by Linda DiProperzio
While planning your wedding is an exciting time, any couple who has said I do will confess that it can be super stressful as well. Not only are you trying to find the perfect vendors and locations for your big day, but you also have to keep an eye on your budget and deal with the wants and needs of your families. If this all seems overwhelming to you, then hiring a wedding planner might be a good move. This professional can make the entire experience more enjoyable for you, whether you're having an at-home event or holding it in a separate locale.
What does a wedding planner do?
Simply put, a wedding planner is involved in every aspect of putting together your special event. The planner will be able to connect you with the right vendors for your wedding, as well as help negotiate contracts and attend vendor meetings to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of the overall vision for the wedding. And your planner can also make sure that you are staying on budget so that you don’t start off your newlywed life in debt!
In addition, the planner can design your ceremony and reception space, help you narrow you’re your style and color themes, create a timeline for the wedding day, coordinate hotel room blocks and transportation and make sure that everything runs smoothly—and on time—on the big day. If there are any issues, the planner will deal with it so you and your partner can enjoy the event.
Is it worth it to hire a wedding planner?
There are a few reasons it is worth it to hire a professional wedding planner, such as:
You are busy with work or other obligations and don’t have the time to look at multiple venues and find vendors.
You don’t want the stress of wedding planning
You have a short time to plan
You’re getting married in another city or country and you need someone familiar with the area
You chose a venue where you are starting with a blank slate
You simply don’t enjoy party planning, even if it’s your own wedding!
As Jutta Lammerts of A Day Like No Other points out, having someone at your side who can make sure you don't make costly mistakes, keeps you on track and that nothing is forgotten, has a large network of contacts and can point you to reliable vendors at a reasonable price, and has ideas on how to save money on a wedding, is invaluable.
Things to consider before hiring a wedding planner
Of course, before you hire a planner you should make sure you can afford their services. You also want to find someone that you get along well with--after all, you will be working with this professional for many months leading up to the wedding, not to mention that they will also be there on your special day. So finding someone who you and your partner genuinely like is crucial.
And you should also hire a planner who can pull of your overall vision for your wedding day. Someone who is familiar with your style and theme—and has experience planning similar affairs—will make your experience as stress-free as possible.
What's the Difference Between a Planner, Consultant, and Coordinator?
While a wedding planner will work with you in the months leading up to the wedding on every aspect of your event, a wedding consultant is usually tasked with a specific job. For example, some venues will have a consultant on staff to help couples with certain details at the location. With that in mind, the coordinator can recommend vendors but won’t be involved in contract details. In addition, a consultant can be on-hand on the day of the event to help out but won’t be there for the day-to-day planning leading up to the main event.
A wedding coordinator is involved in vendor management, develops the wedding day timeline and ceremony plans, and runs the rehearsal and the day of the wedding.
How much does a wedding planner cost?
The prices charged by wedding planning professionals depend a great deal on your location and how involved you want them to be in the planning process. According to recent data, estimated prices are:
Day-of wedding planner: Under $800
Partial wedding planner: $1,000-$6,000
Full wedding planner: $3,000-12,000
Lammerts points out, however, in areas like New York and California, you will definitely pay more for a reputable planner's services, even if it's someone helping out only on the big day.
What’s included in your wedding planner's fee?
Of course, not every planner will charge the same way, but typically their fees wnclude:
Since it's hard to determine exactly how many hours a planner will spend on your event, most pros come up with a flat rate that will cover all of the services you want them to handle, such as venue visits, contract negotiations, attending vendor meetings and day-of assistance.
If you want your planner to take care of the design elements of your event--creating a seating plan, choosing décor and more, then that will likely result in an additional charge.
Any expenses that the planner needs to be reimbursed for, such as airfare, parking fees, tolls, mileage, car rentals, and more, should be worked into the contract. You want to make sure you're both on the same page in terms of what is a "reasonable" expense.
If your planner needs assistants to help them out, especially on the wedding day, this should be accounted for in the overall fee.
How to hire the perfect planner for your wedding style
Call around to recently wed family and friends who utilized a planner’s services to ask about their experiences and find out if they would recommend their planning professional.
Check out their work online
Take a careful look at the online portfolios and Instagram pages to get a closer look at their work and determine if their style matches with yours.
Meet in person
If possible, have an in-person meeting to find out how well you will get along with this person. If it’s not in the cards due to distance, set up a virtual meeting—seeing each other face-to-face is important. After all, you’ll be spending a good amount of time with one another, so you should enjoy one another’s company.
You'll want to have a list of questions with you for the meeting to make sure that you are both on the same page. Some queries, according to Lammerts, can include:
Do you have a business license?
Do you have liability insurance?
How many years have you been in the business?
How many weddings have you planned?
Is this your full-time career? You don't want someone who just considers this a hobby.
Always ask if you can call past clients to get their feedback on the planner, and also research online reviews.
Read the contract
Before you sign on the dotted line, read through the contract thoroughly and don't be afraid to ask questions if something doesn't look right to you. If you're not sure, ask a trusted friend or family member to review it for you.
Ready to start looking for a planner for your big day? Browse through our talented wedding planners by location.