The Truth About “Day-Of” Wedding Planning

About 25 years ago, the term “Day-Of” Wedding Planner worked its way into reporting by the bridal media, to describe the minimum level of service that Wedding Planners would provide for couples on a limited budget.  Unfortunately, this term is very misleading – for reasons which we explain below – but even more unfortunately, it still remains in the vocabulary of some wedding industry professionals today.

To help you understand why this term is inappropriate, let’s think about a possible life experience that is the polar opposite of a blissful wedding day. Suppose you get hit with a lawsuit, so you need to hire an attorney. Would you attempt to save money by telling the attorney to simply show up in court on the “Day Of” your trial?

Just as an attorney cannot effectively represent you without advance preparation before a trial, a Wedding Planner cannot make your wedding day flow smoothly without advance preparation. Any prospective Wedding Planner who tells you they can just be present on the “day of” your wedding is not providing a valuable service.

Of course, it is always an option for couples on a budget to do most of the wedding planning tasks themselves, then hire a Wedding Planner later on. But in order to properly manage and execute a wedding that a couple has spent many months planning, the Wedding Planner should begin work at least 4 weeks before the wedding, and ideally 6 to 8 weeks before. At that time, you will want to have a phone call or face-to-face meeting with your Planner to discuss all the details you have planned, and you should also be willing to relinquish the remaining planning responsibilities to the Planner.

Photo: Kate Pease Photography

Since you are giving the Planner the responsibility to execute your wedding, it is important that you also give them the authority at the same time. So it is strongly recommended that you send an email to all of your service providers (vendors) to introduce the Wedding Planner, and to let the service providers know that from this day forward, the Planner is now their primary contact for your wedding.

One of the first things your Planner should do is review all of your service provider contracts, and read them carefully to understand what products and services will be delivered to you. From these contract documents, the Planner can also generate a list of final payments that you will need to make before the wedding day.

Another important task for your Planner to perform shortly after beginning work is to conduct a site inspection of the ceremony and reception location(s), in order for schematic floor plans to be developed. If you are available to join the Planner for this site inspection, that can be very helpful.

At least three weeks before the wedding, the Planner should begin to develop a very detailed timeline of the entire wedding day. The timeline is a sequential listing of tasks to be completed, describing in detail who is performing the task, what the task is, where the task is being performed, and of course, when the task is being executed. Two weeks before the wedding, the wedding day timeline and floor plans should be emailed to all service providers.

Photo:  Tracey Buyce Photography

Another shorter version of the timeline, the Wedding Party Timeline, should also be created by the Wedding Planner.  The Wedding Party Timeline lists only those tasks involving members of your wedding party (such as group photos, the ceremony Processional order, and toasts being given). This abbreviated timeline should be emailed to the Wedding Party and immediate family members, also about two weeks before the wedding.

Two or three days before the wedding, the Planner should be calling all of your service providers, to reconfirm they have received the Wedding Day Timeline and Floor Plans, and to discuss their role in executing the wedding day.  This is the time for the Planner to practice risk management and to be on top of all the logistics, and tending to the needs of the service partners as a team player. 

Lastly, before your big day, your Wedding Planner is also on site to oversee your wedding rehearsal, making sure that everyone in your wedding party understands what they need to do for the ceremony. Then, on the actual “day of” your wedding, the Planner is on duty up to 12 or more hours, ensuring that everything runs according to plan, so that you have a wonderful, memorable celebration.

Photo:  Ciprian Photography

So overall, a Planner who provides this service for you is working far longer than just the “Day Of” your wedding.  Typically, a Planner who provides the services described above is putting in about 40 to 60 hours of work. 

Because of the confusion and inaccuracy associated with the term “Day Of,” there have been some attempts to alter the terminology being used.  In 2008, as the Founding President of the Wedding International Professionals Association (WIPA), Tahoe Engaged Publisher Joyce Scardina Becker helped write a White Paper (an authoritative report giving information on an issue) called Debunking the Myth of the “Day Of” Planner. WIPA recommended that the term “Wedding Director” be used, instead.

So, if you are looking for a stellar Wedding Planner who will provide an appropriate level of service for your celebration, Tahoe Engaged sets the standards for the Lake Tahoe Wedding Industry.  Our members all belong to the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group (TWIG), whose mission is to “raise industry standards by providing our valued wedding clients with the highest quality of services and products through professional conduct and dedication to our craft.”

Sensible Beverage Service at Your Celebration

Your wedding should be a joyful experience for everyone attending, but there is some amount of risk associated with every celebration.  The Publisher of Tahoe Engaged, Joyce Scardina Becker, was recently contacted by a writer for, a legal services provider, to offer advice on issues associated with alcohol service at weddings.

