The number one piece of wedding advice we tell every couple (and that most recently married couples share with us) is that “hiring a wedding planner is the best decision you can make.”
Yes, you may be organized.
Yes, your friend who planned her wedding may have offered to help.
Yes, you may have a tight budget.
However, a wedding planner is worth their weight in gold, maybe even diamonds!
You're not just hiring a wedding planner to make a timeline and tell you when to walk down the aisle, they are giving vendor recommendations (with whom they KNOW do great work), reviewing contracts, confirming with vendors days leading up to your wedding day, reviewing contracts, negotiating with vendors if you have to postpone your wedding due to COVID-19, and then putting out fires that you didn't even know existed on the day of.
Experienced wedding planners aren't there to “check off” boxes on a list; they are there to make sure the fifty moving parts to your wedding day all run smoothly.
Your Vendor Is a No-Show
Katy Turich, owner of Coastal Coordinating, recalls:
“On the day of the wedding, while the bride was doing hair and makeup, we had a photographer not show up. We always check on our couples and vendors first thing in the morning. Once I confirmed the photographer was a no-show, I spent the morning calling a couple of photographers from our vendor list and found one who could be there within the hour. I think it’s so important to have a planner there who has the time and resources to make sure everything is perfectly executed without the couple or family having to ‘work' or become stressed.”
Riley Gersch, owner of Elegant Affairs by Design, shares a similar story:
“As a wedding planner, it’s our job to ensure that every detail is in place. While we work hard to ensure everything is perfect for our client’s special day, life happens and you have to be able to think quickly on your toes. Vendors may not show up or don't show up prepared. I had an incident when the transportation company completely forgot about the wedding. I quickly made a few phone calls and ended up receiving back-up transportation! We work with many vendors in the area, and always have back-up vendors on speed dial. Your wedding planner will be extra-attentive to creating a backup plan.”
Your Vendor Cancels Last-Minute
Staci Mandikas, owner UNIQUE Weddings + Events, explains how planners solve problems before the wedding day even arrives:
“My client opted to contract a photobooth company that I did not recommend or was familiar with. After all of the wedding details were confirmed, the day before the wedding, the photo booth company sent me an email (yes, an email) stating that they were no longer available for the wedding and that they would refund the couple's deposit. This problem was compounded by the fact that the wedding was on a major holiday and a popular wedding date. Before I contacted my client with a problem, I had to make sure that I had a solution (or two) to propose to them. Within an hour of receiving said photo booth company's email, I had two quotes compiled from two other professional photobooth companies and their availability confirmed (both of the companies were already booked on the date, but were willing squeeze in my client's event, as a favor to me). I contacted my client, and gave them the bad news & then immediately followed it with my two additional options. They selected the company, signed the contract, submitted the deposit & received their refund from the other photo booth company – all before noon. One of the major benefits of working with a professional wedding planner is that we utilize our experience and our industry relationships to make every wedding we are a part of – a success!”
That Time the Boat Crashed on the Way to the Ceremony…
Jessica Ralph Bova, owner of Parties A'La Carte, reminisces how wedding planners have to expect the unexpected:
“We coordinated one wedding where the groom and groomsmen were transported to the ceremony via boat. The groom was a yacht salesman and wanted to incorporate this fun aspect into his wedding to showcase his personality. On their way to the ceremony, however, the boat transporting the groom and groomsmen, unfortunately, ran aground. Knowing that it was going to take some time to have a second boat retrieve them, I had quickly come up with the idea of extending the pre-ceremony beverage service to a full cocktail hour as guests had already begun to arrive. This would buy us some time to resolve the boat situation while also providing an option to keep guests entertained. I coordinated this with the ceremony venue by having the staff open the bars for a full pre-ceremony cocktail hour. To keep the rest of the evening on schedule, I also informed the reception venue of the change so that they could prepare accordingly. I had the venue shorten the second cocktail hour and let their staff know that guests would be arriving at the second cocktail hour a bit later than originally anticipated. Having prior experience coordinating weddings and knowing the preparation involved on the venue’s and vendors' sides, we knew that we had to inform everyone involved, especially the venue and catering staff to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any confusion. There are a lot of very important moving parts and it often takes someone with prior knowledge and experience to really know how to resolve unexpected issues.”
