Oh yes we did! We fired our wedding planner only four months before our wedding. It was an expensive lesson and here’s what you need to know before you drop down your hard-earned cash on a wedding planner:
1. Your planner should come out for you to whomever you’re working with. This way they can suss out any homophobia/transphobia to ensure you’re treated with respect and appreciation throughout the process and on your special day. They should go before you and prep vendors about how you want to be referred — pronouns, bride and bride, bride and bridegroom, etc. Note: this is one of the first things your planner should clarify with you. Ours didn’t, and right away she made some annoying assumptions and her language usage was like nails on a chalkboard. She called us “gals,” used feminine pronouns, “bride and bride,” and so forth. While this happens on a regular basis in our mainstream daily lives, it was particularly irksome behavior from a queer wedding planner. Worse, when we explained our preferences and offered correction, she got uppity and defensive.
2. If you’re paying your planner to assist you in vendor selection, you’ll want them to have knowledge and experience with a variety of local professionals, and be able to make recommendations based on your taste and style. For example, our planner did not know any wedding cake vendors and added no value in evaluating caterers. She did give a list of local lesbian DJs and photographers, but only provided contact information. Not very helpful. If you can google it, that vendor is NOT giving you any added value. Unfortunately for our planner, Drake’s colleague was getting married and had hired a planner for exactly the same price, who not only made recommendations based on the couple’s preferences, but also scheduled appointments with them. This allowed the couple to quickly and efficiently dial in their caterer, florist, cake, and venue. We were envious.
3. Your wedding planner should have superhero troubleshooting skills and protect you from any added stress or anxiety. Ask them for examples of how they’ve done this in the past. We learned this the hard way when our planner was contacted by the wedding hotel with a potential glitch, instead of handling it, she sent Helen a rushed, typo-filled email mis-stating the situation and telling Helen “you better call the hotel manager asap.” Helen panicked, dropped everything at work, called the hotel, only to find out there was no problem, they were just offering a discount code instead of a block of rooms. So, crisis averted with no help from the planner. Why were we paying her again?
4. Your planner should make you feel like their number one priority. They should be fully available by phone and email, and they should be one step ahead of you at all times providing direction, wisdom and guidance. Our first planner had several other jobs, was often traveling and out of touch. We laid awake at night strategizing about how to get her to perform.
5. The biggest lesson: if your wedding planner is causing you distress, don’t be afraid to cut your losses and start with someone new. For us, we gave our planner several corrections and opportunities to improve, and we were forgiving. The last straw, though, was when she copped an attitude and was defensive about her availability and performance. We could not bear the thought of managing both her and her ego on our wedding day.
In the end, we went the traditional route and asked a friend for a personal reference for an excellent day-of coordinator, gay or straight — we didn’t care, as long as they came highly recommended from a known source who knew our personalities. Our new hire was wonderful, made us feel special, came with ideas and recommendations, lots of experience, and a love of all things wedding. We were her first queer clients, so there was a small amount of education we needed to do, but her open and inquisitive personality made that easy and fun.
Are you having a good experience with your wedding planner? We’d love to hear…
ENJOY your Queer Wedding!