The Business Of Your Wedding 101: How To Work With Kicka$$ Professionals
It’s time to plan what will perhaps be the biggest day in your life. Sure, all you want to think about it the fun stuff like the cutesy decorations or the flavor of the cake, and OMG, how fun will that open bar be?
But here’s the secret to a great wedding: none of the fun stuff happens without great planning and great professionals.
As romantic as the notion is, it doesn’t happen because you believe the magic of your own ceremony and partnership.
It takes blood, sweat, and tears, and not just on your end, but on the people that you hire.
That’s why weddingpros.tv sat down with one of the greats of the industry. Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting and the OFD Collective, specializes in wedding PR and is one of the most sought after wedding consultants in the world, to pick her wedding-expertise brain.
Seriously, wedding professionals seek her out for planning and advice on both sides of the Atlantic. So what does she have to say about getting your wedding right, about hiring and working with the right people?
Lots, it turns out.
1. FIND PEOPLE WHO WILL WORK AS A TEAM
The best wedding pros, says Ely, are the ones who understand that they are only a piece of a puzzle, not the board.
If you hire a DJ, a florist, or an officiant who is only concerned about their own duties and nothing else, or worse yet, acts as though theirs is the only piece that REALLY matters, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Each wedding pro should see themselves as a vital cog in your wedding machine. Ask them how they feel about teamwork and listen carefully to their answers.
As Ely puts it, “Find folks who are willing to work with a team. There’s no egos when it comes to weddings.”
2. DON’T DIY ANYTHING
I know you think you’re perfectly capable of being your own wedding florist (for example), because you’ve always sort of enjoyed flowers and making centerpieces, and then there was that 4H bronze medal you got for flower arranging when you were 11.
Doesn’t matter. Hire a pro florist. Hire a pro everything.
The value of professionals in ensuring what is supposed to be the happiest day of your life IS the happiest cannot be understated. They are experts not only in their craft, but the wedding business itself, if they’re experienced.
“When you need a contract looked over, you get a lawyer, you don’t DIY,” says Ely. Perhaps you don’t think of your wedding in the same light, but you should.
3. EXPERIENCE MATTERS
Everyone has to get their start somewhere.
Every wedding DJ has to have done their first wedding somewhere, same for every wedding caterer and wedding everything-else.
This means someone, somewhere, had to give them a chance. Otherwise, how would anyone ever get a gig?
Here’s the wedding hack, though: let someone else be that kindly soul, not you.
YOU get people with experience out the wazoo. Simply put, the more experience, the less chance something goes awry and the GREATER the chance that your wedding is truly magical in ways you didn’t even suspect it would.
Wedding professionals, the good ones, are magicians after all, something you will find out yourself if you hire someone who has been doing weddings for years.
4. NONE OF THIS MATTERS IF YOU DON’T SET A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
The annals of wedding lore are full of sob stories of brides and grooms falling in love with a particular wedding planner, caterer, or whomever, and only after falling in love do they realize this professional is out of their price range by several orders of magnitude.
The way you prevent becoming a sob story in that regard is to set a budget and researching price ranges for each type of professional.
Conferring with your friends who have gone through the process in invaluable, because then you’ve perhaps seen the pros work and can find out quickly how much they cost. The interwebz are a valuable resource here too.
A more specific way of thinking about your wedding budget is offered by Ely: the more guests you have, the less money you’re going to have to hire good professionals.
Yes, you can’t wait to see your Mom’s reaction to your dress, but do you REALLY need the reaction of your third cousin whom you’ve only met four times? (Spoiler: no).
Think of number of guests vs. quality of professionals as a sliding scale. Or, save money by not having your wedding on a Saturday, when people’s services are more expensive.
5. PROFESSIONALS NEED LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING TOO
To paraphrase Ely, you might see that it costs $4,000 for your photographer to work 8 hours at your wedding and reception and think, “He makes $500 an hour! What a racket!”
No, not at all. There are so many secondary and tertiary costs, expensive ones, associated with being a wedding professional. Equipment is expensive. Gas and vehicles are expensive. Processing is expensive. The list goes on.
Lookit, no one gets rich being a wedding photographer, unless they only do it for A-list celebrities.
Things cost what they cost just to allow the pros to keep doing this and support themselves/their family.
Sticker shock is sticker shock, and we’ve all experienced it.
It’s okay: how they hell are you to know the cost breakdowns of a wedding DJ? But have a little empathy and understanding.
If Meghan Ely says so, believe me, you should listen.
Got all this? Good, there will be a quiz later, in the form of your wedding. Get an A.
If you want more tips on how to make your wedding something the guests will talk about for years, sign up for your FREE copy of 3 Things You’re DJ won’t tell you about how to take your wedding from average to Legendary!
Then, make sure you come back here and…