Should I Hire a Wedding Planner?
Do you plan to chase down your bridesmaids, Dj and waitress the day of your wedding? Well, I think not. Then the answer to the above title in question is ABSOLUTELY! You should hire a wedding planner. This is typically an area that brides do not budget for. Yes I know, you may be thinking, that is not being budget savvy. However, we do not want to be so savvy, that we have a whole lot of mayhem on our dream day. There are so many moving parts to a wedding on the actual day. Having a professional wedding planner who is capable of handling a thousand tasks at once is invaluable.
Even though this may be considered a big ticket item, having someone who knows the ins and outs of the wedding industry can save you hundreds of dollars. In what respect? Glad you asked. Having planned, decorated and coordinated weddings in the past, my experience has taught me that just because there is a package price, not everything is written in stone. For example, when Maddy went to visit a potential venue for her reception, the catering manager presented her with a package price of $105 per person for the meal, and her minimum food & beverage would need to be $10,000. Well STOP the PRESSES! The meeting was almost over right there and then because of Maddy's budget constraints.
Thank God that I knew just what to say, been there, done that. I kindly informed the catering manager that perhaps this venue would not be a good fit. She immediately asked, "what is a comfortable minimum for you." Oh wow, sounds like music to my ears. Needless to say we cut the minimum food and beverage budget in half. But this is not the topic for this blog, we will cover that subject next time on "Cashing in at the Venue."
Today we want to cover at least 4 reasons why you want to hire a Wedding Planner.
After the engagement, there is excitement, expectation and lots of energy. But it is also a time to be sober. Set up a meeting with a wedding planner to discuss options about possible dates and venues and where you should start spending your wedding dollars. Also, ask about their fees and if perhaps they could tailor a package to fit your specific needs. I realize that a lot of brides are very capable of planning their own wedding because it may just be their personality type.
We want to talk to the bride who may not have a clue as to where to begin. The wedding planner will carefully guide you through the first phase. The bride may want to handle all of the planning, selection of florist, photographer, venue, etc. But closer to the day of the wedding, even a month out, hire a planner to step in for the execution of your vision.
#2 Establishing a Budget
Let's talk about budget...There it is again, the "B" word. However, not a bad word, just necessary. The planner can give an estimate of what your line items will cost. Also, look at your overall ideal budget and advise as to what type of wedding you are able to have with the amount of money you have saved (if any). If you don't have a budget, or haven't even thought about it, then their knowledge and experience will kick in and give you direction on how to start saving money and their expertise is essential, when it comes to negotiating with the reception venue.
They know where to cut costs, what perks to ask for, and how to get what you want at a price you can afford. In my own experience, I have been able to ask the right questions. Have you thought about how many guests you would like to invite? Do you desire a sit down dinner or buffet style? Does distance from your home or your fiancee's home play a factor in what venue you may choose? Questions like these, will help trigger thought and perhaps aid in the ideal location and determine a budget for that particular expense.
#3 Keeping Track of Timelines
It is very critical to make sure that once you have selected your vendor, that you make a deposit to lock in your date. Just because you call and find out that a date is available, it is not yours until you make a deposit. Usually they will pencil you in, and give you a specific length of time to lock in your date. Planners are on top of every detail, also reviewing contracts to make sure there are no hidden costs. They also assist in setting up meetings with your bridal party, setting up engagement photos, getting those Save the Date cards out, and most importantly directing on the day of the wedding. That in itself is worth every dollar spent!
They are with you for every meeting, with every vendor, making sure you get a fair price that is in line with industry standards. Keeping track of timelines could also save you money, if the price were to increase after a certain date or if you missed your deadline and someone else took your spot. Whew, that's frustrating, but no worries your planner is on hand to insure that does not happen. Brides will try and cut cost by letting "Aunt Agatha" direct and coordinate, however this can be disastrous! Especially if she has no experience, and just enjoys watching bridal shows. This is the self appointed person who loves to coordinate the family reunions, holiday gatherings and does not realize that nobody wants her to. But because she is who she is, no one has the guts to tell her Auntie...YOU ARE FIRED!!!
#4 Established Relationships with Vendors
Oftentimes, wedding planners will have an established relationship with a vendor, and may get extra favors or discounts because of their history of working together. It is also a time saver because you do not have to search around for the ideal vendor, when that planner can vouch for their product, price and service. It is also easy for them to communicate on your behalf, because they know the value that each one brings to the table. It's a Win Win for everyone.
In closing, here is what a package offered to you by a wedding planner may look like. (Just a partial sample list and estimated cost)
Start to finish, meetings, setting timelines
Contacting and booking vendors
Secure wedding/reception venue
Develop theme, clarity to your vision
Secure licenses/permits for outdoor ceremonies where applicable
Meet with bridal party
Assist with menu planning
Assist with mailing invitations
Negotiations with Vendors
Manage budgeted items
and much much more....
PRICE RANGE -* $2,773 *(Avg. cost theweddingreport.com)
(can go up to $4,600+ )
PARTIAL PLANNING (Month Before)
Review & finalize details
Confirm with vendors time of arrival (Dj, band, photographer,etc.)
Attend Rehearsal & Dinner
Meet with wedding/reception vendor
Establish program lineup
Confirm with bridal party arrival times, etc.