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  • Writer's pictureLydia Mattern

What Does a Wedding Planner Do? The Not-So-Obvious Tasks of a Tahoe Wedding Planner

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

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Do you know whether you should cut your wedding cake before or after your first dance? If you’re unsure, you probably shouldn’t plan your own event. While it seems like a minuscule detail, these little things drastically impact the entire vibe of your wedding. To ensure your Lake Tahoe wedding is perfect for you and your guests, you need a Tahoe wedding planner to take care of the not-so-obvious yet extremely essential tasks that make a wedding go from great to WOW. What does a wedding planner do? Read on to find the answer (it may surprise you)!

Do You Really Need a Wedding Planner?

If you want a WOW wedding, then yes, you really do need a wedding planner. While it can be tempting to try to handle everything yourself to save money, planning a wedding is so much more than what you might consider at first. It includes researching venues, booking tours, and solidifying dates. It also includes researching vendors in your budget who match the vibe of your event–while there are many amazing florists, not all specialize in the aesthetic you’re going for. (At Epic Thyme, we know the Lake Tahoe wedding vendors who do.)

Even once you find and book your vendors, you’re not done. Take your florist, for example. When you think of the flowers at your wedding, your beautiful bouquet likely comes to mind. But once you find a florist in your budget that can produce what you’re looking for, you must provide them with “must-haves” and inspiration. You need to schedule a flower design meeting and create a floral board to ensure you get exactly what you picture in your mind. You then need to provide your florist with a detailed list of every arrangement that’s necessary, including:

  • Bridal Bouquet

  • Toss Bouquet

  • Hair Flowers

  • Maid of Honor Bouquet (if different)

  • Flower Girl Bouquet (petals, flower crown)

  • Corsages for Mothers, Grandmothers, Bridesmaids, or Female Officiate

  • Boutonnieres for Groom, Best Man, Groomsmen, Fathers, Grandfather, Ring Bearer, or Male Officiate

  • Special Pets Florals

  • Welcome Table, Memory Table, and Signage Florals

  • Ceremony Altar

  • Aisle Décor

  • Cocktail Hour Flowers for Tables and Bar

  • Head Table

  • Guest Tables

  • Dessert Display Table

  • Cake Flowers (which must pass a health inspection because only certain flowers can be on the cake (non-poisonous ones!) and you need to supply to the cake decorator)

Once all of these details are solidified, you need to stay in contact with your florist leading up to the wedding to schedule their timeline for dropping off flowers with enough time to set them up in all their appropriate areas, including in your hair or pinned on the groomsmen’s tux. You may also need to change your floral order if a bridesmaid suddenly can’t make it, or your overall guest count goes down, and you remove a couple of tables. And that’s just one vendor out of many! It’s no wonder planning an exceptional wedding takes 500 hours. We recommend hiring a Tahoe wedding planner if you don’t have 500 hours between now and your wedding to ensure every detail is perfect.

What Can a Wedding Planner Help With?

Would you believe us if we said everything? While not all wedding planners are full service designers and planners, those that are can help with everything wedding-related. At Epic Thyme, our full service wedding planning package is extensive so that you truly don’t have to worry about a single detail being missed. A wedding planner can help with all of the steps it takes to book, coordinate, and manage your vendors (typically around 20 different ones!), as well as other details like scheduling dress fittings, assisting with your wedding website, sourcing a transportation company, creating and solidifying timelines, and so much more.

What do these tasks entail? Take scheduling transportation, for example. Coordinating transportation takes many hours and lots of planning. If your transportation company will pick up guests from their hotels, only list a maximum of three lodging spots on your wedding website. It’s also essential to add questions into the RSVP for the invitations, so you know where guests are staying. Once you have all this information, you need to calculate the route so that everyone gets to the wedding on time and plan extra time for unexpected delays. Does everyone have just one chance to catch the bus, or will the company make multiple loops? If so, there’s even more to do: the venue, decor, and bar need to be ready early for when the first round of guests arrives (at least 30-45 minutes before the last round of guests). There needs to be music playing and things to do to pass the time.

All of this information needs to be planned ahead of time (before you even build your wedding website) and relayed to the transportation company, keeping them updated about any changes along the way. On the day of your wedding, someone needs to stay on the phone with the transportation company the entire day to ensure they are on time. Not only that, but someone needs to answer the many calls of guests asking when the bus will arrive! If you don’t have a full service wedding planner by your side, that person is often you. Coordinating transportation is nearly a full-time job in and of itself and is one of the many not-so-obvious tasks of a Tahoe wedding planner.

4 Not-So-Obvious Tasks of a Full Service Tahoe Wedding Planner

A full service Tahoe wedding planner also helps with the not-so-obvious tasks of planning, designing, and coordinating an amazing wedding.

Floor Plan Development

Once you choose the venue for your wedding, you need someone to help you turn that venue into your dream wedding. While the venue may provide certain things like tables and chairs, you need to know how to arrange the event so that everyone is comfortable, and there’s room for guest seating, caterers, the band, the dance floor, and more. Floor plan development is an essential part of your wedding design that shouldn’t be overlooked or set on the back burner until the last minute. Everything about your design, including your decorations and rentals, depends on a carefully developed floor plan.

