Small Things All Good Wedding Planners Have in Common

Planning Tips
Wedding Planner, Father of the Bride

Photo: Buena Vista/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, she shares some telltale ways to spot a "real" wedding planner.

One of my interns recently wrote a really funny blog about how real-life wedding planning doesn't even vaguely resemble what they show in the movies. I think my favorite point that she made was how no professional wedding planner can carry everything needed for a bona fide bridal emergency bag in a teeny little fanny pack that doesn't show under your outfit. Not possible.

It's actually a joke around here that I carry everything in my purse, and what didn't fit in there is in the emergency bag.

The planner has a fully stocked office with backup uniforms and wedding clothes for herself, as well as makeup and hair accoutrements. Don't forget the bulk-size bottle of Advil, spare deodorant and nail polish for emergency touchups. I might think I'll have time to go home and change before an event, but if two guests accidentally get on a ferry to the wrong Island, my timeline is shot while I spend hours getting them on flights back to the correct island before the wedding welcome party starts.

See more: How to Handle Wedding Day Emergencies

Inside a wedding planner's purse, you should find lots of pens, spare hairbrush, tweezers, safety pins, hair clips, bobby pins, backup phone charger, backup phone battery, feminine supplies, Immodium, more Advil, Shout wipes, alcohol swabs, Band-Aids, extra sunglasses, eye drops, Benadryl, mini packs of Kleenex, hairspray, and a sugary treat. Everything in there is more frequently used by brides, grooms, and the guests than the planner. Especially on a remote tropical island like the one where I work.

All professional planners have a binder or a clipboard with them at all times. I carry a purse that can hold a clipboard or file so my hands are free, but I have to have all the information about the current wedding on me at all times during the actual wedding weekend. Any question asked by the couple or a guest can be answered by the information on those pages.

You can spot a wedding planner at an event because, if she's not in the middle of a whirlwind of activity, she's standing just to the outside of things, looking in and watching to make sure everything runs smoothly. On rare occasions, my husband and I will jump on the dance floor if we need to help get the party going (it always works), but in general, we don't dance unless invited by the bride and groom.

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