What Does A Wedding Planner Do?

Every couple has envisioned their dream wedding day, but actually bringing that vision to reality and creating the ideal wedding ceremonies, receptions and after parties takes a lot of work. 

Planning your wedding day will present a multitude of hurdles. These range from picking a wedding venue, hiring wedding photographers, ceremony musicians, wedding caterers, organising wedding invites, seating plans, picking a wedding theme and registering for gifts, to, getting your wedding bands sized, writing your vows, organising your makeup artists, hair stylists and ordering the wedding dress. 

And these are just a few elements of creating the elegant wedding day you had always dreamed of! Check out our Ultimate Wedding Checklist if you’re looking for ideas and a place to start your planning, and the Wedding Budget Calculator if you’re trying to structure the framework for your wedding budget. 

With these aspects in mind, it’s no wonder that good wedding planners are often so sought-after. They have experience planning weddings that put smiles on the faces of the bride and groom, and they live for the last minute issues of organising a wedding ceremony or reception.

bride standing on balcony with wedding planner on wedding day at wedding venue

Types of Wedding Planners

Full Service Wedding Planner

Full service wedding planners, as the name suggests, provide an all inclusive approach to planning your wedding day. They start the planning process alongside the bride and groom, around 9-12months before your actual wedding day and help bring the vision for wedding ceremonies, receptions and after parties to life. 

They are the most expensive type of wedding planner, as they provide the largest scope in terms of services. Full service wedding planners will help soon-to-be-newlyweds pick and hire a wedding venue, provide input surrounding what works with regard to the wedding theme you have in mind, and will haggle for prices for wedding caterers and various wedding suppliers of items like wedding decor, lights and floral arrangements for example.

Their hands on approach means they work to provide you with “perfect” wedding day, with all the bells and whistles you had envisioned. Their level of dedication to your wedding means you’ll also have someone around to bounce ideas off of, and this is why your wedding planner also needs to be someone who you feel comfortable communicating with, and someone you firmly believe will tie the essence of your nuptials into your wedding day.

In terms of payment, full service wedding planners may take a percentage of the wedding budget, especially if it’s a very large wedding, or will ask you to pay a retainer to reserve their services on your wedding day and for the lengthy preparation leading up to the main event.

wedding planner talking to couple about choices for the wedding day and wedding venue

Partial Service Wedding Planner

Partial service wedding planners take on a portion of their client’s wedding preparations, in order to assist with aspects of the wedding that require their expertise. Partial planning services are often bundled, as to suit the needs of the client, and can include assistance with creating a wedding budget, wedding planning timeline, vendor recommendations, coordinating meetings (with wedding caterers, for example), finding and hiring wedding venues and florists. 

While these are some examples, a partial planning service generally assists couples that need help in any, way, shape and form with regard to planning their wedding, so long as it isn’t from start to finish, otherwise the couple will need to hire the wedding planner on a full service basis. 

wedding planner planning wedding using checklist

Wedding Coordinator

The functions of a wedding coordinator are more limited than a full service and partial service wedding planners and their focus is comprised of a few main components. Their purpose is to communicate with vendors to hire any kind of equipment you need to cater for your wedding day – whether it’s decorative or wedding theme related items, or equipment required for seating guests or catering meals on your wedding menu. 

Similarly, the wedding coordinator, once he/she has organised the elements you require for hire from wedding vendors, will need to make sure that your wedding suppliers actually turn up on the day. They are the go between for the happy couple, and usually your wedding coordinator will handle any mishaps by either consulting the couple or using their years of experience to make judgement calls and find solutions for pressing issues regarding wedding suppliers and delivery.

wedding coordinator setting up wedding table at a wedding venue

Wedding Designer

Your wedding designer, or event designer, adds a select set of skills into certain aspects of planning your wedding. Unlike a full service wedding planner that can put in anywhere from 80 to 250 hours into a wedding, a wedding designer may spend around 40 hours on the style of your wedding. 

