I Don’t: Wedding Planners

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We share why a wedding planner is an I DON’T in our series: I Do/ I Don’t, where we split the pros and cons between the hottest wedding trends.

After you set a wedding budget, it seems like in a blink of an eye, it’s gone. Large expenses like your venue and catering, photographer, florist and band quickly leave you with a small amount to cover all of the other details. Hiring a wedding planner will lessen that amount even more.

While it’s true that any wedding planner worth their fee should save you money by negotiating with vendors they frequently do business with, or using their professional know-how to designate splurge and save areas of the wedding day, that fee still applies. And for a full service planner, you can expect to pay anywhere from 10% to 20% of your total budget – yikes. And some planners don’t necessarily pass those savings on to you, rendering their services purely for convenience sake.

This is one of the best reasons to hire a wedding planner – if you work full time, have an extremely busy schedule, or aren’t the organized type, then hiring a wedding planner might be for you. If you are having a destination wedding, hiring a wedding planner is nearly always a good idea.

However, if you are well organized and have a clear vision of what you want your wedding day to look like, you do not need a wedding planner. Will it make your life easier? Yes. But you do not need one to get married (technically you don’t need a dress, bouquet, dj or a wedding at all but that’s a different post entirely). A wedding planner’s main job is to execute your vision within your budget using their professional skills and connections. But there are several budgeting tools, apps and websites you can use to keep yourself on track (all that’s required is the self control to just say no to the custom colored chocolate fountain).

If you are the hands-on, DIY type, or you’re planning a small, intimate wedding, then hiring a wedding planner may not be for you. Especially if your budget is tight, you might choose to designate that portion of your budget to something meaningful to you and your guests.

When, then, is it a good idea to hire a wedding planner? If:

  • You have a full time
  • You’re planning a destination wedding
  • You get stressed out and overwhelmed easily
  • Family tension might preclude any wedding planning progress (wedding pro’s are good neutral parties)
  • You’re planning a wedding at a “blank slate” venue.

If you’re planning a wedding at a hotel that has nearly all-inclusive packages, you likely can stick to their preferred vendor list to find your ideal vendors. It will require the legwork on your part (calling for quotes, negotiating contracts, etc.) but these vendors are comfortable with and familiar with your venue – they know what their doing. Likewise, the catering manager at your venue will handle everything that involves their hotel or catering hall. Be aware that a catering manager is not a wedding planner – they won’t assist you with selecting a florist or invitations, but they’ll ensure that everything on their end runs smoothly.

If you really are interested in a wedding planner, but don’t necessarily want to pony up such a large portion of your budget, consider finding a planner who offers Day of Coordination services. These services typically start months before your actual big day, and you have a calm and cool professional to ensure your day goes perfectly (or at least that it appears that way to you and your guests!)

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