Today I'm covering a common question that most brides-to-be will contemplate soon after getting engaged. What do wedding planners actually do? Couldn't I just handle it myself? Here's some real tips and advice on what to expect during the planning process to help you decide whether hiring a professional is the best choice for you.
Time is money
When it comes to weddings, this is not just a saying. You better believe it's the truth! According to The Wedding Report's 2015 market summary for the DC metropolitan area, there were a total of 35,909 weddings with an average total cost of $37,633. Say your event is a total of 6 hours long, then we can break that down to an average investment of $6,272.17 per hour. Like most big purchases, you want to make sure that you are getting the best services in return for your money. As a wedding planner, we are constantly networking with vendors and we make sure that we work with only the best - because our vendor referrals are a reflection of us, too! We also know which vendors are best suited to fit your style and budget, saving you tons of time and stress trying to figure it out on your own. For instance, if you told me you were having an Al Fresco style dinner reception in Baltimore with a floral budget of $3,000 I could whip out at least two amazing florists for you with photos and contact information, without you having to get online and research a thing. You should also take into consideration the time off work and used vacation days a planner can save you by coordinating with vendors on your behalf.
Additionally, you will want to make the most of those pricey 5-6 hours of your life - why waste a precious minute on a potential mishap? Having a planner behind you is a safety net ensuring any issues that arise do not interfere with you or your guests' time. We make sure that your set-up and decor is on point, the lighting is perfection, the wedding party is lined up for the ceremony and ready on-cue, and we work with all of your vendors to keep your timeline on track. While you're dancing the night away and mingling with guests, you can count on your planner to direct you when it's time for speeches, cake cutting, and the bouquet toss.
Knowledge (and a planner) is power
A CalPoly State University study found that that consistently weddings continue to rank seventh (7th) among 43 major stressful life events, and as a wedding planner that figure is not surprising to me at all. I will assure you, however, that it will be worth it in the end. You'll most likely think that to yourself during your first look or when you and your fiancé lock eyes coming down the aisle. But, before that happens, some level of stress is inevitable. There are so many moving parts to bringing a wedding together and countless decisions you will have to make: venue, catering, bar options, floral arrangements, guest lists, budgeting, honeymoon planning just to name a few. Without a planner, I promise you that it will become a second full-time job (assuming you and your fiancé already work full-time). Even more-so if you are planning from a distance, or have less than a year.
While our family and friends mean well, it's not uncommon for mothers, bridesmaids, and in-laws to push their opinions on you - making it even more difficult to finalize all of those decisions. I can't tell you how beneficial it is to have an un-biased resource to help you make these decisions; someone who knows the industry, knows what works and what doesn't, and is looking out for your best interests.
Venue staff are not the same as planners or day-of coordinators
This is a very common misconception, one that I learned the hard way while planning my own wedding. Most likely, your venue will provide you with a point-of-contact person for your event, however you should not assume that they will take on the role of a planner. Venue staff work for the venue, while planners work for the couple. While some may have the title "event coordinator" they are usually present to ensure that you are complying with the venue's rules, keep track of what vendors are working on the property, and ensure that your guests and vendors respect the property during the event. If your venue staff offers to help with day-of coordination, find out specifically and to what extent they are willing to help you out (early on) so you can hire a planner if need-be.
In other cases, family and friends may offer to help out, but I recommend against this. Once someone is working at your wedding, they are no longer a guest. Keep in mind that the event will be about 6 hours and it will fly by faster than you can imagine - do you really want someone important to you to be working for any portion of your special day, instead of celebrating by your side?
To sum up, hiring a wedding planner is always going to be beneficial for your big day. For at least one day, you should let go of all worries and let us take over. You deserve it, and more than anything else, it will allow you and your fiancé to focus on each other and fully ENJOY this amazing time in your lives together.