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Your duty as Wedding Planner

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Although it seems a simple question, the answer to “What Does a Wedding Planner Do?” changes with each and every client a wedding planner decides to work with.



This unpredictability is one of the main reasons the wedding planning field is so attractive for many. If you are the kind of person that enjoys a dynamic and unpredictable (but exciting!) working environment, becoming a wedding planner might be the perfect career for you.



So let’s get right down to it! The following is our summary of the primary duties and skills that wedding planners are responsible for, from Engagement to Honeymoon!



And it all starts with a simple conversation…



Initial Consultation



The initial consultation between the planner and the client serves to set the groundwork as to what the client is expecting from the planner and what the client is planning to do. The client may be the bride, the groom, the mother or father of the bride, the mother or father of the groom or any combination of these people. It is up to, you, the wedding planner, to figure out who your true client (or clients) will be, and thus whose opinion it is most important to take above all others. In most cases, this will of course be the bride.



When a wedding planner first meets with a client, the conversation should consist of simply explaining the packages available and briefly discussing the type of wedding the client wants. Typically, a wedding planner is hired for either Full Service or Day-of Coordination, and it is imperative that the planner fully explains to the client what is included in each of their packages.



Day of coordination involves taking care of all the logistical details of the wedding on the day of the wedding itself.



Full Service planning involves everything included in Day of Coordination plus a lot more, such as managing budget, vendors, venues, and all the nitty-gritty details that go into planning a wedding.



Remember that as a wedding planner, you should offer both of these services; the client will always let you know which of the two they need. A wedding planner will normally have a printed list of what is included in each of their packages; however, the needs of each client will still vary widely depending on the theme, venue, budget, vendors and personality of the client. Specific advice or vendor referrals should not be discussed until a contract is signed and the client pays a deposit.



So in order to know exactly what a wedding planner does, you’ll need to know the difference between both forms of wedding planning services.



We’ll start with the simplest of the two.



Day of Coordinator



Most brides have looked forward to their wedding day since they were little girls, and many refuse to let anyone else plan the details of their wedding other than themselves! Having said that, these brides also recognize that their wedding day should be about enjoyment and bliss, not stressing over every detail going according to plan and choreographing each segment of their wedding to perfection. In this case, they’ll need some help.



Since these brides have already taken care of all the pre-wedding preparations, and all they need is help on the day of their wedding, what they’ll be looking for is a Day of Coordinator. And of course, being the business-savvy wedding planner that you are, you’ll offer this service to your lucky brides!



So let’s go over exactly what is included as part of your duty as a Day of Coordinator.



Pre-Wedding



As a Day of Coordinator, your first responsibility will be to look over the contracts for each vendor the client has chosen to hire. You will then will contact the vendors approximately one week prior to the wedding and introduce yourself and ensure you have accurate day of contact information for each of them.
o ensure a smooth wedding day, a wedding planner should create a detailed timeline incorporating the photographers timeline, DJ or band’s timeline and their own timeline for the entire duration of the wedding. The bride, groom, their families, the photographer and DJ should approve the timeline to ensure everyone is in sync. A copy should be handed out to everyone in the wedding party at the rehearsal, as well.



The wedding planner should ensure that everyone who is in the wedding party or will be escorted in to the ceremony attends the wedding rehearsal, if possible. The phrase “Day of Coordinator” is a bit of a misnomer as you will be in charge of the wedding rehearsal as well, which usually takes place one or two days before the wedding. This is your last chance to hammer out all the scheduling details with your bride and groom, so don’t be afraid to take control and ensure that everyone is on the same page.



Wedding Day


On the day of the wedding, the wedding planner should arrive at the venue early enough to supervise all vendor set-up and answer any questions that may arise. Planners should ensure that the bride, groom, DJ/band and photographer are all informed in advance of each event (grand entrance, first dance, cake cutting, garter toss, etc.).



The wedding planner should be the liaison between all the vendors and the bride/groom on the day of the wedding. This will enable the bride/groom to enjoy the day with their friends and family instead of having to chase after vendors. After all, that is why they hired you! It is the wedding planner’s duty and privilege to ensure that the client’s vision is implemented.



Once the time for the ceremony approaches the wedding planner should begin distributing the personal flowers and ensuring everyone is in place according to the timeline. They are responsible for ensuring each person in the wedding party (ushers, greeters, etc.) are fulfilling their responsibilities and that guests are being treated properly. Once it is time for the ceremony to begin the wedding planner (or their assistant) should be ready to queue the music and keep the processional flowing as planned.



After the ceremony is complete the wedding planner should ensure the guests are quickly ushered to the reception venue and the wedding party is at the appropriate place for photos to begin. This is one of the most crucial and overlooked segments of the wedding, but if executed correctly it will ensure a smooth and timely start to the reception. One of the skills you’ll need to possess as a wedding planner is the ability to keep the wedding moving according to the timeline but also knowing when to speed up or slow down.


Wedding venues and vendors are typically very strict on scheduling, and delays of more than 15 minutes might not only result in angry venue managers, but also any applicable late fees associated with the venue. And guess who’s going to shoulder the blame for venue late fees? Yep, the wedding planner!



Wrapping up


And don’t think that your job is done after the guests and newlywed couple have exited the reception. Even after everyone clears out, planners should make sure all of the client’s personal property and wedding gifts are properly packed and secured in a vehicle, hotel room or storage room. Plan ahead and have your client recruit volunteers if there are a lot of items to be packed or stored.
Nothing ruins a honeymoon like finding out that all of the gift envelopes were stolen or that the expensive, rented flower vases were forgotten at the reception hall. Keep your brides happy and ensure that proper care is taken to conclude the event smoothly and responsibly. Even if you are not personally responsible for certain items to be taken care of, make sure that whoever is responsible for them hasn’t forgotten their duties. And there’s no need to memorize–you can write all of this down beforehand.