What exactly DOES a wedding planner do?

Guestpost by Ang on Jul 19th
Cake cutting 1

Cake cutting 1 © by hindsightbride, used under Creative Commons license.

When you're trying to plan your wedding on a budget, luxury items like a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator are usually the first to go. That's OK, I totally get it, and I'm alright with people making the decisions they have to in order to make their wedding work. What DOES bug me is when I'm in the waiting room of the hospital, and a woman, who I'm sure is very well intentioned, asks me what I do for a living, and, after I tell her that I'm a wedding planner, she promptly calls me a parasite, trying to drain young couples out of their money. Wait, lets back that train up before I stab you in the face with a general anesthesia brochure.

I can't really blame her; the media has glamorized wedding planning, to where people assume we fuss about flower arrangements, hang fake jewels at varying heights, con helpless brides into overspending, and compare the eggshell swatches so we don't get *GASP* ivory table linens, all while wearing professional/sexy designer outfits.

So what does a wedding planner actually DO?

  • I perform a service. Can you do this yourself? Yes, much like you can change your own oil or do your own plumbing. What you pay for is the convenience of having someone else worry about it. That is the very nature of the service industry — all the pretty stuff is just bonus.
  • I'm a neutral party. I don't really care if your Aunt Edna hates my guts because we didn't use her neighbor's daughter to make the cupcakes. I have no family feuds to take part in or worry about. No one at your wedding has diapered my bum, so for the most part I am treated like the professional adult I am. On the rare cases where I'm not, I don't have to worry about so-and-so hating my guts for the next five years. This is a huge weight off of you, because you can feel free to blame everything on the crazy wedding planner. I'm OK with it really, as long as YOU are happy.
  • I see the big picture. Lots of times when planning, anyone can become zeroed in on tiny minute details and not see the forest for the trees. "OMG I've been so worried about the cake topper I forgot to order the cake!" Since this isn't my wedding, it isn't personal to me. Not that I don't care about your wedding — I DO, because I care about you, and it's my job — but I can think rationally about all aspects of it.
  • I'm not a guest. As per the Unplugged post, your guests should be able to fully immerse themselves in your wedding. I might shed a tear, or two or twenty, but I am there to make sure the caterer is setting the food out, that the DJ is set to go, and that the roller derby cocktail waitresses have their pads on. You don't have to worry about me having a good time — trust me, I am.
  • I am your middleman. I have this wacky thought that couples should enjoy their wedding day. It's much harder to do when a million people are running up to you with mini catastrophes when all you want to do is soak in the moment of the big ass life change you just made, and bask in the happy. My job is to make sure you have as many moments of happy as humanly possible by handling the mini catastrophes for you.
  • I do lots of weddings. This is a horrible fact of the wedding industry, but some nasty vendors out there give crappy service because they don't think they need to impress you. You're likely to only get married once, then they don't have to deal with you again. However, they DO want to impress me, because I can recommend them to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of potential new clients. The alternative is badmouthing them with my planner friends and doing my best to make sure they never get another wedding. Unlike some rating sites, the planning community doesn't take bribes to remove bad reviews.
  • I keep your best interests in mind. Caterer leave the venue a mess? I clean it up. Rental company forget the generator? That's on me. Table cloths have strange stains? I take pics so you get a refund, then chalk and hairspray the crap out of them to make them purity again. I hand out your final payments to vendors, so there are no detours on your way to wedded bliss. You are MY couple: your happiness is my goal in life.

So in conclusion, do you NEED a wedding planner/day-of coordinator? No, but you might want one.

Read more posts about:


About Ang

A graphic designer by day, chat mod by night, wedding planner on the weekends, she loves nothing more than digging through piles of junk to turn it into something amazing, and solving the world's problems (Or at least the interesting ones). She lives in the preppy wilderness of New England, with her musician husband of umpteen months, and her three hairy drooling dogs, where her free time is spent being adorable.