We Asked the Experts: "What does a wedding planner know that a bride doesn't?"

We asked our incredibly talented team of global wedding experts “What does a WEDDING PLANNER know that a bride doesn’t?”  Take a look below at their insightful and inspirational responses…

“Planning a  wedding is like putting on a broadway production.  There is a big difference between who the star’s are [the bride and groom are in this instance] and who is the producer [US].  We are responsible for making sure that our vision comes off on time, on budget and wow’s the audience [the guests].

That said, we ask the questions the bride usually does not get to ask……What if it rains, do we have  aback up plan? Can the band or DJ play overtime?  When is load in and when is load-out? How much power does the facility have?  Is there sufficient parking?  Does the venue have air-conditioning?  Can we serve chocolate souffle for 350 guests?

We live in a world of specialization and as wedding planners we have spent [in my instance] 25 years figuring out how to do it the best in a proactive manner where we get to anticipate the bride, groom and guests’ unanticipated needs before they happen.  That said, trust the professionals to know what to ask, when and how.

If you are sick, you go to the doctor,  if your dog is sick you go to the vet,  a problem with your car you see the mechanic – when it comes to your wedding, find a trusted wedding professional who will hold you by the hand and guide you while planning the wedding of  your dreams.”  {Colin Cowie, Colin Cowie Celebrations}

“A wedding planner knows that, though the planning process may take many months, a wedding day goes by in a flash.  Make sure to have a team you trust on your side taking care of everything the day of the wedding so you can focus on being a bride, being a hostess, and just enjoying every moment of one of the most important days of your life.” {Harriette Rose Katz of Gourmet Advisory Services}

“Not being a planner, I could easily say….”We’re all looking at the same stunning websites, blogs, and Pinterest boards that inspire brides and planners alike, so a planner really knows nothing that a bride doesn’t know or have access to.”  I know  this is exactly what many brides think when they’re considering whether they need to hire a planner or not.  We experience this bride all the time, and our answer is a resounding “YOU NEED A PLANNER.”

What the planner has is years of experience, successes, failures, great stories, solutions to every challenge, and an admitted addition to the wedding business.  The right planner is more excited about your wedding than you are and, believe me, even your best friend is not that excited.  And, the best part, the secret sauce, the hidden ingredient that the planner has….. is relationships with the perfect partners to pull your event together flawlessly.  They have cultivated these relationships over years of long hours and late nights and finished events that have literally brought on tears of pride and exhaustion.  You cannot find this on a Pinterest board.” {Anna Schmid, One&Only Resorts}

“Everything!……well……in the case of wedding day timelines, vendors, service, lighting, execution, advice, layouts/flow, and breakdown!…don’t be foolish, hire a planner! It only happens once. You hope.” {Tara Guerard, Soiree}

“Planners have many weddings a year in which to hone their skills and knowledge about everything from etiquette, to design and timing and execution. They should know MUCH more than a bride does!

A few things…

1. Design: experience gives you the ability to visualize how everything is going to look together. Most florists and designers will provide a sample table. A qualified coordinator will be able to picture the rest of the room and how everything will integrate.

2. Budget: An experienced coordinator will be able to assist their clients with where they can cut items in the budget with minimal impact on their day, to which items make the best splurge for maximum impact.

3. General Questions: One of the things a planner can assist with is helping their couples to pick their battles. From the guest list, to seating, to other etiquette mine fields – a good planner can put things into perspective and point out that some decisions matter for five hours and some last for 50 years.” {Debbie Geller, Geller Events}

“Wedding planners are like match makers and we know that one size does not fit all when choosing your vendors. Just because your best friend used a certain florist or photographer, it may not mean that creative partner will be the right match for you.

We work to get to know the couple in a way that allows us to work with vendors whom we know will best exude the personality and style of that bride and groom. Designers and planners have your best interest in mind and truly want your wedding day to be a reflection of you and your partner.” {Amy Zaroff, Amy Zaroff Events & Design}

“A wedding planner knows all the little logistical details that a bride should be breezing in the clouds above, such as whether to order the wedding cake with buttercream icing versus the more stable fondant for an outdoor wedding, and does the cake need to be refrigerated on site at the reception, what time it should be served, etc. The wedding planner is the keeper of the whole plan as each detail comes together.” {Peter Callahan, Peter Callahan Catering}

“A wedding planner knows things a bride will never even think of! That is what you are hiring; our experience to THINK in ways you never will and that will ease the wedding planning process, add value and help you take your celebration to another level.” {Sarah Haywood, Sarah Haywood Wedding Design}

“What I find is that most clients don’t realize what information they haven’t been given, or what questions to ask their vendors and wedding professionals.  There are nearly always opportunities that can be taken advantage of and  issues that can be corrected or avoided when not quite as obvious questions are asked by a wedding planner.  The knowledge to ask these questions comes with the experience of planning so many weddings.

