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Wedding Planners Get a Bad Rap

Updated on July 31, 2018
VVanNess profile image

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, blogger at Healthy at Home, and educator. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

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It is the job of a wedding planner to be familiar with all contracts, keep track of all of wedding vendors and make sure everyone is on the same page throughout the planning process. They also create all of the schedules, make sure that everyone shows up on time, and most of all, make sure the wedding day goes off without a hitch.

As easy as this may sound, no wedding is ever without its problems. I’ve had wedding cakes fall over, florists not show up, groomsmen forget their ties at home, parents not show up, as well as a variety of other interesting situations. However, regardless of what happens, it is still up to the wedding planner to handle any issues on the spot, make a professional decision to fix it, and if at all possible, not let the bride or any of her guests find out that anything was wrong.

The catch is . . . even if the wedding planner is perfect, does her absolute best and is as prepared and organized as physically possible, things will still happen and they will all end up on her shoulders. These are officially the top five wedding issues countdown! This may surprise you!

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#5 The Wedding Vendors

Being that wedding vendors handle weddings and other events all the time as a full-time career, very few problems arise from anything they may have done. When it does happen though, it’s usually pretty bad. Every now and then one of the linens will be dirty, a glass may be broken, or a microphone may be missing. These are easy to fix and not a big deal at all.

The scary problems come when the wedding cake topples, the music system glitches in the middle of the wedding and plays the same Paul McCartney song over and over again, one of the vendors simply doesn’t show up, or my famous story of the videographer that showed up four hours late. He tried to play the couple’s prepared slideshow on a free trial program, that stopped and asked him for payment in order to use the full program in the middle of the wedding, on the big screen. Thank goodness this doesn’t happen very often!

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#4 The Wedding Guests

Most of the time your wedding guests love the bridal couple, are honored to have been invited to their wedding, and are gracious to everyone in attendance. However, sometimes even they have a tendency to get out of control. Some of the smaller problems are tables dismissing themselves to the buffet and then complaining about having to stand in line and wait, guests getting in the way of the professional photographers, trying to be photographers themselves, and even ignoring instructions to pick up their cake from the cake table and coming back into the kitchen to get it while it’s being cut. Yes, it does happen.

The problems really begin however, when guests force their way into the reception area while it’s still being set up, and get in the way of vendors trying to do their jobs. I've had guests make a nuisance of themselves, screaming and yelling, demanding dinner an hour early, just as the ceremony is ending and the cocktail hour has begun. Some guests have cussed out the caterer and every other vendor that passes because they want hard alcohol during dinner even though they’ve been told that the bar opens right after dinner. I've even had the odd guest storm out of the reception cussing the family out because they don’t like where they are sitting and think they deserve a more honored place at the wedding. I promise, I’ve seen some crazy weddings.

These stories are just the tip of the iceberg.

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#3 The Bridal Party

It’s hard to think that weddings can have even bigger problems, but it’s possible. Being part of the wedding party, there are sometimes bridesmaidzillas that come out of the strangest situations.

Now some of the more minor issues have simply been bridesmaids that request to leave before the wedding is over or demand a level of service from vendors that is manageable but unreasonable. However, I have seen some real doozies that have cussed out the bride, gotten smashed at the wedding and made a scene taking off clothes or simply being a nuisance, gotten into fist fights with other bridesmaids/wedding guests/family members on the dance floor during the wedding, etc. You may laugh and say that’s impossible. If only I could videotape some of the things I’ve seen so you would believe me!

And it gets worse. . .

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#2 The Family

The families are usually one of the biggest complications at a wedding and this is an issue seen every single time. Not that most families are problems, but only that emotions run high during weddings and everyone has their own ideas about what would make the wedding perfect for the bride and groom. You know you've been to one of these weddings.

To keep to the same trend in previous stories, the least of the problems I’ve seen include one or both mothers, but it's definitely not limited to moms. I've had mothers crying because they had wanted their daughters to get married at their homes or to have traditional weddings, fathers not understanding why the bride and groom would make some of the decisions they made regarding having an outdoor wedding or not inviting specific people to the wedding, and siblings upset because their mother or father is not happy.

