Jun 13, 2010

Planned Elegance
( 2.2 / 5.0 )
Upon meeting Kami my first impression of her was that she was professional, passionate, detail oriented, and very enthusiastic. I could tell she did not have a lot wedding experience under her belt at the time I booked, but I wasn't bothered by it due to her enthusiasm and passion. The reason I knew she lacked experience I booked her approximately 9 months before my wedding, and purchased her middle package which included assistance months before the big day. Prior to booking she advised she would be available throughout my planning. I booked her without even meeting with the second planner I had planned to interview, even though she was cheaper than Kami.

After I hired Kami she ended up being booked by additional brides and had done a few weddings by the time my wedding came around. I'm not sure what happened with the other brides, but by the time my wedding came around, the passion and enthusiasm was no longer present. Mind you, Kami and I had limited contact after I hired her and during my planning process. She did attend the initial trips to book my ceremony and reception venues that I found. When my wedding was one month away Kami knew nothing other than the venues. She did not call once to see where I was in the planning, she didn't see if I need assistance with invites, seating arrangements, or anything. A month before my wedding I contacted her so we could get together and I could fill her in on all the details. She told me she had two other weddings that month and that she could get with me 10 days before my wedding. I repeat, at this point the only details she knew was where the ceremony and reception were. She didn't know times, any of the logistics. She wants me to give her all the details for this wedding for almost 200 people 10 days before? She herself told me in our initial meeting that even as a Day of Coordinator you would really begin assisting with the planning process months before because there is no way to learn everything in a couple of days. Apparently this philosophy had changed. I convince her to meet with me earlier. I didn't feel I needed the additional stress of making sure I had given her every detail 10 days before my wedding. At least with a month left, if I forgot any important details, I still had time to let her know. During this meeting I gave her my vendor information, ceremony/reception start times, location where we were getting ready, rehearsal information, etc. At this time she advised me she and an assistant that would accompany her. We discussed having one of them stay at the reception site to make sure things were being set up according to plan. One of them was to also stay behind because we had a dessert buffet set up by an outside vendor, and I didn’t want non-guests eating the desserts. I also advised her during this meeting that I had four hostesses and two ushers. The hostesses would pass out water and programs to the guests and would be at Kami’s disposal for whatever else she needed. Also I had several items Kami would be setting up on the big day (candy buffet, favor bags, favor boxes, and card box, cake knife set, etc.) asked if she wanted to take them so she’d have them and she declined. Up until this point there were quite a few times where I felt I had made a mistake by hiring Kami. I had done so much on my own, I wondered why I was paying her. After this meeting I left with renewed hope and assurance. I felt at ease and thought she would come through and show me why she was being paid. Boy was I wrong!

In the days leading up to the wedding, Kami called all vendors to confirm the times they would arrive and she did a good job of keeping me in the loop. On the day of the rehearsal Kami called me and confirmed the time and advised she would be there. Before we got off the phone I asked her if she needed the names of the members of the bridal party and she advised she did. I emailed her the list. My fiancé and I arrived at the rehearsal approximately 15-20 minutes late. When we walked up Kami was there with her notebook all ready to go, as were the other members of the bridal party. We got to the ceremony site to start the rehearsal and this was the first time I honestly felt like I had made a mistake in hiring her. She was fumbling around and it just seemed like she didn’t know what to do. Right there in the garden in front of everyone she began asking me if we were still going to do it the way we discussed during our May 26th meeting (we toyed with the idea of having the girls walk down by themselves as we were short one guy). I felt she should have asked those type of questions when she called me earlier in the day, that way when we arrived at the garden she would already know what to do. I didn’t understand why we were discussing this in front of everyone. She did not command attention from the group either. Granted I did have a wedding party of 20, but how hard is it to ask the guys to line up on one side, the girls on the other, and pair them up by height? Instead Kami was walking up to various members and asking them who they thought was next in height. After my girls and I suggested she line everyone up by height, she remarked, “That’s a good idea!” She then asked the guys to line up, but never had common sense enough to ask the girls to line up. I eventually stepped in and just paired everyone up by height. She then had the girls walking down the right side of the aisle and the guys walking down the left, and when they reached the alter, they were to cross in front of one another and go to opposite sides. The girls of the bridal party asked why they didn’t just walked down the left side from the beginning, as it made more sense. Kami responded with something along the line of , “That’s true.” She then changed it to the way my girls suggested. It was at this time that multiple members of my bridal party (including the guys) noticed she didn’t seem to know what she was doing. Some of them said they couldn’t believe I was paying her. I was embarrassed, but hoped she would pull it together on the day. After all, I did have 4 hostesses to help her and 2 ushers. Plus Kami had her own assistant. I thought maybe she was just intimidated by the group being so large.

