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2012 October 15

From The Daily Brides: Wedding Planner Uncensored

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Wedding Planner Uncensored! Wedding Planner Uncensored!
Rebecca & Charlie Cohen
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(NEW YORK)They may carry an arsenal of fix-its in their trusty carry-alls, but even the savviest nuptial navigators can come face to face with bewildering doozies on occasion. New Jersey-based wedding planner and reality show regular Jenny Orsini lifts the veil on what it’s really like to orchestrate your big day. BY MARIA DENARDO

How did you get into wedding planning?
I moonlighted as a wedding singer while I was going to grad school for business. After graduation, I worked in event planning until the recession hit in the early 2000s, and I was laid off. I was tired of working for the man, so I started a part-time gig as a wedding planner, and it snowballed. 

Did you enjoy your career as a wedding singer?
I did it when the gowns were cheesy, and I sang Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive.’ I busted my butt singing for long hours, surrounded by drunk, crazy people. Those days ended when I got married.

How many weddings do you plan a year?

I never plan more than two or three per month, but I have a staff, and each member has their own client base. We usually plan about 30 to 40 events per year. For partial planning services, we charge $4,500 and up. Full service starts at $9,000. We always try to work with different budgets.

What’s your typical couple?

Our clients are outgoing—they’re not very straight-laced. They’re doctors, lawyers, and account executives. Our average client spends about $100,000 on their wedding, but we’ve done a range of events from $30,000 to $1 million. It’s all relative. A $50,000 wedding might not sound like a lot, but when there are only 25 guests, that’s a big wedding!

How do you respond to the naysayers?

Everyone could benefit from a wedding planner, but not everyone should have one. If you’re going to be thick-headed and stubborn, don’t hire us.

Have you turned anyone down?
When I first started the company, I took any client whose check cleared. But I have a thorough screening process now, so I can figure out if the bride is going to be nitpicky, indecisive, or a pain in my a**. 

What are the red flags?
If all the couple talks about is the budget, I get apprehensive.

Any bridezillas?
I swear to you, one bride was the spawn of Satan. She was verbally abusing everyone and sending letters to vendors about how they were ruining her day. Even her rabbi had to tell her to snap out of it!

Have you ever had a runaway bride?
I had a no-show groom once. I called the limo company, hospitals, airports, and the police. Finally, I had to tell everyone that we were going to skip the ceremony and have a party to honor the beautiful woman in the white dress. Afterward, we found out he locked himself in his apartment. They broke up, but I heard she took him back several months later.

Have you had to throw anyone out of a wedding?
This one bride loved throwing people out. She’d tell her guests, ‘This girl just crashed my party! Get my wedding planner to kick her out.’ I never give them the boot, but I bring someone much taller to discreetly ask them to leave. 

What do clients spend the most money on?
After the reception, it’s florals and high-end photography.

Have you ever worked with Buddy from Cake Boss?
Sure! The last time I met with Buddy, his show hadn’t aired yet. There were no lines outside of Carlo’s Bakery. You could get an appointment with Buddy two weeks in advance. That would never happen now.

What’s your experience with tipsy guests?
One guy was so wasted he started rapping at the reception. I was 30 feet away from him and could smell what he just drank.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen?
Last year, one daddy was paying for the wedding for the bride and groom. Three or four months before the big day, they learned daddy didn’t have the money he said he had. They owed about $45,000. The couple had to call off the wedding.

Have you ever thought the groom was gay?
I’ve seen it three or four times, but it’s none of my business. People marry for different reasons. If you can pay me and you want a fabulous-looking wedding, I don’t care if you’re a chicken or a goat.

What’s the strangest request you’ve had from a client?
A bride and a groom asked me to hire little people to entertain at cocktail hour. I pretended I didn’t get the email.

What’s the funniest vow you’ve heard on the big day?
One bride was marrying a die-hard Steelers fan and wrote in her vows, ‘I promise to let you watch football with your stinky friends.’

What do wedding planners really think about over-involved grooms?
I love it! I’m so entertained when a husky groom who’s wearing a flannel shirt and boots and smells like Marlboros says, ‘I really like calla lilies. Don’t you?’

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