What exactly does a Wedding planner do?

December 06, 2018

What exactly does a Wedding planner do?

Its so exciting to set your wedding date but it also come with the knowledge that you now have to plan the biggest day of your life!

I sat down with Martina O'Riordan, one of Irelands top wedding planners and asked her about her role as a wedding planner and exactly how she can make your wedding day the most memorable of your life.

What does a Wedding Planner do?

Many people ask me all the time what does a Wedding Planner do! It is great to be able to explain the life of a Wedding Planner and what it could mean for the Wedding Day. To put it simply, I meet with a couple to understand what their current vision is, what support they need, what their budget is, and then I get to work to bring that vision to life and make it a reality.  Sounds pretty simple but there is a lot of work involved!

martina o riordan wedding planner, wedding planner


Why would a couple want or need a wedding planner?

Couple’s come to me when they need assistance with the Wedding Planning because they may not be living close to their venue or are working full time and don’t have the time to plan. I have couples that are from up the country getting married on the opposite side, and couples abroad getting married. Couples may want something different and want assistance coming up with ideas and bringing it to life. Or they may not be creative and might need help to bring the wow factor.



Why would a couple need help finding suppliers when there are so many out there and lots of forums they can search on?

After a consultation with a couple, I have a good idea as to the type of suppliers that they want and then I start my research. A couple can of course choose any supplier and I see some choose based on price and I really do not recommend this. For example, there are many Wedding Photographers out there but there are many different styles of Wedding Photography. You may get a better deal, but you may not like the finished product, or the structure on the day. Two different styles could be a Traditional Wedding Photographer or a Documentary and Candid style photographer. This is similar to booking your Wedding Band. No two bands are the same and there are so many different types and styles out there that you really have to do your research. To ensure I choose the right

suppliers for my couples, I need to really understand what they both like and what they have in mind. The fun part for me is finding the perfect venue or suppliers, and then I can begin to see the day coming to life. It is like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw together!

bride, wedding blog


What is the most important part of the planning?

I don’t know if this is the most important part but it is very important - the budget. I track the budget to ensure that nothing gets out of hand. During our consultation, I give an indication of what the budget might be having a rough idea of what the couple might like, e.g. a 7-piece band will be undoubtedly more expensive than a 3-piece band, a 6 tier cake more expensive than a 3 tier cake, and flower budgets vary depending on what the couple want. Once we have agreed on the budget, then I can start looking for the right suppliers and report back, which I do regularly! I keep track of the deposits paid, the total amount and I prompt when a deposit is due to be paid.

saving tips for weddings, saving for a wedding, wedding piggy bank


Couples come to you for help with the planning, what else do you assist with?

I also assist with the Styling and Design of the day, that can be part of the Full Planning Package, and it is also a package on its own. More and more couples are doing something different, it could be an old country house, a marquee, or a barn and they need some assistance to bring it to life. I work with them to understand the kind of feeling they want from their day, for example, a simple elegant day is very different to a relaxed party feeling. These two days will not have much in common and you can imagine that the Style & Design Inspiration boards that I send back to these two couples will look very different! The inspiration board will include, the colour palette, the décor elements, and the flowers.

In the background, while the day is coming together I am maintaining spreadsheets and starting to work on the Wedding Timeline.

wedding reception, wedding toast, wedding celebration 


What is a Wedding Timeline?

For each Wedding that I am Coordinating on the day (‘On the Day Coordination’ is also a package by itself), I create a Wedding Timeline which is everything that happens from the rehearsal night (or sometimes even earlier for things like destination weddings or marquee weddings) to the day after the wedding. It documents everything that must happen for the day to come to life e.g. what time is hair and makeup commencing, in what order, how long will it take, when and where are the flowers arriving to, a checklist of what is included, what décor is being set up and where, and who is responsible for any little jobs e.g. showing guests to their seats at the ceremony etc. The list of course goes on! At the end of this process, I usually have a 10+ page plan and we go through this together. This is when I see the couple really relax, because they know every single detail has been thought of and will be looked after on the day.

wedding planning, wedding notes, how to plan a wedding


What is your favourite part of Wedding Planning?

There are so many favourite moments for me! I become quite close to each couple on the run up to the Wedding Day so I think I get the most goosebumps during the ceremony when I see their story evolve and see their smiles and love for each other, especially knowing how nervous they may have been about the day. It is also a great feeling to know that I have played a part in making that moment happen. And I also love meeting my couple’s dogs! Often not in real life though, I love being in the middle of a Skype call with a dog jumps in to take part in the planning!


Any top tips to assist couples?

There are so many!

Set up an email address for the planning so that all emails are going into the one place that you both have access to, make sure you do your research on the suppliers or venue you are choosing for your special day, maintain the budget correctly and don’t forget to ask about VAT, and enjoy it. Try not to get overwhelmed with all the planning and don’t forget to include the little details that really bring your personality as a couple to life… like the Wedding Topper!  I think the cake and the topper can tell a story about the couple based on what they choose. 

wedding cake topper, surname wedding cake topper, wedding cake topper ireland, wedding cake topper cork



To find out more about MartinaO, or to enquire about her services you can email her at hello@martinao.com, or call on +353 86 3581414

Follow MartinaO






Also in News

8 Wedding Cake Topper Trends to Watch in 2019
8 Wedding Cake Topper Trends to Watch in 2019

March 11, 2019

The tradition of eating cake at weddings has been around for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century when toppers were used to decorate wedding cakes. Since then, toppers have become synonymous with wedding cakes. They allow couples to further customize the appearance of their wedding cake to create a picture-perfect confectionary treat for their big day. So, what kind of wedding cake toppers can you expect to see more of in 2019?

View full article →

Breaking Down the Cost of a Wedding in Ireland
Breaking Down the Cost of a Wedding in Ireland

February 11, 2019

Each year, hundreds of thousands of couples travel to the North Atlantic island to exchange vows – a number that’s expected to increase in 2019 and beyond. If you and your partner are considering an Irish wedding, though, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost.

View full article →

What Is Wedding Insurance and Do I Really Need It?
What Is Wedding Insurance and Do I Really Need It?

February 04, 2019

If something goes wrong during your big day, you could be left with a hefty bill. This has led many couples to purchase wedding insurance. Like other forms of insurance, it provides financial compensation in the event of unforeseen disasters. If you’re thinking about purchasing wedding insurance, though, you should understand what it covers and how it works.

View full article →