How to Control an Out-of-Control Wedding Planner

Planning Tips
Out Of Control Wedding Planner Father Of The Bride

Photo: Buena Vista/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

As if there isn't enough stress involved in creating your dream wedding, some brides have had to contend with an unexpected sources of frustration: their wedding planner. Though you hire a planner to help you with the planning process, sometimes things just don't go, well, as planned. Here's proof.

The Budget-Busting Wedding Planner
Three years after walking down the aisle, Denise still shakes with rage when discussing her wedding planner Ann. "I should have known she was bad news when at our first meeting Ann laughed at our budget. But I felt intimidated by her pushiness so let myself be talked into spending way more than I was comfortable with!" Ann also displayed an unwillingness to research venders outside her "preferred" list and wound up charging "insane amounts" for bringing in chairs and other rental items. The last indignity: After promising to be present at the ceremony and reception, Ann backed out at the last minute. Denise says, "In some respects that wound up being a blessing as memories of my big day don't have to be ruined by having Ann part of them!"

Tale of Tipsy Tara
Laura says, "My wedding planner nearly drove me to drink!" Having recently celebrated her second anniversary, Laura explains, "During the months of planning the wedding Tara frequently insisted we have wine. Only I'd have one glass and she'd have four. I never voiced my suspicions since she was doing a great job." That was until the ceremony when the planner shoved the bride away from her groom on the dance floor and tried to kiss the groom! The resultant photo did not make it in to the album. The only consolation was Tara meekly refunding her fee.

The Scam Artist
"I hired Gina because she had the corporate logo and company name of a renowned wedding planner a friend had used. It turned out Gina never got that planner's permission — she was a total fraud!" real bride Naomi says. Gina claimed to have paid the vendors but when Naomi, her fiancé, family and guests showed up at the wedding site, everything they thought they'd paid for — flowers, musicians, tent, chairs — was missing. Also missing — the wedding planner! Naomi, who later had a quiet wedding, wipes away a tear, "It was an out and out nightmare. Thankfully Gina was caught and is now in jail."

Signs of a Crazy Planner
Now that you've heard the cautionary tales, learn how to avoid them. Los Angeles wedding planner Dezhda "Dee" Gaubert says to beware the planner who:

Presents you with a short contract
Dee's contract is six pages long, outlining the various liabilities and issues that can arise. A one or two page document is suspect.

Cannot provide references from venues
Venue sales managers, according to Dee, are "the toughest judges of great planners."

Charges bargain prices
You get what you pay for. If you price out several planners, and one is significantly less than the others, don't jump. It'll cost in the long run.

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

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