You’ve accepted the reality that you cannot do this on your own. You don’t know, or care to know, the difference between butter cream or fondant cakes, china silk or chiffon, or any of the other tedious decisions that a bride has to make. You’ve hired a wedding planner.
Good for you! So, now that you’ve ponied up a few grand for someone (who isn’t your mother-in-law) to make all the decisions and plans and arrangements, what can you expect? How do you know that he/she is actually doing everything you paid her for? These wedding Jedis are more than just clipboards and emergency safety pins. They can save you money, time and more importantly, ensure that you never sense a whiff of drama on your big day.
Here’s what you can and should expect yours to do:
1. Act as liaison with vendors: Vendors aren’t going to play fast and loose with prices or service when working with a wedding planner, because they hope to book other jobs through her. The planner has the power to recommend the vendor to other couples, so they will be on their best behavior when working with a planner or events company (the industry is all about referrals!).
2. Get discounts: Because they have long and established relationships with vendors (see above), a wedding planner should be able to get you packages and deals you wouldn’t be able to get on your own.
3. Get everything in writing: If a banquet hall manager offers you a free champagne toast during your meeting, it will be in the contract. If a florist offers free boutonnieres, they will, in fact, be free. A wedding planner is a businesswoman, and does not get caught up in sentiments or empty promises. A deal will not be sealed on a handshake.
4. Hand out final payments and gratuities to vendors: Because it’s tacky to tip the band when you’re in the middle of a Conga line.
5. Oversee quality control: Are the flowers fresh? Is the cake on time? The planner takes care of chaos before it gets to you. If there is something wrong with a service, the planner can take photos and negotiate a refund.
6. Act as a referee: It’s just not a wedding unless family members are bickering. A good wedding planner has seen her share of family drama, and can be a neutral third party during negotiations. They have magical powers to diffuse uppity in-laws and other meddlesome players. And best of all, her (secret) agenda is to make YOU happy.
7. Manage time: Yes, they have wedding timelines online – but most are confusing and not customized to your day. A planner has wedding time management down to a science.
8. Menial tasks no one else wants to do: Someone has to count the napkins and table linens at the end of the night before they go back to the company. Yes, dirty napkins and tablecloths. A wedding planner will do this.
9. Provide tricks and tips: Planners have seen it all and if they’re good can offer you ideas to make the planning process easier. For example, when doing your own invites, planner often suggest using pencil on the back of a reply card to put a corresponding number to the person’s name on your guest list so if they reply without filling in their name, you can check who they are via the number on the back. These are the kind of insider gems you should expect from her.
10. Set up events so you can enjoy yourself! This goes beyond just running the rehearsal. If you’re having a welcome happy hour or an optional brunch the day after, it takes the pressure off of a family member or bridesmaid to do it. They want to celebrate with not, not worry about where to set up the quiches. Let the planner do it.