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WHY Should I Hire A Wedding Planner?!?

In my first year as a wedding planner, I had my nephew Lealand staying with me the weekend of a wedding I assisted with. (I was primarily there to help another wedding planner get everything set up, and then once this was finished, I came back at the end of the night to help tear everything down.) I had Lealand help me set up the wedding reception area before we were able to go do his birthday activity. While setting up the decor, very innocently he asked, "But, Aunt Shannon. Don't people just show up to the wedding?" This is a very commonly asked question!

If you would, please take a moment, close your eyes, and picture the most perfect wedding day.

Ladies – your hair and make up is the picture of perfection. Your dress is to die for. You have the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers. You have your grandmother’s pearls around your neck. You have all of your besties around you. You are truly an angelic vision! And, you’ve never been happier in your life!

Gentlemen – your hair has been cut and styled perfectly. Your guys are all taking jabs at you, saying things like, “It’s not too late!” and “Run, while you still can!” Your tuxedo will make all the gals say “Hubba Hubba!” You look and feel like Bond. James Bond. And, you know that in just a short time, you will become the luckiest guy on earth, with the most beautiful women ever.

Keep your eyes closed!

It’s time for the ceremony.

Guys – You’re at the end of the aisle, next to the preacher, waiting for the vision that will be coming towards you shortly.

Ladies – Your besties have already walked down the aisle, the music has changed, you take your father’s arm, the congregation rises, and you begin your journey down the aisle towards your happily-ever-after.

Are your eyes still closed? Probably not, especially if you’re still reading this. Well, go ahead and close them! I'll wait...

Now, picture the moment of sheer rapture – the preacher has officially announced you as husband and wife, and the groom may now initiate the long-awaited “first kiss.” The audience cheers and claps, and the new Mr. and Mrs. make their way back down to the aisle as they head off to dance the night away at the reception to be held in their honor. In short, the rest of the night goes off without a hitch!

Oh, but WAIT!

Where are the caterers? They were supposed to have been set up already! And the DJ’s mic isn’t working? Oh NO! Little Timmy, the ring barer was running around so hard and has now puked all over what is supposed to be the dance floor! What do you mean the music is too loud? It’s a party! The music is supposed to be loud! Wait! Has someone checked in on Grandma Betty? Oh, my goodness! In all the excitement of today, you just realize that you haven’t eaten, and that dress with the tight corset bodice is getting tighter and tighter by the minute, and you’re beginning to feel very light-headed! All of a sudden, your perfect day is turning into the perfect nightmare!

Ok, you can now open your eyes. Relax! I know! I can sense the tension as you try to roll out and massage the knots out of your shoulders, and the anxiety rising inside of you. I get it! Totally stressful, right?

Well, not to worry! Your wedding planner will be there every step of the way to make sure the things mentioned above DON’T happen, and your day is in fact, the PERFECT day it could be for you! You see, a common misconception amongst the wedding industry is that a wedding planner just makes a couple of phone calls, and voila, everything is planned and done. Admit it! This is exactly what you were thinking a wedding planner does, and so therefore, you don’t really need one, right?

Well, I’d like to share with you what a wedding planner ACTUALLY does… As Maria Von Trapp stated in Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning…”

He’s gotten down on one knee, asked you to marry him, and you said YES! CONGRATULATIONS! This is so very exciting for you! Now what?


Did you know that venues are one of the first wedding vendors that are booked? And more often than not, venues are booked two and three years in advanced! And so many questions!

· Are you available on this day?

· Can you accommodate [##] of people?

· Can I bring in outside food?

· Can I bring in outside alcohol?

· Can I use my own vendors?

· Do I have to use in-house vendors?

· What about DJ equipment?

· Do you have an elevator to access the 2nd level of the venue?

· Where would we get ready?

· How long do we have to get ready?

· When can we begin setting up?

· How long do we get the space for?

· What is included in the price?

And the list of questions goes on and on! And this is only ONE vendor! How do you know where to even begin looking for the venue that will fit all the criteria you need, without having to make 20 million phone calls?


