by: Lauren

Having been a wedding planner in my “past life”, I often think back to the last wedding that I “officially” planned. It was a super amazing wedding, for a super amazing couple. I always say that if I had continued to plan weddings, they and my second-to-last couple were my absolute “ideal couple”. They had their own vision and their own opinions about things, but they also trusted my opinion. More times than not, they asked me before making any decisions. And by the end of their wedding planning, they weren’t just a couple that I planned a wedding for- they were my friends. [See the end of this post to learn more about why I don’t plan weddings anymore.]

The thing that I always remember from my time planning weddings is how every bride (or groom) I worked with would say at some point during the process, “Oh my goodness, I don’t know what I would do without you!” Looking back, it’s occurred to me that at first, some of those couples weren’t even sure if they needed a wedding planner. But it was mostly just because they didn’t realize all of the things that a planner *really* does… which is exactly why I’m going to share some of those things with you today!

What A Wedding Planner Really Does via

– Planning Checklist & Schedule. Ah, what every bride has to have, right? I mean, you really can’t plan a wedding without knowing what has to be done right? Having a planner create a custom checklist and schedule for you- and remind you when it’s time to get crackin’ on the next task- is pretty awesome. Plus, all the other checklists and schedules out there aren’t unique to YOU and YOUR wedding. Bonus: your planner has planned a wedding before- you haven’t. ;)

– Budget. Yes, the dreaded word. A planner can most certainly help you create and stick to your budget. And when you want something that just might be completely unfeasible, your planner will tell you instead of letting you get your hopes up.

– Vendor recommendations. A planner is going to give you solid vendor recommendations of people that they have worked with before and who they trust. In fact, if you want to, ask about their experiences working with certain vendors. Sometimes they may even NOT recommend a particular vendor because of a bad experience working with them. It sounds awful, but it happens.

– Vendor communication & liason. This includes contacting vendors to find out availability, emailing, phone calls, texts, and most likely a meeting or two. Sometimes if you want, you can even have your planner communicate with all of your vendors (or just a select few) and just have him or her email you with updates, questions, concerns, etc. Oh, and let’s not forget the reminders that you’ll get from your planner about when it’s time to make a payment to one of your vendors.

– Your wedding design. Now, not all planners are experts in wedding design. In fact, there are even wedding designers who JUST design weddings- and they are awesome. However, no matter what services your planner offers, he or she will most definitely help you figure things out when it comes to your wedding’s design. Whether it’s a specific idea or helping you pick out colors, they’ll be by your side to help guide you along.

– Meetings & Consults. Having a planner can also mean that he or she deals with scheduling your meetings. Sometimes it can take several emails or phone calls to figure out the right time and place for a meeting or consult to take place. That’s time- time that you might not have! Having a planner, you can just them a few potential days and times, and then they can get to work scheduling!

– Etiquette. You know you’re going to have a question about whether or not to invite so-and-so’s new girlfriend, dress code, or maybe even how much alcohol to serve. A planner knows the etiquette for all things wedding. Sometimes “etiquette” things aren’t even etiquette anymore, and it’s just really what works best for you and your wedding, but sometimes there are still things that are “tacky” or not. ;)

– RSVPs. Some wedding planners will keep track of your RSVPs for you. This is SUCH a tedious task- meals, seating, guest counts, etc. I myself have never handled RSVPs for my brides, but I have several friends that do. Just another thing that you don’t have to do! :)

What A Wedding Planner Really Does via

Image by Bri Cibene Photography

– Reminders. Yes, reminders. Plain and simple. Because chances are that you might possibly forget about something– whether it’s big (like a DJ) or small (like menus), a wedding planner will most definitely be able to give you little reminders about things that could have potentially forgotten!

– Vendor Confirmations. The week before your wedding is going to be craziness. You do not want to have to deal with emails and phone calls back and forth with vendors to confirm times and places. Your planner will handle that. ;)

– Wedding Day Schedule. You absolutely always need to have a timeline for your wedding day. How else would you know what time to start getting ready, when to tell people to deliver things, etc? Of course your wedding planner will handle this for you, making tweaks and updating vendors as needed.

