Things your Planner wishes you knew!

Here it is – the last post in the series.  Not to say that I won’t revisit the topic in the future with other types of vendors like bridal shops or rental companies, but for now here is our last installment – Things your Planner wishes you knew:

Small disclaimer – Please be aware that these points are not all from me! I got input for this post from other planners in Columbus as well as literally all over the country and globe.  In fact, I don’t necessarily agree 100% with all of them but I thought it was worthwhile to share them.

*Please be aware that when we meet for the first time, we are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing us.  If you tell me that you are meeting with 10 other planners or we may have to hire extra staff just to deal with your ‘difficult’ mother or you sometimes have emotional problems, I am probably not going to take you on as a client.  Yes, planners can and will decline to work with certain people.  And yes, someone once told me that they like to yell at people and have emotional problems that they tend to take out on ‘the help.’  Needless to say, I declined the chance to work with her.

*There is a planner out there for every bride but not every planner is going to be a good fit for you – look around and find one who fits you.  We aren’t going to be insulted if you decide to work with someone else, there is a good chance we didn’t feel the connection either.  If I am not your planner, that is perfectly fine just please let me know you have decided to go a different direction.

*Someone who just planned their own wedding and now thinks it would be SO MUCH FUN to plan someone else’s is not a professional wedding planner.  They have absolutely no idea how to plan a wedding for someone else and no sense of what actually goes into running a wedding day.  Think about it – if they have only ever planned their own wedding, how do they know what goes on behind the scenes?  The last time they were invovled in a wedding, they were the bride!

*In the same vein, Craigslist or the Knot chat boards are not good sources to find someone to plan and/or manage your wedding day.  You spent a lot of money on this day and now you are going to trust that to someone who has no experience?   We all started somewhere but the ones who are serious will work to get educated and get hands on experience under another planner or in a related field.   If you want to risk the thousands and thousands of dollars that you just spent on someone who has decided to play at wedding planner, go right ahead but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

*I cannot and will not just show up on the rehearsal day without meeting with you and going over all the details of your event as well as contacting your vendors myself – no professional planner would do that.  It is akin to a doctor doing surgery without seeing the chart first or a lawyer trying a case without a case file.  It does not matter how organized you are or how on top of things – it is a recipe for disaster.  Anyone who tells you that they will show up on the wedding day without doing any kind of pre meeting is an unprofessional HACK.  End of story.

*My price is my price – you’re paying for my experience, creativity, my network and connections and my ability to craft a unique event. I charge exactly what I am worth and I am worth every penny.  Sure, you can get a day-of coordinator for a third of what I charge but you get what you pay for.

*Please be honest with us about your budget so we can be honest with you about your options.  We need to be able to tell you whether what you want is realistic with your budget.  Your expectations need to match your reality.  Tell us what you have to spend and we will help you spend it wisely.  Even if you don’t have an exact number, you have some idea – give us at least a realistic starting point.

*Your wedding planner isn’t going to judge you if you have a small budget.  In fact, most wedding planners offer hourly consultations for those who might not be able to fit full service planning in their budget.  You can generally use those hours for help with budgeting to assistance creating a realistic timeline to vendor recommendations – all things that even – especially – the smallest budget will greatly benefit from.

*It’s going to cost what it’s going cost. If you have a 400 person guest list and want a 4 course sit down dinner with a top shelf open bar, you cannot do it for $5000.  I don’t care that your cousin says she did hers for $5000 – she is a big old liar.

*Please trust us.  We know what we’re doing. If we suggest something for you, it’s because we know it’s a good idea for you. I absolutely hate it when I suggest something to a client, they balk at it and go out to do their own research and three months down the road they come back and do exactly what I suggested in the first place. Let us do our job, that’s why you hired us!

*Please trust your vendors.  Micromanaging them and breathing down their necks to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to won’t make them do their jobs better.  In fact, the more you trust your vendors, the more they are going to bend over backwards and go above and beyond to help make your wedding day spectacular.

*You know how teachers aren’t supposed to have favorite students?  But they always do?  Same thing with wedding planners and other wedding vendors.  We have favorites and will do just about anything for them.   This is not to say that we still won’t do an outstanding job for those who aren’t necessarily our favorites but I am always more willing to bend over backwards when I know it is being appreciated and valued.

*No matter how talented and professional you feel your chosen vendors are, please keep me in the loop on the details you’ve arranged.  Even if we’re just the day of coordinator, we need to know every single detail you have arranged.  If we don’t, how can we ensure that things go exactly as you planned them?

*Just because you are paying us doesn’t mean you are excused from basic courtesy.  It is extremely rude to not return your planner’s calls for three days, and then think when you are ready at 10:30pm on a Friday night to discuss the matter that we should drop everything.  I work WITH you, I am not your indentured servant.

*Bridezillas is staged and edited for TV.  Yell at me and act the fool like those spoiled little children and I will walk out the door.  And the contract that you signed says I can do just that if you behave that way.  Again, wedding planner, not servant.

*Vendor’s fees are not their salary. I had a bride say “well, with the cost of the band, even split among them, they are walking away with great pay at the end of the night.”  I think people who receive a paycheck from a corporate entity don’t see/know how much was taken out of the total before that check was cut to them.

*On your wedding day, don’t watch the clock and be a slave to time! Just because the schedule says to cut the cake at 6:00 doesn’t mean that we’re running late because it’s 6:01 and everyone is still enjoying dinner and socializing.  Weddings have a life and flow of their own and your vendors will make sure we are on the right schedule even if it isn’t quite the original schedule.

*Things may go wrong on the wedding day but I will do everything in my power to fix them – just relax, enjoy the day and remember, as long as the day ends with you being married, it will be perfect!

Thanks to all my planner friends who contributed!

I hope you enjoyed the series and learned some things along the way.  As a side note, any vendors who feel that I missed anything, please send me an email and I will do an update post down the road.

13 Responses to “Things your Planner wishes you knew!”

  1. saundra, event engineer Says:

    LOVE this series, Em. Thanks for thinking/doing it!

  2. Candice Says:

    Brilliant. My fav? *Bridezillas is staged and edited for TV. Yell at me and act the fool like those spoiled little children and I will walk out the door. And the contract that you signed says I can do just that if you behave that way. Again, wedding planner, not servant.

  3. Alyse Woodward Events Says:

    LOVE this. Great post.

  4. Kendra Bissig Says:

    From a vendor standpoint, I LOVED::
    *Please trust your vendors. Micromanaging them and breathing down their necks to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to won’t make them do their jobs better. In fact, the more you trust your vendors, the more they are going to bend over backwards and go above and beyond to help make your wedding day spectacular.

    This is SO TRUE!!!

  5. Lisa Michelle Says:

    This is a great post. Educational with a twist of irony, yet so true. Thank you for this.

  6. uberVU - social comments Says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by emilieduncan: BLOG: Things you Planner wishes you knew! http://bit.ly/20Fn1H

  7. Debbie Orwat Says:

    Brilliant post Emilie. It’s my favorite one you have ever posted. Love it!

  8. Melinda | Melinda Massie Events Says:

    Love the series and LOVE this post!! Thank you so much for doing it!

  9. Heidi Says:

    Great post! every part is so true! You should make this a handout for all Brides.

  10. Kelsey Reckless Says:

    AWESOME POST!

  11. Snide Bride Says:

    Love the reference to ‘those’ message boards. It really does all come down to trust, confidence and mutual respect.

  12. Jennifer M Says:

    I just love reading your blog. This series was so interesting!

  13. Tish Says:

    Awesome!