Can You Fire Your Wedding Planner Last Minute? 5 Women Weigh In
If you're constantly walking into things because you can't stop staring at your new engagement ring, or you're already thinking about the perfect fonts for your "Save The Dates," you may be at the beginning of your wedding planning journey. Whether you've budgeted for some help or you wouldn't dare coordinate a wedding without a planner, it may be soothing to know you could have a helping hand along the way. But if the planning process takes a turn for the worse, you may wonder: Can you fire your wedding planner last minute?
When working with a wedding planner, it's always helpful to have a written contract with specific expectations and guidelines. That way, if your special day is approaching and you're feeling like your planner isn't meeting the ideas you've previously agreed on, you have a direct contract to consult. If your planner isn't listening to you or if you're feeling your special day is getting out of hand, it may be time to take some action.
1. They Were Doing It All Themselves
I fired my planner three weeks before my wedding. It got to the point that had done so much ourselves that all we really needed were day of coordinators.
Don’t feel bad about firing her. Trust your gut. If someone doesn’t want to get fired, they should perform their duties to at least the bare minimum. It doesn’t sound like she’s even doing that for you.
2. They Realized They Didn't Need The Help
Do you actually need help planning it? Like do you need someone to research and contact venues for you? What is it about the planning you need help with? You don't have time to research? You aren't good with research, vetting venues and vendors? These are the questions I asked myself when I started planning.
For me, I know what I want. I research a venue or vendor, I contact them with questions or to set up a time to see it or meet them. If I like it, I book it. I have been engaged since the end of June (getting married in a little over a year) and I already have venue (with food and drinks), photographer, videographer, DJ, working on florist and officiant, I have my dress, I have a lot of my decorations, I have someone lined up to do my hair and makeup, some of our dessert vendors are determined, and various other small details. I didn't need any help with that. I can't imagine paying someone to do what I easily did.
3. The Planner Wasn't Doing Anything
I had to let go of my first planner five months out. She wasn't doing anything. In the seven months we had her for, she did three contracts for us.
We hired a second planner who definitely fits our aesthetic way better in terms of style and decorations, but she isn't much better at communication. Our wedding is less than a month away and we don't even have a cake or desserts organized. I've been harassing her for months about this. Seeing as we are so close and love her style, we're sticking with her however it hasn't made the process of planning a wedding any easier. It's still been quite stressful. We are left in the dark about everything, rarely get any updates unless we follow up.
4. They Couldn't Get It Together
"The week before my wedding, I had vendors contacting me that they never received my deposits. It was clear my planner hadn't coordinated anything. I instantly knew I was going to fire her, but before I made sure I was covered, I directly called all the vendors to smooth over reservations, and made sure I could find new flowers when the florist said they wouldn't work with me without the planner. I also went over the contract and tried to figure out what I needed to pay her for and what work she actually did."
— Janna, 34
5. They Gave Nightmare Referrals
The first red flag was that our planning was moving slow as molasses for the first five months, because she kept referring us to shady or unreliable vendors. They would eventually fall through and we would have to research and scramble to find our own to fix the damage. Here are some examples of what we've had to deal with. She referred us to:
A facility that stores garbage for a hotel as our wedding venue (only during the day? They assured us they'd put red carpets out for the wedding. As if that would mask the smell of dead fish).
Another venue that turned out to be $20,000 over our original budget.
A designer who used actual clip art to create her invitations.
A printer who didn’t know how to print colored ink, yet mysteriously we were able to do it ourselves on zazzle in 10 minutes.
A DJ who arrived an hour late to the interview time, then wondered why we left after we got tired of waiting for her for 30 minutes.
After the DJ, I began to take the reigns and choose all of the vendors myself, because I realized that her selections were setting us back. I scrambled to research and focus on four vendors this month, and out of the 20 I called, most were not available in May.
If your wedding is approaching and you're not feeling your planner, try talking to them about what actions you need to take in order to feel more secure. Making a paper contract with direct expectations can help everyone stay on the same page to plan your special day. Of course, if it comes down to it, it's OK to let your planner go, even at the last minute. Your wedding day is yours, and you can RSVP "No" to anything and anyone that's not working for you.