– Wedding Ceremony Coordination & Rehearsal. Sometimes a wedding ceremony can be like a huge cluster of chaos. People think they know what to do, but when it comes down to it, they really don’t. Having a planner will ensure that your ceremony runs smoothly and everyone involved knows what to do and where to go!

– Wedding Day Coordination. I talk about this ALL the time. You definitely don’t want to be the one dealing with setting things up on your wedding day. Making sure the cake is delivered on top, the favors get placed at each placesetting, and that adorable ribbon chandelier you made gets hung. Not only that, but what about when it comes time for your wedding to *actually* happen? Who’s going to tell you when it’s time to leave for your ceremony, or when to cut your cake? Oh and who will sew your bustle when it breaks or find your best man when he’s missing for toasts? Your wedding planner, that’s who! ;)

– Wedding Details. Who’s going to put our your escort cards, make sure favors are at placesettings, and set up your special cake-and-dessert display? You don’t want to entrust these tasks to just anyone. Your planner will take care of the wedding details that I’m sure you will painstakingly and lovingly create for your wedding, making sure that they will be setup to meet your expectations. And then, he or she will take everything down at the end of the night and give it your parents or keep it for you to pick up when you get home from your honeymoon.

– Wedding Gifts. Yeah, so those gifts that everyone brings. What do you do with them?! It’s something that is commonly forgotten, but your planner will be sure to load up all of your gifts for a designated person to take home and keep safe and sound for you. And if they’re like me, they will tuck all of your cards into your overnight bag. ;)

Oh my, now that I’ve listed all of that out… WOW! It’s SO much! When I was reminiscing about my last wedding, I was reminded of just how much work planning does entail, and so of course I wanted to share it with you all! (And it also reminds me of why I stopped planning- it takes SO much time!) And sure, while being a wedding planner seems fun and glamorous, it’s also a lot of work. But luckily, a planner really can do A LOT for you as bride- and take a lot of things off your plate too!

I’m hoping that by sharing all of this, it will perhaps help some of you who are in the same position as my brides were in before hiring me. Because friends, YOU ALL deserve to have amazing weddings, and to enjoy it too! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email asking! :)

PS: Any wedding planners have things to add to this list? Feel free to comment with additions!!

[Editor’s note: Don’t get me wrong- I LOVED planning weddings. I still do. But it was a decision that I had to make when faced with what direction my business would go. I either had to continue on with Every Last Detail as a wedding blog, or Every Last Detail as a wedding planning company. I decided to continue on with ELD as a blog, and I have never regretted the decision. The fact that I can reach thousands of couples with the advice and inspiration on ELD, as opposed to just a few via planning is so important to me- because I want to help as many brides and grooms as I possibly can.]

This post was originally published on November 15, 2012 and has since been updated. 


PPS: Want to know the wedding planners who I myself have vetted and verified and absolutely recommend? Go here to see in The V List! :)

by: Lauren

This oceanside San Clemente wedding at the Ole Hanson Beach Club is absolutely stunning! Coordinated by one of our favorite California wedding planners, Confetti Skies, and captured by Candace Rock Photography, we are head over heels for all of the perfect details. We love how a romantic color palette of blush and burgundy added a bit of glam to the beach location- that’s our kind of beach wedding! Sequin linens, succulent escort cards, and a donut wall are just a few of the other details that we can’t wait for you to see!  

A Blush & Burgundy San Clemente Wedding via

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A Blush & Burgundy San Clemente Wedding via

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A Blush & Burgundy San Clemente Wedding via

From Aimee of Confetti Skies:

Kristin & Jesse were married at Ole Hanson Beach Club in October. Their color palette was rich cranberry with gold and rose gold accents. Glam was a big influencer for Kristin as she loves sequins and metallics. They also share a love for donuts and had a pretty great donut display that guests loved!


