Should we hire a wedding planner? The answer is YES! Wedding planners are 100% worth the investment! As a wedding photographer, I love it when my couples hire a planner. Why? Because they are a life send and truly do not get enough credit. No couple regrets hiring a wedding planner for their day. When they do, they’re given permission to relax, their family members and bridal party can enjoy the day and their vendors can do what they were paid to do in their expertise.
Say hello to our friend, Danielle, owner, and CEO of Ohana Events…
I teamed up with one of my favorite Chicago wedding planners, Danielle of Ohana Events to write a blog post about all the amazing things wedding planners do for you on the day of. Over the past few years, her team has helped many couples plan and execute their wedding day, ultimately allowing them to relax and enjoy the planning process and the day they say “I Do”.
Not every one of those couples thought they needed a planner. Some couples were hesitant hiring a planner because they had friends or a vendor say they would help with the planning and on the day of. While vendors can be helpful in guiding the day along, no one except for a planner (including day-of coordinators) is there to make sure the couple, wedding party and immediate family don’t have to lift a finger and can enjoy the day the very same as every other guest.
Being a planner is a lot of setting up, running around, directing [everyone], and carrying/moving things from one place to another.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of actions and services that the Ohana team does that they don’t advertise on the front page of their information packet. They love throwing in some “unexpected surprises” to act like the cherry on top of a perfect day. What services are those, might you ask? Danielle listed some of the things planners do “behind-the-scenes” that no one else will be voluntarily doing. Below you’ll get a firsthand look of all the things they help take off your plate and vendors plates
THE MORNING OF
- Steam Dresses, Veils, Pocket Squares, Jackets, and Any Other Attire Needed
Even if you get your dress professionally steamed, it still has to get squished into a bag for transport. Wedding dresses are delicate though so you have to steam it a certain way, from underneath the layers. We also find a lot of groomsmen don’t know how to fold their pocket squares, leaving them all in different shapes and folds. We will take each pocket square and steam to the right fold.
- Pin Boutonnieres and Distrubute Corsages
Many times the florist drops off personal florals and then leaves to set up the ceremony and reception space. We know how to properly pin on boutonnieres os they don’t lean or fall off. We also distribute any other personal florals to parents, grandparents, ushers, etc. so your family doesn’t have to run around finding everyone.
Edit from Alex – I’ve witnessed first hand that many people don’t know where to pin a boutonniere or how to pin it so it’s super secure.
- Bring Wedding Items, Food, and Drinks onto the Trolley or Shuttle
Besides the bridesmaids’ purses, there are all of those other items that need to go on the bus. The couple’s bag of personal items, coats, coolers, snacks, music players, drinks, etc. Anything that needs to go with the wedding party, we’re there to make sure it’s not forgetting and put in the correct location.
- Ring Security (Transportation of the Wedding Bands, Especially if the Best Man is Not the Most Trustworthy)
You may laugh, but this has happened so many times. The best man is having tons of fun drinking, mingling, and enjoying the day that he accidentally has forgotten the 2 most important items, the rings. It’s happened. We will often keep the wedding bands with us so no one has to worry about where there are and if they’re at the ceremony.
- Our Emergency Bag – Available for Anyone and Everyone
Let’s be real, it’s more like our emergency “suitcase” filled with every little thing you could possibly imagine needing. Multiple types of tapes, glues, adhesives, safety pins, extra plank place cards, over-the-counter medicine, first aid kit, Tide To Go sticks, bobby pins, ring cleaner, coloring items for bored kids, mint, gum, etc. You need it? We 99% are for sure we have it.
- Place Personal Items on Pew or Chairs for Ceremony
We want to make sure anyone walking down the aisle does not need to carry their purse or a copy of the ceremony program. It doesn’t look elegant in pictures. We make sure anything they need during the ceremony is at their seat for them. This way, they can have their hands to hold onto their escort.
- Emergency Candy Bag to Bribe Little Kids Down the Aisle
You know you’ve seen it before – the little ones who get shy before their big moment! We’ve got candy for those moments and the magic sentence, “All you need to do is make it to the front and then you get to pick any candy you want!” Works like magic.
- We Open the Doors for that Grand Ceremony Entrance
Don’t you want that grand entrance? We want ushers and all family members to be able to see you from the front walking down the aisle. The magic moment. We open the doors so everyone can watch that moment.
- Fluff the Bride’s Dress at the Start of the Aisle
The train on a wedding dress does not look picture perfect after you walk around a corner! We’re there right before you walk down the aisle to make sure your dress is absolutely perfect. (You chose the gorgeous train for a reason!)
- Planners Hold Your Bouquet When It’s Getting Heavy
We will hold that 5 lb bouquet any time of the day for you. Some bouquets can be super tiring to hold throughout the day. We’re there to hold it when you need a break or are walking long distances.