A wedding designer will focus on creating the wedding’s design concept, and work within your wedding’s theme. They will also provide a colour palette, manage the hiring of wedding decor and vendors that bring the style of your venue to life, hiring flowers and lighting for example.

They are also responsible for creating floor plans and will visit your wedding venue to create a layout for your wedding ceremony or reception. They will style all decorative elements within your wedding venue and even source statement furniture and special equipment that’s needed for the seamless running of your wedding day. 

wedding venue design mount nelson

Vendor Scouting & Wedding Supplier Referral

This kind of wedding planner is well-suited to helping the bride and groom hire the right wedding suppliers to make their wedding day a success. Wedding planning companies that offer vendor scouting and referral are valuable to a soon-to-be-newlywed couple that have either already planned their wedding or are even going for something more intimate. 

It’s common for couples searching for wedding suppliers for wedding day equipment to mention their hiring items for their wedding day and see the price of their quote increase by a hefty margin. Similarly, around wedding season it’s not a straightforward task to find a vendor that has everything you’ll need to set your wedding day up for success.

So, having access to a planning services vendors is a must! You need reliable wedding suppliers with a track record of delivering the correct items on time, with the right price tag to suit the happy couple’s wedding budget. Otherwise, you’ll be left longing for a wedding supplier that can fulfill your ever-increasing list of items, from catering equipment to wedding decor, lighting and even linen.

wedding supplier with clipboard and checklist

Month-of Wedding Planner

A month-of wedding planner, as the name suggests, is the kind of wedding planner that comes into the fray around a month before your wedding day. He or she is responsible for making sure all the finishing touches comes together for the special day.

From a month to go, your wedding planner will communicate with the wedding suppliers you’ve organised and confirm your orders and the correct delivery for items and services on your wedding day.

A month-of wedding planner will also confer with the couple to provide any last minute suggestions or input with regard to missing services and items that are causing issues. The wedding planner will also coordinate your wedding ceremony and reception on the day, ensuring that your musicians are cued for the right songs, your floor plan matches your wedding venue to a tee, and will also communicate with any ceremony speakers to confirm their arrival for your wedding day and handle any other logistical headaches.

bride and groom enjoying a themed wedding with a travelling or rustic theme

Day-of Wedding Planner

A day-of wedding planner is one of the least intensive planning solutions that event planning companies offer. The focus of a day-of wedding planner revolves around making sure that your that the proceedings on your wedding day run smoothly, put simply.

In lengthier terms, this means that the day-of wedding planner will be responsible for making sure vendors arrive on the day, the timeline of your wedding from the ceremony, reception to the after-party goes according to plan, and the day-of wedding planner will also handle the requests of any guests on your wedding day, so that you don’t have to be stressed out about smaller issues – like finding out where a guests might be seated on the night.

You’ve spent months planning your wedding to a tee, the day-of wedding planner is there to make sure all your hard-work becomes tangible and the course of your proceedings runs calmly and successfully.

bride and groom getting married at the altar in their wedding venue

Weekend Planner

A weekend planner is most useful for planning a wedding celebration that will last the course of a few days and involves the wedding party travelling for a weekend away at a location where the bride and groom will also tie the knot.

It’s important to have a weekend planner available, when you’re planning on organising wedding venues and accommodation for you, your partner, and your guests including meals and transport arrangements, and extra events.

A weekend wedding planner is an ideal choice to create a seamless itinerary, and make sure wedding venues, hotels and the style of your wedding comes to life on the day. The weekend planner is a way to make sure your guests have everything they need and you’re able to enjoy a weekend away with valued family and friends and enjoy tying the knot without the stress of planning the weekend away yourself, and organising everything from wedding menus, wedding venues & accommodation.

