Hire a Friend as Your Wedding Planner

Importance of a Wedding Planner

Maria and Raphael's wedding was perfect.

Maria and Raphael’s wedding was perfect, despite the reception’s difficulties.

Imagine you have your entire wedding day planned only to have it crumble before your very eyes. You invested time, money, tears, and busy nights only to find that your photographer needs to find your family, the caterer wants to know when to serve appetizers, and estranged family members are wreaking havoc…all at the same time. Unfortunately, this is what I witnessed on the day of my best friend’s wedding. Maria had a beautiful location, beautiful dress, and great man on her side, but two years after the big day, she still cringes at the thought of her wedding reception. All of this could have been avoided if she had chosen to do one thing: found somebody she trusted to be the go-to person on the day of the wedding. This is why I jumped at the chance when my friend Anna mentioned the other day that she needed a wedding planner for her big day. Just like Maria, Anna is such an important friend and I just want to make her day perfect. Between the mistakes I witnessed at Maria’s wedding, and the plans I am currently making with Anna, I have eight pieces of advice for making use of your wedding planner.

Eight Things to Delegate to your “Wedding Planner”

  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money for a wedding planner. You just need a close friend. Seriously, if you give yourself enough time and really think about a lot of details (I mean a lot. Like down to the last trash can), you can plan your own wedding. But for the actual day, if you have a close friend who has seen the ends and outs of your vision, you will have a much more relaxed day.
  • Take time to really brainstorm about potentially what things people at the wedding will be asking about. Let me clarify. Your florist will have questions. Your caterer will have questions. So will your guests, DJ, photographer, driver, etc. If more than one of them needs something at a given time and you are the only one who knows what is going on, you will stress out. Even if only one of them needs to know something, on
A friend as a wedding planner keeps the wedding day calm.

Maria and Raphael finally got to enjoy their dinner.

your wedding day, even just a bit of disorganization can cause a headache. Obviously, the best way to avoid this is by having clear communication beforehand with each of your vendors. But no matter how much planning you do, there is really no way to avoid last minute questions.
The wedding planner keeps each event on schedule.

The cutting of the cake was beautiful.

  • The wedding planner should be prepared for the photographer. Most brides prefer that the photographer takes both candid shots throughout the day and staged group shots. For the former, the photographer may have some questions about the venue, even on the day of. For the latter, the photographer is going to need to make sure that each member of the wedding party is there. If you or a family member has to look for somebody, then you risk loved ones not being in the photos or the photo session being delayed, which delays everything else. It is especially important to have a friend help you with this task, because not only do they recognize most members of the party, but they can afford to go off and look for people since their photo won’t be taken.
  • The wedding planner can help the caterer with any questions. The caterer may realize that he forgot to ask when you would like the cake to come out. Or in my case at Maria’s wedding, he wanted to make sure that the bride and groom had some left overs and needed someone to take it to their getaway car. Luckily, I was able to jump in and work with the caterer to make sure that the cake came out at the right time and to make sure that the bride and groom ate. For Anna’s wedding, guests will be enjoying a s’mores bar. This requires no caterer, but it requires somebody keeping watch of the food bar. Anna’s sister and I are in charge of making sure that it is stocked. We provided dinner at my wedding, but we had a
A wedding planner can announce when the first dance takes place

Maria and Raphael had a beautiful first dance.

few friends make sure that everything was set right for the buffet. One person was in charge of everything kitchen related so everybody else could ask her anything they needed.

  • A good friend can be in charge of helping awkward situations be less awkward. Maria’s parents are divorced and she was worried that things might get weird between her mom and her dad and his new wife. Her step-mom would know very few guests, so I got to know her and introduced her to other people. This allowed the parents of the bride to socialize with others while helping Maria’s step-mom feel comfortable with other guests. If you know that there are potential problems with certain guests, ask a friend to help you keep whatever tabs you need. It could be as simple as introducing them to others to as complex as keeping them away. Depending on how potentially stressful this job is, make sure it is a close friend who would feel comfortable speaking up if they felt uncomfortable with the assignment.
  • A wedding planner will make sure that the bouquets are organized.

    Announcing the bouquet toss will help guests keep track of the events.

  •  Depending on how much your venue’s employees set up and take down events, you may need to delegate people to help with preparation on the day of the wedding. For example, one bride decided that she would have the venue do all the decorating, cooking, cleaning, dishes, etc. This obviously cost more than the bride who decided that it was worth saving a few hundred dollars and organized a few friends to help with everything. If you plan to do most of the setting up and cleaning yourself, be sure to plan as much as you can ahead of time and get a sufficient amount of people to help. This can get down to very specific details, like somebody bringing a towel to dry plates with. If you do not plan this well, most likely the festivities will start late and you will have run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.
  • A friend acting as a wedding planner can keep an eye on the gift table

    Assigning someone to keep an eye on the gift table will help you keep calm during the reception.

  • One of the best decisions I made for my wedding is having a few events not only planned, but also announced. Not everyone wants to see the bride and groom cut the cake, but if you do so without anyone announcing it, someone is bound to regret missing it. Making a time table of when you want things to happen and trusting your friend to let the DJ or band know that it is time to announce it is the best way to avoid this problem. Toasts, the bouquet toss, cutting of the cake, first dance, seeing the couple off; all of these things guests love and want to know about, so plan for it and announce it! Also, if you are having a more casual reception where guests just come and go as they please and if you plan to be dancing the night away, try to get these traditions done in the first hour or two of the reception. This allows guests who do not want to dance a chance to go without feeling like they missed things.
  • Especially in the summer, taking care of flowers can be tricky. With events often held outside, by the end of the day, flowers can be tough. I am on flower duty for Anna’s wedding. When she needs them, I will take them out of their vase and get them to her. When she is done, I will put them back. Bridal bouquets are easy to lose during so putting a friend in charge of them really helps. When it comes to flower decorations, provide your friend with some kind of misting device and a schedule with when you would like her to check on them.

A Final Thought

Hiring a friend as a wedding planner will be the easiest way to keep things at a low price while still having a low-stress day. This friend should be somebody you trust to not only help things get done, but also someone who will not resent your demands. That being said, be careful of

Your friends can help you get ready the morning of the wedding.

Your friends can help you get ready the morning of the wedding.

becoming a bridezilla.  Tell her thank you and make sure to spend some quality time with her when you get home from the honeymoon.