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7 Things you can expect your Wedding Planner won't & will do

What services should you expect to receive as part of your planning or coordination package? And possibly more importantly, what shouldn't you be expecting them to do on your wedding day?

If you've ever seen Father of the Bride, The Wedding Planner, or Bride Wars, it's fairly likely you imagine that you have some idea of what a wedding planner does for their clients on their wedding day. But chances are, you, like many other couples out there, are a bit fuzzy on the other smaller details

To cut through some common nuptial confusion, here are seven of the most common assumptions about a planners role on the wedding day as well as our actual roles in each activity.

1. Your wedding planner will not do your wedding day set up or decorating

On the day of a wedding a planner is pulled in a dozen different directions at the same time. Almost every professional participating in set up will run into a logistical issue or have a question about where or how their job is to be performed, no matter how clearly they have been communicated with. Friends and family members will be approaching throughout the day with various issues that need immediate attention or questions that need answers, and heaven forbid disaster strike on some level. Even a well-organized planner is guaranteed to have their hands full. There simply isn't enough time for them to be responsible for setting all of your reception décor simultaneously and executing all of their other responsibilities. 

You CAN expect your planner to place your personal wedding day items 

 

Provided that they are organized and prepared ahead of time...items like setting out your guest book, favors, unity ceremony elements and basket of programs are all items that your planner can quickly handle while orchestrating the rest of your event, answering questions, and putting on their super capes to avert crisis if needed. These are all things that can be accomplished without pulling their focus from the execution of the event itself. If they are busy trying to decorate your altar or putting together your DIY (that you DI-didn't finish) centerpieces, or putting together florals for your head table because you chose not to hire an actual florist...they are too busy to notice that your wedding is an hour behind schedule and important vendors haven't shown up! 

2. Your wedding planner will not run errands for you or retrieve forgotten items

This one is pretty simple. If you are expecting your planner to run out out to buy things that you forgot to get or retrieve items that you left at home, you may want to rethink that! That is not part of your planners responsibility or within their scope of work. 

What you CAN expect from your planner is direction on how to handle these situations

These tasks fall under the responsibility of your wedding party or your family. So if it's something important, your planner will advise that you send someone from the wedding party or your family to handle the task at hand. If it's something that won't have an impact on the wedding day, they will be able to come up with a plan to make due without the forgotten item.

3. Your wedding planner will not transport, cut and/or serve your wedding cake. 

It make seem like a small and silly detail to take a firm stance on but--there is an excellent and important reason no planner in their right mind will do this for you. It's called liability!  A planner who cuts your cake for you risks being sued if someone gets sick from eating it. It doesn't matter that they didn't make the cake. Additionally, transporting a wedding cake is also too much of a liability risk. If the cake was poorly assembled and slides off during transport, has to brake suddenly and the cake goes flying, or slip on a patch of ice walking into the venue - they are liable.

Great planners always look for simple ways to save their couples money and strive to be as helpful as possible in both the planning and execution of their wedding but this is one of those things your planner can't afford take responsibility for.

You CAN expect your planner to recommend bakers & a caterer that provide delivery and cutting

Most reputable wedding bakers offer delivery for a small fee depending on your venue location and experienced wedding caterers offer cake cutting & plating service for a nominal fee. Your planner will know what bakers and caterers offer these services and you should expect to add them to your contracts with your baker and caterer. If it's simply not in the budget, plan for a friend or family member to manage these tasks on wedding day.

4. Your wedding planner will not clean your venue after the party is over

This is a common misconception about what planners (and coordinators) do! Your planners job is to plan & coordinate your wedding - that does not include being janitors. Some planners have a limited number of service hours on wedding day, some leave after the primary reception events such as the cake cutting are done and others will stay until the end to coordinate your send off and ensure everyone is out of the venue by the required time - they are not staying to clean up for you! Your venue will have a fair amount of responsibilities after an event and what they handle internally as well as what they expect clients to have taken care of but these should always be spelled out in your venue contract. Major event strike items like breaking down chairs and tables, removing floral installations, loading your stuff or sweeping/mopping the venue are never a coordinator's responsibility. 

 

You CAN expect your planner to work with you to assign different tasks associated with event break down and decor disposal to friends or family

They will help you assign specific tasks to your helpers that will ensure everything is cleaned up and nothing is left behind. Chances are, your planner will also pitch in with some of the tasks but this isn't something you should expect. If you don't have family or friends willing to do these tasks, your planner can recommend a local strike team that will come in and handle all of this for your - keep in mind this will come with a fee! 

5. Your wedding planner will not bus tables or haul out the trash

Some venues include a cleaning fee as part of their rental contract but even that has its limitations. Caterers and bartenders are generally responsible for busing tables as part of their contract, as well as removal of the trash created by the event and the cleanliness of the areas that they use.  There should be a clear outline of responsibilities. But be warned...even though your caterer is contracted to bus tables and remove trash, it is only until after dinner service is over and they have cleaned the areas they used. They are typically under no contractual obligation to stay until the end of your event to bus or take out trash! So, there will be more bussing and trash removal to be done (especially after everyone has hit the bar or cake table a few dozen more times) so you should be prepared with a crew of volunteers to do the final table busing and trash removal at the end of the night.

 

You CAN expect your planner to work with vendors and your volunteers to help make sure the venue exit standards are met

Your planner will coordinate with the bar and catering lead persons to manage all of the table busing and trash disposal needs are handled before their service end time and help coordinate your volunteers on accomplishing the remaining tasks at the end of the night.

6. Your wedding planner will not handle your wedding gifts

This another one of those assumptions planners run into a lot. Although most have no problem with the "idea" of carrying your gifts to load into a friend or family member's car and really do want to be helpful...wedding gifts are often expensive, and what happens when you open your brand new beautiful $450 espresso maker from Uncle Dave and realize part of it is damaged? What about the card full of money your friend said they left in your card box comes up missing? The planner is held liable and can even be labeled as a thief! That is a label that can end their business - for that reason, most experienced planners will not take responsibility for your gifts.

You CAN expect your wedding planner to take steps to protect these items from loss

You planner just wants you to get all of your stuff home safe and sound but will not put themselves at risk in order to do it. For security, they may remove the cards from your card box during the evening and put them in the hands of your parents for safe keeping but they will not take the items out of the venue to load them in your vehicle. You will be responsible for designating a family member or close friend to remove these items from the venue and load them - just be sure to communicate with your planner on who this person is or they aren't likely to let them leave with your stuff!

7. Your wedding planner will not return rental items for you

You can't expect your planner to save you, your friends or family the hassle of returning rentals? Why not?

Late fees, damages & it's not their job -  that's what!

Most rental companies designate a specific return time for their items and super stiff penalties from the hundreds to even thousands of dollars for late or damaged items. Since you rented the items, you are financially responsible for returning them at the correct time and in the proper condition. Expecting your planner to be responsible for this can lead to problems if anything is in less than pristine condition or if they are unable to get them back to the rental company on time - and that's assuming you can find a planner that would even consider taking on such a task. 

You CAN expect your planner to ensure that all rental items are accounted for before departing your event and they have been collected by the rental company, you or your designated responsible person 

Part of coordinating with your vendors includes ensuring that your rental company has provided the contracted rental items and make reasonable attempts to log any rental items that were damaged or missing at the end of the night - but they are not liable for those items or for their return. 

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