For instance, a bride most likely would not know to ask for an extra installation day and to have the tables set early in a tent because the lighting needs to be installed the night before to test.  A bride also wouldn’t know what can be included in their venue contract that is just a matter of asking for but isn’t necessarily just included.  An example, a separate getting ready room for hair & makeup rather than messing up your honeymoon suite!” {Kelly McWillliams, Weddings by Socialites}

“The wedding planner will be aware of all the gliches that can happen at a wedding. She has the experience of anticipating the disaster that might occur and will know how to deal with it. She also removes the stress and strain of this major event. Th wedding planner works closely with the vendors in terms of design, budget and rhythm of the event.” {Sylvia Weinstock, Sylvia Weinstock Cakes}

“This is a great question especially with all the DIY craze and internet making it look so easy for anyone to plan a wedding. But the reality is,  it is anything but easy and takes a professional to do it right and make it enjoyable for the bride.

There are numerous examples that come to mind, I will however simply give a metaphor to explain.  Planners are the conductors of a beautiful symphony. We rely on the dependable and talented musician’s (vendors) to follow our lead and create their magic. If the Conductor were to be a musician, who is then leading? Every orchestra needs a conductor for the music to sound perfect and every production needs 1 person who is in charge to make sure all plans come to fruition as planned. We are also that impartial professional, who oversees the plans executed with a stop watch and eagle’s eye. We know from experience how things should be from each of the services involved and make sure that expectations are met and in my case with my clients, exceeded!”  {Aimee N. Monihan-Greening, Tropical Occasions}

 “A wedding planner knows that you will wish you stuck like glue to your husband throughout the entire celebration.  You will experience a whirlwind of emotions on your wedding day.  From nervous jitters and butterflies puttering inside to unspeakable joy as you dance the night away.  The day gets consumed with visiting with family and catching up with old friends.  You will be pulled in many different directions as your loved ones vie for your attention and the opportunity to express their heartfelt congratulations.  It is almost inevitable that you and your husband will separate as you begin having your own intimate conversations with your ‘nears and dears’.  Avoid this practice like the plague.  Make each other a promise that you will not leave one another’s side all evening.  This will ensure that you and your husband develop comparable memories – side by side, hand in hand – of the greatest celebration of your life.  For that is the way it should be!” {Diann Valentine}

“One thing I know that a bride may not is that her wedding weekend will be fabulous beyond anything she could possibly imagine! I know the bride is going to be filled with emotion and that the end result of her very special day will be perfection. My years of experience have shown me that our team at The Breakers consistently exceeds every expectation our brides may have. I am so excited to see the bride and groom the next day at their brunch because I know the happy couple will tell me their wedding was so incredible — beyond everything they dreamed it would be!” {Kym Bichon, Associate Director of Catering, The Breakers}

“A wedding planner knows how to go about all of the logistics that this special kind of event entails, such as getting from A to B in an organized and professional way. A wedding planner is an expert on how to translate your vision and your ideas into reality, and you need this expertise to ensure that all services are taken care of and that the vendors know exactly what you’re aiming for.

Also, a planner knows how to treat all the different people that are part of a wedding. As you may not know, knowing how to talk to the Mother of the Bride, the Mother of the Groom and the flower girl in a language that makes sense to them is very important and requires sensitivity. Handling drama and making miracles without anyone noticing is also one of her specialties.

Your planner will know how to cue the kitchen and the speech at the same time so the event runs smoothly. She knows how to fix a broken bouquet or damaged floral arrangement: she even knows how to sew a wedding dress, or any dress for that matter (right before the photos)!

She has a skillful set of eyes that immediately identifies that particular cousin or guest who needs extra attention and makes sure he/she has a great time. Hence, she knows how to make everyone feel very special. Isn’t that what you long for the most? Take our word for it: you will be carefree and the event will be flawless. Guaranteed!” {Sarai Flores, Signature Event Consulting & Design}

“One of the most crucial elements to planning a successful wedding is timing.  An experienced wedding planner will help to choreograph the evening so that everything flows effortlessly from one formality to the next.  Most couples are embarking on wedding planning for the first time and need GUIDANCE to help the day unfold properly.  You’ve gone to great lengths to select your wedding team, now everyone needs to work together.

What seems simple and intuitive needs to be planned for behind the scenes. Important and unforgettable moments need to be carefully thought through and then allowed to unfold naturally so they can be captured on film.  I always make sure that the Bride & Groom are seated and that the Champagne has been poured before a toast is introduced. The photographer & videographer must be ready and waiting to capture the spontaneous emotions.  Timing is also critical for the chefs to ensure that hot food comes out hot and cold food stays cold; a great evening has lots of dancing, but guests must be seated before their entrees are served!  There are countless things to think about as the evening unfolds to create a flawless celebration.

With over 20 years of experience and hundreds of weddings, I guide my couples through the day so that they can relax, have the time of their lives, and enjoy their family & friends.” {Hope Weis, Hope Weis Consulting}

“Wedding planners these days are a valuable addition to the bride and groom during the journey to “I do.” I know brides these days are very DIY or think it will be a fun experience with cake tastings and smooth sailing but sadly its not the case and can cause riffs with the couple or the families. Wedding planners offer years of knowledge and always looking ahead to the next step planning for a what if and a lot of people do not want to think about bad weather or hiccups in seating charts etc.