The day of the wedding Kami arrived at the receptions site sometime in the morning. Days leading up to the wedding she called my vendors and made arrangements for delivery times. She did a very good job of keeping me in the loop. I had a chance to check on the reception room while my girls were getting their makeup done. I saw Kami and she was wearing a t-shirt with her company name, sweat pants, and sneakers. I thought that attire was appropriate for setting up. It was also during this time I met her assistant, whom I really thought had a bad attitude. Not sure if she was having a bad day or what, but one of my vendors mentioned her attitude to me after the wedding, so I know it wasn’t just me. While us girls got ready Kami never came to check on us to see if we were running behind, on schedule or anything. As a matter of fact it was me that kept us on point and decided what time we needed to leave. Later in the afternoon Kami began calling me on my cell phone. Initially it was to see what our whereabouts were, but then she began calling me about certain reception details. She started calling so much that my bridesmaids took the phone from me. I can’t remember exactly what she was calling for, but I remember thinking she should have been able to make an executive decision and just went with it, but she didn’t. My hostesses and usher arrived at the ceremony site, Kami was nowhere to be found. Apparently the chair vendor, florist, and site coordinator were all looking for her. My hostesses were being asked questions by the florist and chair vendor that they were unable to answer. The site coordinator advised them that she had placed several calls to Kami’s cell phone, all of which went unanswered. The chair vendors placed the chairs to the best of their ability. Kami ending up arriving, with her assistant tow, despite what we discussed (one staying at the reception site to oversee things and watch the dessert buffet). Remember, if Kami needed assistance at the ceremony, there were four hostesses there she could use at her disposal. I later learned the hostesses organized themselves since Kami was absent when they arrived. I was informed that Kami talked crap about the corsages I chose and stated that her assistant (who owns a flower shop) doesn’t do “those types” of corsages (I ordered pin on corsages) so she was unsure what to do with them. I guess Kami doesn’t keep current with the latest wedding trends because “those types” of corsages are the ones a lot of brides are using these days. However, even if they weren’t, it’s my day and shouldn’t her opinion have been kept to herself or at least out of the ears of my guests? Also if her assistant is such a good florist, why isn’t she busy doing weddings on the weekend instead of playing assistant to Kami? Kami was not around when the ceremony chair people came so she had to rearrange the chairs and was heard saying, “Oh well, the guests are just going to have to see us setting up the chairs.” Now that’s just lovely. My grandmother didn’t want to walk down the aisle. Someone heard Kami saying, she didn’t understand why because “…she certainly seems capable.” I just don’t understand why other people are hearing all of these things, nor why she felt the need to openly give her opinion about decisions that me and my family made.

My hostesses informed me after our big day that non-guests such as hotel staff and the like had been eating from the dessert buffet prior to the start of the reception, just like I feared. In fact they busted Kami eating from the cupcakes as the cupcake lady was setting up. They overheard Kami saying it was “product review” and that if she likes the cupcakes she will start using the lady as one of her vendors. Uh…I had already reviewed the product, which is why I hired the lady in the first place. Thanks! Kami had to be reminded by a hostess that the cupcakes were for the guests. I didn’t feel like my reception was the place for her to sample goodies for potential vendors. During the reception, I felt more like Kami had her assistant there as a friend to hang out with while she was at a wedding where she didn’t know anyone. By the way, Kami’s apparel (t-shirt, sweat pants, and sneakers) ended up being what she and her assistant wore to the ceremony and reception. Her attire was the topic among many guests as several people asked me directly, or other people in the wedding party, why she was dressed the way she was. One vendor thought she was just a friend helping out based on her attire. They were shocked to know that she was my paid planner. I thought her attire was proper for set up, but felt she could have dressed more professionally once the festivities began. I’m not saying she had to wear stilettos, but some slacks and some nice loafers would suffice. Some guests overheard Kami say she no longer wears heels and dressy attire because of all the running around she does. Why are guests hearing this?
While Kami did have the DJ make the announcements I asked, I just felt she could have been more productive at the reception. For instance, I saw Kami and her assistant hanging out with the videographer sitting down on the carpert watching him edit stills from our day, when she could have been refilling the candy at the candy buffet. We had candy leftover because It wasn’t put out, meanwhile the jars were empty. She could have been putting away the empty jars once the rest of the candy ran out. Instead my husband and I were packing all of this stuff up because Kami left before we did. Yes, you read that correctly. Some of the guests started to help us and asked where the planner was. I was embarrassed. She did ask if I needed anything else before she left, however I was so shocked that the planner was leaving and we were still there. While Kami was asking me this, her assistant was tugging on her saying, “Come on Kami, Come on Kami.” WTF!?

Although Kami seems nice, she is the only vendor I regret hiring. If you are the type of bride that has no idea what is supposed to happen at a wedding, she may be perfect for you. I thought she was almost equivalent to hiring a friend and giving her instructions, except my friends knew more about what works than she did. Also she seems to have tunnel vision when it comes to weddings and I got the impression that she does every wedding exactly the exact same. Whenever she was thrown a curve ball she wasn’t able to come up with a solution on her own. She was not a problem solver or a decision maker, she needed to consult with me a lot on the day of my wedding, and lacked the confidence to make a decision on her own. She also lacked professionalism on many levels.

In the end I had a beautiful wedding, and I can’t take anything away from that. Evidently Kami thought so too because she wasted no time putting the photos she took of my day on her website.

If Kami is reading this these are the things I would like her to take from this:

1) Dress professional no matter how small or large the wedding is. You were once a bride and I'm sure you would have expected your planner to show up dressed like a professional. I had almost 200 people at a classy event and you looked like you had just come from the gym.

2) All brides are not the same. Some people like to be different. Keep your criticisms to yourself if you aren't going to tell them to the bride directly. If you want to make suggestions to her, that's fine. It doesn't look good for you to voice your criticisms to other people when they are friends of the bride. It just makes it look like you are talking crap behind the bride's back.

3) When you agree to become the planner to a bride, only take on what you can handle. I should not being hearing about how you can't see me because of your other brides, especially when I haven't consulted with you much, if at all during my planning. No bride wants to feel as though another wedding is more important than their own.

4) A planner does not leave the wedding before the bride and groom. There is no way my husband and I should have been the ones packing up our candy buffet and other items. Guests should not have had to help us with this.
Services used: Wedding Planning