By Sweet Dreams Weddings and Events
It used to be that hiring a wedding planner was something for the rich and famous. Today though, it’s becoming increasingly more common for everyday brides and grooms, with everyday budgets, to hire a planner. With good reason, hiring a professionally trained/educated planner can actually wind up saving you as much money as it costs, with the added benefit of reducing stress. Always ask to see their educational credentials so you know that they professionally trained and not someone that they just planned their wedding and decided it was so much fun they would start planning events for a living.
1. There are three specific kinds of “Wedding Planners”
A) Event Designer– They will help you develop your theme or style of the event. Depending on what services you need and where you live a typical event designer will cost anywhere between $4,000 – $100,000.
B) Wedding Day Director – Many people love doing all the legwork and planning of their wedding, they just don’t want to worry about details the day of the wedding. For $500-$3,500 a wedding day coordinator can step in, and make sure that you haven’t missed anything. But remember you have to plan everything they only orchestrate your plans.
C) Wedding Planner – A wedding planner helps bring your vision of your wedding day to life. He or she takes care of all the details from day one through the last dance and beyond. Depending on what services you need, and where you live, a typical wedding planner will cost between $1,700-$20,000.
2. This should be your first step
If you’re hiring a wedding planner, do yourself a favor and make it the first thing you do (well, besides finding that someone special to marry). No matter where you are in your planning, an event planner can always step in and help, but involving one at the very beginning will increase your savings of both time, money and stress.
3. Get recommendations and referrals
Visit websites like Weddingwire and OneWed to read reviews on vendors. When you first meet with a planner ask him or her for 3-5 referrals. If you are planning a wedding with specific requirements that other weddings don’t have like a Jewish or Catholic wedding, ask for a referral from another Jewish or Catholic couple. The planner should also have a portfolio of events, but keep in mind that each of those events was someone else’s vision; it doesn’t have to be yours.
4. Wedding planners are supposed to be helpful
A good wedding planner will listen to you, understand you and your vision and make you feel less stressed, not intimidated. At your first meeting he or she should be asking you questions about your ideas and vision, not forcing their own ideas or vendors on you.
5. Fit is everything
As with the perfect dress, fit is the most important aspect of choosing a wedding planner. You’ll be working closely with this person through most of your planning. One of the things a good planner can do for you is run interference, when you feel that you need them to do so.
6. Understand how a planner saves you money
If you’ve ever been a regular customer at a local store or restaurant, you know that you get extra goodies, special treatment, and special deals. Hopefully, you will not be a repeat customer of any wedding vendors! But a wedding planner is, so they can save you money by knowing how to ask for discounts. They also know how to check vendors’ contracts to make sure that all your needs are included, and prices are reasonable.
7. You’re paying the planner to have recommendations
One of the reasons you hire a planner is for his or her expertise with other vendors. Planners should only recommend vendors they know will serve you well, but they should not push any specific vendor on you. It is important to note though that the more comfortable all your vendors are with each other, the more smoothly your event will run.
8. Understand what you’re paying for
Different wedding planners charge in different ways. Some have specific packages that may specify the number of hours they’ll be working for you, or the services they’ll provide. Others work with you to determine your needs and then give you a flat fee. In either case, the contract should spell out exactly what the services and fees are. You should expect to pay 50% of the fee when signing the contract.
9. Ask about emergencies and contingency plans
You hire a planner so that you don’t have to worry about anything the day of your wedding. So, you should ask the planner what happens if he or she is sick, or has a family emergency the day of your wedding. There’s no right answer, but you should get a sense that this person is a professional who has thought about how to handle this issue. If you have a problem on your wedding day, a planner has a lot more pull in getting a refund then you do. And usually you will never know if there even was a problem because the planner will have taken care of it behind the scenes.
10. The wedding is over, the planner is still working
It may seem impossible to believe now, but the day after your wedding, you won’t want anything to do with weddings! A planner can take care of everything from returning tuxes, to having your dress cleaned and mailing out your pre-written thank-you notes.