Planning weddings for a living teaches you a thing or two.
guests enjoying outdoor reception with hanging lights
Credit: Branco Prata

One of the main reasons why brides and grooms hire a wedding planner is to get insider information and advice on the dos and don'ts related to the big day. After all, few people have been to (not to mention planned) more weddings than a professional planner. "Being a wedding planner and seeing what goes on both behind the scenes and in front of clients and guests has provided me with a wealth of information over the years," says Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events. "It may sound cliché, but you really do learn something new (or learn something not to do) at pretty much every wedding, and that's what couples pay us for-our experience, guidance and advice."

That's why asking your planner for their personal input about they would or wouldn't if it was their big day do is wise. Here, the pros offer up the five details they'd skip for their own celebrations.

A Sparkler Exit

You've probably been to a few receptions that feature this popular wedding trend, which involves the bride and groom leaving their reception through a tunnel of sparklers held by their wedding guests. While it sounds nice in theory, but Weinberg warns that it's not always practical and can easily go awry. "I've heard so many horror stories about sparklers gone wrong and seen the scars on a venue coordinator's hands from an accident with sparklers," she says. "I've also coordinated a few sparkler exits over the years, and, in the moment, it's terrifying-guests are not always capable of acting responsibly with something on fire in their hands."

Assigned Seats

Assigned tables? Totally fine. Assigned seats? Weinberg says she wouldn't suggest it for the entire celebration. It's nice to give guests the option to pick where they want to sit at the table you've assigned them to. "It's really tedious and time consuming for couples to assign guests to individual seats," says Weinberg. "Also, I find that guests appreciate being assigned to a particular table, but they don't really like being told where at that table they have to sit."

Too Many (Unsupervised) Small Children

Sabrina Zeile of Weddings By Sabrina has witnessed children running wild during weddings, which is why she recommends that couples hire someone to supervise your young attendees. "It can be really awkward when babies cry during the ceremony or in the middle of a heartfelt speech, which is why I personally will be having an adults-only affair," she says. "If you're going to have small children at the wedding, definitely make sure to hire enough babysitters and provide fun activities for the kids."

Surprises of Any Kind

Zeile has been asked to coordinate surprises for the bride and groom on multiple occasions. It sounds so sweet in theory, but she says it can be a tricky thing to navigate and is a tough thing to reject when the request is coming from an immediate family member or close friends in the bridal party. "I've seen surprises go both well and not as well, so for my own wedding, I will be sure to tell my coordinator to reject all surprises," she explains.

A Floating Dinner Reception

For whatever reason, some couples just have an aversion to asking their guests sit down for a formal meal, so they opt for a constant progression of food being passed throughout the day or evening instead. This is a no-no in Weinberg's book. "I can say with certainty that it's very difficult to get guests fed enough food and in a timely manner," she says. "The main downside of this style wedding is that guests don't respond well to there not being a seat for everyone-particularly if it's an older crowd."


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