Are you planning a wedding and feeling overwhelmed?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Many couples find the process of planning a wedding to be daunting and confusing.
That’s where a wedding planner comes in. A professional planner can take the burden off your shoulders and help make your dream wedding a reality.
So, how do you go about hiring one? Read on for everything you need to know.
What Does a Wedding Planner Do?
From the guest list to the catering, vendors, and event venue, there are tons of things that go into wedding planning.
To clear things up, let’s define a wedding planner and their responsibilities.
What is a Wedding Planner?
You can think of a wedding planner as a “project manager” whose role is to organize, plan, and execute projects within certain restraints like budgets and schedules.
Just like a project manager, a wedding planner is responsible for planning, managing, and executing all the logistics of your wedding day within your set budget and schedule. Everything from the beginning to the end of your wedding timeline is theirs to navigate around and ensure that your actual wedding day runs smoothly.
Wedding Planner Responsibilities
While there are plenty of things a wedding planner does, here’s a quick run-through of the main responsibilities of a wedding planner:
- Creating and managing a detailed wedding planning timeline
- Creating and managing a realistic budget
- Negotiating all vendor contracts
- Scheduling and attending all vendor meetings
- Sourcing and booking wedding venues and receptions
- Attending site visits
- Providing rental referrals
- Coordinating rentals and transportation
- Organizing and attending the wedding rehearsal
- Overseeing all the logistics on the wedding day itself, including managing your RSVPs and your guest list, your menu design, entertainment, lighting, florals, seating arrangements, staging, and so much more.
In some cases, a wedding planner may offer styling and design services to clients as part of their package. However, there is, in fact, a professional solely dedicated to styling and designing your event called a wedding designer or stylist. These include aspects like the color palettes, flowers, floor plans, and seating charts of your wedding day.
Similarly, a wedding planner’s package doesn’t always include handling the logistics on the actual wedding day. In that case, you may need to delegate it to a wedding coordinator who comes in once the wedding planner has contracted vendors, secured a venue, and planned your wedding design.
Why Should I Hire a Wedding Planner?
There are plenty of couples who plan their own weddings. Often, it comes with a lot of pressure to constantly take care of all the nitty-gritty leading up to your big day.
Plus, if you’re unaware of how much vendors should cost or what you need to prioritize, you may end up going over budget for your wedding. To avoid such situations, here are the benefits of working with a wedding planner that will help you decide whether you should hire one.
Avoid Costly Mistakes
Contrary to popular opinion, wedding planners can help you save money. Wedding planners are professionals in their field, which means that they have enough knowledge to advise on a budget and help you stick to it.
Since they know what vendor costs are supposed to look like, they’ll help you visualize a realistic budget and use their networks and connections to negotiate vendor contracts that offer you the best deal that suits your vision and budget.
Additionally, wedding planners will advise you on where to prioritize and which items or professionals you can do without. In the end, you may be able to cut some corners without it looking like you did and still have your vision come to life.
Saves You Time
Delegating the finer details of your wedding planning journey helps you focus your time on other tasks. Particularly if you have a busy schedule and you’re planning a destination wedding.
You may have family commitments, full-time jobs, or a social life that keeps you tied up in one place. Allowing your wedding planner to handle the meetings and coordination of all your guests can go a long way to saving you time better spent elsewhere.
Perhaps the most important reason for hiring a wedding planner is stress relief. Sure, it’s very possible to plan and manage your wedding day on your own, but it can come at the expense of your mental health and the stress that builds up to your wedding day.
Through a wedding planner, the pressure for things to be perfect is taken away, so you can relax and actually enjoy your engagement through to your wedding day.
What Should I Consider Before Hiring a Wedding Planner?
Before you even start researching different wedding planners, it’s important to first sit down with your fiancé and figure out what kind of wedding you want.
Do you envision a large, lavish affair or something more intimate? A destination wedding or a local one? What is your budget? Once you have an idea of the overall scope and feel of your wedding, then you can begin the process of finding a planner that’s a good fit.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Most wedding planners rely on their skills, knowledge, and connections to offer you the best service. So, before hiring a wedding planner, make sure to do prior research about them and find out a little more about their background.
You can do this by requesting to see their portfolio, or asking for reviews from previous clients. You can also confirm their professional qualifications by checking if they are a member of an established wedding planner organization like the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC), the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP), or the National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals (NSBWEP), among others.
