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A professional wedding planner is one of the most fundamental parts of having an amazing wedding day, but beyond day-of coordination, you may not even realize the full scope of wedding planner duties. Along with expert wedding planning advice, guidance, and organization, a wedding planner can handle a great many things—and we mean a lot— the little things you may need an extra hand to cover.

There were SO many things that have occurred on a wedding day that as a wedding planner, I’ve had to make right or find a solution to, and most of the time the couple and their families have NO idea. Thank goodness they had us, because I don’t know what would have happened otherwise!

Here are some REAL examples:

Generator

The Father of the Groom had a very large “and VERY loud” generator that was going to supply all the electricity for the 160x40ft tent for their outdoor wedding reception.  However to muffle the noise of the generator, they wrapped the generator with styrofoam. The generator made it through cocktails & dinner. Then the generator started on fire.  YES! FIRE! The lighting and the DJ’s systems went down. Fortunately, there was a small generator (the size of a tiny suitcase). I quickly snatched it and plugged everything in and in a matter of minutes everything continued as planned. 

Huge White Tent in the middle of a corn field for a couple's Wisconsin farm wedding
Magdalena Photography
Photos at Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI
Emily Schmidt Photography

Fireworks

I had all the details set for a couple to have fireworks at the end of their wedding event.  I had contacted all the involved parties WAY ahead of time so I knew exactly what to do and the timing of everything.  It came down to the week of the weddign and due to policy changes and new staffing.  It looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  So I continue to followed all the protocols and moved everything forward. We got to the wedding day and the Fire Chief (which we already had his approval) started to question everything.  At the end of the night, I didn’t confidently know if they were going to even happen until I saw them light up in the sky.  And to this day the couple still has no idea what it took to make it all happen. 

These incidents got me thinking about all of the things that a wedding planner/coordinator does that many couples, parents, and guests have no idea about. And so, I started to make a list of these things. The result is the following list of things that have ACTUALLY happened on a wedding day that I have had to remedy or deal with.  Do these things happen at every wedding? No! Thank goodness!. But I’m sharing them because they have happened, and *could* happen, and having a wedding planner on your side to deal with stressful things is an important ingredient for having a great wedding!

Please note:  These things are not being shared in a “complaining” nature, but an educational, “this could happen to you” nature. The things that a wedding planner or coordinator will do for their couple could easily be compared to an instinct. A gut instinct to do whatever it takes to make sure that your wishes are carried out and that you will have an amazing wedding day, regardless of whether or not it’s in their job description or list of services. A wedding planner/coordinator is excellent at problem solving, and they do these things happily and willingly!
Bridesmaids photo with the Bride in Eagle River, Wisconsin
Madison Ison Photography

