People sitting around a table planning a wedding.

Business, Wedding Planning Tips

Be Ready to Work with These People When Planning a Wedding!

Whether you’re still contemplating a wedding planning career or you’re a newly certified wedding planner, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of some of the people you’ll be working with. There are your bridal clients, of course – and then there’s a whole army of caterers, florists, photographers, DJs, and other vendors.

As any experienced wedding planner can tell you, though, those aren’t the only people you’ll be working with. Yes, good client and vendor relationships are absolutely essential – but weddings are a big deal, and often it seems like everyone in the happy couple’s life has an opinion on wedding decisions.

Hopefully, if your clients have made the decision to hire you, it means they’ve decided to trust your planning advice and decisions (with their approval, that is). However, the couple’s family and friends may not be quite as keen to hand over the reins; many people close to the bride-and-groom-to-be may be set on having things their way, which can stress out both you and your clients.

Read on for our list of people you should be prepared to work with in your career as a wedding planner – and tips on how to handle the tough ones!

The Maid of Honor

The maid of honor (MOH) is a wedding staple. Even if your clients are going for a small, casual event, your bride will almost definitely have picked her closest friend, sister, or cousin to join the wedding party.

As the head (or sometimes the only) bridesmaid, the MOH’s traditional role actually overlaps with yours. In weddings without a planner, she’s usually responsible for coordinating the bridesmaids, planning the wedding shower and bachelorette parties, helping to plan the wedding, and making sure everything goes smoothly on the big day. Sound familiar?

It’s a lot of work (as you know!), so many MOHs will probably be relieved to have some of the responsibility taken off their hands when their bride decides to hire you. However, some may be resentful of your “intrusion” into a very personal experience – since they know the bride better than you, they may feel that their opinions and advice should have more weight than yours.

Bride posing with maid of honor.

You can expect to see the MOH appear for many of the big decisions; your bride may want her best friend there to help her pick a dress, choose the cake, decide on floral arrangements, or settle on a venue. If your MOH is causing problems for you – or for you bride – here are a few tips for keeping things calm:

The Parents of the Bride and Groom

Don’t get tricked by the stereotype of the monstrous mother (or mother-in-law) of the bride. Every family is complicated and unique, so just be prepared for parent-child relationships to reflect that complexity.

You might face a mother of the bride who’s set on having everything her way – after all, chances are she’s already been married, so clearly she knows best! On the other hand, it could be the bride’s father who’s causing you chronic headaches – or they could both be taking a hands-off approach and letting their daughter handle the planning.

The same goes for in-laws. If you’re lucky, your clients already know each other’s parents and have a good relationship with them. If not, you might have to prepare to deal with tensions that can make every decision in the process a drama-filled contest of wills.

Family celebrating wedding with bride and groom.

A big issue between your clients and their parents might be budget, since it’s common for financially stable parents to contribute to a wedding that their child might not be able to afford on their own. Encouraging your clients to stick to their budget and coming up with budget-friendly alternatives to big expenses can help ease conflict between money-conscious parents and overexcited brides and grooms.

Use these tips to help make the parents’ role in the planning process less stressful for everyone:

The Groom

Okay, duh. He’s one of your clients.

That being said, wedding planning has traditionally been the bride’s domain, so it’s easy to assume she’ll be taking charge. For some couples, the groom may be perfectly happy to leave the bulk of the work to his fiancée, which is totally fine (as long as she’s happy with it too).

But don’t automatically make that assumption. Your clients may have decided to split the work or to approach every decision as a team. You might also run into couples where it’s the groom who’s way more invested in the planning, while the bride has decided to take a step back.

Follow your clients’ lead. They may tell you outright who you’ll be working with the most, or you may get a sense of who your primary contact will be as you go along. Just make sure not to write the groom off from the get-go. During the consultation and any other situations involving both of your clients, split your attention between the two rather than instinctively zeroing in on the bride.

The Kids

While you won’t be “working” with kids in the same way as the MOH, bridesmaids, or your clients’ parents, it’s important not to forget about them.

If your clients have decided to avoid the hassle by hosting an adults-only wedding, well, problem solved. If not, it’s good to have some strategies on hand to avoid trouble, tears, and tantrums.

Girl and boy in bridal party dressed up for a wedding.

As you know, there’s a lot of prep work on the day of the wedding for the bridal party, and that includes the younger members who may be acting as flower girls, ring bearers, or rice princesses and princes. Some kids may be content to sit quietly in a corner with a book or a toy, but you won’t always be so lucky!

Here are some tips for working with junior wedding party members that will make things easier on them, you, and everyone else in the wedding party:

And remember:

Weddings are wonderful, but for anyone close to the bride and groom they can also be very emotional. We already talked about how parents can consider this the day their child finally “grows up,” but it really goes for everyone.

The MOH and bridesmaids might feel like they’re “losing” the bride as she enters a new chapter of her life with her soon-to-be-husband, especially if she’s one of the first of her friends to get married. Same goes for the best man and groomsmen – while they’re happy for their friend, it can also be a stressful time as they wonder how their relationship will change.

In addition to your professional experience, your status as an outsider also gives you a major advantage. The opinions, advice, and work you offer will be unclouded by the emotional rollercoaster that your clients and their close friends and family are going through.

Has your wedding planning career ever led you into conflicts with any of these people? Tell us about your experiences and share your strategies for successful resolutions in the comments!

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