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Asking Questions


The Truth about Wedding Planners

4.10.2013 • 5 Comments

I hope you weren’t expecting a fluff piece on wedding planners. This is the real deal. I wanted to share this post for two reasons:

1. As a wedding planner, it’s hard to tell everyone why your role is so valuable without it coming off like a sales pitch. I’ve got no wedding planner services to sell anymore so I feel like I can share with you honestly with no one thinking I’m just biased.

2. I used to get emails daily from girls wanting to be wedding planners. What we blog or share in Instagram photos can make the job look like a big party every day. It is so rewarding, but there is also so much more that goes into it.

My goal isn’t to complain. Wedding planning isn’t going to war or performing brain surgery, but I do hope to give a better picture of what is involved. We’re not allowed to say it’s hard normally because we eat cake and look at pretty flowers all day, and it would seem ungrateful. (Not true by the way).

At the end of last year, I kindly bowed out of wedding planning. I said it was to start a family, and it was (see growing belly – #woernerbaby). But more specifically because I didn’t think I could handle that level stress with a family. I’ve got that much more respect for all those wedding planners who do plan weddings with a family.

Wedding planning is definitely a role that is undervalued when it comes to all vendors couples plan to hire. They could spend $20,000 + on flowers, food, music, etc, but don’t see the value of hiring even a day of coordinator to make sure all those things they spent a year saving for actually come out the way they hoped.

There are some really great articles on what a wedding planner’s job looks like on a daily basis. See links below. I’m hear to talk about the other things.


{ This is my “bossy” face – Photo by Catherine Guidry }

MYTH #1 – Everything has to and will go perfectly. It’s a wedding after all!!

Just like any industry, mistakes happen every day, in every profession. Part of why wedding planning is so stressful is that any small mistake is not acceptable to many people.

When I was working at our local paper, I laid out the front page and had a story jump to another page…only the story didn’t jump anywhere!! This is a HUGE mistake and had me quivering for 12 hours at the wrath I’d receive. I don’t even think I got a slap on the wrist, just a few calls from readers who we told would have the whole story the following day. Much smaller mistakes related to weddings can induce a lot more fury than a few frustrated readers.

And sometimes, if it’s on the wedding day, there are no redos or second chances. This might be why your photographer is so expensive, because they’ve purchased a back up camera so if one flakes out, the error doesn’t affect the client. Mistakes still happen though. It’s a hard pill to swallow for brides. And to be honest, just as much for your wedding planner, too, whose job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. A planner’s stress level is proportional to how many fires they’ve got to put out. This is a prime reason why hiring a planner is so helpful. Your planner will only recommend great vendors who help make a wedding run smoothly. I said great vendors, not perfect vendors. A great vendor is someone who, even when a mistake is made, can acknowledge the mistake and work to find a solution even better for the clients.

MYTH #2 – Wedding planners are overpriced.

Adding up the number of weddings someone has in a year won’t give you your planner’s salary. I was so guilty of this early on in my career!! Once I ran a few numbers, I thought I could be rich in no time planning weddings. The truth? A lot goes into owning a business. ALOT.  My second year in business, I had 10 weddings plus my own and took home a whopping $7,000 after taxes. I was not living it up making millions of dollars overcharging for weddings. This was the year I was living at home with my parents, so I could focus on growing my business and save money to pour more back into my business. This rule can apply for any business owner, but I think it helps to know the cost of owning your own business to know you aren’t being taken advantage of. Assistants, office rent, advertising, marketing, accounting fees, taxes, etc all take a piece of what a client pays. And the wedding planners I know are so passionate about what they do, that they go above and beyond their job roles to make sure a couple is completely happy!

PARTIAL TRUTH #1 – Wedding planners get to work on the happiest days of people’s lives.

One of my favorite parts of the job was getting to be one of the last people talk to the bride before they walked down the aisle, or simply being witness to so many couple’s wedding days! It really was an honor and I was so thankful so many brides trusted me with those moments. I still look back fondly and miss those times!

The other part of this though is that it is one of the most stressful times in many people’s lives. Moms and daughters who never fight, will probably fight. Brides who are normally very patient, won’t be patient. Groom’s who are rarely speak up, will get ugly. Planners always joke that part of their job is counselor and it is so true! Your wedding planner wants the entire process to be smooth for you, so she’s happy to give advice when it comes to family matters. My heart would be sick to hear some of the things future mother in laws were capable of, so I was glad to do anything I could to help.

If you want to be a wedding planner and don’t like confrontation or can’t handle it well, this may be a major stressor for you. If you are a bride, this is a part of the job description that is rarely itemized or charged for in your package, but can actually take significant time.

