Industry Secrets Your Wedding Planner Isn’t Telling You

A bride and groom standing in the middle of an urban street.

Your wedding planner may seem like your best friend, but you can’t be sure that there aren’t plenty of industry secrets they’re hiding. Don’t take any offense, though, as it comes with the territory. As with any other job, there are lots of things going on behind the scenes that you may not know about—often for good reason as no one wants to spoil the fun.

However, sometimes being aware of a few details might make your planning process easier. So, let’s dive into some of the most interesting ones. Hopefully, these tidbits will shed some light on the inner circle of the bridal industry and help you achieve your ideal wedding vision.

It’s Not all About You

As a newlywed-to-be, it’s easy to fall into blissful ignorance. When getting married, it’s all about your special day and, sometimes, you might even feel like you’re the only one tying the knot.

Sorry to disappoint, but this is far from the truth. Thousands of people get married every day and your wedding planner (not to mention other vendors) is likely working with dozens of potential brides and grooms in preparation for their special day. Of course, when working with a professional planner, you will never get this impression. But do keep in mind that he or she can’t focus all their time on you—they’ve got other just-as-eager clients on their roster.

…But Maybe it’s About Your Money

Another factor that may give you a bad impression of your planner is how they treat you—if you’re not paying for the wedding. Don’t be surprised if your planner tends to ignore your needs and wants and prioritizes that of your parents or in-laws. Why? Well, simply because the person who’s paying their salary is the real customer.

Photos Are Forever

A videograper working with a bride and groom in a covered patio.

If there’s one element of your wedding spending you shouldn’t skimp on, it’s a good photographer. Many couples underestimate the value of a professional, thinking, “How hard is it to take a good photo?” This usually ends up in disaster. Being a wedding photographer is hard work. If you want truly amazing wedding photos that will last a lifetime, it’s best not to be cheap.

You Can’t Have it All

Planners often give the impression that they can achieve anything and everything, but that may be harder than they make it seem. For example, if you are set on a certain type of flower, recognize that it may be out of season. Sure, if you’re lucky your planner may be able to fly them over from overseas, but that’s gonna cost you a pretty penny. Other times, know that there is a limit to one’s capabilities.

Following up on that point, know that if you want something above and beyond, you should expect to splash the cash. Far too many planners get irritated with demanding couples that want everything for nearly nothing—especially if their demands are high. Thus, if you want to keep a friendly relationship with your planner, it’s important to be reasonable with what you want and can have.

People Will Judge You

Speaking of higher costs, another detail that might bump up your spending is dressing too well. Vendors tend to judge their customers on how “wealthy” they look. And this goes both ways. When meeting up with a potential hire, you don’t want to look too disheveled, but you might want to leave the designer bags and expensive heels at home. Oh, and don’t be a “bridezilla” either. Vendors are known to up the prices for customers who look like they’re going to be a handful.

Businesses Go Bust

A florist carrying a plant up the stairs at a wedding venue.

You probably don’t want to imagine the worst-case scenario, but it’s important to be aware of it. Know that any vendor can declare bankruptcy and close their doors for good—even the day before your wedding. (Which is why wedding insurance is so important). In such cases, you will likely lose the vendor’s service as well as any deposit that you’ve made unless the vendor has their own insurance policy for such a situation.

Awards Are Shiny, but Insignificant

When choosing a wedding vendor, don’t pay too much attention to awards such as “Florist of the Year” or “Bride’s Choice 2020.” Often, these awards are granted unfairly (such as only to those businesses that paid for advertising with the publication or event). Of course, they do carry some meaning, but it’s better to rely on your own personal assessment of the business’s talents.

Don’t Trust Your Wedding Planner

Don’t tell them this, but they may not have your best interest at heart. Some planners have monetary incentives or are trying to push their friends’ businesses as favors. Therefore, don’t just blindly go along with whatever your planner suggests—take some time to figure out if this is truly the best pick for you.

On a related note, examine the contract with your planner and inquire about choosing your own vendors outside of his or her recommendations. If they don’t allow it, that may be a red flag.

You Can Fool the Vendors

An aerial view of people setting up for a wedding ceremony.

Certain vendors like planners have restrictions on which caterers or photographers you can use. Believe it or not, you may be able to get around this by simply telling them your “friend(s)” are taking the photos or handling the DJ duties. But if you choose to go down that route, make sure you’re convincing.

Don’t Mention “Wedding”

A lot of vendors will mark up the price for a venue or service when they hear the word “wedding.” It’s sad, but true. So, when you’re shopping around for your wedding vendors, try to avoid mentioning that you’re getting married whenever possible.

Tips Are Not Included

Although some vendors have started to include service charges into their contracts, most still don’t. Therefore, like with any other service, you should expect to leave a tip. And that means taking that into account when setting your budget so there are no surprises later. Also worth noting is that tips vary depending on the vendor, but typically range from 10-20%.

There’s Plenty of Ways to Pinch Pennies

A multi-tierred wedding cake decorated with pink and orange roses.

A good planner who isn’t commission-focused will give you a few tips on how to save cash, but only if you ask. For example, often you can get a “three-tiered” cake for the price of a one-tiered cake, simply by requesting the bottom two layers be made Styrofoam. To actually feed the guests, order a sheet cake to supplement. A true wedding professional will know this and a hundred other little tips!

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