Expert Advice: A Guide to Hiring a Wedding Planner, Part 2

In Part 1 of “A Guide to Hiring a Wedding Planner,” our expert planners went in-depth on what wedding planners do, how they help you with venue/vendor selections, when to hire a planner, and how much to budget for one.

Part 2 discusses your planner and the day of the wedding and how to find the right planner for your needs.

What Does a Wedding Planner Do on the Day of the Wedding?

“The only realistic answer starts way before the wedding day. No one is just going to show up on your wedding day and magically make everything come together. Even if only hired for “wedding day management,” a good wedding planner starts weeks before the wedding, confirming timing and details with your wedding vendors, making sure that all details are covered and the timeline for the day is correct. We become the go-to person for questions to allow you and your family to enjoy your wedding day. We are the ones who are looking five steps down the road at what comes next and making sure the wedding day runs smoothly. And lastly, we’re the ones who troubleshoot those inevitable bumps to make sure everything is handled with as little disruption to the wedding day as possible.”-Tammy Waterman, owner, Special Moments Event Planning

“The wedding day, for a planner, should end up being the easiest day of the entire planning process. Why? Because all of the planning and figuring out of logistics is done and is ready to be executed. The vendors have all been booked, the contracts signed, and now we are to make sure that the vendors are abiding by those contracts. The rental company order has already been approved, the drop-off and set up times have already been confirmed, and now it's seeing all of the work unfold into a beautiful masterpiece. In addition to making sure the vendors are all doing what they are supposed to be doing, planners keep the timeline flowing even before the ceremony starts to ensure that everything is on time. We are placing linens, setting chargers, folding napkins, putting the couples' wedding details into place (pictures, place cards, seating charts, signs, etc.) the list goes on. We are stepping in to help with whoever needs help in order to make sure that the setup of the wedding goes smoothly. Throughout the wedding we are keeping to the timeline, communicating with vendors so they know what is coming next, and making sure that the couple is having the best night of their lives.” -Kelly Kennedy, owner of Kelly Kennedy Weddings and Events

“A wedding planner does more than most people realize. We are your day-of liaison and the main point of contact for your vendors, guests, wedding party, and you! If you think about that, this can be hundreds of people we are responsible for coordinating and managing. A seasoned wedding planner will understand the importance of collecting your wedding day details weeks before your wedding. This provides us with the ability to avoid any unnecessary mistakes or emergencies. On the day of your wedding, your wedding planner should be the very first vendor to arrive at your venue and the very last vendor to leave. We review our day of action plan with our team to ensure everyone is on the same page and begin working on any personal décor you have before any vendors arrive on site. Once vendors arrive, we are responsible for communicating their set-up location and the timeline. Throughout the wedding day, we assist with communicating with all vendors to ensure everyone is aware of the order of events and any last-minute changes that may need to occur such as executing a rain backup plan or a delay due to an unforeseen circumstance. We are also there to support our couples in whatever they need. My team and I like to bring our newlyweds hors d'oeuvres and drinks while they are taking their post-ceremony photos. We also will ensure you are taken care of throughout the evening, make sure you are prepared for the next event or formality, and ensure your guests have what they need. We are your support throughout the wedding day for everything from emergencies to high emotions. We coach all our wedding parties to communicate any issues or concerns with our coordinators before they approach the bride and groom with a situation so we can resolve it without creating additional stressors for them. Lastly, we are the final vendor to leave the venue. We are responsible for walking the venue space with the venue manager to ensure all cleanup has occurred and will clean up all your personal items and provide them to the responsible party at the end of the evening. On average, your wedding planner will be your support system for eight to twelve hours the day of your wedding.” -Ashley Johnson, Owner/Lead Planner, B Eventful

“We are on-site when the first vendor arrives until the end of the night when breakdown is happening. We make sure that vendors are showing up on time and setting up the way we have planned it. We are also the point of contact when vendors have questions about where items are placed in the room, if they are lost and need directions, or if they are running a little behind schedule. We are constantly getting asked questions throughout the entire day and this helps the couple be unbothered the entire time. We also make sure that everyone is on the same page the entire night. If it's time for toasts, we are making sure the photographer and DJ are ready and not eating their vendor meals; we give the maid of honor and best man a 10-minute heads up so they can go to the bathroom and grab a drink, and of course, we make sure the couple is also ready for toasts. We are also there to fix any issues that come up on the wedding day and trust me, they always happen! I have been knee-deep in the water trying to help a boat get out of my ceremony background, I have kicked out wedding crashers, and I have been taking care of draping that got knocked over because of the wind. It is always something and we are always there to fix it!”-Delaney Driver, owner, Wilder Mind Events

