Wedding 911

Lazy Wedding Planner? Or Unrealistic Expectations?

edited April 2016 in Wedding 911
Hi guys! I wanted to ask for... Clarification I suppose on the amount of work a wedding planner is supposed to put in. I'm 40 days away from the wedding and I feel like she hasn't done a thing.

I paid for my wedding planner's "Ultimate package" thinking I wouldn't have to do any real footwork as far as calling vendors, finding supplies, decor planning, timeline/budget assistance... The package details (no more detailed in her contract):

Full event planning and Support

  • Idea conceptualization consultations
  • Venue search and selection
  • Vendor sourcing & appointment support
  • Timeline assistance
  • Budget management
  • Photography/videography checklist
  • Website creation & support
  • Registry assistance
  • Shower planning & support
  • RSVP tracking & guest management
  • Travel assistance planning
  • Day before, day of, & day after event support

But so far, here's what has happened:

Her Contributions:
1. Given me a small list of potential vendors with basic information and opinions (literally "$","$$","$$$" as prices and "[this vendor] is more traditional in their pieces" type commentary)
2. Met with me two times (once initially and again only when I asked her to); and answer etiquette and "where could I get this" type questions, and "have you thought about linens, china, [insert small detail here]" reminders, and one "you should stay under [this] price when you get a quote from the florist" budget recommendation

My Contributions:
1. Did all the work calling vendors and getting prices and availability (as well as finding other vendors off the tiny list when those didn't meet my needs)
2. Researching/pricing where to find certain supplies (like ribbon for DIY bows, vases for the florist to lower the price, etc)
3. Finding/calling/pricing secondary vendors she didn't include like linen rentals, invitations/stationary suppliers/printers, tux rentals, etc
4. Finding/pricing secondary suppliers for things the vendors don't have in the proper colors, 5. Measuring chairs and tables for linens and meeting with the venue to coordinate all that

Like, she hasn't taken an ACTIVE role in the wedding planning. I understand I have to do things like decide on what I want for catering, whether or not I want my Bridesmaids/Groomsmen to walk separate, if I want satin or organza bows, etc, but I wasn't expecting to have to do all the leg work.

Additionally, I feel like if I were to text her or ask to meet with her she'd be happy to, but  don't feel like she's been an ACTIVE support. I was expecting relatively weekly texts from, "Hey, I called so-and-so vendor, they're available for your date, here's their quote," to "Hey, have you decided on the order of service yet? You should let your preacher know by next week" and "What's the relative number of guests your expecting? I need to know to figure out how many tables you'll need" or "I found a couple of places that will print those custom invitations you designed, here's quotes for them, you should have them off to the printer by [this date]" or "Have you double checked to see if the groomsmen have gotten their suits sized? You should let them know they only have two weeks left." or "Hey, weekly checkup! What have you decided on this week, any updates, any questions?" I'VE been keeping up with my timeline, I'VE been keeping up with my numbers and budget, I'VE been keeping in contact with my vendors.

Ive already contacted her asking to renegotiate our contract since a lot of her ultimate package services (like shower planning [we didn't have one], website assistance [used the knot.com templates, travel assistance [can't afford a honeymoon]) have gone to waste. It's taken every effort for me not to say something upsetting to the effect of "I feel like I've done all the work here and you haven't done a thing". I KNOW I'll need her day before, DAY OF, and day after, but I'm just worried at this point because I haven't seen her do anything. All the vendors spoke highly of her, I just haven't seen it yet.

Be dead honest, (I'm being sincere, not asking a loaded question) was I expecting too much to have an active wedding planner who contacts me and does all the running (not the other way around), or are wedding planners supposed to be more passive and only do anything if you ask them to?

Re: Lazy Wedding Planner? Or Unrealistic Expectations?

  • "I feel like if I were to text her or ask to meet with her she'd be happy to, but  don't feel like she's been an ACTIVE support"
    Text her! Everyone is different. She doesn't know if you hired her because you want nothing to do with planning, because you want to plan every last detail to perfection, or because you mainly want day of coordination. Try and get your money's (monies?) worth! 