Vendors who made it all happen…

Coordination: Confetti Skies // Florist: Olivia’s Mum Floral Design // Photography: Candace Rock Photography //  DJ & Lighting: Elevated Pulse Productions // Venue: Ole Hanson Beach Club // Catering: 24 Carrots Catering & Events // Officiant: Darin Ruiz (bride’s brother) //  Hair & Makeup: Makeup By Nora // Reception Stationery: Polkadot Weekend // Succulent Favors: Beautiful Savage Flowers // Wedding Cake: Sugar Blossom Bake Shop // Donut Bar: Lavish Candy Confectionary Table Design // Specialty Linens: Luxe Linen // Invitations: Minted // Wedding Dress: Blush Bridal Couture // Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux // Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids

by: Lauren

These boho glam wedding ideas that we have for you today are both elegant and so fun. A color palette of red, purple, and yellow created a soft bohemian elegance that Kristi O’Connell Photography captured beautifully! The vendor team is here today sharing more insight into this gorgeous design…

“Each detail of the planning was meticulously styled by Olivia at Souris Rose. Our main source of inspiration began with the hoop that was created by Olivia, and she also created beautiful dreamcatcher sachets, filled with gems for guests. Lambrie Floral provided gorgeous Summer florals, including touches of dark reds, purples, and yellows, creating a soft bohemian elegance that we had envisioned.”

Boho Glam Wedding Ideas via TheELD.comBoho Glam Wedding Ideas via TheELD.comBoho Glam Wedding Ideas via

Boho Glam Wedding Ideas via TheELD.comBoho Glam Wedding Ideas via Boho Glam Wedding Ideas via Boho Glam Wedding Ideas via Boho Glam Wedding Ideas via Boho Glam Wedding Ideas via Boho Glam Wedding Ideas via

“The tablescape began with the vintage leafed table left to Kristi by her grandmother. From there Olivia designed an elegant place setting for six. Highlighted by linens in complimentary shades of lilac and plum, the tablescape was completed with gorgeous floral arrangements and candles. For the signature cocktail, Beyond Bartending created the most wonderful Blackberry Bramble Cocktail, perfect for a signature drink. Dolly’s Sweet Sensations made a 3 tier white and gold fondant cake with delicate gold leaf details.” 


Vendors who made it all happen…

Photography: Kristi O’Connell Photography // Second Shooting: Angela Lauren Company // Jewelry: Bryn + Mckenna // Event Design + Rentals + Favors: Souris Rose // Floral: Lambrie Floral // Stationery: Duette Gifts and Paper // Bar: Beyond Bartending // Wedding Cake: Dolly’s Sweet Sensations // Hair + Makeup: Hair By Alyx // Table Runner: z gallerie // Model: Cassie Irvin // Headpiece: Montgomery Emporium

by: Lauren

[Editor’s note: If you haven’t noticed by now, wedding cost is something that I talk about a lot here on ELD. Part of the reason for this is because I was absolutely unaware of the true cost of weddings when I was planning my own wedding. The other reason is that when I entered into the wedding industry, I actually learned why things cost what they cost, and it all made sense as to why weddings cost “so much”! And so, I have made it my mission to take both of those personal experiences with wedding costs and educate you about what I have learned. I’ve talked about why weddings cost so much before, but I felt like it was about time that I touched on the subject again- so I’ve updated this previously published post on why weddings cost so much…]

 “Why do weddings cost so much?!”


I’m pretty sure this is a question that I think just about EVERY couple (and parent and bridesmaid and friend) asks. Don’t worry- I asked the same exact question when I was planning my wedding. And I never really figured out the answer until AFTER my wedding when I started working in the industry, learning the ins and outs and what it really takes for a wedding to happen. (Thankfully, since that’s a HUGE part of why I started blogging in the first place!)

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?! via

So at first, you’re SUPER excited to start planning your wedding, right? And yeah, you know weddings can cost a good chunk of change… but when you start getting the proposals and quotes from people, THAT’S when it really hits you. I think a HUGE part of it is that you don’t really have a good *idea* of what things cost beforehand. Whenever I give brides and grooms a ballpark range of what to expect for what something would cost, it’s usually a shock. But then after that, it’s always so much easier for them to take that expectation and make a decision. There’s just something about knowing ahead of time that helps SO much, don’t you think?

