Most people who I meet with for wedding planning seem to think the celebrity wedding planning shows on TV are a reality. Sure, it CAN be, but only if you are willing to write the checks! Educating new clients is a painful and tedious process as they expect things to run like the in the movies.
So let’s start with the stuff you probably shouldn’t be expecting from a planner:
1. They will JUST GET ME once we meet and plan and design every last detail so I may work and handle my every day life
WRONG! The last thing we, or YOU want is to show up to your wedding and ball your eyes out or have a temper tantrum. We need CLEAR and CONSTANT communication to pull this off. Sure we can handle the grunt work, but you have to be clear and sure of your vision enough to articulated it. Or better yet, make a pinterest board! One look and I can tell if we are ready to book vendors or if you need to narrow down your theme. I require them, but let’s face it, most clients never do them due to being busy with this or that. I just always tell them that the less examples I have to go on, the more room there is that they just won’t like what I come up with.
Now I offer design services for the bride who just doesn’t know and really doesn’t care, but wants her wedding to be cohesive and beautiful.
2. There will be a huge team to assist me and my wedding planner with every last detail during the wedding.
Not always the case. Big budget weddings, we are taking $150,000+ where all vendors are hired by the planner, then yes you may expect this to some degree. Most planners work alone or with one or two assistants. If they work alone you likely will have to decide up front if you want them to hire extra assistants for your event. 80% of weddings probably will be just fine with one planner and maybe one assistant. If there are too many pieces to the puzzle you may want to bring this up right away so your planner may hire extra hands. This may also costs an additional fee.
A good way to decide if you need a larger team for your wedding would be:
Wedding party size, how helpful your wedding party and family will be during the wedding, if you want items moved from the ceremony site to the reception site, if you want someone to direct guests where to go, etc. are all things to consider.
3. Wedding planners will handle crowd control
Wedding planners don’t have the time or ability to do this. They sure can help, but if you know your event is huge, hire security. This is the best and really only solution if you want to control people to get in line for group photos, direct them when to leave the cocktail reception area if your location does not provide this, etc.
4. My planner will deal with drunk, violent, or unruly guests
Please don’t think a planner can or even should handle this. If it’s within reason, they may offer to help out, but if you know you are inviting a problem guest have another guest watch them or again hire security!
5. My planner or coordinator will do the seating chart for me
How? Do they know allllllllllll your friends and family? Do they know who likes who? Who hates who? Who you want closest? Furthest away? This sadly is just one of those things that your planner or coordinator simply cannot do for you. They may set up the overall seating chart as far as where the tables are placed in relation to the cake table and dancing area, but who goes where, nope.
Added tip: See Why You HAVE to have a Seating Chart
Now let’s get to what a wedding planner or coordinator SHOULD do for you! Depending on the package you chose and such of course, but in general you can pretty much expect the following.
1. Vendor recommendations
They have worked with enough of them to know who runs late, who is the cheapest, who is worth the extra money, and who goes best with your style. Sure you can spend hours of research and search reviews, but you have no idea what vendors you are missing or which reviews are real. Your planner will know! If they don’t know, they will also do the research FOR YOU! We wouldn’t want you to go without your flame throwing tiger! Your planner is on it!
2. Help with your timeline
Most venues and vendors require a timeline and your planner will coordinated with them and set up one to include everyone and everything you want. Most brides are shocked to know how long photos take, or forget that 99% of weddings start at least 30 minutes late (no matter what, plan for it). You planner will work out your timeline and included some buffer points to get back on schedule if there is an unforeseen delay (sorry it will likely happen). Your planner will rearrange things if vendors run late, or cut things out that need to be cut. They are there to make the hard decisions for you.
3. Help your guests when they have questions or need something
Most of my clients have no idea I’ve given out migraine medications, corrected food errors with catering, or even found more toilet paper.
4. Keep an emergency kit with a few extra things you might need
There are a few things that tend to be needed during weddings. Things like hairspray, a stain marker, disposable shaver, needle and thread, etc. You never know and it’s always better to have those things than scramble later. Most planners keep them somewhere with them or in the car or a room nearby for easy access.
5. Keep calm when you flip out
If something goes wrong and the bride gets wind of it, you may have a break down on your hands. A good planner will keep her calm and do the best they can to help out the situation. There is yet to be a perfect wedding, but there is always a perfectly calm way to handle any situation.