bride in a wedding dressIt's smart to hire a wedding planner. On a day when so much potentially can go wrong, it's a relief to have someone whose sole responsibility is to make sure everything runs smoothly. But while the vast majority of professional planners have brides' best interests at heart, there are a few things they'd rather keep hush-hush. From hiding things to spare your feelings to concealing shady business practices, read on to find out wedding planners' best-kept secrets. Photo credit: Thinkstock
1. I have to stop guests from ruining the day.
It's not that your friends and family want to rain on your parade. It's just that some make honest mistakes. "A best man once left the wedding rings on top of a car, and it drove away," says Alexandra Rembac-Goldberg of Sterling Engagements in Los Angeles, CA. "I had to borrow a ring from a local jeweler-the bride didn't realize until long after the ceremony." Other guests, however, don't know how to behave themselves at formal events. "I received complaints from servers about an elderly guest who was groping them," says planner Wayne Gurnick of Moments by Wayne in Los Angeles, CA. "I implored the guest to leave the party immediately. It wasn't until the end of the night that I told the couple what happened. They hadn't noticed anything."
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2. I'm not your personal assistant.
Your planner wants to take care of you, but if you're contacting her dozens of times a day, you're probably taking advantage of her. "We had a client who was such a time suck-calling weekends and after hours," says Jennifer Gilbert, owner of New York City event firm Save the Date and author of I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag. "We base our price on a certain amount of hours, and she had already used up 85% of her time in two months." It's also important to communicate exactly which tasks you expect the planner to handle. "One bride asked me to schedule her plastic surgery appointments," says Heather Minicucci of Simply Inviting Events in Boston, MA. "Although it's common for me to schedule wedding-day beauty appointments, that was out of the realm of tasks I handle."
3. Your vendor messed up.
One of planners' main responsibilities is keeping vendors on schedule-a task that's typically easier said than done. "I once had to call in my team to set up a reception two hours before it began because the caterers forgot when they were supposed to arrive," says Candice Coppola of Jubilee Events in Cheshire, CT. "Since I was able to solve the problem, I didn't sour the couple's day by telling them that the caterer made a huge mistake." At one wedding Gilbert planned, the cake never showed. "I had to make one on the premises! The bride still has no idea that her wedding cake wasn't the one she ordered."
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4. I accept kickbacks.
Some planners offer clients a discounted fee and make up the difference by charging couples' vendors a commission for getting them hired-unbeknownst to the bride and groom. "While it may look as though you're getting a deal, you're ultimately being shortchanged working with someone who's both deceptive and willing to cut corners to benefit themselves," celebrity wedding planner Preston Bailey recently wrote on his blog. Before signing a contract, find out exactly how a planner gets paid to avoid surprises. "You want your vendors to be the best fit for your event-not people a planner recommends because she'll make more money for herself," says Minicucci.
5. I can tell if your marriage will last.
Wedding planning can put relationships to the test, and planners say they can often see how a marriage will turn out by observing the way a couple handles the stress. "There are certain clients I'd love to offer a discount on their second wedding-but of course I don't say a word," says Gilbert. "We had a wedding last summer that was on, then off, then on, then off again. They decided to get married-and there was a hurricane on their wedding day. All I could think was, 'It's a sign!'"
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6. Your wedding-day vision is not original.
While a planner's job is to help the couple's distinctive personalities shine through at their event, she probably won't let on that she's seen your favorite "unique" ideas a million times. "Brides say they want their wedding to be different-and in the same breath also say they want a 'shabby chic' or 'vintage' wedding with Mason jars, wildflowers and old barn doors as props," says Heather Dwight of Calluna Events in Boulder, CO. "That style is so overdone. It's beautiful and fitting for many venues, but it's not unique. If you want something different, don't mimic every idea you've seen in wedding magazines or on blogs."
7. I may not be the one who shows up on your wedding day.
Big firms employ multiple planners, and while the majority of them will be upfront about who will be there running your event, it's possible that you could be surprised. "If you fall in love with a certain planner, make sure he or she will be available on your wedding day and that an assistant won't show up instead, unless you agree to that in the contract," says Jenne Hohn of Jenne Hohn Events in Marietta, GA. "The planning industry is competitive, and a planner may not want to turn business away, so she'll find someone to help if she's not free. But brides have the right to know who will be with them when they get married."
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8. I know better than you do.
Planners sometimes have to play detective to figure out what brides want. "I laugh when brides tell me they don't want traditional," says Gilbert. "I'll take them to a funky loft space, and then they'll say, 'I didn't mean that!' What a bride usually means by 'not traditional' is 'not a hotel ballroom.'" Or a planner might ignore your request completely. "A recent client asked us to order 17 taxis," says Kate Miller of Kate Miller Events in Sacramento, CA. "We knew they wouldn't need that many, so we ordered six-and they used one. In the case they needed all six, we could have easily called more."
9. I hate when you try to save money by hiring friends and relatives as vendors.
It's tempting to take up your aunt on her offer to make the cake, but you may find out too late that's she's not as great at baking as she claims to be-or that she has her own ideas about what she wants to create. "Friendors are the worst," says Miller. "By the time a couple realizes they should have hired a professional, there's no replacing that person, because I'll never find someone as cheap. Even the most responsible friends won't care about your wedding as much as you do. I'm okay with a friend as the officiant, but I'd never recommend using one as the DJ or florist."
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10. I still cry at weddings.
Though you might think working hundreds of weddings would desensitize planners, emotions still get the best of most of them. "I'm known for crying at pretty much every ceremony," says Miller. "I try to keep it under wraps to look more professional, but I'm a total sap. It also happens during the father-daughter dance and the toasts-if someone wells up during a speech, I'm done."
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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