Here’s the thing: when I was planning my wedding I did always wonder why things cost so much. But I was so focused on the COST that I never really considered or bothered to find out the WHY. So today’s that’s what we’re talking about…

1. Making it happen.

What does it take to make a wedding happen? Wedding professionals. I don’t know what it is about weddings, but for some reason, lots of people don’t consider working in the wedding industry as a “normal” job. Maybe because weddings are such happy and fun times, so it’s hard to think of any “work” being associated with them. (Confession: I was one of those brides who thought this!)  Or maybe it’s because there are indeed a few “hobbyists” in the wedding industry providing services to brides. Whatever it is that’s causing this thought process, it’s wrong.

Wedding professionals aren’t charging what they charge just for the heck of it. They charge what they charge because it’s their livelihoods. Their career. How they put food on the table for their families. Sure, some charge less and some charge more, but it’s what they think they’re worth and what they need to live their lives. Oh and let’s not forget about experience, which is also a huge factor of wedding professionals’ costs too. And also, their TIME. They work during the week, and then they still have weddings on the weekend. Half the time, they’re not even being paid enough for the time they put in, but it’s what has to be done to make awesome weddings happen.

[Note: wedding professionals don’t charge more just because the word “wedding” is attached. This might be true for those who *aren’t* in the wedding industry, but don’t think it’s true for those who are. Let’s kill that myth right here and now.]

2. The *Things*

Yes, there are *things* that are needed for your wedding. Lots of them. And these things are also what “cost so much”. Rentals, purchases, food, alcohol, flowers, linens, etc etc. They’re all things, and are a HUGE part of the wedding costs. These things usually have to be purchased (or rented) FOR your wedding, so they can be functional AT your wedding. [Get ready for a baking/cooking analogy because that’s all I can think of right now…] Think of it this way: You want to make cookies to bring to a party. But before you can make your cookies, you have to buy all of the ingredients. That’s what the things for your wedding are. They’re the elements, the ingredients, of your wedding. These things still cost money- they don’t just appear out of thin air. And trust me- you don’t want to buy them yourself. So that’s where wedding professionals come in, because they know/own/make/have access to those things.

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?! via

Image via Bourbon & Blush Events

3. Guests.

Yep, the guests. Guests are really why weddings cost so much. I probably say it once a month. The more guests you have, the more money you’ll have to spend. It’s more food, drinks, tables, linens, centerpieces, all of the things that I just referred to above, etc. And guess what? It’s something that YOU can have control over. If you don’t want to spend much on your wedding- keep your guest list small. That is the key to EVERYTHING!

4. What YOU Want.

You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to what your wedding costs- I know I was! A wedding that costs “so much” could just be the result of what YOU want and your own taste! But hey, it’s AWESOME to know what you want, and hopefully you can get it for your wedding day! :)


I was actually inspired to write this post because of something I saw on a local photographer’s blog. She had seen a bride’s posting on Craigslist about photographers costing too much money, and she wrote a little response to the bride. It’s SO informative and something that not everyone realizes- definitely go and read it! Oh and after I wrote this whole post, I forgot that I wrote a post similar to this a while ago. It’s a little bit of a different breakdown though, so be sure to read it next! :)

All this to say that it’s important to me that you know something: I don’t share this information to “inflate” the expectations for what weddings cost. I do it to educate you about weddings, and to share the truth with you… because in my experience, there’s a ton of fluff out there, and not enough truth! It is my goal to help brides and grooms and to hopefully keep some of you from making the same uneducated wedding planning mistakes that I made.

Okay, so out of the things I mentioned above, which is the most IMPORTANT to you? It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your planning, halfway through, almost done, or already married- I’m sure one of these things is/was what you absolutely have/had to have!

I would love to hear from those of you who are fairly into your planning or already done- what area did you spend the most? I love your comments, so tell me tell me! :)


Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?! via


*Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2012 and and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.