“Reality” vs. Reality

/ / Sounding Off

Okay, I admit it! I am a wedding planner and all those reality television shows that chronicle those in this profession . . . ? I watch them all. Yup! From My Fair Wedding to Platinum Weddings, and when I’m in the mood for a chuckle, even Bridezillas. I must admit that even though I am immersed in this industry on a daily basis, I find it validating to see others take on similar challenges, struggle through the stressful “oh crap” moments and, of course, experience the rush of a completed and successful event.

However, I also must admit that I’m beginning to lose my love affair with wedding reality shows. Quite frankly the reality on these shows doesn’t seem to mimic the reality I see each day. More and more of these programs seem to show weddings only through diamond encrusted glasses . . . as if all brides and grooms have a bottomless bucket of wedding money. And the wedding planners seem to be playing the role of Fairy Godmothers (or fathers) rather than practical and organized professionals whose role is to work with the constraints that they’re given.


Case in point. I happened upon a new show the other day. I won’t name names. Here’s the jist . . Three wedding planners competed for a booking. When I heard the concept I was thrilled. Now here is a show that will display what really goes on, right? The couple gave the planners their preferences and their very modest budget. I couldn’t wait to see these three seasoned planners pitch their individual proposals of how they were going to give this couple the wedding they envisioned without breaking their budget. This is my challenge everyday. What happened in the end? The couple picks the “celebrity” planner who clearly called in every favor he could to give them a wedding that, from what I could tell, cost at least triple their budget. Now I don’t fault a couple for getting a bunch of freebies to make their dream wedding a reality. Who wouldn’t? But for once, I’d like to see a reality show tell the story of a couple and their planner working together to bring their vision to life under realistic circumstances.

Reality is that “real” couples have “real” budgets and “real” constraints. A planner’s role isn’t just to wave their magic wand and find a way to get people things that cannot otherwise afford. Unless there is a television studio behind it, this does not happen. But planners can make magic with real couples by getting to know them and calling upon their own creativity and extensive knowledge of the industry. Our relationships with local vendors, negotiating skills and creative ideas of how to do more with less can provide couples with significant savings and fantastic events. I make it my goal to bring savings to my clients at least equivalent to my own fee.

What I want every bride out there to know is that you don’t have to have a bottomless bucket of wedding money and a “fairy godmother” to have a fabulous wedding. Wedding planners are accessible to all kinds of brides. Most have flexible services and are accustomed to working within the guidelines given by the clients. And most importantly, they can help you create a fantastic wedding that is uniquely you