Ah yes, the age-old question: Do I need a wedding planner? The answer is an overwhelming YES. What most brides don't realize is that, no matter what, you will have a wedding planner. If you don't hire a professional, this job will either fall to you, your photographer, your mother, or a team of drunken bridesmaids. This is not to say that any of these people can do this job or are in the least bit qualified for it... but one way or another, your wedding will go on. Whether you want it to run smoothly without stress is up to you.
The reason I am writing this is, I have BEEN you. I got married a few years back and DID NOT hire a wedding planner. Was my wedding amazing? Yes. Did it all end with two married humans at the end of the day? Yes. But the amount of stress I endured being my own wedding planner for sure took years off of my life. There is nothing worse than you trying to manage your caterer/band/any other vendor on your own wedding day and asking your photographer to do day management takes away from their job of getting stunning images. FURTHERMORE, when a bride or MOB or FOB or the groom is managing the timeline and vendors on the wedding day, it takes away from their enjoyment of the moment and the precious time to spend with family and best friends who have come to celebrate!
Most brides don't hire a planner because they don't REALLY know what a planner does. You think "Oh, I know what kind of flowers I want and I even can find vendors on my own... what do I need a planner for?" EVERYTHING THAT YOU DON'T ANTICIPATE. For example, my mother drunkenly broke her wrist at my wedding... who took her to the ER you ask? The lovely humans below (my best friends/bridesmaids). Now I am not saying that planners are babysitters; that's not it at all. The amount of value a planner brings to your life is RIDICULOUS. Here is a list of things that your planner potentially manages in the span of a year for your wedding:
Before the Wedding
Budget Projection & Management
Venue Selection for Ceremony, Reception & Rehearsal + Guest Lodging
Recommending Vendors & Communication with: Catering + Beverage and Bar + Cake and Desserts + Photo and Video + Music and Entertainment + Hair and Makeup + Wedding Officiant + Transportation
Vendor Contract Management
Design including: Floral + Decor + Rentals and Linens + Invitations and Stationery
Create a Wedding Day Timeline
In Person Planning Sessions
Attends Walk-Through Vendor Meetings & Tastings
Payments & Gratuities Distribution
Execute Timeline: Coordinate the Ceremony + Guests + Reception
Direct Vendor Team
Clean-up Supervision/Collection of Personal Items
The hours of your life you will get back is worth every cent. A common misconception about wedding planners is "I can't afford it". I recently chatted with two incredible Virginia area wedding planners Lisa Havard and Sarah Pete to get some clarity on the value a wedding planner brings and this is what I discovered:
Typically, wedding planners have 2 packages: Event Management/Month of Coordination and Full Service. "Day of Coordination" is something planners tend to uncontrollably laugh at because there is no human on earth who can show up cold and run your day in just 24-hours.
"Event Management" or Month of Coordination runs about 2-3k. This includes numerous planning email exchanges back and forth, timeline creation and on site logistics. "Full Service" is what brides TYPICALLY think of when considering a wedding planner. This includes design, selecting vendors and basically helping you build your wedding from the ground up. This can run anywhere from 7-20k.
Now, to a couple on a budget, even the Month of Coordination may even seem steep BUT time is money. You could legitimately pick up one more shift at work as opposed to spending hours answering emails about cake flavors and ribbon color. Financially, you would come out on top. FURTHERMORE (and this is the kicker) your planner can save you HUNDREDS with their connections to vendors. They can get discounts and give you more (beautiful) affordable options for items you didn't even know existed! What Rachel Rice explained to me was that it's not so much about discounts but it's about your planner pairing you with better options that suit your wedding WITHIN your budget. For example, take this very common scenario: say your best friend is a super wealthy and got married in New York City. You LOVED her florist and want to hire this NYC florist for your wedding in rural Alabama. Not only do you have to fly this florist down to Alabama to add to cost but there is likely a local florist in your area that is extremely similar in style to your friend's NYC wedding! By being presented with more option, you can potentially save THOUSANDS. Lastly, the internet is a big wide open space where "fake news" could sell you on a vendor who isn't going to give you as much value as a vetted vendor with a planner relationship!
So, all that said, I'm going to give it to you straight. Here is the bottom line for those who hate lengthy blog posts:
1) Hire a planner to save yourself stress before the wedding
2) Planners are actually NOT that expensive in the grand scheme
3) Planners can actually SAVE you money on your total wedding
4) If you don't hire a planner, the job will fall to someone less qualified
5) You will want to kiss and hug your planner at the end of your wedding. Most can't imagine how there wedding would have been without them.
Still not convinced? Check out Wedding Wire or the Knot and look up some local wedding planners. If you read the reviews left by their past clients and are still not on board then I don't know what else to say!