Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and one you will remember and cherish for years to come! Most people have never planned a wedding and don't know what it takes to turn their vision into reality. Hiring a Professional Wedding Planner is often the best way to get started. But with so many options out there, how do you know what type of planner or services you need?
Below are some questions to ask yourself and some basic guidelines for the types of services most Professional Wedding Planners offer.
What is my overall wedding budget?
A Professional Wedding Planner can help you in many ways and often times will have a few packages to choose in different price ranges to suit various financial needs. Choosing the right package is not only determined by your budget but also how involved you want the planner to be in helping with the details, event design and logistics. Look at what each package costs and what is included to get a better understanding of the value that the Professional Wedding Planner will provide. Think of how beneficial these services will be to you leading up to and on the wedding day.
Keep in mind that the Professional Wedding Planner is not only there to give you guidance and support, they are also the liaison between you and other service providers, often communicating and negotiating on your behalf, reviewing contracts and making sure all the details are in place with each and every one of the vendors you hire, as well as act as the go to person on the wedding day for questions and to resolve any issues that may arise without getting you or your guests involved.
This is a day where you can't afford to make mistakes and where you want everything to flow seamlessly. How much value do you place on that and what would it mean to you to have someone to go to for advice and questions and to manage the details so you don't need to?
How much time do I have to spend on planning my wedding?
If you are working full time, going to school to earn a degree, taking care of children or elderly parents or just have an overall busy life then a Professional Wedding Planner can be invaluable to you during this time. Planning a wedding takes months, often up to a year or longer. It takes time and patience to research and select service providers and venues, negotiate contracts, decide on a wedding theme or design, send invitations, manage the guest list, and much more. How involved you want the Professional Wedding Planner to be will be up to you. You'll need to decide how much time you have each day or week to plan the wedding and what is realistic for your lifestyle.
For some couples, doing the research and spending time planning the details is a fun, shared experience that they enjoy doing together. If you are a creative type of person and have time to spend looking at Pinterest and doing DIY projects that's great! Making the wedding unique and personal to you is an important part of the planning process. But that is just one part of it. There are many other details that need to be figured out that you might not have thought of. A Professional Wedding Planner can give you the guidance you need and keep you on track to make sure all the important areas of the wedding are coming together within the necessary timeframe.
For the couple who needs a Professional Wedding Planner from the beginning who are not sure where to start the Full Service Planning and Design Package is a great option. This package gives the couple ample time to plan their wedding with the planner 8--12 months before the wedding, giving direction on wedding design, theme, colors, style, assist with location and venue options, give service provider recommendations, assist with contract negotiations, work with the couple to ensure they are staying within their budget, keep them on track with checklists with due dates, provide advice on wedding etiquette as well as manage the wedding day timeline and logistics. This package is great for couples who need a lot of guidance and those who are planning a destination wedding and need a local planner who knows the area. Professional Wedding Planners are able to streamline the planning process by narrowing down your options for venues, give you a list of recommended service providers in your budget and set up meetings with you a few times before the wedding based around your schedule to check in and make sure things are on track. To see our Full Service Wedding Planning and Design Package, click here.
Similar to the Full Service Wedding Planning and Design Package, often the next option is Partial Planning and Coordination services. This type of package is the "middle of the road" option, giving you an adequate amount of support and guidance but not as involved as in the Full Service Package. Most often the Professional Wedding Planners begin working with the couple 6-8 months before the wedding, giving them more time to plan on their own and get started with some of the details before getting involved. The services are similar to the Full Service Package but a few areas may not be included such as wedding design or they may offer less in terms of time spent having in person meetings, site visits or less hours of service on the wedding day. To see our Partial Planning and Coordination Package, click here.
Many couples hear the term Day of Coordinator and think that they can save money by hiring someone who will show up to the wedding and manage the details for them the day of. This is very unrealistic and can be detrimental to the wedding causing more chaos and stress for the couple, their guests as well as the service providers who have been hired to do their job. A real Professional Wedding Planner with integrity will not offer such a service because they know that no one will benefit from them showing up to the wedding unprepared.
To really offer value to a couple, a Professional Wedding Planner will need to have knowledge of what is involved in the wedding prior to the wedding day by spending time getting to know the couple and understanding their vision, becoming familiar with the family and bridal party, asking questions about certain key wedding events such as ceremony order, special dances, toasts and speeches, cake cutting, timing of photographs and other details. They will also spend time reviewing contracts and communicating with vendors and the wedding venue weeks before the wedding day to review everyone's roles and responsibilities, create a detailed timeline that outlines the order of the wedding day events for the ceremony and reception and get a feel for the overall flow. Many couples choose to spend time planning and designing the wedding themselves, hire their own vendors and then have a Professional Wedding Planner step in a few weeks before who can help put everything together in a way that will ensure a smooth and seamless event.
The term Day of Coordinator is widely misunderstood. Couples should not expect to receive the same quality of service from someone who shows up on the wedding day to work for a few hours compared to a Professional Wedding Planner who works with the couple at a minimum 30 days before the wedding. The cost may be less in comparison but the cost of not having a Professional Wedding Planner will be more in the long run. Our comprehensive take on Day of Coordination which we call Wedding Day Management, can be found here. This package is our basic wedding planning package suited for those couples who are planning a smaller size wedding, who are doing most or all the wedding planning themselves and those who are on a tighter budget but still want a professional to take care of the final details leading up to and on the wedding day to ensure everything is executed flawlessly.
Keep in mind that you have options! If you don't see the right package listed but still want some help, contact us! We can talk you through the details and provide you with a custom quote based on your specific needs. Every wedding is unique and special in its own way and we treat our clients as individuals. Not everyone will fit into one of the packages offered and we realize that so get in touch and let's get started planning your big day!
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock Images
Next: Read "Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner"
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.