When Someone Loses the Wedding Rings
Lauren, a wedding planner with Coastal Coordinating, plays detective at her weddings:
“After the photographers took pictures of the wedding rings, they told us the Maid of Honor had them. Turns out the Maid of Honor had no idea where she put them. Right be for the ceremony my assistant and I searched everywhere and even got the hotel manager on the phone. I ran to the limo and sure enough, they were right where the Maid of Honor had been sitting. I highly recommend hiring a planner. Any little mishap could happen, and we are always there to fix it without the couple even knowing most of the time. We are there to help and make sure the day runs smoothly.”
You Order “X,” But Instead Receive “Y”
John Campbell, owner of John Campbell Weddings, pulls decor items out of thin air:
“There will be something that doesn’t go according to plan on your wedding day. It’s unavoidable. I’ve seen a lot of mishaps in my career, and I truly feel for the couples who don’t have a planner to intervene and get things back on track. There are some things you simply can’t do while you’re trying to get ready for your big day and spend time with your loved ones. A planner’s job is to handle any mishaps with grace and discretion so that no one is ever aware that something is off. One of the more common bumps I run into is rental companies delivering incorrect quantities of items or forgetting something altogether. At one of my most recent weddings, we were at a remote location and had been shorted on some rentals. The rental company was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to get the items out to us before the reception, so my team got to work on a solution. In the end, no one noticed that something was off. We also worked with the photographer and videographer to make sure that there wasn’t any lasting evidence of this! Twenty minutes after the guests sat down, the remaining items were delivered, and we slipped them into place unnoticed. The best piece of advice to avoid mishaps? Have an excellent creative team in place. If your vendors are experienced and professional, they can work together to solve problems before you even notice them.”
When Time Almost Runs Out
Tammy Waterman, Master Wedding Planner and owner of Special Moments Event Planning, explains
“A professional wedding planner has created a timeline that normally already is padded for running out of time, but sometimes things still happen and a planner knows how to make adjustments to keep the timing going forward by rearranging items to keep everyone happy.”
When the Weather Doesn't Cooperate
Brandon Wheeler, owner of Gulf Beach Weddings, who specializes in beach ceremonies, has a system for tracking unpredictable Florida weather:
Typically, the professional expertise of the wedding planner lies within the items the couple often never thinks abount. For example, what happens if it rains? A professional will monitor weather patterns, radar, and aviation forecasts accordingly, without the couple asking (this is done behind the scenes). If there is going to be inclement weather, we will know this ahead of time. Recommendations are made the night prior based on experience and patterns. Options include moving the start time up, back, or potentially the following day if forecasts are exceptionally poor. We have created an entire page devoted to the weather with sync'd weather widgets for current and future weather: Wedding planners and better yet, companies, will have processes in place and have the experience over the years to make the right decision in the midst of a ‘storm.' With so much changing week to week in terms of restrictions, travel, and lodging, this is certainly the time to rely on local knowledge and companies that are abreast, planning on your behalf, for all contingencies!
Nicole Kaney, owner of NK Productions Wedding Planning, always has a backup plan for the weather in Sunshine State:
“We work really hard in Florida to make sure we guide our clients on a proper ‘plan B' if there is a weather concern. We have worked at many wedding venues and have the experience to shift the plans to an alternative weather possibility to ensure you have a smooth wedding day. For example, We had a Powel Crosley wedding, and the rain forecast took a turn for the worse the day before the wedding. It was showing an 80% chance at 10 p.m., but the wedding was over at 11 p.m. I said I was still very uncomfortable if it rained at 10 p.m. because they would not get much dancing, and if the rain shifted one hour earlier it would ruin the whole end of the night. The father of the bride trusted me and got the tent; I had to move mountains to get a tent put up for the client the day before the wedding.
It ended up raining at 9 pm that night. The guests were dry, and the rest of the evening was smooth because of that tent. So thankful my clients trust us!
Your Dress Doesn't Fit
Jessie, a wedding planner with Coastal Coordinating, shares a crafty skill that planners need to know:
“I always advise my brides to go to their final dress fitting because one of my brides had not been able to and day of the wedding, her dress did not fit. We always have our emergency kits stocked, so thankfully I was able to literally sew her into her wedding dress! It’s so important to have someone there for you with experience in the industry and prepared for anything that could go awry. We have seen it all and stay ready.”