Once you’ve noted down their strengths and weaknesses, you’ll know whether they are the right person to bring to life specific aspects of your wedding day.
Your wedding planner is likely going to be your best friend once the planning season is over. That’s because you’ll be spending so much time with them, ironing out the finer details and making sure you’re both on the same page.
So, above all, you need to have a good working relationship with your wedding planner and feel like they are the right fit for you.
Executing your wedding vision isn’t a piece of cake. You will need a wedding planner who can think outside of the box and can find new ideas to creatively resolve any issues that come up along the way.
Go Beyond the Basics
At the end of your first meeting, your wedding planner needs to show you that they fully grasp your vision. Make sure that the wedding planner can go beyond the basics to draw a clear picture of what your timeline, budget, and design might look like, as well as show you a breakdown of a customized to-do list specific to your wedding.
The Different Types of Wedding Planners
Most wedding planners will categorize themselves by the timeline couples want to hire them for. These timelines usually fall between two and three months before the wedding, and include:
Full-Service Wedding Planner
A full-service wedding planner offers wedding planning services from the very start of the planning process to the actual wedding day. You may choose the wedding venue, but all other wedding-related activities are handled by the wedding planner.
These types of wedding planners are great to have because they help keep you on track right from your engagement to planning out your entire wedding experience.
Partial Wedding Planner
A partial wedding planner usually comes in when you’ve done part of the planning process and need extra help tying up loose ends. There are a variety of services they can offer depending on what’s left over, so make sure to consult with your wedding planner and confirm if they will be tackling everything that’s left on your “to-do” list.
They may also work with you in the planning process, where your job is to shape the vision for them while they execute the fine details. Alternatively, you can come up with a to-do list where you highlight the things you need extra help with that your wedding planner will handle while you take care of the rest.
Day or Month-of Wedding Planner
Lastly, you can choose to hire a wedding planner whose sole job is to coordinate all the logistics of your actual wedding day while you relax and have fun. You may have to meet with the wedding planner a month earlier to iron out all the finer details of your actual wedding day (hence the alternative name, month-of wedding planner).
Essentially, a day or month-of wedding planner will work as the point of contact, making sure everything runs smoothly while you’re enjoying yourself on your big day.
Is the Wedding Planner There on the Day Of?
Yes! A wedding planner’s job is all about planning out your wedding day, so they have to be there to make sure everyone is on schedule and everything runs smoothly on the wedding day itself. Plus, in case anything goes wrong, it’s their job to find ways to fix the problem so the event resumes as planned.
Now, this only applies if the wedding planner lists “day-of coordination” as part of their service package. Sometimes, if you read the fine print, you may find some exceptions that state the wedding planner won’t actually be there on the day of. So, you may need to hire a wedding coordinator.
It’s important to chat with your wedding planner extensively to find out what their services are and what they will not be offering, so you can consider hiring a wedding stylist or a coordinator if need be.
How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost?
The cost of hiring a wedding planner varies depending on their experience and service package. It also depends on your location, the scope of the event, and your wedding venue.
As a rough estimate, a full-service package usually costs between $4,000 and $12,000, or more. A partial package can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 or more, while a day-of package can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 or more.
Keep in mind that most wedding planners allow you to customize a package that is specific to your budget, so make sure to inquire about customization options that work for you.
What Is a Good Gift for a Wedding Planner?
Your wedding planner may become your close friend by the end of your wedding planning process. They’ll be your personal support system and help take the stress of planning the perfect wedding off your shoulders. Once you have a successful wedding, it’s your turn to return the favor with a gift.
You’ll want to get your wedding planner a thoughtful gift that symbolizes the unique relationship you’ve had throughout the planning process. It can be as simple as a snack you both love, or some flowers you share a good memory of.
So, if you’re thinking of how to thank your wedding planner, whether it’s before, during, or after your wedding day, here are some thoughtful gifts to consider.
- Send them a mug with a quote saying how absolutely amazing they were on your big day.
- Gift them with a decorated gift basket filled with wedding planning essentials like to-do list notepads, label markers, erasable highlighters or pens, and desk accessories.
- Everyone loves a great snack so why not wrap up some homemade treats and goodies?
- Send them a gift card to a restaurant or coffee shop where you share a memory.
- Gift them with a personalized portfolio organizer
Don’t forget to accompany your gift with a “thank you note” that expresses how grateful you are for their patience and proactivity in handling any issues that came up along the way. You can also follow up with a detailed and decorated review that they can share with their prospective clients, share their portfolios on social media or even refer your friends to them to plan their weddings.