“The wedding day is very busy for everyone but the couple should be busy doing nothing but having fun and soaking it all in with friends and family. We assist the wedding party with time management so the day stays on track during hair and makeup, first looks, getting to the ceremony on time etc. We are also busy at the venues meeting vendors to ensure proper setup, setting out décor items, styling dining tables, lighting candles, watching the clock making sure everything is running on time, and most importantly troubleshooting if necessary. During the ceremony and reception, we make sure vendors are running on schedule and assist with flipping décor if needed and generally overseeing the evening so that everything runs smoothly.” -Karen Cerboni, owner EventFull Weddings

“You absolutely need to have a wedding planner on the day of your wedding to help fix any and all situations. Recently we had a photographer no-show, and if we were not there the bride literally said she would not have been able to keep it together, and she would not have been able to find a replacement at the last moment as we did. Having the contacts and the network helped find a replacement for the wedding.” -Katy Turchich, owner of Coastal Coordinating

“No one but the wedding planner will help out with transportation logistics on the day of, particularly if the wedding involves multiple venues or if guests need to be shuttled from one location to another. This includes ensuring that transportation arrives on time to transport guests to and from different locations, such as the ceremony venue, reception venue, and accommodations. They will coordinate the scheduling and routes for transportation to ensure a smooth and timely experience for the wedding guests.

A wedding planner is also responsible for managing unforeseen emergencies and weather-related challenges, implementing contingency plans when needed, and ensuring legal aspects such as marriage license signing are in order. Additionally, they may handle the distribution of final payments/tips to vendors, allowing the couple to focus on their celebration while ensuring a smooth and stress-free wedding experience for all involved.” -Anna Shvaykova, Breezin Weddings

Tropical Elegant Wedding Ceremony, Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows Under Arch with Monstera Palm Tree Leaves, Pink Ginger Florals | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Special Moments Event Planning | Clearwater Beach Opal Sands Resort

Tropical Hawaiian-Inspired Clearwater Beach Wedding | Special Moments Event Planning | Revery Company

How Do I Know Which Planner is Right for Me?

“You'll be working closely with your wedding planner over the course of many months, so you'll want to choose someone who you mesh well with and feel connected to. Read reviews and ask questions about things that are important to you. Have they worked within your desired budget before?  Are they familiar with your venue? Will you be working with them personally or be assigned a member of their team? Be sure to meet and chat with your planner via video or in-person so that you can gauge how you think you'll work together and so that you feel comfortable and confident moving forward with the person you choose.” -Christi Winsor, owner Winsor Event Studio

“You’ll know. The right planner listens and will ‘get you.’ You’ll feel a click when your personalities mesh, and you know that they are hearing your vision and what you need. You’ll also know when you read the reviews and comments from other happy couples; they’ll probably be commenting on all the things you’re already worried about.” -Tammy Waterman, owner Special Moments Event Planning

“It’s all about personality and style. Check out websites and social media to determine the style and quality of weddings that the planner performs and to get a feel for their personality. I suggest interviewing a few also to see if your personalities mix. You will be working closely with your planner so it’s important that your personalities match.” -Karen Cerboni, owner EventFull Weddings

“A wedding planner should be someone you completely vibe with they match the style of weddings you want. We are with you throughout the entire process, so you want to make sure that you love the person you are hiring!”-Delaney Driver, Owner, Wilder Mind Events

“You’ll know. The right planner listens and will ‘get you.’ You’ll feel a click when your personalities mesh, and you know that they are hearing your vision and what you need. You’ll also know when you read the reviews and comments from other happy couples; they’ll probably be commenting on all the things you’re already worried about.” -Tammy Waterman, Owner, Special Moments Event Planning

“You'll know instantly after meeting your planner if they are the one. There is just something about the connection that sends out sparks! Consider that this person will be with you to provide all the support you need for one of the most important days in your life. You should feel comfortable with them as individuals and comfortable with their ability to execute the wedding of your dreams. When looking for planners make sure their style and communication match yours and ask questions to gauge your compatibility.” -Stephany Perry, Owner, Stephany Perry Events