A wedding planner should have a pretty extensive knowledge regarding the venues in the area s/he services. By having already asked these questions, the planner can narrow down the top 3-5 venues that will fit your needs, thus cutting your planning (and stressing) time significantly! The wedding planner can also set up the appointments to go tour the venue, as well as address any concerns you, as the couple, might have that may not have already been asked. Even if the planner does not have this information readily available, s/he can reach out to another wedding planner in the area in one or two calls, instead of the 20 million it would take you as the couple to get the same answers.

Ok, so now we have the venue. AWESOMENESS! But what about the other vendors?

Well, just like with finding a venue, the wedding planner will have connections with all types of vendors. The planner will be able to, again, give recommendations on the top 3-5 vendors in each category, depending on what your criteria is for each vendor. Once the choices has been narrowed down, the planner can set up the initial consultation meeting, and possibly make it so that the meetings are on the same day, or even in the same place. This, too, will save time management, and reduce the stress!

After all the vendors have been chosen, the wedding planner will then become the liaison between the couple and the vendors, all the while making sure each vendor’s contracts are in order, making sure any, and all needed insurance is up-to-date, and then will create a timeline for the weeks and months leading up to the “BIG” day. This timeline will also include things that need to be done by both vendors and the couple, by a certain day. By doing this, the wedding planner is able to make sure everything stays on track. This is an important aspect because there are certain things (i.e. dress fittings/alterations, invitations, food tastings, narrowing down the guest list, etc.) that will take more than one day.

Ok, fast forward to the day of the wedding.

A typical wedding day could include the following:

· Hair and make up for Bride, Bridesmaids, Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom, Grandma, etc. On average, it takes an hour to do hair and an hour to do make up for ONE person!

· Getting into the dress, depending on how intricate or fancy the dress is, can/will take time! You can’t just slip it over you head because you’ll mess up the hair that just took an hour to do! You can (and should) step into the dress, but carefully, so as not to get makeup smudged on it.

· Pictures of both sides of the bridal party will be taken as everyone is getting ready. You should plan on around 2 hours of pre-wedding photos to be taken. And, if you are going more modern with the “first look,” then that, too, will take time.

Well, what about getting the ceremony site and reception area set up for the celebration? Most venues will only allow you to set everything up the DAY OF THE EVENT! But you and your wedding party have spent the whole morning just getting ready for the actual wedding and reception! So, how are you going to set up all the décor, the table place settings and center pieces?


Oh, but mom and grandma and dad can do all of this while we’re getting ready, can’t they? Sure, they can. However, don’t you think that they would also like be able to get ready, or be there while you’re getting ready? More often than not, it will not take them nearly as long to get ready as it would the bridal party. And, they will probably want to help set everything up. But how many times are you going to talk to every person who wants to help, and explain your vision for how everything should look? In the weeks and months leading up to the “BIG” day, these are things that your wedding planner will have discussed with you. The wedding planner will be able to direct people with tasks that still need to be completed as they filter in to help. Now, doesn’t that sound so much nicer than having to repeat the same thing to 90 different people?

Okay, so the ceremony and reception areas are all decorated and will show off you, the couple’s personalities, and everything looks fabulous! It’s now time for the ceremony.

Oh, shoot! What order should the bridal party be in again? Dang it! We should have paid closer attention at the rehearsal yesterday! How are the members of the bridal party going to remember when to go?


Among the many tasks that are often overlooked, and handled by the wedding planner, is making sure the bridal party is lined up and ready to walk down the aisle as practiced previously at the rehearsal. During the rehearsal, we can stop and re-do things if the timing is off, or if Bridesmaid Suzie has the giggles. For the real thing though, as funny a story as it would make it, you can’t really stop the processional and start over. The wedding planner will make sure the bridal party is walking down the aisle at the correct pace, as well as make sure everyone’s flowers are being held in the correct position for optimal picture taking by the photographer, remind everyone to breathe (it can be nerve-wracking to walk a certain way in front of a large crowd!), and smile. The planner is also the one that makes sure the bride herself is ready to go, all hairs still in place where they should be, do one final freshening up of the makeup, and reminding her to breathe and smile, just as the bridesmaids were reminded.