    OurWildKingdom
  • Not having used a wedding planner, I don't know whether or not some of your expectations are realistic. But, logically, I don't think a planner could call venues on your behalf since it's your money and your event.
    image
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Not having used a wedding planner, I don't know whether or not some of your expectations are realistic. But, logically, I don't think a planner could call venues on your behalf since it's your money and your event.
    They can't sign any contracts but they can call for availability and arrange for appointments. They should also have a list of venues, caterers etc. with whom they have worked previously.
    SP29MairePoppycowgirl8238
  • SP29SP29
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    I didn't hire a planner myself, but from my impression of a planner, yes they should be taking an active role (unless you have only hired them as a day of coordinator). However I do agree that your planner's contract is quite vague.

    I think you need to have a direct conversation with her about your expectations. It is possible she thinks you WANT to be doing all this work (and some people do).

    You can be direct without being insulting. "Planner, my intention of hiring a planner was to have someone who would take an active role in planning to alleviate those duties from myself. Here is what is left to plan A,B,C... I would like you to do/ can you do/ what are you able to do of X,Y,Z." I would also discuss your expectations for day before/of/after now.
    OurWildKingdomMairePoppycowgirl8238
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I wasn't going to comment on the contract because I wasn't particularly happy with DD's planner. That being said, her company's contract listed a similar list of duties (didn't have day after support, shower planning- don't understand why a planner would do that, or RSVP management). She did give DD/SIL names of vendors after they found the venue. I've said this before, I think she pushed her vendors over others (the church had requirements for photography, venue had preferred caterers). Her biggest contribution was appointment set up, timeline management and budget management. By timeline, I mean both day of and overall planning timeline. I think OP needs to be more assertive with her expectations. Let this be a lesson to lurkers.
  • I didn't use a planner, but my friend did and they were very specific with the contract. I didn't see it, but she told me they had a several hour meeting hashing out the details. I don't think this helps you now OP, but more for lurkers.

    OP - I would suggest you sit down with your planner and list out the specifics of what you are expecting on a go forward basis. I would make it as detailed as possible (i.e. "put vases onto gift table, place flowers from front of church into vases on gift table). I would also suggest you mention that you were disappointed that your expectations of her services weren't being met. This gives her the opportunity to say "yes I dropped the ball or honestly, we didn't discuss the specifics so I was waiting for direction". Most issues stem from communication breakdowns.

    SP29OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    How was he conversation with her when you initially me before hiring her?  I find that most people who are unhappy with the services they receive (wedding or otherwise) typically stem from a lack of communication regarding expectations. 

    I like @sp29's suggestion about giving her a list of things you need help with in the coming weeks. 
    image
    OurWildKingdom
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    SP29 said:
    I didn't hire a planner myself, but from my impression of a planner, yes they should be taking an active role (unless you have only hired them as a day of coordinator). However I do agree that your planner's contract is quite vague.

    I think you need to have a direct conversation with her about your expectations. It is possible she thinks you WANT to be doing all this work (and some people do).

    You can be direct without being insulting. "Planner, my intention of hiring a planner was to have someone who would take an active role in planning to alleviate those duties from myself. Here is what is left to plan A,B,C... I would like you to do/ can you do/ what are you able to do of X,Y,Z." I would also discuss your expectations for day before/of/after now.
    The bolded was my thought. You need to communicate with her about what exactly you want her to take care of. I'm sure planners are wary of overstepping bounds, and even the brides who hire planners can still be micromanagers.

    Anniversary

    OurWildKingdomSP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    Since this planner's contract listed her role in very vague terms, I think it's hard to tell whether your expectations of her were realistic.

    But what is clear is that if you intend to continue to use her, then you need to clarify for her what your expectations are.  If she counters that something you want from her is not in your contract, then you either need to have your contract amended to include the new provision, or you need to find another planner.  If that means eating a deposit or cancellation fee, then that's what I'd do.
    OurWildKingdomSP29
  • Next time try using dazzlemyparty.com located in NJ. They will do as much or as little as you need. It all depends on what your budget for a wedding planner. The cheaper the package the less they will do. I only used them for help the day of and they were great. I am a DIY bride but, I knew that day I wouldn't be able to do many things myself.
    Are you a vendor? I see you have responded to three (old) posts in the last 30 minutes directing people to the same website. 
    BabyFruit Ticker
    levioosaOliveOilsMomMCmeow
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