You've hired a wedding planner, and now you can sit back and relax, right? Wrong. Our sources tell us that couples too often expect their planners to perform duties that simply aren't theirs to do, leading to frustration and surprises before the big day.
"You've made the right choice in hiring a wedding planner, but just like your other vendors, you are still required to make all of the decisions and be present in the wedding planning process," says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group. "Of course your planner will give you a lot of great advice and can save you time, but that doesn't mean your planner will now do everything wedding related."
And with that in mind, here are nine things you simply shouldn't expect them to do.
1. Finish your DIY projects.
Between creating the seating chart display, cutting up photo booth props, and framing table numbers, you're in a little over your head — but you can't ask your wedding planner to come to the rescue. "Finishing your DIY projects at the eleventh hour isn't a wedding emergency," says Nichols. "Chances are, she has other final to-do's on her own list, so don't dump your DIYs on your planner."
2. Advise you, legally.
Yes, a wedding planner will most certainly help you pick the very best vendors and review their contracts. But expecting them to read legalese is another issue. "It is impossible for me to protect my clients from everything that may come up," says Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner in Palm Beach, Fla. "A wedding planner may be more well-versed with the legal language of wedding contracts than the layman, but they should never be held liable for the unfortunate result of something that goes wrong, due to misreading or misunderstanding the language of a contract."
3. Set up or clean up.
Nichols says that early in her career, she'd often receive request from brides that she and her team set up chairs or turnover a site from the ceremony to reception. But, she says, "this is not what you're hiring a wedding planner for — that's what you hire a rental company to do." Of course, that's an extra expense, as even Nichols acknowledges, "but your wedding planner isn't free day-of labor," she says.
4. Choose your officiant.
While an officiant may seem like just another vendor, "this decision is [actually] so personal that you shouldn't leave it up to your planner," says Samuels. "It's certainly appropriate to ask your planner for two or three recommendations, but you will need to meet with them yourselves to see how your personalities mesh with each other." Why? As Samuels explains, "What rubs you the wrong way may not bother your planner at all, and vice versa. You may want a bubbly personality leading your ceremony, but your planner may prefer someone more reserved and serious."
5. Create your seating chart.
It's a real headache to figure out where to seat relatives who no longer speak to one another — a headache you'd love someone else to deal with. But, "as much as you might dread the seating arrangements, we don't know Aunt Sally or Uncle Greg, so we're going to have a hard time figuring out what table they should be seated at," says Nichols. "Your planner should be able to give you some tips and tools though to keep the seating process from being too much of a nightmare."
6. Keep guests from overindulging.
We've heard nightmare stories of guests hitting the bar too hard, so it's no surprise that some brides might want their planners to separate the best man from the booze. "No planner wants to see a guest drink to the point that they get sick, harm themselves or drive away drunk," Samuels commiserates. "But at the same time, asking your planner to take a drink out of someone's hands or control what that guest will do or not do over the course of the night is both impossible and unfair." Instead, she suggests, hire security to control any such situation.
7. Bustle your dress.
Just like your wedding gown is unique, so too is its bustle. And that's just one reason why you shouldn't ask your planner to pin it up, Nichols says. "Yes, we've bustled lots of dresses, but bustles can be complicated — and different! — so make sure one of your family members or bridesmaids knows the ins and outs of how your bustle works," she says.
8. Settle an argument.
Weddings are stressful, and tempers can flair. But, "if bridesmaids are at each other's throats or your mother-in-law becomes a mother-in-law-zilla on you, don't expect you planner to be the mediator," says Samuels. "While it is absolutely the planner's responsibility to be respectful and sensitive to any issues between the parties, it is unfair to position them in the middle or expect them to solve any personal problems that you or those parties are going through."
9. Transport your things.
Your wedding planner will (most likely) be happy to make sure your must-have items, such as table numbers and escort cards, arrive at your venue. "But this does not mean that planners should be expected to move those two huge floral urns from the church to the reception," says Nichols. Same goes for your wedding dress and personal heirlooms that must make it home at the end of the night. "As much as we would love to keep those personal items under our watchful eye, not every planner has the space to carry all of those things home at the end of the night," Nichols says.