You could have your weekend wedding planner tailor-make excursions that will add to the fun of your weekend, or these events could be activities that the couple are passionate about.

wedding planner sitting with her coffee and her diary planning a wedding weekend

Destination Wedding Planner

A destination wedding planner is best suited for planning extravagant weddings that will take place a specific place, such as on an tropical island as part of a getaway, with your closest family and friends.

Some couples may have always dreamed of flying across the world to get married next to blue water and sandy shores while the tropical ocean wind whistles through your hair – and hiring a destination planner would be the right way to make sure your vision is brought to life.

Destination wedding planners take care of everything from designing the itinerary for your trip, to booking wedding venues, officiants, providing assistance with travel documents, transport and will even organise vendors to provide certain items and services for wherever you plan to have your wedding during the trip.

A destination planner comes equipped with the full service scope of a wedding planner and the experience of planning travelling celebrations that culminate in happy couples tying the knot in their dream setting, well away from home.

How should I pick my Wedding Planner?

When you’re picking a wedding planner, it’s important to go for someone that has vast experience in creating weddings. Usually, wedding planners will have portfolios for you to peruse and understand the scope of their weddings and the kind of style of weddings they’ve planned in the past.

It’s important to hire a wedding planner that has created weddings that have some of the essence of the wedding theme and approach you’re going for. This will give you some inkling that this wedding planner is able to achieve the vision my partner and I set out for our dream wedding day.

ultimate list of wedding planners cape town 2020

It’s also imperative to hire a wedding planner that you can connect with on a personal level, especially if you’re hiring them on a full-service basis. Wedding planners can be around for months, and communication is key. Having an individual that’s able to understand you as a couple and completely understands the look and feel you’re looking for your wedding to showcase, will make the planning process far easier. This will lead to less miscommunications and stress and more focus on fine tuning aspects of your wedding to make sure they emphasise the best elements of your wedding day and theme, whether it’s during the wedding ceremony or reception.

But, one of the most likely factors that will determine the type of wedding planner you can hire, or if you can afford to have one at all, is price and your wedding budget.

If a full-service wedding planner is out of your league financially, then consider one of the partial service options, or even just confer with an events planning company regarding their help with reputable wedding suppliers that will deliver their items or services on the day, guaranteed.

Overall a wedding planner is there to take the stress away from the bride and groom and make sure they get the wedding they’ve dreamed of for years. If a wedding planner isn’t within your budget, then we might suggest taking a look at our Ultimate Wedding Checklist, to help you plan all the large and smaller scale elements that make a wedding inviting, fun and the happiest of celebrations!

In conclusion, what can I expect from my Wedding Planner?

If you do hire a wedding planner, make sure to hire a planner that suits the approach to your wedding the best. Make sure you don’t confer with wedding planners at length on an hourly rate – instead decide on the kind of wedding planner you and your partner will need to plan all the aspects of your wedding day and pick a planner to suit your needs. To find out more about how much a wedding planner may set you back, have a look at our article, What’s the Cost of a Wedding Planner in South Africa.

You can expect your wedding planner to be organised, on time and come with a healthy supply of reputable vendors that can supply items and equipment to set up your wedding ceremony, reception or afterparty. Your wedding planner will also likely be someone with years of experience in the field, which is a massive plus! You need to use this experience and gain advice from your wedding planner on what works and what doesn’t – and what you can execute together.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed start online and look through portfolios and weddings that match a similar style to the wedding day you’re currently envisioning, or ask friends & family on who planned their wedding and how it went. It would be great to start out knowing your wedding planner has a strong reputation for their taste and on-the-ball organisational skills, before you start planning your dream wedding.

Another way to get started is to check out our list of wedding planners and decide on a the kind of planner you need to get the ball rolling and plan the perfect wedding day, that you and your partner will remember for a lifetime. 

We’ve also rounded up the Best Wedding Venues in Cape Town for 2020, for you to have a look over and a spot that fits the vision you’ve always had for your wedding day. 

small wedding in chapel wedding venue

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