Am I Self-Indulgent Enough to Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner?

In Depth

The other day I saw a child pharaoh on the subway. When she entered the packed car at rush hour, a seat was magically cleared for her, and moments after her tiny body was placed into it by an attendant, a lollipop was unwrapped and stuck into her grasp. A heavily armed iPad with a video of animated penguins dancing was placed into her lap.

And when the young queen, in an expression of approval at the penguins’ performance, jammed the candy part of the lollipop into her palm one-two-three times, a cleansing wipe was retrieved, the candied hand gingerly taken, the palm cleaned, the flower-scented fist placed back into the lap. And when it was time to get off the train, the queen was shuttled by her attendant, whose fingers looped under her armpits and lifted her out.

To me, few people beyond royals and children riding the New York City subway deserve to be attended to with such dedication. And yet the wedding planner industry is a billion dollar one. (Not to be confused with the wedding planning industry, which is a 100-jazzillion-hydrangea-petals-and-flakes-of-confetti-and-smoke-and-mirrors industry.) How can this many women have been convinced they are pharaohs? They already get to be brides and have cake and wear beautiful white gowns—shouldn’t that be enough?

Answer: No. Wedding magazines and blogs distinguish between regular (i.e., professionally planned) and “DIY” weddings the way teenage girls distinguish between friends who’ve had sex and friends who haven’t yet. The former: Sexy, desirable, to be emulated. The latter: Aww, cute, great that you made that choice for yourself! Weird that at a time when natural births are so in vogue, so too is having cosmopolitan, white-gloved sherpa guide you through each and every choice you make about a big party, down to the very last ahi tuna wonton crisp.

Right away I dismissed the possibility of having one for my own wedding, along with “Amsale dress” ($5000+++) and “knowing how to actually dance with husband” (sheer physics).

See, because I am a true idiot, I thought planners were reserved for the ultra-rich, or the girls from My Super Sweet Sixteen who are now grown up, or Veruca Salt-esque ultra-spoiled, like Veruca Salt. But no—like gilded stagecoaches led by glittering phoenixes, champagne waterfalls that mist gently against the dance floor, and all other impossibly opulent finery, now it seems like every bride has one. “You make the sacrifices that need to be made,” the magazines seem to be urging me. “You do what has to be done.”

I haven’t looked up pricing, or called any wedding planners in Maine, where I’ll be marrying Joe atop the backs of two side-by-side diamond-encrusted elephants probably at this fucking point. Because the idea of someone doing something so luxurious I’ve only ever seen Jennifer Lopez do it in a movie, seems so out of my financial grasp, I don’t even dare look it up. How much can it be?

Ten thousand dollars?

I am getting married in a whole other STATE.

Eight thousand dollars?

Joe says, “Oh, yes, definitely let’s get one,” as if I’ve just asked him if our wedding should have a floor. I wonder if he wants to get me a planner because I’m his pharaoh, or if because, like a child on the subway at rush hour, I am totally out of my mind insane and need constant guidance.

Five thousand dollars?

I literally have no idea what I’m doing here.

Three thousand?

I’ve already saved $1,073. Oh, plus I get really easily overwhelmed, and I have like, 1.5 jobs when you count all my freelance. So, like, I could use the extra help.

Two thousand?

That doesn’t even seem that bad, when you consider I’ve already got half of that saved!

No, it really isn’t that bad. Not for someone to literally hold your hand and help you every step of the way and tell people, “No, don’t put that there, are you totally insane, that would never go there!” Not for someone to stand near the aisle and whisper, “GO!” to the bridesmaids, and help your grandmother find her seat. For that, two thousand doesn’t seem incomprehensibly bad.

Fuck it. Might as well go full-pharaoh on this wedding’s ass. I’m probably going to look into getting a planner.

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