What does a wedding planner do?
Wedding planners enjoy a kind of humorous notoriety, thanks largely to the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Martin Short and their over-the-top movie portrayals. There are all kinds of fun misconceptions about wedding planners, including the favorite “they just go to parties and eat cake every weekend!” In reality, wedding planning is pretty complex, involving event experience, skilled management of (sometimes highly stressed) people and a detail-oriented passion for logistics. Additionally, some designer/planners are highly-trained artists in their own right. What does a wedding planner do? Where do we start?
Full-service wedding planners manage every single facet of a wedding, including all of the logistics. This includes keeping the couple on task, managing vendor colleagues, communicating with wedding party members, family, and guests, and managing the planner’s own staff. No detail is too large or too small, and a good wedding planner has a system for ensuring that every detail has been checked and double-checked before the big day.
Event management requires constructing event timelines and task lists, and monitoring that they are accurate and on-track. It also means being on site throughout the events. Wedding planners manage rehearsals, guide wedding party members, and are present from beginning to end on the wedding day. Your wedding planner may set up your décor, receive your deliveries, pin on your corsages and boutonnieres, line you up and send you down the aisle, manage your photos, reassemble your wedding party for the reception entrance, pace the timing of your festivities, coach you through each wedding ritual, pack up your personal belongings, and see you off at the end of the night. Every planner is different, but these are among the most common of event management tasks.
All good wedding planners are people managers; skilled in diplomacy and sensitive to the way their clients are feeling during planning and on the wedding day. There are so many personalities involved, and a great many interests and motivations. A great wedding planner is able to balance the needs of the couple, their families, their wedding party, and even their vendors (who may have big personalities of their own!). The best wedding planners understand that a wedding day is sacred, and act accordingly to make it as magical as possible for the couple of the hour.
Some planners are legitimate designers. These planners consult with clients about their vision for the wedding day and create proposals with options for everything from linens to lighting. Designer/planners may handle floral décor or work closely with a florist to fulfill their designs. They often work with a team that sets up the events and breaks them down afterwards. There are wedding designers who are not planners, and many more planners who are not designers. A smaller number are qualified to handle both pivotal roles, but those who can may be invaluable if you have design needs.
This overview of the role of a wedding planner barely scratches the surface! The itemized list is miles long. Ultimately, your wedding planner will help you determine what is needed and will coordinate with you to ensure that those needs are met. It’s as close as you can possibly get to having a real fairy godmother (or godfather) on your wedding day!