PARTIAL TRUTH #2 – Wedding planners can’t get you discounts.

A big reason people hired wedding planners in the “ole days” was for discounts. Asking for or expecting discounts is frowned upon these days in the wedding industry. Somehow years ago, the wedding industry became the exception to the rule of paying what something is worth. No, people don’t just charge more because it’s the wedding industry. Honest ones at least. (If you want to know why they charge what they charge, check out the links below!) You’d never go to the bakery and say, “I see your price is $5 for this loaf of bread, but I’m on a budget and can only spend $3.” Or “Can you cut off the crusts and let me pay only $2? I really don’t need the full thing.”

To be honest, it can be a bit insulting and basically says you don’t value their services to pay what they are worth. And if a planner has worked with a great vendor and understands why they charge what they charge, they know they are worth it. So, no planners may not be able to get you tons of discounts BUT what they can save you from their knowledge and the value they get from vendors can be worth more than what you actually paid to hire a planner.

Wedding planners have relationships with vendors that WILL benefit you! I’ve had vendors meet after their normal hours, florist squeeze me in during the week of Valentine’s or Mother’s Day, do special tastings when they don’t normally offer it or make an exception to their rules if I ask. They would prioritize my clients because they valued me bringing clients to them.

Vendors value working with good wedding planners and you will reap the benefits of it! After emphasizing the no discount policy, I actually do offer discounts to brides who are working with a wedding planner for one very big reason. That planner eases my workload by giving their client information about our collection, pricing and how to order. This is worth it for me and doesn’t devalue my service because I can spend less time on logistics and instead simply design when a planner who knows my process is involved.

TRUTH #1 – Your wedding planner is in your corner.

Brides, you know this. And if you don’t fully know it, you will realize the lengths your planner will go to for you at the end of the big day when they held your dress while you used the restroom, or removed your heels off your feet to give you comfy flats, or hiked a garter up your leg.

Bridesmaids and mother in laws, may not. Sometimes a planner’s toughest critics are those close to the bride. They always have the BEST of intentions and want to stand up for the bride, but they forget that as a bride’s planner, you want the same thing too! Planners are so wholly invested in their couples! My motives for the wedding day are purely that the couple has the best day possible. It’s not uncommon to have people micromanage your job thinking they know best, question you as you set up or as you handle the bride’s expensive belongings and give advice. It’s an obstacle a lot of people may not realize a wedding planner has to confront often amidst standard wedding day to-dos. My sensitive heart didn’t always know how to handle this sort of opposition. I couldn’t imagine anyone thinking I wanted anything but the bride’s best.

TRUTH #2 – Your wedding planner sacrifices a lot of family and personal time to do her job.

Between late weekday meetings, Friday night rehearsals and full Saturdays, the number of hours a wedding planner can work a week is pretty insane. And Sundays? Those are typically wedding hangover days spent simply trying to recoup from barking dogs (hurt feet), blisters, stuffy ears from loud music, stuffy noses or headaches from smoke and just an general fogginess.

Now that I have Saturdays off, I have that much more respect for all those who work wedding days! They may take Mondays off, but if their spouse is at work or kids at school, this doesn’t replace a Saturday. And honestly, I know many planners who don’t take Mondays off because they’ve got to get ready for the next wedding.

I really hope this sheds some like on why I love wedding planners so darn much and think they are 100% worth it!! It’s easy to think it’s all J. Lo with a headset, but it’s truly work and I think part of what makes them so good at their job is that they make it look so effortless knowing part of their role is to keep a couple calm! 

I have to say thanks to all my clients who truly understood the value of a wedding planner and trusted me fully with their big day. I was blessed to work with some many clients who appreciated even the smallest gestures of help. I’ve saved so many cards and texts from grateful clients. Those words meant so much to me and always make the hard work worth it!

The Value of:


Wedding Planner Posts:

Hey Gorgeous Events – An Average Event Day
Every Last Detail – What a Wedding Planner Really Does
Truly Haute – Facility Coordinator vs. Day-Of Coordinator


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Comments (5)

Loved reading this! So very true and honest. Spoken from a true professional. Congrats on the reprieve and focusing on your priorities in life. Wishing you al the best.

I’ll also chime in with a hearty amen! 🙂 SO well put, Val! Thank you for sharing so honestly in this post! Hugs!

[…] Original post: The Truth about Wedding Planners | Val Marie Paper […]

Amen! I always ALWAYS tell my brides how important hiring a planner is, even if it is the ‘day-of’. As a vendor, I LOVE working with my planners and most certainly go out of my way to accommodate them. Thanks for this!

Julia xox