Whew! The ceremony is over! Now on to dancing the night away!

But how do you know if the caterer and baker have shown up? What about the DJ? Is he there? Is he set up? What about the photobooth we ordered? Is it set up and ready to go? How do you make sure they are all there, where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be?


After the ceremony is finished, it is the job of the wedding planner to coordinate with ALL the vendors the couple has hired and make sure they are there, when they are supposed to be, and that they are fulfilling their duties, as outlined in their contracts. But, wait! There’s more! The wedding planner’s number one job is to take care of the couple whose day we are gathered together to celebrate. This includes making sure that the bride/groom/couple have gotten their food and drinks, and are comfortable for the rest of the evening. However, part of taking care of the couple is to also make sure the guests needs are being met without bothering the newly-married couple. This could include making sure Grandma Betty has gotten her food, pointing out where the bathrooms are for the guests, making sure the venue stays safe from tripping or falling hazards (i.e. spilled drinks or food on the floor), working with other vendors, such as the DJ, to make sure the lines to the buffet food are not too long, and that everyone has had their first helpings before allowing them to go back for seconds.

Well, what if someone has an allergic reaction to new medication, they just started that day?


True story! This happened at a wedding that I worked! One of the bridesmaids ended up having a severe allergic reaction to new medication she had started earlier the day of the wedding. She was found in the upstairs bathroom of the venue we were at, her face extremely swollen, and her lips were turning blue. The natural, human thing would be to panic, which, in turn would cause the rest of the guest to panic. During this particular incident, I was actually acting as an assistant, but as a wedding planner, it is our job to keep everyone, especially the patient, calm during a medical emergency, which could happen at any moment during the night. It is the wedding planner’s job to contact, and remain in contact with the medical personnel, as well as keeping the area clear so that when they arrive, the medical personnel can get to the patient quickly and without incident.

The bridesmaid ended up being okay, but can you imagine what could have happened, and the hysteria this emergency could have caused had a wedding planner not been there to take control of the situation and keep everyone calm?

Alright! The end of the night is near. You have eaten delicious food! You’ll be feeling all the alcohol you consumed in the morning. You kicked off those new shoes hours ago, your feet hurt and you’re exhausted from all the day’s activities and excitement!

Gosh darn it! How are we going to get all the décor stuff taken down? We can’t come back tomorrow to pick it up because the venue has another event that they have to be able to get ready for! But you’re SO tired! How are you going to manage this last part?


A wedding planner and assistants, ideally, will start tearing things down, little by little, when there is about an 45 minutes to an hour left of the celebration. This will include clearing tables away that clearly no longer have guests at. As tables begin empty, centerpieces and décor items can begin to be grouped together, at the empty tables. Trash can begin to be collected. “Lost” items can begin to be gathered in a central location. Last calls will be made. Just like with the setting up of the event, the wedding planner can help delegate tasks to the assistants. In most cases, couples and parties are to be out of the venue’s doors an hour/hour and a half after the event has ended. This includes ALL décor items. As part of the planning process, the wedding planner will have discussed with the couple who will be taking the décor, the left-over food, the presents, etc. at the end of the night. The wedding planner will be the one to do the final walk through with the venue owners/manager, to make sure all is right and cleaned up. This ensures that any refundable deposit made when booking the venue will be returned to the couple.

So, to recap…

Yes, wedding planners can, and do, make phone calls, setting up each individual vendor needed for an event. However, there is so much more to planning a wedding or event than just making phone calls! The wedding planner will take care of the finer, and often over-looked, details leading up to the day, and then through out the day itself. The purpose for this is so that the newly-wed couple can enjoy their special day and not worry about these little things, that could potentially become bigger things. Now that you have read this, and are beginning to plan your own event, what are you going to do?


And make your day a stress-free, happy day that, when you look back at the memories over the years, you only think of the GOOD times, and NOT the little details that made up the whole day!

(Photos not tagged are from the wix website)

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