Virginia wedding

What NOT to Ask of Your Wedding Planner

There is some confusion as to how much to expect from wedding planners. Here are some of the things wedding planners should not be expected or asked to do.

Advise You Legally or Provide Legal Documents

When it comes to contracts and the ins and outs of marriage licences, they may be familiar, but they should not be your source for understanding. Many venues have put on their wedding package website pages that you need to look ahead and get your own wedding license because even they have been expected to do this sort of thing.

Have venue. Have officiant. Have guests. Have no license. It happens!

You have to go to the courthouse together, and courthouses have their own hours, so be prepared.

As far as contracts go, especially when it comes to cancellations, date or time changes, rules about cleanup, and what you are responsible for, you need to deal with the actual contract and language and go to the go-to person of the organization you are dealing with.

Set-Up and Clean-Up

Wedding planners book the rental companies, but they don’t do the set-up or clean-up. If your wedding tables and chairs need to be packed up and carried out of your venue by a certain time, then you need to make sure your rental company is on top of that. If your venue doesn’t allow tying tents to their structures, you need to makes sure they know this specifically. Don’t rely on the wedding planner too heavily here as you will be the one liable if damage occurs as you are the one signing off on things.

TIP: Get questions and liability details in email and save the responses and acknowledgements and print them out and keep in your three-ring wedding binder book! And keep that book with a responsible member of your wedding party! It will save your bacon!

Recommend Officiants

Just don’t ask them to recommend or pick out an officiant unless you really don’t care who you are getting because this really should be a personal choice. Some officiants are incredibly charming or they can be incredibly boring. They are not all cut from the same cloth. And they are going to be in your pictures…! You need to either have one in mind for personal reasons or you need to go and meet with some prospects so you can tell if they are the right officiant for you.

Managing Guests

No matter what you might have seen in a funny movie, they are not there to 1) make sure people don’t get inebriated 2) don’t fight or 3) are seated perfectly. You need to do the seating chart and if a guest needs a handler, you need to find one ahead of time. They don’t provide muzzles either.

Bustle Your Dress

This is a maid-of-honor duty if there ever was one. When it comes to the bustle of your wedding dress, your maid-of-honor needs to have been there when you picked out the dress and got assistance from your dress shop attendant. Bustles vary and bustles can be very bustlely!

Be Your Personal Assistant

No, no, no, no. A wedding planner is a professional, but not a personal assistant. They are there to tackle your to-do list and coordinate your timeless affair, but they are not there to fetch water or fetch a doctor or watch kids during a reception or transport flowers from wedding to reception. They don’t book flights. They may hook you up with a travel agent or book a limo. They will maybe help you hire a personal assistant if that is what you require, but they do have their hands full coordinating the wedding. Remember, they are there to make a living, not have the life drained out of them by a bridezilla.

Tell You The Truth

They are not there to offer their opinions and will not tell you that your sugar cake topper looks tacky or that pink shouldn’t be your signature color. They are there to coordinate your wedding. You are to have your own opinions. If you need opinions, you need a family member or friend or one of each to run things by; get people you know who will shoot straight with you. Don’t put the wedding planner in an awkward position. And don’t expect them to tell the truth if you put them on the spot. They just met you. How do they know you won’t fly off the handle if they suggest your flowers look like a funeral arrangement.


Virginia Bride Magazine features the best Virginia Weddings and Virginia Bridal Shows. Find it all in one place. Check our blog posts regularly for the latest show information.

The author: Dawn Van Ness

Dawn Dickson Van Ness grew up at the beach and has published her work in print and online. With a BA in English and a MS in Mass Communications, she has used writing and multimedia to promote artists, art shows, writers, small businesses, and other self-employed individuals by building websites and maintaining social media pages. She feels most fulfilled when she is helping others achieve their dreams, which includes writing self-help and steps-to-success articles for various websites. It seems a natural fit for this wife and mother of two to write features that help soon-to-be wed couples. For more about Dawn, go to www.dawnvanness.me.
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