Unlike wedding coordinators at your event space that say they will take care of everything, wedding planners are their for the BIG PICTURE from your getting ready to your send off. They also can be great mediators with vendors, family members, or even you and your groom when stress rises and can be a sounding board for you when dealing with all the other individuals involved in your wedding.” {Deborah Griffin, Illustrative Moments}

“A wedding planner keeps everyone- bride, family and friends- calm and relaxed!  When a bride, her mother, the girls in her wedding party, react to a problem or glitch in the wedding process they naturally stress and this stress is contagious!  When the bride is worried, everyone becomes worried.  But wedding planners are like shock absorbers for the bride, they diffuse all issues, no matter how big or how small, before the bride has a chance to worry.

Wedding planners also know how to put the whole puzzle of putting a wedding together.  For us, the wedding planner knows our staff and the personalities of our consultants.  They often call ahead to let us know they are bringing a bride in and they think her personality would work best with so-and-so consultant.  They let us know of any issues that could arise in the appointment or if we need to get any special dresses in for their bride.  This way, the most can be made of the time allotted in the appointment and a better experience for the bride.

A bride should be happy and relaxed NOT only on her wedding day, but the duration of the whole planning process! “{Mark Ingram, Mark Ingram Atelier} 

“A wedding planner’s knowledge is especially useful when it comes to design. The planner has the unique ability to take a bride’s vision and then hand-select the wedding partners that can be counted on 100% to bring her inspirations to life on the wedding day. The wedding planner also can save the bride a great deal of time and potential headache by taking her straight to the florist, photographer or invitation designer that best aligns with her style.” {Ceci Johnson, Ceci New York & Ceci Style}

“A wedding planner knows how to assemble a dream team of vendors to produce the greatest possible effect. She not only knows the vendors to trust … vendors that suit your style and budget … but can also envision the result of their collaboration much the way a conductor understands the sound his orchestra will produce. And she can leverage her relationship with these vendors to negotiate the best prices and perks!” {Susan Graham, Susan Graham Signature Events}

“An experienced wedding planner is worth their weight in gold and every bride – even those who are experienced at entertaining – should have one on their team.  My clients tend to be very experienced at entertaining, be it through their business or philanthropic ventures, yet when it comes time for a wedding in the family, they would not think of having the event without proper professional assistance.

In addition to helping couples find top vendors, venues, talent and the like, a professional event planner can help you evaluate the creative ideas and the numbers.  They live and breathe the wedding industry and can help you evaluate what is new and fresh, what will make your wedding personal and a reflection of you, and can also make sure the proposals make sense.

In addition to putting the right elements in place, a good planner also understands day-of essentials like timing and flow, and what makes a wedding stand out from the rest. In the end it is not just the beauty of the décor, the fine wine and cuisine, or the innovation of the invitations  that make a wedding memorable. What people remember is the experience you provided and how you made them feel.  A wedding pro can help you be certain that each guest’s needs were carefully attended to in seen and unseen ways – a lasting impression of love and warmth with memories to last a lifetime.” {Andrea Liss, Hannah Handmade}

“Wedding planners handle all of the very important details relating to the wedding, for example:  the logistics, timelines, venue rules, and assisting bride, groom, families, guests, so that everyone can fully relax and enjoy the wedding day.  A Wedding Planner also knows the difference between the real professional and the less experienced vendors in a geographical area.”  {Jose Graterol, Jose Graterol Designs}

“When a bride starts planning her special day, it can be very overwhelming at first with wondering the order to do certain things, and what colors will look best for the venue, etc.

The bride doesn’t always think about how it all needs to blend together. A wedding planner will. The bride may also not think about all of the little details that a wedding planner knows to arrange and confirm. Brides tend to think they know best and they can do it all but in reality when a wedding planner is involved the planning process runs much smoother as the professional planner knows exactly what colors will work for the season, what happens when, and logistics to pull it all together, etc.

The wedding planner is an essential key component in the planning process which allows the Bride to not be too stressed and overwhelmed.” {Kerry Harter, Catering Sales Manager, Acqualina Resort and Spa on the Beach}

“A wedding planner knows the ins and outs of the ceremony and reception venue(s) and the best way to coordinate and manage vendors leading up to the wedding and, most critically, the day of the wedding so that each design detail and logistical element plays out according to plan.

Should a change of parameters occur, an expert wedding planner is able to rationally and efficiently reassess and adjust so that the rest of the day is impeccable and neither the bride, her family, or any of their guests are none the wiser about any last minute changes. A bride may be a fantastic hostess and have incredible style, but the day of her wedding she should trust a wedding planner to oversee and execute her vision for her so that the bride may enjoy herself and focus on her husband-to-be and their guests.” {Emilie Dulles, Dulles Designs}

“Wedding planners have been faced with a multitude of scenarios and are excellent problem solvers. This is a huge benefit to brides as we are equipt to solve problems and suggest solutions based on past experiences that the client may never fathom. It pays to have a professional who is calm and experienced, should you need someone to come to the rescue in a pinch!” {Lindsay Pitt of Toast Events}