work with our clients to focus in on their priorities and design a wedding celebration that is both beautiful and authentic to them. Maximizing your floral and decor plan is a small (albeit important) part of the magic that we create! Beyond the Flowers & Decor is where you will find the true value of a reputable and experienced planner. From obtaining creative ideas and direction, to preventing costly pitfalls and saving you money, to maximizing your time, to ensuring you are including reputable vendors in your plan that won’t disappoint — there are so many reasons to involve a professional! Our goal is to make your wedding planning experience a joyful and positive one where you get to have fun and feel confident in the decisions you are making.
Some couples don’t fully understand the full benefits of working with an experienced wedding planner and can sometimes feel like it is not a justified expense in the beginning, only to later find themselves disappointed with the outcome and the money they did invest in this once in a lifetime celebration.
By working with an experienced and reputable planner you basically have a guarantee that your vision for your wedding will be brought to life as you imagined and that all the time and money invested in the day results in an wedding celebration without regret. The role that an experienced planner plays is similar to that of a designer and project manager rolled up into one. A planner asks all the right questions, listens attentively so that they can understand a client’s priorities, and then with that knowledge creates a plan of action, offering insight, design ideas, suggestions, advice, contacts, and on-going support to ensure that the wedding comes together in the most efficient, enjoyable, and impressive way!
3. How does DreamGroup set its fees?
There are a number of factors we take into consideration when quoting on a wedding and as long as you are comparing apples to apples you will find our fees very competitive. It’s important to understand that with experience comes a greater level of capability in meeting and exceeding expectations resulting in a superior level of service with less room for error.
Some of the variables that affect the planning fee include:
-What are the overall logistics and caliber of the wedding? Higher budgets means more time managing expectations and all the vendors and people involved in bringing that wedding to life.
-Is the wedding a local or destination wedding? Destination weddings require a higher investment of planning time and travel.
-Are there any pre/post events taking place that also need to be managed?
-Are there multiple venues being used for the ceremony and reception?
-Does the client live locally or out of town, affecting the number of hours spent attending in-person vendor and planner-client meetings.
-Is the preferred venue an all inclusive venue like a hotel or restaurant or is it a “production style” venue like a private residence, farm or park with a tent installation required? Many additional planning hours and logistical variables come into play when building a venue from scratch.
-How many guests are attending the wedding? More people requires more support on the day to manage guest flow and activities.
DreamGroup sets its fees on a case by case basis and we will provide a Quote for our Services after we meet and learn more about your individual expectations and requirements. We offer a complimentary consultation to all prospective clients so that we may better understand what level of support is best suited to your plan and budget.
It is important to acknowledge that working with a wedding planner does require a cost investment, but it is an investment that pays for itself by ensuring that you are going about things in the right way — involving the right people, receiving the best value, making smart decisions, and maximizing your time and energy. A 50% deposit is required when the contract is signed, and the balance is due four weeks prior to the wedding day.
4. Can DreamGroup plan Cultural Weddings?
You better believe it! We LOVE planning all types of weddings and have tons of experience working with various cultures including, but not limited to Chinese, Indian, Jewish, and Persian weddings. Weddings are a perfect opportunity to pay respect to and celebrate a couple’s family and its traditions. It is especially exciting when a couple from two different cultural backgrounds are coming together, allowing us to interweave aspects of both cultures into the wedding ceremony and reception. It makes for a most unique and personal wedding experience.
5. When should a couple start working with a planner?
Ideally, we begin working with a couple 8-16 months before the wedding which allows enough time to develop a plan that everyone is excited about and move through the tasks in a relaxed, enjoyable, and productive way. That said, we have planned weddings in as little as 3 weeks and have begun working with couples as much as 18 months in advance. Anything earlier than that is not recommended as styles, ideas, and situations change with time and although we love planning weddings, we don’t love planning the same wedding twice for the same price. :0)
6. Does DreamGroup accept referral fees or “kickbacks” from vendors?
DreamGroup does not accept referral fees from any vendors at any time. In the event that we are offered a referral fee we respectfully decline the offer and ask if this “kickback” might be forwarded in the form of a discount to our clients instead. Our vendors are recommended because of the valuable products and services they offer our clients, not because they pay us to do so. We stand behind our recommended vendors and these vendors know that when we introduce our clients to them it is because we respect and appreciate their attention to detail, dedication, and proven outstanding performance. In this way, DreamGroup is able to build a respected and strong working relationship with its vendors. In return, we can expect the absolute best from them time and time again.