Why a wedding Planner?


It’s hilarious to watch the accidents and terrible mishaps at other people’s weddings on America’s Funniest Home Videos, but not something most couples want to go through in real life.

So how do you avoid having the worst wedding moment clip aired on national television? Well, there are some things you can plan well to avoid disaster and other things you just have to navigate.

“Oh, there’s always the unexpected on the day,” says Melissa Tripp, who has helped countless brides and grooms in the last decade through her business Coastal Weddings & Events. She laughs when asked to remember the strangest thing that has ever happened and ponders.

“Well, at a beach wedding last year there was an injured woman sitting with a dislocated shoulder right exactly where the vows were supposed to be,” says Tripp. “You can’t plan for something like that.”

Happily the paramedics were able to coax the woman to leave her spot on the beach and the wedding ceremony went as planned.

Things you can plan for

Tripp says one way to minimize mishaps is to ensure that everything is booked and confirmed – with all the details as you expect them. It’s not enough to reserve something and trust it will happen. Someone needs to call and confirm in the weeks just before the wedding day:

  • Catering – numbers, menu, details
  • Venues – church and ceremony
  • Flowers – for the ceremony and for the bridal party
  • Rentals – formal wear for the men, tents or tables or other items for the reception
  • Music – for the nuptials and the reception
  • Honeymoon details

Never shy away from double-checking because you don’t want to be the bridal couple that has to order in KFC because the caterers didn’t show or who had to run out for a grocery store cake because the cake decorator didn’t show.

Things you can try to prevent

Sometimes you know where the trouble spots will be. Perhaps you have family or friends who disagree and need to ensure the seating arrangement keeps those people apart. Maybe you love having children included in a family celebration, but you understand that little people grow easily tired of lengthy speeches and sitting still. It’s easy to hire a few teens to supervise a children’s play room to keep the younger ones happy while the grown-ups relax. That uncle who always overindulges? Ensure you get his keys and get a drive to the hotel arranged. As they say, plan for the worst and hope for the best.

How a wedding planner can help

“What we do on your wedding day is the hardest question we get asked,” laughs Tripp. “It’s easier to explain etiquette, timing, ideas, and how to add a personal or special touch because there is really no end to what we do on a wedding day.”

Here are just some of the many, many things she listed when pressed to give details about the sorts of things she and her staff have done to help prevent wedding day mishaps:

  • Fix a broken bustle or a rip in a gown
  • Comfort a crying friend or fix the make-up of a tearful mother-of-the-bride
  • Play with a rambunctious two-year-old nephew  who just wants to play outside while his father gives a very touching speech to the bridal couple
  • Make sure no one forgets when all the little details are supposed to happen
  • Hand out tissues
  • Remind someone’s brother to take the ring bearer puppy out for a pee – or just do it ourselves so he doesn’t have to leave the party
  • Retrieve a mother’s forgotten speech notes from her B and B
  • Drive a tired new mum and her fussy baby back to the hotel – and yes we even have a car seat
  • Deliver the bride’s purse the bridesmaid forgot at the ceremony – yes we have it, we are always the last to leave and make sure nothing is left behind
  • Create a boutonniere for Uncle Jim, who didn’t get one or lost

No two weddings are the same, says Tripp, and you have to just know how to roll with the unexpected without alerting everyone present to the fact there is something out of the ordinary that has transpired.

“There are so many more things that we have done that have everyone passing a glance our way and mouthing a silent thank you – and the bride is none the wiser,” says Tripp, who seems impossible to rattle. “We have had people ask us, ‘Why didn’t you list all the stuff you would do for us?’ It is impossibly long list, and I guess the answer is we are just there to help!”


Planning your perfect day!

Once you’ve had the proposal accepted and get to show off the ring, it’s time to start planning.

Before you jump right in to booking venues and selecting dresses and formal wear, there is some pre-planning you should do to make the rest of your planning go smoothly and stay on budget.


Set aside a few hours to sit with your special someone and talk about your dreams for a perfect wedding day. Don’t involve others just yet; take time to figure out what the two of you envision for your wedding so that you are on the same page before you get inundated with everyone else’s suggestions.

“This is so important,” says Melissa Tripp, owner of Coastal Weddings & Events. “The bride and groom need time to figure out what they want before they get railroaded into meeting other people’s expectations.”

Here are some things she suggests couples consider:

  • Location for the marriage ceremony: at a church or place of worship, outside, or at another venue?
  • Time: Have you always dreamed of a morning wedding, or is afternoon or sunset more to your liking?
  • Wedding party: Do you want one witness each or a larger bridal party?
  • Guests: Do you want a very small, intimate wedding or an extensive guest list?
  • Dress: Are you going to be formal, traditional, casual, or wear something that reflects your cultural background or personal style?
  • Theme: More than just a colour scheme, what is the ambience you want at your wedding and reception?
  • Reception: Where and when do you want to hold the reception?

The next big decision

Once you have determined what kind of wedding you both want and how you want to celebrate the start of your married life at the reception, it’s time to talk finances.

It’s never fun to talk about money, but you really need to know what your working budget will be. Be open and candid about the budget and your personal feelings about how much is reasonable to spend on your wedding day.

  • How much can each of you contribute?
  • Are you comfortable leveraging credit to pay for your wedding? How much debt is reasonable (and affordable – remember that you have to pay it off)?
  • Will your parents contribute? In the past the bride’s family used to pay for the wedding but now it is more typical that the bridal couple and both parents contribute what they can.
  • If the parents are contributing, how much control will they want over decisions? How will you manage this if you don’t agree?
  • Now that you have an idea of your budget, how feasible is it to achieve what you’d both like for your wedding day?

This is when fantasy turns to reality for many couples. No matter what you envision for your day, your guest list is going to be impacted by your budget. The more people you invite, the higher your cost for food and drinks.

Planning to Budget

Once you have your budget you can start to make inquiries to book your ceremony and reception locations. When you have an idea of how many guests you would like to attend, you can get quotes for catering and other aspects of your wedding day. It’s best to really sort out the details before you finalize the guest list and send out invitations.

If you are going to undertake planning yourself, there is wedding software to help you with the details as well as plenty of advice online. Hiring a wedding planner is something more busy couples are choosing, and there are different options for professional planning help:

  • Hire a full service wedding planner to coordinate every detail
  • Using a wedding planner only to help choose your location and vendors
  • Arranging a “day-of” coordinator, which is really helping about 30 days before your wedding and saves you all the last-minute stresses

The costs for hiring a wedding planner vary greatly.

“Some planners offer packages, hourly rates, or charge by service,” explains Tripp, who has worked as a wedding planner for many years. “And while the cost of full service planning may seem steep at first glance, a good planner is going to save you money in the long run. We have established relationships with vendors and service providers, as well as all sorts of tricks for stretching budgets and achieving beautiful results. Plus we save you all the stress and frustration, which many brides have said was worth the price alone.”