11 Things a Wedding Planner Would Never Do at Her Own Wedding

A good wedding planner will tell you that it’s probably not a great idea to skimp on costs by hiring a shady vendor or to overbook a venue by 150 people or to play the Hamilton cast album on repeat the entire night (actually…that’s a wedding we want to be at). But she might keep mum on other choices, because at the end of the day, it’s the bride’s wedding. 

Since we were dying to know what that stuff might be, we tapped a busy Chicago wedding planner to find out what she would never do at her own wedding based on her experience planning a gazillion of them. Here’s what she told us.

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wedding planner bridesmaids

Have a Big Bridal Party
"Drama. Who needs it on your wedding day? I see drama from big bridal parties all the time with my clients—from someone complaining about the bridesmaid dress to not being ready for photos on time. A smaller crew means you can keep it simple and, hopefully, with less stress and zero tears."

Go Overboard with Chevron
“I love me some chevron. But I saw this pattern used as an accent everywhere in 2015 and 2016. If I’m throwing myself a wedding today, I’m looking forward to something new (that will probably be outdated by next year)."

Serve Signature Drinks with Names and Signage
“This trend was so unique when we first started seeing it—a bespoke cocktail named after the couple, like ‘The Berry Happy Together.’ But now it feels less exciting and more ubiquitous. You can have a gorgeous display of a favorite drink, but it doesn’t need its own name and intricate signage. Use that time, money and energy elsewhere (especially because—shocker—your guests don’t really care what the name of the cocktail is; they just wanna drink.)”

wedding planner barn

Have It in a Barn
“Don’t get me wrong—I love myself a mason jar. But the rustic trend, like burlap and haystacks to sit on during cocktail hour, has run its course. So for me, it feels like a trend that dates itself.”

Host a Receiving Line
“Not only does it bottleneck the flow of your guests, but it’s unnecessarily awkward and old-school. You are not the Queen (unless you are, and in that case, please do whatever you see fit). Instead, take the time to greet your guests during the cocktail hour or go to their dinner tables to say hi or even just make an effort to dance with different groups on the dance floor.”

Pass Out Glow Sticks or Other Party Favors
“Glow sticks at a bar mitzvah full of 13-year-olds? You’ve made their night. Kanye shades at a Sweet 16? Perfect. But this is a wedding. Your guests bought new clothes, got their hair done—they’re not as likely to sport party favors. If you are having a lot of kids at the wedding, party favors can be used as the perfect dance floor distraction. Just keep it limited.”

wedding planner dane

Force Guests to Do Line Dances
“You know, the Chicken Dance, YMCA or Electric Slide. They break up the flow of your party and make anyone who doesn't know those dances feel left out. Save them for the annual block party or family reunion.”

Have a Cash Bar
“Everyone has reasons for doing things, but my take—as someone who watches a party unfold in real time for a living—is that guests feel bummed out when they have to pay for their drinks. In their heads, you've invited them to be your guest, so don't make them pay for it.” 

Let Bartenders Leave Out Tip Jars
“Same as the cash bar. It make guests confused and uncomfortable. Plus, the bar ends up looking like the corner saloon. (Although, if you’re going for Westworld vibes, that might just be perfect.)”

wedding planner toast

Allow More Than a Couple of Short Reception Speeches
“If you’re paying for a DJ or a band, let them play. Your guests will have so much more fun listening to Aretha Franklin than they will tuning out the Best Man as he drones on and on about all of your inside jokes. And to the people who are speaking: keep it short and sweet. (Psst: Short and sweet can still be witty and thoughtful.)”

Let Dad Google What to Say
“This inevitably leads to dad jokingly handing the bride the bills from the department store and saying to the groom, 'She's your problem now.’ Ten points from Gryffindor for the bad joke and 25 more for being straight-up offensive.”


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...