“From the time we do our consultation, we can always sense if we think we would be a good fit for the couple that is consulting with us. Our main priority is making sure that our couples feel heard and that we can provide a safe space for them during some of the stresses that naturally come with planning a wedding. There is a level of trust that a couple has to have in a planner, and usually, that connection comes quicker than you think! Everyone is looking for something different in a planner and their wedding. Our job is to educate, communicate, and support during this process to give a personalized and exclusive experience.” -Riley Gersch, Certified Wedding Planner and Owner, Elegant Affairs by Design

“It’s all about personality and style. Check out websites and social media to determine the style and quality of weddings that the planner performs and to get a feel for their personality. I suggest interviewing a few also to see if your personalities mix. You will be working closely with your planner so it’s important that your personalities match. Although planners typically will take on any wedding style, you can get a sense of who their ideal client is and what their preferred style is by reviewing their website and social media accounts. Next, you will want to conduct interviews. I think it’s much like going on a date. You will know quickly if it’s a match.” -Karen Cerboni, Owner/ Lead Planner, EventFull Weddings

“Much like when you find the perfect wedding dress, you will just know!! The wedding planner that is right for you will have executed a similar style wedding in the past and be able to speak to and understand your vision. Your conversation will be fluent and you will feel comfortable sharing your dreams, concerns, and suggestions. Your wedding planner should be someone you can really rely on and lean on in times of stress or anxiety. Ultimately, you will vibe!!” -Ashley Johnson, Owner/Lead Planner, B Eventful

“It's essential to focus on the personal connection and compatibility. Pay attention to the initial conversation with a planner. Do they listen and try to understand what your needs are, or do they try to sell you their services? A good wedding planner will mostly listen and give advice on how to enhance your existing vision!” -Anna Shvaykova, Breezin Weddings

“Heart of a Teacher. A Wedding Planner is ultimately a trusted wedding advisor and pseudo-family member. Though chemistry and experience are important, please note that there is much more to the recipe. Professional, thorough, money-wise, old soul, creativity should all be traits housed to direct such a precious occasion. You can tell a lot about him/her through the quality of their website and marketing materials, this is often the ‘storefront' of a wedding planner. Interviewing (ideally in person) is the only way to know whether or not this will be a good fit. Typically, this relationship will last 12-18 months…so it's best to get on the same page early. You are essentially paying for another set of eyes, ears, and hands (the day of) to help you navigate the somewhat overwhelming task of your dream wedding!” -Brandon Wheeler, Gulf Beach Weddings

Vineyard Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Planner Eventfull Weddings | Venue Mision Lago Estate | Hair and Makeup Adore Bridal

Peach and Sage Boho Inspired Wedding | Mision Lago Estate | EventFull Weddings | Maria Leja Photo

What Would Couples Be Surprised to Know about Hiring a Wedding Planner?

“By hiring a planner, you're investing in your own peace of mind. The vast majority of newlyweds I meet tell me that they wish they had hired a planner. Whether it's not knowing how to plan, being overwhelmed by all of the choices and information, or feeling like you can't sit back and enjoy your planning process, hiring a planner can resolve so many stresses.”John Campbell, owner/principal planner, John Campbell Weddings

“A lot of couples hire a wedding planner thinking they will help them plan their wedding but most are surprised at just how much we do and how much stress we remove from the process. ‘We couldn’t have done it without you!' is the most satisfying comment we can receive.” -Karen Cerboni, owner EventFull Weddings

“Hiring a wedding planner creates a close and meaningful connection with someone who genuinely cares about their special day. Wedding planners often go above and beyond to understand the couple's unique vision, ensuring that the wedding reflects their personalities and preferences, rather than fitting into a one-size-fits-all mold. The bond that forms between couples and their wedding planners can become a lasting friendship that you never knew you needed!” -Anna Shvaykova, Breezin Weddings

“We should be the vendor that you are most thankful you hired when it's all said and done. We are able to create such a close relationship with our clients because of how long the process is and how involved we are. You should walk away from the wedding day feeling like we were the best decision of the entire process!”-Delaney Driver, Owner, Wilder Mind Events

“The biggest surprise to most couples is that it’s not our wedding day. It’s yours and a reflection of the two of you, your family, and the things you like. We want to help bring out the best of the two of you, not fit you into a mold like every other couple.” -Tammy Waterman, owner Special Moments Event Planning

“How close you become with your wedding planner! We are sharing one of the most important days of your life. We get to know you, become friends, and build a lifelong connection!” -Brittany Downey, Coastal Coordinating

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.