Can you afford to hire a planner for your wedding? In our opinion, you can’t afford NOT to hire one; it’s simply a matter of how much help you want from them, and when during the planning process you decide to secure their services.
At minimum, you’ll want someone there for the day to help orchestrate and coordinate the décor, greet and direct vendors, circle up the family and bridal party before the ceremony, pictures and the toasts, to make sure guests know when to be where, and most importantly, to help clean up at the end of the night. We’ve known many brides and grooms who have decided to forgo this expense, and almost every single one of them say that’s one of the things they definitely would have done differently if they could. DIY brides will often try to take care of this stuff on their own, or will ask family and friends to pitch in. If you can afford a profession who does this regularly it’s always best, but if your budget is too tight find a thrifty alternative! Find a local college girl who wants to be a wedding planner when she grows up (you’d be surprised how many of them are out there). Inquire with your friends, family and coworkers if they know of someone who could fit the bill and be willing to do it for you. Just remember that professionals can charge upwards towards $1000 for this service; if you aren’t hiring a professional, you shouldn’t pay professional prices, but a $100 gift card to Target for a day’s worth of work isn’t really enough unless you’re budget is really strapped.
If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, a wedding planner can be a fantastic resource for you! They can help secure some of the most talented and reputable vendors, and will also be knowledgeable on the latest trends and styles of the season. Not to mention all of the time they save and stress they alleviate for you! Many brides fear that a planner will steal the show and try to take over. On one hand, remember that the reason you’re hiring them is so they CAN run the show! But you want to make sure he or she won’t step on your toes too much, and will only step in when you really want them to. If you’re the kind of bride that likes to hold the reins and long as possible, then meet with your potential planner once or twice before signing a contract, and even spring for a consultation meeting. If they’re insistent that you just HAVE to hire such-and-such photographer because they’re FABULOUS, and they wouldn’t DREAM of having anyone other than so-and-so design your bridal bouquet…well, they probably aren’t the right match for you. Just make sure that you guys connect on a personality level as well as monetary one; when stuff hits the fan, they’re the one that you’re going to go to first to save the day, and if you’re not comfortable with who they are as a person, you’re not going to want to turn to them when you actually need them.
So how does a wedding planner benefit those that aren’t on a super-tight budget, but don’t have a ton of money to spend? One of the best things they can help you with is to find vendors and décor to keep you in your budget, and in theory he or she will save you enough money to cover their fees. Think of it this way; if you’ve budgeting $20,000 for your wedding, your planner should be able to save cut enough corners and find enough deals to save you $1,000-$1,500, which is about what the fee can be.
Regardless of your budget, wedding planners can help you in so many ways!
• Vendors are more likely to get referrals for new business from wedding planners than brides, so their incentive to do a fantastic job at your wedding is increased when there’s a wedding planner preset.
• They ensure that your family, bridal party and friends have a good time. Sure, these people love you and would do anything to help you out. But after a long day of dancing, drinking and celebrating, sticking around until midnight gathering up table numbers and pulling linens off of the table is probably not their ideal way to end the night. These people are, after all, your most important guests; make sure you take care of them and let them have as much fun as they can!
• They can help you with the wedding day timeline. Oftentimes vendors are happy to help with this, but remember this isn’t what they do professionally. A DJ may do a great job of helping time out the reception, and photographers can do a pretty good job of helping your orchestrate the day, but neither of them will be able to help with the timing of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, nor will they be able to assist you in having your hair and makeup artist arrive at the hotel at the right time.
• Something will ALWAYS go wrong at your wedding! It could be as simple as a broken strap on a bridesmaid’s dress, or as overwhelming as a vendor that no-shows. Having a planner there means that you don’t have to deal with these problems when they arise; and if your planner is really good, chances are you won’t ever know that anything went wrong!
All in all, a wedding planner is something every couple needs for their wedding, and it really is something to factor in to your budget from day one. Trust us, it’ll be one of the best decisions you make about your wedding, aside from choosing the groom!