At Epic Thyme, we know Lake Tahoe wedding venues like the back of our hands and know how to utilize the space best to ensure your wedding makes sense aesthetically and functionally. For example, the grandparents should be next to the dancefloor so they feel part of the dancing but can stay seated (We also place the heat lamps next to the grandparents and make sure they have a clear exit to the restrooms!)

Curated Vendor Selection Based on Wedding Style

Your wedding vendors are an essential part of your wedding–they are who you entrust to bring your vision to life and ensure it is truly the most special day. There are also many Lake Tahoe wedding vendors to choose from. Researching to find vendors within your budget that match your style and are available on your wedding date takes a lot of time and effort. Plus, before selecting a vendor, you’ll want to meet with a few to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting with their services. Then, it’s essential to read the contract carefully and negotiate any points as necessary.

When you hire a full service wedding planner, they do all of this for you, and they don’t just choose the first few options that pop up on Google. Instead, they consult with you to learn more about your exact desires and present you with a list of high-quality, vetted vendors to choose from. You don’t have to worry about whether or not they are within your budget or understand your vision. A full service wedding planner already does that for you. Plus, once you select all of your vendors, a wedding planner takes care of management, vendor meals (dietary restrictions), set-up and tear-down plans, vendor rentals, and more.

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Master Production and Rental List Creation and Management

Each vendor needs specific information to do their job effectively, so someone needs to create and manage a master production and rental list. Fortunately, it’s one of the not-so-obvious tasks of a Tahoe wedding planner. Take tables, for example. It sounds simple enough, right? You need a place for your guests to sit and eat. But even tables require much more consideration and planning.

  • You need a welcome table and any decorations, such as a guest book or card box

  • You need standing tables for cocktail hour

  • You need tables and chairs for your guests to eat dinner, including the proper number of linens, place settings, and table decorations for each one

  • You need tables for your caterers to use

  • You need a table and linens for your wedding cake and any other desserts

  • You need tables, chairs, and place settings for on-site vendor breaks and meals

And then, you need to determine the amount and type of each table and coordinate with your rental company to ensure they have what you need and deliver it on time on your wedding day. Because this number may change after you get your RSVPs back, and if you have any last-minute guest drop-outs, you need to keep your vendor informed. Once the tables get to the venue, they need to be arranged. Some companies literally drop off the tables in the corner of your venue, far away from where they’re actually going. At Epic Thyme, we like to ensure we know exactly who is doing what and step in to ensure the tables are where they’re supposed to be. And we always bring a screw gun and check each table to tighten any that are wobbly. And that’s just tables!

Develop a Wedding Day Timeline Months, Weeks, and Days Before the Wedding

Not to mention on the actual wedding day itself. Some couples opt to hire a partial or day-of wedding planner because they think that’s when the “management” part of a wedding planner’s job kicks in. But it actually starts months before the wedding by developing a realistic timeline, informing each vendor of their arrival and set up times, and ensuring everything goes smoothly from start to finish. Then, on the wedding day, your planner ensures you don’t have to think about anything other than marrying the love of your life. While you’re getting ready and calming wedding nerves before you walk down the aisle, your wedding planner is preparing to…

  • Cue processional

  • Cue musicians (best wedding songs?)

  • Cue ceremony

  • Cue guests to get seated for dinner

  • Cue bride & groom

  • Cue grand entrance

  • Cue for toasts

  • Cue dances

  • Cue cake-cutting

  • Cue garter toss

  • Cue bouquet toss

  • Cue grand exit

  • Cue lasers, bubble machines, disco balls!

  • Execute exit strategy

These “cues” take a certain amount of time, depending on how many guests you have at your wedding. For example, before you can “cue” guests to sit for dinner, you must first check with the caterer to see if they are 20 minutes out. Then, you need to talk with the photographer and videographer to ensure their lens and flashes are ready for the couple’s grand entrance. Then, the bride and groom need to be prepared to seat everyone. Then it’s time to cue the DJ to make the announcement. THEN, the wedding party needs to gather for the entrance, all while someone ensures the couple’s food is ready at their table. This one “cue” takes a lot of communication, work, and coordination.

So, Which Comes First, the Cake or the Dance?

Back to our original question… which comes first, the cake or the dance? You cut the cake before you start the dances! Why? Because after the dances, it’s time to pump up the crowd to get everyone on the dance floor while continuing the music. If you did the cake cutting after the dances, you would have to STOP the vibe and music, cut the cake, and try to get everyone back on the dance floor. But nobody would want to dance because they’d be too busy eating cake!

While many couples know the basic answer to the question, “What does a wedding planner do?” it’s the not-so-obvious tasks of a Tahoe wedding planner that ensure your wedding is perfect. Unless you’re ready to spend 500 hours learning about how to plan a wedding and then actually planning it, you should hire a Lake Tahoe wedding planner that not only knows what they’re doing but loves doing it (that’s us!). Contact us to learn more about our services!

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