Annie Lee, principal planner and founder of Daughter of Design
Should couples make room in the budget for a planner?
Juggling work, a social life, and your relationship while planning your own wedding is difficult. Full-time planners will take care of all the details. I’ll spend the day on the phone finding out the city noise ordinances we’ll have to take into consideration. If a full-time planner isn’t in the budget, at the very least get one for the month of. I don’t believe in day-of planners.
Why is that?
It’s like Quantum Leap-ing into a situation that you have no background on. A small investment in a planner will guarantee that your wedding—which you’re spending so much money on—will run the way you want it to.
And if you just can’t swing it financially?
You’ll have to lean on the person in charge of the catering and your florist. The florist for set-up, and the caterer to take charge of the timing of the food. A good onsite manager is worth their weight in gold.
What makes a planner irreplaceable?
A lot of my time is spent mediating and managing relationships. I’ll email your mom so you don’t have to. Some things sound less harsh coming from a professional.
How can couples find the right one?
Get recommendations from a venue or vendor that represents your aesthetic. Look at wedding photographers’ websites. Email the ones you really love and ask who they would recommend. If your vibe is totally Williamsburg, you won’t wind up with someone who’s Upper East Side. As soon as you meet them, you have to feel like they get you and that they can interpret your style. If they don’t understand what you’re looking for—or pick up on it quickly—then they can’t pair you with the resources you’ll need.
Where do most couples go wrong on their wedding day?
You do not have the time you think you do. Everyone thinks folding the programs will take a second, but it takes hours! You won’t be able to do anything but get ready on the day of. Putting the escort cards in alphabetical order and putting them out can take an hour. Clear your schedule for at least a week before your wedding so that you can get everything done in advance.
In an effort to cut costs, would you support enlisting family members to help out day of?
Sometimes it works, but most times it doesn’t. At first, everyone is on board, but then they realize they’re working the event, not enjoying it. And please don’t ask your parents to do anything. They should be greeting guests. They should never be in the back talking to the caterer.
“Before you lock in your date, find out if there are any street fairs or major city events that may cause traffic hiccups or delays.”
Photo: Illustration by Gillian Blease