Advice

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

“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

“I'm still trying to figure that out myself! And while I'm totally joking, there is some level of truth to that. Wedding planners do so much on the wedding day, and part of our job is to take all of the curveballs and unexpected hiccups in stride and still deliver a beautiful wedding. All the while, we're managing your vendor team, helping your friends and family with special requests, and, most importantly, making you feel like you can relax and enjoy the day.” John Campbell, owner/principal planner, John Campbell 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

“Book someone you feel you can trust. Trust is a vital component in the planner-client relationship and definitely needs to be present for you to feel like a planner was money worth spending.” John Campbell, owner/principal planner, John Campbell Weddings

“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

Tropical Pink and Green Rooftop Waterfront Outdoor Wedding Reception Decor, Round Tables with White Linens and Folding Garden Chairs, Teal Napkin, Low Floral Centerpiece, Monstera and Palm Frond Leaves, Orange Roses, Pincushion Protea, Pink Anthurium, Pineapple, String Lights | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Coastal Coordinating | St. Pete Waterfront Rooftop Wedding Venue Hotel Zamora

Pink and Green Tropical Rooftop Wedding | Hotel Zamora | Coastal Coordinating | Cornelia Zaiss Photography


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

“A lot of couples feel they do not need a wedding planner when they hire one, however, it never fails my couples always say at the end of the day it was the best money they spent on the entire wedding.” -Jessie Soplinksi, 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.