These things are normal and are usually very easily handled at any occasion. The real problems begin when one member of the family decides that the wedding will run their way regardless of the bride and groom’s desires. These individuals cause problems at the event, or during the planning process, and don’t care about the consequences, like when someone in the family brings physical or verbal abuse into the mix. I have been cornered at a wedding with a bridesmaid cursing me out and trying to punch me, all because alcohol wasn’t being served during dinner.

I have seen a bride being cussed out by her mother in the middle of the dance floor because certain guests were not seated where she thought they should, and I have seen a number of drunken violent family members rip a wedding to shreds out of their own selfishness. These problems are slightly more difficult to conceal and handle without the overall event being affected.

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#1 The Bride

This wouldn't have been a decent countdown without mentioning the bride. Understand that I have had many an amazing, sweet, kind bride that just wants her wedding to be beautiful and run smoothly, and can easily handle many of these issues on her own. But that is not always the case.

Unfortunately, the bride has the biggest affect on whether her wedding goes successfully or not. Being the center of attention, and the one whose words and desires all of her vendors and family members are hanging on, her actions have the biggest impact on the outcome of the day. Thankfully, the majority of the brides and grooms I work for are fantastic and so excited to get married that they are the most wonderful, most laid back and easiest people to work with throughout the entire event. I wish they were all that way.

The well-known documented bridezilla we have all seen on TV that yells, screams, throws punches, demands attention, time and her way is truly a rarity. This is not the normal behavior of brides by any means, nor something I see very often. In all of my time planning, I have seen one bridezilla, and a borderline second. I think the biggest difficulty though, that I have seen when it comes to brides, is the sheer desire for everything to be absolutely perfect, down to the last detail.

I wish that I could impart to brides that no wedding is truly perfect. That, on the day of their weddings, the only thing they will really be focused on (and should be!) is the gorgeous man standing at the head of the aisle waiting to spend the rest of his life with them.


An even bigger problem though, is the bride that is still making changes all the way up to the last day, leaving everyone unsure of what is actually happening. Without allowing vendors sufficient time to prepare for the big day, brides are only hurting themselves. They then the disorganization they’ve forced on everyone, but still blame it on the planner or vendors. I have had brides that still haven’t given me their song lists by the day of the wedding and then get upset that we weren’t prepared.

I have had tables change shape, height, size and number on the day of the wedding, and not have the right linens for them because I wasn’t aware she had changed them. I think the biggest problem I have experienced so far was the bride that still had not completed her guest list the day before the wedding. Preparations were for 150 people with food, linens and dishes, but she set places in her seating chart for over 200. Everything ran out that day.

I was scrambling to find linens, dishes and food for her guests, barely had the manpower to keep up with an additional 50 guests, and had to enlist help from other vendors, family and even wedding guests. Her vendors almost didn’t get anything to eat that night and everything was a mess. Had all of her vendors been able to finalize everything a month before and adequately prepare for the event, none of that would have happened. Imagine the brides that have done all of the above all at the same time.

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Problems always arise in a variety of shapes and forms no matter how well you plan. Wedding planners do their best with the knowledge and experience gained along the way to prepare for any and every problem that may come up. Most every wedding planner will have a solution for just about anything that comes her way.

It is important to remember though, that planners are not magicians or fairy god-mothers by any definition. They are only human and can only work with what they have been given. In the case of any and all of the problems described above, they have been trained to handle them with the utmost of professionalism, but some problems simply cannot be solved, and others cannot be concealed from the wedding couple, family and guests as well as desired.

Please know that your wedding planner is doing her best. If you are seeing any issues, consider what she is working with instead of automatically assuming that she must have done something wrong. If you are seeing issues, you can only imagine the ones you are not seeing. Wedding planners love their jobs, which is why they work so hard to grow and to learn and become even better planners for future brides!

Wedding planners get a bad rap. Consider the warrior fighting for you behind the clipboard! Hopefully some of this great information will change your views on some of what is possibly happening behind the scenes with your wedding.

© 2018 Victoria Van Ness

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