Things You Didn’t Know A Wedding Planner Would Do

  • Concoct a story to get random family members from the bridal suite so the bride feels more comfortable and not overwhelmed by everyone in the room.
  • Grab things the couple/family forgets to buy and/or bring
  • Plunge toilets when they overflow at the church or venue
  • Level barrels and tables with mulch, napkins, rocks, etc
  • Fight (respectfully) any vendors for what the couple requested instead of saying it’s “good enough”.
  • Be the one to take the blame for your decisions that your family members or guests may not like.
  • Add fuel to a generator and start up said generator
  • Setup a whole entire reception in 1 hour.
  • Make a cake topper because the florist left before the cake designer arrived. And the cake designer refused to do it. 
  • Have a fork, knife, plate, and napkin ready for your cake cutting.
  • Have a damp napkin available during your cake cutting in case you guys decide to smash the cake in your face.
  • Physically hold a cake up so it can be cut for photos before the top cake layers slide off. 
  • Have water or drinks ready for you and your wedding party after the ceremony to have during pictures.
Wedding Party laughing together
Ali Lockery Photography
  • Make sure your photographer gets particular photos- namely of things that are important to you.
  • Steam your linens when they’re super wrinkled.
  • Figure out an alternative if you are short on napkins/flatware/dishes/glasses.
  • Re-create centerpieces due to the florist arriving with a few short.
  • Go buy more ice/beer/liquor/water/cups/etc when they run out.
  • Take care of drunk guests.
  • Running interference between divorced parents that hate each other.
  • Put your cards in a safe place.
  • Move your gifts to the designated person’s car/room.
  • Make sure sparklers get put out properly and make sure guests or you don’t light on fire.
  • Put out favors at the end of the evening- and make sure guests know to take them.
  • Place table numbers and/or place cards in the right locations.
  • Make sure the correct number of guests are at each table.
  • Make a “rain call” and handle a last minute tent for weather.
  • Move items so they won’t get rained on.
  • When there is a weird, loud, obtrusive noise that is interrupting the ceremony, go find the source of the noise (IE, a local duck trapping competition with barking dogs next door) and go over and request that it hold off for 30 minutes! 
  • Make sure you have your requested/needed items at your place setting.
  • Find the owners of lost items such as jewelry, shoes, cellphones, purses, and more (one groomsman being obsessed and a little drunk trying to find his personalized mug from.
Wedding Cake and Dessert Display for a Outdoor Wedding
Ali Lockery Photography
  • Keep your vendors on schedule so you can enjoy as much time dancing as possible.
  • Gather your bridal party for speeches and special events during the reception.
  • Tell your parents when it is time for toasts and cake cutting so they don’t miss it.
  • Sew buttons back onto groomsmen tuxes.
  • Hold your dress so you can use the restroom when all your friends are drunk and you need to pee.
  • Fix your whole wedding reception when a tornado-like storm blows through and destroys everything when it’s already set up.
  • Safety pin your bustle back together because it likely WILL fall.
  • Ask guests not to use iPads or iPhones in the middle of the ceremony aisle (because it will ruin your photos).
  • Making sure limo/shuttle drivers actually make it to their location instead of getting lost.
  • Setting up 200 chairs (or drying them) at the last moment so the couple can have their ceremony outside (when it had previously rained).
  • Uncorking all the champagne because the caterer is short staffed and it’s five minutes until the toast!
  • Move/fix lights so they will effectively do their job of lighting a location.
  • Clear fallen branches/moss/debris from your ceremony area when a storm had just rolled through
  • Sit for 1 hour assembling guest favors that just arrived the day before the wedding, which was not even part of the wedding day timeline.
  • Have back up plans on top of backup plans in place, and the ability to think on their feet to remedy a situation!
  • Tailor a groomsmen suit when it arrived in the wrong size.
  • Collaborate your photographer to get you back from portraits so the reception starts on time.
  • Put everything on hold so the bride can leave and redo her hair at home because she hated what the hair stylist did.  
  • Create an extra boutonniere(s) when the counts were inaccurate.
  • Pin on 42 boutonnieres and corsages on wedding party and guests of honor 1 hour before the ceremony.
  • Find a solution when you’re short a rental table linen (or any other rental items).
  • Steam a bridesmaids dress (while she was wearing it).
  • Hem a bridesmaids dress (while she was wearing it). 
  • Help bridesmaids/bride/MOB get dressed.
  • Find an officiant backup when your minister starts threatening to not marry the couple.
  • Put out fires (literally-Chinese Lantern blew into the woods and started a fire).
  • Keep things going when the power goes out.
  • Find and set extra seats during cocktail hour when people who didn’t RSVP show up.
  • Signal musicians when to start songs during the ceremony.
  • Keep copies of songs and readings on my phone just in case a DJ or Readers who’s confirmed they have everything they need and actually don’t.
Bride & Groom walking by the water on their wedding day
Abigail Traver Photography
  • Wash dirt out of a wedding dress because the bride and groom wanted their First Look in the middle of a field.
  • Help gather/wrangle family for family photos after the ceremony.
  • Go buy $100 in “black” extension cords when the lighting company shows up with “bright orange”.
  • Clean the flower girl’s face because someone thought it was a good idea to give her candy 30 seconds before the ceremony.
  • Bus glassware from cocktail tables when the staff isn’t keeping up.
  • Clean up the bridal suite after “getting ready” so you and your new husband didn’t have to walk in at the end of the night to a completely trashed room. 
  • Bring extras of everything – just in case you forget (aka Fully Loaded Emergency Kit).
  • Clean up your reception so you won’t lose your security deposit.
  • Bring you a pretty hanger for your wedding dress in case you didn’t get one.
  • Clean up broken glass on the dance floor when everyone is still dancing oblivious to it. 3 times in a row. 
  • Pick up dog poop.
  • Gather groomsmen gum in my hand before sending them down the aisle.
  • Come to the rescue with a special balm for chafing when the bride’s arms are irritated within thirty minutes of wearing her fully beaded gown.
  • Call 911 when the bride’s aunt faints just after the dance floor opens.  
  • Cut and serve the wedding cake when the couple forgets to add on the cake cutting fee with the caterer.
  • Fix a broken heel as the bridesmaid was about to walk down the aisle.

I can’t help but look at this list and think “Holy crap”! But wedding planners will do all of this not only because it’s our job, but because it’s what we love to do. Helping brides and grooms having wonderful wedding days is what we do, and so we will do whatever it takes to make sure this happens! Oftentimes, planners are seen as a luxury, but if you ask me, they should be the very first vendor that a couple books because we save you so much heartache and stress.