Common Mistakes: Hiring a Planner Only for the Day of Your Event

wedding plans, common mistakes

(Image via Salicia)

I know I’m going to ruffle a few feathers with this one. There are several reasons clients may opt to only hire a day-of planner, but usually it’s because that’s what their budgets allow. In my humble experience, and please feel free to disagree with me, there are pros as well as cons to hiring a planner only for one day.

Pros

1. Planners get work. In these difficult economic times, it’s essential to stay in motion. Every time you do a job, regardless of how long or short the job is, you meet potential new clients and make new connections that may prove to be very valuable in the future.

2. At a wedding or any other big event, it’s important to have someone who can keep things on schedule. Even though many event spaces employ wonderful banquet managers, a planner you’ve hired personally will have a deeper understanding of what you want and what makes your event unique. A banquet manager is first and foremost the employee of the event space.

3. A day-of planner makes it possible for clients to relax and enjoy their event.

Cons

1. I do not understand how a planner can follow up properly on all of the intricacies of an event in a single day, especially because it usually takes 3 to 6 months to plan an event. For example:

  • With the florist – Will a day-of planner know what the florist promised the client? What time are the flowers being delivered? What time are they breaking down?
  • With the venue and food – Will a day-of planner know what was promised at the tasting? Has overtime been negotiated?
  • And this is only the beginning – What about what was promised with regards to photos, video, music, lighting, cakes, etc…

2. I can’t tell you the number of times clients have come to me and said that since they’ve already hired all of their vendors and therefore done all of the “leg work,” I should lower my rates. But it’s not that simple:

  • If clients choose to hire their own vendors that’s their choice. Unfortunately for them, a good planner might have been able to negotiate a better contract on their behalf.
  • Hiring vendors is only a small portion of the service a good planner will provide. MANAGING vendors is at the heart of a planner’s work.
  • Following up on seating arrangements and handling priority guests such as the guest of honor and important family members is also a lot of work. Often, there is essential information about these guests that a planner needs to be told in advance. It’s hard to learn everything in one day.

3. Client expectations. I hope that if you’re a planner who does day-of events, you realize that your clients are still expecting a very well-run event. This is not impossible, but it’s definitely a challenge if you don’t know all the details. Remember, good planning is about having as much information as possible.

I have a suggestion for both clients and planners that might help this system work more effectively. What if you, as the planner, encouraged your clients to hire you for the entire month of their event instead of just the day? Of course, this also means PAYING you ACCORDINGLY. A full month will give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with every aspect of the event and will help you do your job more effectively.

Now, a question for those of you who take day-of jobs:

Do you find that you can run a successful event even if you’ve only been hired for one day? If so, how do you accomplish this? Maybe I can learn something from you that will help me change my mind! Please share your opinion and experience in the comments.

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