- Help the Photographer Make Family Formals Efficient
Chances are you hired an amazing photographer who can efficiently get through the family formals as painlessly as possible. However, when there are a lot of people or no second photographer/assistant, they’re unable to take the pictures AND call out names at the same time. We make sure the next group of family members are on deck and ready so when it’s time for a grouping change, it can be even faster. This also allows their second photographer ot spend time grabbing in-between moments and candids of the other family members waiting.
- Grab Any Ceremony Arrangements/Pieces to Reception for Repurposing
Depending on the logistics of your wedding, your florist might need to be at the reception space setting up while the ceremony is happening. If we need to move and repurpose flowers we’re happy to do so (as long as they’re not huge and fragile).
- Set Up all Personal Items
Anything you bring to the venue, we will set it up. Prior to your wedding, we’ll have conversations about what tables you want things placed on and how you want it set up. Then on the day of, we execute it exactly how you want.
- Making Sure You Eat and Drink (and get to try all the appetizers!)
You will be too busy hugging, talking and mingling with guests to actually stop and try all the appetizers you picked out. Often times, the service staff isn’t aware of where you are at. We put together a plate of all of the appetizers, so you’re guaranteed to try all of them. We’ll give this to you either privately at the beginning or end of cocktail hour. If you have favorites, we’ll give you more!
- Bustle Your Wedding Dress Before You Go to Cocktail Hour
Even if you bring someone to the final fitting or video record how your bustle was sewn in, it’s not always as easy as it seems. And the DJ and venue coordinator won’t be there to help you. We’ve bustled hundreds of dresses so we’re able to quickly manage any type. And sometimes women with freshly done nails and a cocktail in hand aren’t the best people to fill this role.
- Finish Reception Decor Set Up
You hired a wedding vendor TEAM and that’s how we work. We all work together as a team. Many times, the catering staff or décor time is pressed on time with set up and lighting candles, so we grab our lighters and help them finish so everything runs on time.
- Reserve the Best Seats for the VIPS and Show Wedding Party Where They’re Sitting
Your parents, grandparents, or other VIP guests are usually not the first to run into the room once cocktail hour is over to reserve the best seat at their table. We will and extra place card to reserve the best seats in the house so they can face you vs having to look over their shoulders.
- Planners reserve the best seats at the table for the parents, grandparents or other VIP
Your parents, grandparents, or other important guests likely will not run into the room the second cocktail hour is over to reserve the best seats at their table. We put down an extra place card to reserve the best seat in the house so they can face the couple instead of having to look over their shoulders. The same for your wedding party. If you have a head table and want to assign where the wedding party goes, many times they have no idea where their seat is after they enter the room, leaving them confused. We will put down extra place cards and show them in the hall which seat number they’re at.
- The Grand Room Reveal
Many guests never see their wedding reception room untouched until they receive their photos. Not every couple wants to see the room empty with background music and freshly lit candles, but we do recommend seeing your dinner/dancing room before guests walk in. It’s a private, magical moment before the craziness of the remainder of the wedding continues.
- Making Sure Your Vendors and Immediate Family are There for Formalities
It’s happened many times before. It’s time to start the mother/son dance and mom is in the bathroom. Or, it’s time for the cake cutting and the DJ didn’t know the photographer was in the other room eating their meal. We make sure everyone is in the room before something important happens so no one misses out and the moment is captured.
End of The Night
- Monitor the Card Box the Whole Evening
I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of a missing card box or missing cards. We keep a close eye on the card box all evening, and if it’s left in an unprotected area, we will move it closer or inside the room. At the end of the night, we ensure they’re safely to you.
- Accept and Set up Any Late Night Snacks
Who doesn’t want to cater form their favorite food place? Some venues will allow late-night snacks from an outside vendor, but will often charge a handling fee. If the venue or career allows us to manage the snack, it can sometimes save you money (and it’s done right!)
- Pack All Your Personal Items as Transported and Place in Hotel or Car
The last thing you or your family wants to do is wrap up fragile items or pack away heavy things after a long day. We will repack everything how it came and place it exactly where it needs to be. There is no reason any family or friends should have to worry about this. We keep a running list of everything so we can ensure nothing is forgotten.
So trust us when we say, you will not regret hiring a day-of coordinator or wedding planner! It’s an investment in having a successful wedding day, and also to help you stay sane while sorting through all of the wedding day details! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, we would love to hear from you!
Danielle Kuhn is the owner and lead planner of the boutique planning company, Ohana Events. Based in Chicago and planning all over, Danielle and her team strive to make the entire process from the first hello to the big day stress-free, personalized, and fun. Danielle has been planning events for over 6 years. She knew this was her calling after working for another planner for multiple years and in 2017, Ohana Events was born. She’s a detail-oriented, checklist, and excel spreadsheet type of gal. No detail to her is too small or insignificant. The feeling of knowing she has all of the details together and handled for her couples gives her the same feeling of enjoying a margarita on a beach. Her main mission is to make the entire experience that you can enjoy, cherish, and remember forever. No need for stress and worry. Meet your new planner. Your new wedding mentor. Your new friend.