What Does a Wedding Planner Do? Wedding Planner Series – Part 2

Welcome back to the wedding planner series!  In Part 1 we answered the question, what is a wedding planner? and today in Part 2 we will answer the question, what does a wedding planner do?

So, let’s get to the bottom of it, what does a wedding planner do?  A wedding planner’s mission is to relieve the “job” of planning a wedding.  Planning a wedding is essentially a job for a year or another job if you already have one.  Most couples are engaged for about a year partially because a year is a good amount of time to prepare for the next step in their lives, but also because it takes time to plan a wedding and a year gives you enough time without rushing.  I say that planning a wedding is like another job because it really does take a lot of time to put together such a large and meaningful event.

So, what does wedding planning entail?  There are many facets of planning, but the main 3 areas are vendors, logistics and event design.  Wedding planners take care of all three and the many tasks related to each.  I don’t want to go into too much detail with each because it can be overwhelming, but I’ll give you an overview of each starting with vendors.

Vendors are the people side, the companies that you hire to take care of different aspects of the wedding, such as the location, catering, photography, videography, flowers, rentals, music, officiant, stationery, hair/makeup, etc.  In order to hire a vendor, let’s say a catering company, you have to research the companies, meet with them, get a proposal and references, compare services, personality and pricing, and negotiate a contract.  Once you hire them, you have to continually communicate with them to make sure you develop your menu, do a tasting, select your wines, create a signature drink, come up with options for those with special dietary needs, and create a floorplan and a schedule.  This list is not all-inclusive, but it should give you a taste of what a wedding planner does when it comes to vendors.  A wedding planner works with the couple on all of these things for each vendor and handles all of the communication back and forth over the course of the engagement.

Logistics is the project management side or as I like to call it, the Excel side.  Logistics is about creating, managing and executing schedules, timelines, budget sheets, payment sheets, to do lists, floor plans, and seating charts.  The logistics side is the true planning part of wedding planning.   I like to call wedding planners  “preventers”, they anticipate problems and plan ahead to prevent any issues.  Wedding planners keep the wedding planning and the couple on task and on budget, so that the end result isn’t chaos.

Event design is the creative side and the creation of a sensory experience.  You can have vendors in place and a tight schedule, but if you don’t have the creative side, an event will fall flat.  Different wedding planners will vary on the scope of their event design services (which we’ll cover in Part 3), but for most it is about the aesthetic.  For us, event design is the look and the feel of the wedding which includes anything visual, things you taste, touch, smell and hear.  Wedding planners will help the couple discover their look and feel and help to create it, so that each individual item and the wedding as a whole will create a certain experience.  Since this area is all about being creative, it is the wedding planner’s job to come up with creative ideas to harmoniously combine elements or come up with alternative options on a smaller budget or figure out how to make everything flow together.

While these are the three main elements, there are other aspects to wedding planning such as guidance and support through out the planning process.  It doesn’t fall under the big three, but it is a crucial part of what wedding planners do.  They are a sounding board and a confidante to be there to listen, answer any questions and give advice.  Planning a wedding is an emotional experience and there usually is as many or more personal conflicts as there are professional conflicts.  Sometimes couples need an outside party to help resolve a situation or give an unbiased opinion.  This is all a part of what wedding planners do.

The last item I want to mention is the wedding day itself.  Wedding planners take all the planning done with the vendors, logistics and event design and they make sure everything gets executed on the wedding day.  You need both the planning part and the execution for a successful event.  This is the part that people actually see and experience and if elements of the wedding aren’t executed correctly, it can result in disaster.  Wedding planners make sure all the vendors are doing what they are supposed to be doing, that everyone is on time and the schedule is being followed, that all the details are in place and that any problems that arise (and there are always problems) are taken care of.  Most of all wedding planners take care of the guests, families and the couple so that everyone is having a good time and not worried about what is going on in the background.

Mango Muse Events, destination wedding planner setting up for a wedding

(Photo credit: Christie Pham Photography)

Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of what a wedding planner does.  In Part 3 of the series I’ll explain the different titles that wedding planners have and what each really means.  See you next time!

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