Whichever gift you choose, your wedding planner will appreciate you taking the time to say thank you for their hard work.
Where Do I Find a Wedding Planner?
A quick Google search of the “best wedding planners in my area” will pull up an extensive list of wedding planners in your area. To narrow it down further, here are some leading wedding planners in the US to consider:
- Waverly Coleman Events – Located in West Hollywood and New York, Waverly Coleman is a design company that specializes in planning special events and weddings. Waverly founded the company in 2017. Prior to that, she produced events that ranged from after-parties to private screenings for movie studios. Her style? Colorful and chic!
- Valley & Company Events – Since 2003, Valley & Company Events has worked on planning and designing florals and events. The founders, Aleah Valley and Nick Valley, have a book called Storied Weddings which expresses their vision for telling individual wedding stories with a focus on the details.
- Todd Events – Looking for a traditional wedding with a modern spin? Check out Todd Events, which is a Dallas-based special events company promising an enjoyable ride.
- Luxe Fête Event Planning and Design Studio – Though based in Miami, Florida, the founder, Nathalie Cadet-James, moves all around the world with her team, meeting your needs wherever you are.
These are just a few of the wedding planners, so feel free to search for many more others out there.
10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Planner
If you’re curious to know whether a wedding planner is the right fit for you, asking them prompting questions can help you understand more about their values, personality, work ethic, and work experience.
Here are 10 sample questions to ask your wedding planner.
- Why did you want to be a wedding planner?
- How was your last wedding planning experience?
- Are there any clients you’re currently working with?
- If the wedding is outdoors, what do you plan to do if it rains?
- Will you take care of all the planning from start to finish?
- What kind of services do you offer?
- Is there a backup wedding planner if we cannot reach you?
- How many times will we meet?
- Do you mind sharing with us a portfolio of your previous work?
- Can you work within our budget?
Should I Ask Someone in My Family to be My Wedding Planner?
It’s not uncommon for couples to ask someone in their family to be their wedding planner. Often, it’s an option that saves the cost of hiring a wedding planner and may have advantages when you already have a close bond with the family member. However, taking this route needs a lot of thought to make sure it’s the right decision for you.
You can consider whether you’ll assign a specific activity to the family member because they’re good at it, or whether you’ll delegate roles to more than just one person. When you have just one person managing everything on your wedding day, it means their focus will be on logistics rather than being free to relax and enjoy the event.
Also, make sure to be clear about payment agreements so there are no issues moving forward.
Overall, just ask nicely. However, if you have the budget to hire a professional wedding planner, why not?
Here’s to the Perfect Wedding Day!
Weddings are evolving so much these days that there are just a ton of things to do before the big day. Worrying about whether everything is on schedule can be quite stressful, especially when you’re having a destination or cross-cultural wedding.
With the help of a wedding planner, you can have peace of mind that they will help to plan, manage, and execute all the aspects of your wedding, making sure that everything runs smoothly for that perfect wedding day.
Is It worth It to pay a wedding planner?
Paying a wedding planner is worth it. Beyond the convenience of having someone else take care of planning your wedding, hiring a wedding planner actually helps you save money and time, and alleviates the stress of planning a wedding.
How do I know if I need a wedding planner?
If you feel you could achieve better results by making use of a wedding planner’s area of expertise, then hire a wedding planner. Alternatively, if you have a busy schedule and a demanding job, a wedding planner will help take some of the load off your hands.
Other reasons for needing a wedding planner include struggles with sticking to the budget, having a destination or cross-cultural wedding that a wedding planner may have more knowledge and network connections in, or feeling stressed and overwhelmed on the days leading up to your wedding.
Can I plan my own wedding?
Absolutely! Most people plan their own weddings. If you’re comfortable executing your vision without the help of a wedding planner, then, by all means, go forth and prosper. However, if your wedding is over-the-top and requires lots of planning, then a wedding planner may be the best person for the job.
How do you start planning a wedding?
First, you’ll need to set a budget and determine how much you’re willing to spend. Once you have that number in mind, start by looking for venues that fit your budget. Next, start picking out your wedding party and closest friends who will be involved in the planning process.
Once you have those details sorted out, start thinking about the type of wedding you want to have. Do you want a formal black-tie affair or something more casual? After that’s decided, start looking for vendors who can help make your vision a reality. And lastly, don’t forget to book your honeymoon!