Once you really get into the wedding planning process, you may start wondering if it’s time to get someone to help out. And you wouldn’t be alone in thinking this. There’s a reason many couples choose to work with wedding planners to handle the ins and out of hiring vendors, securing rentals and coordinating all the moving pieces on the big day.
Do you really need to hire a wedding planner, though? “Need” may not be the appropriate word in most cases. But the larger your wedding and the more events it will include, the more you may want to consider seeking the services of someone who can help organize it all. Regardless, there are some important things to take into consideration when it comes to getting help with planning your wedding.
The first question you should ask when considering hiring a wedding planner is whether you can you fit it in your budget. You should be ready to set aside 10-20% of your budget for a wedding planner if you choose to hire one. This is often a reason couples don’t hire a planner. You may choose to provide extra drinks, order fancier catering, or do any number of things with that money. However, there are some cases in which it really is better to spend it on help with planning everything out.
You Should Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner If…
You’re both busy
If you both work full time, it may be hard to carve out the time necessary to plan everything. If you don’t have time to go to venue walkthroughs, compare rental companies, or meet with all of the vendors, you may need a planner to help you with the process.
You are going to have a very short engagement
If you don’t have a lot of time between getting engaged and the wedding date (say, less than three months), you may need the help of a planner just to get all of the pieces in place for the big day without losing your sanity. Wedding planning is a lot of work, and doing it all yourself in a short period of time is going to be harder than you might think.
There are just too many moving pieces
If you’re having different parts of your wedding at different locations, wedding planners can coordinate everything between locations and events. If you’re working with lots of vendors, a planner may also be able to save you a significant amount of money though his or her expertise and business relationships in the wedding industry in your area. A wedding planner can also be a great help for a destination wedding if you’re not opting for an all-inclusive venue.
Reasons You May Not Want to Hire a Wedding Planner
If the above has you convinced to go out and hire a wedding planner, there are a few more things to consider before you set aside space in your budget.
If you’re mainly worried about getting started with planning and tackling a few difficult aspects of it, you may be able to find planners who provide hourly consultation. They can help you understand what kind of planning and preparation you’ll need to do and give you insight on the specifics of wedding planning in your area. This way you can get help without committing to the expense of hiring someone to plan everything.
If finding and vetting vendors is not a problem for you, you may be more worried about wedding-day logistics. A traditional wedding venue may have an on-site coordinator to help to handle logistics and vendors. Be sure to ask about this when looking for venues, as this can reduce some of your logistical worries.
Consider a “Day of” coordinator
If the on-site coordinator isn’t able to handle everything, or you’ve opted for a non-traditional venue, a “day of” coordinator (or DOC) may be the right choice for you. Despite the name, a “day of” coordinator will provide an initial consultation and then work with you starting a month or so before the wedding day. Unless you’re having a very small wedding with few moving pieces, then hiring a DOC is probably a good idea.
Finding and Vetting
If you’ve decide to find a wedding planner or DOC (and you’ve set aside space in your budget), then it’s time to find the right person to work with. You can check out general tips for finding and vetting vendors here.
As with all vendors, this should be someone you really like working with. This is especially important for a wedding planner as you will potentially be working together for months. Your planner or DOC should also be someone who understands what you want for your wedding and accepts your budget. It’s also a good idea to check if a wedding planner is a member or the Association of Bridal Consultants. The association’s code of ethics requires planners to disclose any referral fees they receive from vendors.
It’s important to remember that if you have the time, you can plan your own wedding from the engagement up until the day of. And if your wedding isn’t going to involve a huge amount of guests, you may also be able to recruit a friend or family member to coordinate things during the big day. Regardless, knowing when and where to ask for help can go a long way in reducing the stress of wedding planning.
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