Everyone wants to be the most helpful wedding planner for their clients but there are many tasks you shouldn't be considering and here is why.
Many times I have been asked to do extra things outside of my contracts and just kind of went along with it at first, but the busier and wiser I became, I started to question what I was doing when often I was running around like a headless chicken taking dresses to be steamed and up all night checking table seating plans against catering requests.
As I grew and my business grew, I tightened my contracts right down, they had previously included far too many services which were virtually impossible to complete unless I had a team the size of a football stadium behind me, which let's face it most wedding planners don't.
So here is a list of the things a wedding planner shouldn't do!
1. You are not a Cleaner, Super Important!
You are there to plan their wedding, you are not there to be cleaning the bathrooms every hour as requested by the clients or indeed cleaning up anything. If the clients request you start cleaning you can offer to bring cleaners in at a cost for their wedding day, whether it is to check the bathrooms every 30 minutes or to clean up their bar, it is not your job.
2. You are not a Catering Team Member.
At no point must you be roped into the catering. I had clients years ago whose wedding to be honest was a mess, they had already booked the venue and catering and me to do the decor, organise their church service and oversee their day. It quickly became apparent the caterers were private chefs and had not bought enough staff to manage the service of the event. There were not enough staff, I was constantly being asked to take out dishes and drinks to the guests which I refused to do, I was there as a wedding planner and not a waitress. Besides which I am not covered with the food hygiene handling so this for me is a big no.
3. Handling Food.
The same applies to the cake or anything else they decide you need to handle, as a wedding planner you do not handle food at any times, this is the caterer's job, not yours. Caterers are covered by a food hygiene contract, weddings planners aren't.
If you have a cake being bought in to a wedding and is expected to be served at the wedding let the catering team know beforehand. They do need to bring extra plates, etc to serve this. Don't be in the kitchens behind the scenes trying to cut the cake ready for serving, you are not covered to do this.
4. Managing Clients Personal Belongings or Cash.
Do make sure you have liability insurance and get your clients to sign a disclaimer or have this on your wedding planner contract that you are not at anytime to be held responsible for their personal belongings or any cash payments they are handing over to you. I don't handle them, I ask one of the wedding party to be put in charge whom they trust. This maybe collecting all the cards and gifts and taking them to the couple or if the clients are paying suppliers in cash, they are held by one of the wedding party and I go and ask for the payments when the supplier arrives. If they wish to hand me all the payments then I get them to sign a disclaimer that if the cash goes missing I am not responsible.
5. Errand running and Last Minute Requests
Clients will often assume as you are their wedding planner you are also their runaround before their wedding. You aren't, you are contracted to be their wedding planner on the day of their wedding unless you have added in any extra services.
Don't suddenly find yourself being bombarded with requests the week of their wedding. This is the last minute things such as can you take my dress to be steamed, can you pick up extra groceries, can you quickly organise a takeout lunch, can you pick us up some champagne for the getting ready. Last week I was asked if I would go out and buy crisps, the answer was no!
You are there for the day, not for the entire week leading up to the wedding and if they do wish to have an errand service ask them beforehand, if they think they will need this, pre book it and get someone in to do this for them and charge an hourly rate. You would be surprised when they have got to pay per hour for a runaround how quickly they can find a friend to do this for them. It is also super stressful if you are also hosting another wedding when they arrive and are already flat out, just don't do it or pre-empty it and charge for these additional services.
6. Moving furniture
I don't know about you but the thought of having to move 150 chairs from the ceremony area to the dinner area does not appeal to me in the slightest, especially when often with destination weddings we are working in high temperatures.
If clients expect furniture or floral installations to be moved during their wedding day get heavies in, charge the clients for this service, it is an extra service. Often the caterers are happy to do this but again I do think with all these extra requests it needs to be paid for, the caterers are paying their teams by the hour and this is extra work. I have one in a few weeks that wants us to come back hours later to move things around, this is fine but it is chargeable, it is time and time is money, someone has got to go back to that wedding in the afternoon and spend maybe an hour moving props to different places.
7. Managing RSVP's
I used to include this in my wedding planning service but now I don't, it is an extra service I will subcontract out if the client requests it. It is a lot of work and quite a high cost in chasing out guests, whether it be via email, etc and getting their menu choices, etc confirmed. This can be added at an extra cost and I would recommend you charge quite a high fee for this.
8. Organising Guest Concierge Services
As we work in the destination wedding industry we are always asked about assisting with guest accommodation, airport transfers, etc. Again this can be an added service chargeable by the hour as it is a fairly limitless task and you will need extra admin to cope with this who you have to pay. Do not include this in your wedding planning contracts unless it is an extra payable service.
9. Creating Decor and Design Inspiration Boards
Often design led clients will be quite demanding when it comes to styling their wedding and can push the boundaries when it comes to requests for their wedding design. If you are a design led wedding planner then be quite clear about how many inspiration boards you are prepared to create for your client. Maybe include two and extra inspiration boards are chargeable. If you are not a design led wedding planner then leave this out of your contract and when the client asks about this service direct the clients to the wedding stylist you will be using for their wedding to take this task on.
10. You are not a Sound Engineer
Often clients are trying to save money here and there and will decide to bring their ipods, laptops, etc for music, they will ask you to plug things in and play things at certain times, errrrrhhhhh no! Do you really want this responsibility, if they are DIY enthusiasts and are requested you are virtually doing the DJ part of their wedding then politely decline and ask them to put a teccie friend in charge.
When you are hired as a wedding planner always remember you are not the catering team, you are not the furniture removal people, you are not a cleaner, you are not their personal travel agent, you are not a sound engineer and you are not a DJ.
You are there in the capacity of their wedding planner, the main role is to manage the wedding day, make sure everything runs smoothly, everything happens on time and everyone has the most amazing day.
Images from our own weddings that were not demanding!!