The One Thing You Won’t Expect Your Wedding Planner To Be

This article was first published in Material World by Deborah Tan

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She’s been married for almost three months now. Today, Deborah Tan talks about the one person who might have actually saved her from becoming a runaway bride.

Both the husband and I can be extremely stubborn when it comes to the way things should be done. Over the course of four years of our relationship, we have worked out that there are certain things we won’t do together because the ensuing arguments will most likely lead to the outbreak of another world war. We don’t actually spell them out but I think we can both agree that …

1. We will not run a business together
He sees only the “big picture” and I’m all about the details, obsessed with the nitty-gritty. Whenever we talk about starting a business, he accuses me of being “all doom and gloom” while I shake my head at his eternal optimism.

2. We will not use the kitchen at the same time
I don’t think we can be inside the kitchen together and hope that both will emerge from it alive. It would only be a matter of time before either of us puts a knife in the other person’s heart.

3. Sometimes, we just have to go our own way 
I count hitting the karaoke with friends as one of my favorite things to do, he loathes singing in public. Fitness is his life while I only do the minimum required. We have learnt to leave the other well alone when pursuing our individual hobbies.

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And in a way, I’m grateful we decided to accept the help of wedding planner Rubina. Contrary to popular belief, wedding planners are not a luxury. If anything, given my temperament, I think using a wedding planner probably prevented a big day walk-out! I can just see it in my mind: me, all flustered and stressed over the wedding logistics, he, just going his own merry way telling everyone they can wear whatever they want. Not a pretty picture – literally and figuratively.

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Deborah with Inside The Knot’s Founder Rubina Tiyu 

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And in case you think hiring a wedding planner equals spending more unnecessary money, allow me to explain why you can’t be more mistaken:


1.  A wedding planner can open your mind to options you would never consider 

When we decided to get married, our first choice for venue is “somewhere in Bali”. I’m the sort who expects people to reply to my email like … NOW. So when the wedding vendors in Bali proved too “relaxed” for my liking, we found ourselves suddenly at a loss of where to hold our wedding. In came Rubina to save the day. She asked, “Why Bali? Why not Phuket? Or, Penang?” It was as if the sun had broken through the clouds. She told us she knew the bosses of Mansion 32 – a seafront restaurant – and could help us check if it was available for the wedding date. Within a week, we locked down a venue – something I had been trying to do for two months!

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Wedding9667_FotorWedding in Mansion 32 in Penang

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2.  A wedding planner can save you money! 

I bet this is something many people wouldn’t expect. You are probably thinking, “A wedding planner is probably going to mark up everything so that she can pocket the difference.” That’s not true. In our dealings with Rubina, we made it clear that we were not a couple with money to burn. We gave her a budget and she did a marvelous job keeping to it. I told her that I did not wish to spend more than $1,000 on my gown and she hooked me up with a dressmaker who made my wedding dress from scratch for $800. How awesome is that!?!?


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3.  A wedding planner has the resources to make your visions a reality

At our second meeting, I told Rubina that I had a challenge for her: Except for bouquets for the bride and the bridesmaids, and a basket of petals for the flower girl, I don’t want to spend money on flowers. I’d rather the money went to where it would really count – alcohol. She did a fabulous job decorating the venue and very, very little flowers were harmed in the course of making my wedding happen. I wanted a black and white wedding cake and … BINGO! It’s done!


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Wedding9841_FotorBlack and White Wedding Cake


Bridal Bouquet – The Very Few Flowers That Was Used

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4.  A wedding planner makes your wedding party feel welcomed 


As a bride, the last thing you want is to worry if your friends are enjoying themselves. For me, I’ve always been a bit of a worrywart when it comes to events and parties. I worry if people are enjoying themselves, I worry if they are getting along, I worry if they are being taken care of. On my wedding day, while my wedding team was busy getting everything in order, Rubina zipped out to buy Penang char kway teow to feed everyone. She really made sure I didn’t have to play “mother hen” so I could enjoy my big day.


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5.  A wedding planner can potentially save your relationship 


So, the husband decided to celebrate his stag night in Phuket a week before the wedding. However, he realized he would be missing the flight to Penang because his return flight from Phuket was arriving after it. If I had been the one working on this wedding, Mount Deborah would have erupted. Instead, my darling wedding planner saved the day, and my marriage, by offering to drive the groom from Singapore to Penang.


The role of a wedding planner is more than just a coordinator. She is the couple’s closest ally in the months before the wedding. This person has to be aboveboard in her dealings with you and you have to feel comfortable enough to tell her your concerns and limits. With Rubina, we never once felt lousy that we didn’t have a large budget for the wedding. We were able to air our concerns very openly with her and she never downplayed them or waved them away. Simon and I not only got ourselves a fabulous wedding, we gained a very close friend in Rubina.


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So, couples, if you think fights are part and parcel of what it means to get married, I strongly recommend you work with a wedding planner. Your marriage will thank you for it.


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