This article was originally published on the AvvoStories blog and is reprinted in its entirety below.  We believe this article underscores the importance of hiring qualified professionals who have a business license and insurance, like the members of the Tahoe Wedding Industry Group, so that you can have a fabulous – and safe – wedding day!

Who is Liable for the Behavior of Wedding Guests?

by Mary Fetzer

Every bride and groom wants to throw a festive wedding reception. But if one of the happy guests drinks too much, hops in a car, and swerves into traffic, are the newlyweds liable for damages caused by the accident?

Responsibility and liability

“As any lawyer or insurance professional knows, liability is determined on a case-by-case and state-by-state basis,” says Adriana Carrasco of Insureon, a liability insurance broker. “But venues, restaurants, and bars can be named in lawsuits if a guest is overserved and causes an injury or accident.”

Allen McKenzie, a Tacoma, Washington attorney who specializes in DUI and DWI cases, explains that the responsibility comes with recognizing that a guest has reached his limit. “Most states have dram shop laws that hold taverns, bartenders, and even social hosts liable for damages if they serve intoxicated guests who then leave the premises and harm themselves or others.”

Do weddings really count?

Dram shop laws differ from one state to the next but generally encompass licensed establishments that serve “obviously” or “apparently” intoxicated patrons. “The wedding venue could potentially be held liable if it had a liquor license,” says McKenzie, “but the bride and groom would be tougher to go after.”

Weddings are unique events, however, in that so many people can be involved with planning and execution. The event managers—a combination of people ranging from wedding planners and venues to beverage suppliers and bartenders—must monitor every aspect of the wedding to ensure that a safe and secure environment is present before, during, and after the event.

“Event managers can be held potentially responsible for an accident or DUI during or immediately after a wedding,” says Joyce Scardina Becker, designer-in-chief at Events of Distinction, a luxury wedding planning and event management company in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

“Those who issue the invitation to the wedding—bride and groom, parents, or whoever’s name is printed on the wedding invitation—may be responsible for contributing to the negligence that caused the incident,” Becker continues, “and those who planned, coordinated, and executed the wedding may also be potentially accused of gross negligence if it can be shown that they willfully ignored standard, customary safety procedures.”

Erring on the caution side

Given the potential liability issues, experts advise the reception hosts to enter contracts carefully. “Depending on how contracts are written and who indemnifies whom between the venue supplying the bartender and the bride and groom,” says TJ Grimaldi a personal injury and criminal defense attorney with McIntyre Thanasides in Tampa, “there is a chance the bride and groom could in fact be liable as well.”

If alcohol will be flowing at your wedding reception, research your venue’s and/or bartender’s policy regarding liquored-up guests. Don’t let an unnecessary accident ruin your special day!

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Celebrating Earth Day Each and Every Day… and at Your Wedding

eco-friendlyBeing environmentally correct is not just for a day but a lifestyle. As a wedding couple, you can make a statement about who you are and what you stand for on your wedding day by showing support for environmental protection.


Baby It’s Cold Outside – Your Perfect Tahoe Winter Wedding

Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, or you just love the beautiful sight of evergreen trees frosted with snowflakes, a wedding celebration in the splendor of winter may just be the perfect plan for your dream wedding.  And what could be more magical than celebrating your marriage with a spectacular snow-scape of North Lake Tahoe as your backdrop?

Imagine exchanging vows on top of a winter-white mountain, with your true love holding you close to keep you warm.

Photo: Russ Levi Photography

But if you want to make sure your guests are also keeping warm, you can always pick an indoor site with a wonderful winter view, like this cozy location at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

You can also bring winter inside at your reception, with centerpieces that evoke a feeling of glistening snow and ice.

Photo: Peter Spain Photography

A winter wedding is not only beautiful; it is typically easier on your wallet. As an example, the 2017 facility rental fee for a Saturday wedding at The Chateau in Incline Village is $7,260.00 during the “peak season” of May through October. But for a Saturday wedding taking place from November through April, that fee drops to just $4,235.00. With this kind of cost savings, you could certainly buy a lot of lift tickets!

Speaking of which, there are a multitude of wintertime activities for your guests to enjoy while they are staying in North Tahoe for your celebration – downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and snowmobiling, just to name a few.  A group gathering in the snow can be a great “ice breaker” for guests who are just meeting for the first time at your destination wedding.

Photo credit: Trudi Lee

Unfortunately, all good things, including a wedding, must come to an end.  But when your celebration is over, how about a grand get-away in snowy style?

Photo: Ciprian Photography

Overall, a wintertime celebration in North Lake Tahoe is a joyful yet economical way to celebrate your marriage.  The weather may be cold, but the festivities will be a heartwarming experience for everyone.