As a wedding planner I must admit that I strongly support booking one for your big day. In my opinion, the benefits of hiring a planner far outweigh the cost. There are numerous reasons why enlisting professional help is key in creating a seamless process and flawless day.
But do I think having a wedding planner is a “must have” for everyone? Not necessarily.
Planning your own wedding isn’t easy but it’s doable so long as you know what to expect.
So why do some couples hire a pro while others opt to DIY?
WHAT A WEDDING PLANNER DOES
What exactly are you paying for?
Let’s start by discussing the responsibilities of a wedding planner. Granted every planner has a different set of service offerings, but basic packages tend to be similar. Services typically fall within the categories of: Day-Of Coordination, Partial Planning and Full Service Planning.
This title can be a little misleading. Usually services that fall within this category go beyond just your wedding day. Some planners may even refer to it as “Month-Of Coordination.”
With this type of package couples do most of the actual planning on their own. They prefer to have someone come in and take over towards the end, which allows them to sit back and enjoy their day.
SCOPE OF WORK GENERALLY INCLUDE
- Assemble all wedding information from the couple (such as vendor contact and contract information)
- Assist with wedding day timeline
- Confirm details with all hired vendors and venue
- Coordinate all wedding day events
This type of service may see the greatest variances in what planners have to offer. Partial planning typically encompasses all Day-Of services with some noticeable extras.
SCOPE OF WORK MAY INCLUDE
- Reminders and regular check-ins with the couple
- In person follow up meetings
- Vendor referrals
FULL SERVICE PLANNING
In this group, planners take responsibility for the entire process – keeping everything and everyone on track. In addition to services mentioned above:
SCOPE OF WORK GENERALLY INCLUDE
- Vendor meeting attendance
- Budget management
- Finding a venue and booking vendors
What a planner does and the value they bring goes beyond the services listed in any given package. Wedding planners also:
- Can Save Money
- Fight for Your Vision
- Keep it Stress Free
- Provide Extra Hands the Day Of
Working with a planner may not be the smallest wedding expense, but think about everything they have to offer. If you don’t hire someone to handle these wedding elements (from large scale to minor details), the responsibility falls on you.
To some this is a challenge they would like to take on, to others they would rather front the cost and bring on a professional. It’s a matter of preference; a preference that typically revolves around budget, time and effort.
WHAT A WEDDING PLANNER DOES NOTDO
We’ve talked about what a wedding planner does, now let’s look at some myths and preconceived notions about wedding planners and the process.
- Hiring a planner doesn’t mean you’ll be uninformed. It doesn’t mean you’re outsourcing all aspects of your wedding. The first thing I do in my consultations is to ask the couple how hands on or hands off they want me to be. I’m there to handle what you want me to, to support and guide you through the process.
- Planning a wedding isn’t all fun and games. The wedding business is a MASSIVE industry. In 2016 the industry was estimated to be $60 billion in the U.S. alone. Meaning there’s practically an endless amount of options out there as well as a ton of information to process.
- Wedding planning is not as glamorous as it may seem. Society has romanticized this a bit. At the core planning really comes down to budgets, contracts, timelines and research. Hiring a planner enables you to focus on the fun parts and delegate the rest.
- A planner isn’t there to force you into making choices. You are in control. Planners suggest, not mandate.
MONEY VERSUS TIME
It’s been estimated that couples organizing their own weddings spend on average between 100-150 hours planning for their big day. Thus money versus time becomes a very valid consideration.
When you think of the value of your time in monetary terms, you may see things in a different light. It’s possible you would gladly spend the extra hours focused on your wedding to save on expenses. It’s also possible you would rather spend your time on other things and the price tag for a planner is one you can eagerly embrace.
IS DIY FOR ME?
Depending on a variety of factors, the DIY approach may be the way to go. Ask yourself:
- What type of venue package are you getting? Is it all inclusive or will you be responsible for finding certain vendors and rentals?
- Do you have experience planning an event of similar size?
- Do you have the resources to guide you through the planning process?
- Do you have the time to commit to the planning process?
- Are you able to relinquish control or do you tend to micromanage?
- How well do you manage stress?
- How effective are you at multi-tasking?
- Do you have room in your budget to hire someone? Or is it financially out of the question?
Keep in mind Murphy’s Law, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.
So be prepared for things to go wrong…and at the last minute. Often times they are minor bumps here and there, but honestly ask yourself if you want to be the point person for these problems?
Maybe you don’t mind in the least and you’re excited for the challenge of planning your entire wedding. Or perhaps the thought of putting out fires while juggling all of your personal wedding activities sounds draining and downright unpleasant.
Either way, all I’m saying is don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that because you’re planning is so flawless that no issues could possibly arise. They do – from vendors, to lost attendees, to missing payments, you name it.
You need to be realistic and anticipate the unexpected. Is the outcome of this something you’d like to manage on your wedding day?
ENLISTING OUTSIDE HELP
Finding reliable help elsewhere may or may not be another obstacle. By no means is it impossible, after all you’re surrounded by close friends and family. Most of them are probably all too happy to lend a hand. However, they may not have very much experience with wedding planning. Not to mention that they want to be there to help you celebrate, not necessarily work. So consider the level of obligation or the size of the project you are placing on each individual.
IF YOU’RE ON THE FENCE
I’ve heard from several people throughout the years that they regret not handing off at least the day of responsibilities. I honestly can’t say the same for those couples that opted to bring in professional assistance.
If you’re still debating as to whether or not it’s worth it to hire a wedding planner, I strongly suggest looking into “Day Of” or “Month Of” packages. The majority of the prep will rest on you, but on your wedding day you will get to fully celebrate everything you’ve waited for - minus the stress or distractions!