What Can — and Can’t — I Ask My Wedding Planner to Do?

There's plenty you can, but there are some no-nos. Planner Shannon Wellington breaks down what falls within her purview.

Shannon Wellington by Gabby Horr Photography

Here at Philadelphia Wedding, we know that executing a picture-perfect wedding can be full of unexpected variables and surprises. That’s why we recommend working with a wedding planner, but we know it can sometimes be tricky to figure out what falls within their job description and what does not. (After all, wedding planners are often miracle workers, but that doesn’t mean they’re responsible for everything.) Below, Chadds Ford-based Shannon Wellington, principal planner and designer at Shannon Wellington Weddings & Events, breaks down what falls within her purview.


The Ask: Will you stuff and deliver my welcome bags?

The Verdict: Who wants to be schlepping through the city the day before your wedding? We do! With full-service planning (usually starting six-plus months out), we’ll curate, assemble and deliver the perfect welcome gifts for your guests.

The Ask: Will you handle a disagreement with another vendor?

The Verdict: That’s our job! Communication is key, so if you’re having trouble getting through, we’re happy to step in. We come from a nonpartisan place and often know the right language to use to clear up any misconceptions or issues.

The Ask: Will you help light sparklers for my send-off?

The Verdict: Handing fire to tipsy guests may sound like a recipe for disaster, but we’ve got it under control. We have a system for lighting sparklers, handing them off, and getting everyone lined up for your big exit.

The Ask: Will you pull me away from small talk?

The Verdict: Sometimes your second cousin Sue just won’t stop chatting! If you give us the “help me” look, we’re happy to extract you, with a polite apology, for some “necessary” task.

The Ask: Will you pick the bugs out of my train?

The Verdict: Weddings in the country are always gorgeous. Picture a serene pond, the warm sun shining down on you … and the tiny gnats surrounding you all day. That’s reality — and when those bugs get caught up in your French tulle skirt, you bet we’ll be going through, layer by layer, to get them out!

The Ask: Will you transport cards and gifts?

The Verdict: We love to think that weddings are all sunshine and rainbows. But they’re massive events, and with them come responsibilities and liabilities. Transporting gifts, especially monetary ones, is one liability we don’t like to assume, but we’re happy to bag them up and hand them off to your parents or a chosen responsible adult.

The Ask: Will you clean up after the reception?

The Verdict: Most venues have a staff to do this, or a catering team in place to help. If you’re getting married at home or at a non-traditional venue, we can help you hire the right people for that.

The Ask: Will you be my errand-runner?

The Verdict: We’re happy to help within reason. We’ll pick up your favors from the bakery, but picking up Grandma at the airport? Leave that to your parents. And we’re happy to explain the types of marriage licenses, but don’t expect us to be a witness! We’ll help you get ready the morning of your wedding, but please don’t ask us to transport your dress to the venue — city traffic is scary enough!

The Ask: Will you provide free rentals?

The Verdict: We don’t have extra candles, card boxes and table numbers just lying around. (If we saved every wedding accessory left over from the weddings we work, we’d need a warehouse.) There are dedicated companies out there that provide these items, and we’re happy to point you in the right direction.

The Ask: Will you make sure the best man behaves?

The Verdict: We wish we could guarantee this — we’ve heard enough inappropriate jokes and memories to last a lifetime! We recommend reminding anyone giving a toast of who will be in the crowd and what they’ll expect to hear.

The Ask: Will you ignore the weather?

The Verdict: No! So often, brides like to pretend an outdoor ceremony is going to work no matter what. We hear: Let’s hope for the best. I’m just going to cross my fingers. But we can’t wish the rain away. We have to talk about it and make a contingency plan!

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