on the phone

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A common mistake I see many vendors make is thinking that when a bride begins to plan her wedding, she should always call them first, no matter what their speciality. But does this really make the most sense? When Ivanka Trump got engaged, I was one of the first people she called. Ivanka is a very savvy New York City business woman, and she understands how to plan a huge event. She knew that she should get a planner and a designer on board as quickly as possible. But most brides don’t have Ivanka’s professional, not to mention personal, background.

So, unfortunately, a lot of brides don’t call a designer or planner first. Instead, they start by calling venues, letterpress invitation designers or DJs. I’ve long suspected that a bride’s first call is often to the vendor she’s most excited about. A bride who adores flowers is likely to start planning her wedding by calling a florist.

Nonetheless, it’s in the bride’s best interest to call a planner first. A good planner will help a bride understand the process and give her a sense of which expectations are reasonable and which are unreasonable.

For the vast majority of brides, budget is paramount. Assuming a bride can’t afford to have it all, it’s important that she understand what she can afford sooner rather than later. So whether you’re a planner, a florist or a DJ, if a bride calls you first, you should give her a crash course in pricing. Trust me, she’ll thank you later.

Dear Readers, what’s your opinion? Who should a bride call first? Why?

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  • Susan

    WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY? I think calling a designer is key. Not all planners have design experience.

  • Pam Archer

    I agree that a planner should be called first. The planner assists them in developing a budget, which is critical prior to booking vendors.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE T Hayles

    Ordinarily I would agree (as a planner), but the 1st thing is establishing the date that you want/need to get married. That is venue driven in most cases.

    Its funny that most of my clients come to me after already have chosen a venue and a date. It makes things a little easier for me as their guide.

  • Andrea Eppolito

    As a planner, I always appreciate it when I am the first vendor brought on board, as I believe it benefits both the brides and the vendors.

    For the Bride: We are able to outline general themes, the overall feeling desired, budget, timeline, etc. Then, we can focus her energies and intentions towards meeting those goals.

    For the Vendors: The process is streamlined. Less of their time is wasted because they are qualified, tasked, and communicated with by a professional who tends to understand their abilities, art, pricing, and perspective from the beginning.

    By creating a community of vendors I work with on a regular basis, I am able to instill confidence in all parties. The familiarity and trust we have amongst us as vendors is an energy that most brides can immediately tap into, easing the process for all.


    As a planner I agree that the bride should call the planner FIRST. Planners guide brides, help them stay focused and within budget. They often have access to resources and discounts through their relationships in the business. When I sign a contract with a bride in the middle of her planning, I often work a lot harder undoing and renegotiating with vendors and DEPROGRAMMING.

  • Julia Hewitt

    I LOVE this post. I couldn’t agree with you more on all that you said. A huge pet peeve of mine is when a client calls me after they have already booked their entertainment and added on all kinds of nonsense and then when I hear what their budget is I am confused as to why they booked a photo booth, a DJ a bunch of bad DJ lighting and anything the DJ had in his back closet for sale. Sometimes, they book all this crap before they even have a venue- then when they hear what all the other stuff actually costs they are confused and shocked and don’t know how they can afford it. I totally educate anyone and everyone about what things actually cost- but, usually people that do not entertain a lot have no clue and then they just think I am too expensive and go to a planner that convinces them they can have it all for free.

  • Tamika

    Calling a planner first is ideal. A planner can assist with budget planning, vendor contacts such as florists, bakery, hey you selection, edith designer, etc.

  • Tamika

    The first point of contact should be the wedding planner. The wedding planner can help with budget planning (which is most important), connect brides and grooms with the appropriate vendors such as florists, bakeries, event designers, etc., as well as help with venue selection.


    I think that it is critical to call the planner first and then the planner can help the bride to determine who the right designer would be for their wedding vision as well as all of the other vendors involved in the event.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Bella

    Dont think planners are that necessary if you do your reseach. Im just saying.

  • paula

    Planning is the first step in any successful event or project – whatever the size or budget. Establishing a budget and what you want/hope/expect the budget to accomplish is key.

    Any endeavor that requires money, decision making of multiple purchases, and is date and time specific should be well-planned. Very often it’s the first time a person has set out to accomplish this – as is the case with many couples planning their wedding.

    Working with someone who has connections to the dependable vendors, and best quality for YOUR budget will save time. Time is money.

  • The National Benefit Authority

    Use this time to gather information and enjoy any of the special offers extended to you. You are the Bride; you make the rules when dealing with vendors. It’s YOUR day, not theirs!

  • Once upon your day

    I agree. As a planner, I have heard way to many horror stories about couples who just book everything then later go and look at their budget and are crapping their pants as theynare way over. With a planner, we can prevent that and still make their day just as memorable for them!

  • Kim Moss

    Call the planner – call the planner – call the planner! As a certified wedding planner, I often get the call AFTER the bride has done a lot of things and then when we have our initial consultation she finds out that she could have saved herself money and time. Sadly, many brides (and grooms!) think that the planner’s job is a piece of cake – well for the planner it is, they love what they do, they have a passion about it. Getting your best friend to be the planner to save you the planner fee – BAD IDEA! Not just because I’m a planner, but its a bad idea. The best friend won’t tell you that you’ve gone off the deep end, they won’t say things like – no – they basically will go along with whatever you want because they will say “its your day, do what you want” worst phrase ever. It might be your wedding day, but if you want to have a fabulous day – call the planner after you call your family to announce your engagement!

  • Kim Moss

    @Bella – I’m just sayin – doing the research and understanding and knowing what the real deal is are two different things. Planners are professionals who understand their craft and that of the vendors that they work with – they speak the same language. Having a little information from Google, Bing or any other research is a dangerous thing and can cost the bride money. Even professional planners hire planners they know its better to have one than not.

  • Kim Moss

    @Susan – planners versus designers – the designer is secondary, most brides don’t have the budget for both a planner and a designer. A great planner will have a great eye for good design and know what can be worked into the bride’s overall theme. Many planners (myself included) have learned the benefit of having as many tools in our arsenal as possible – creating centerpieces, designing the room layout, understanding lighting, linen selection, florals and more. The planner does much more than handle a checklist of what needs to be done. For the planner who needs design, she (or he) will usually check out books like PB’s and go from there.

  • Nishaka

    Absolutely, the first call should be made to the Planner. We can begin discussing the actual wedding day and venue. Then begin uncovering her vision and ideas, identify the vendor services needed, budget outline, monthly checklist schedule, and much more.

    Great Blog!

  • Claudia, A Day To Remember

    Preston, THANK YOU so much for the subject. I can’t begin to stress to our newly engaged couples how important it is to seek a planner before hiring venues. We are constantly looking for ways to educate brides on why it is important to seek a planner first. We can help guide them in the right direction, place their priorities in perspective and pair them with qualified and reputable vendors that will be that couple’s best fit.

    Sadly, we’ve had clients come to us after they’ve booked a venue or photographer, and then realize their budget is depleted and begin looking at numbers, not focusing on the overall look and feel of their special day, AND stressing over financial issues…just so sad!

    Thank you again Preston!

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