On hiring a Wedding Planner

Time for another wedding update! Wedding updates thus far include:

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wedding planner

One of the first things I did after narrowing down the area where we wanted our wedding was hire a wedding planner. I’ve gotten mixed responses to this, some people think it’s fabulous, others don’t have the budget for it (or as I like to say, don’t make the budget for it) and others prefer to plan their own wedding.

I just want to make one thing super clear, and this is based on my experience so far: Just because you have a wedding planner does not mean you can’t/don’t plan your own wedding.

I am very much planning my own wedding! Every single decision is mine (and Erics) (and my moms) and the wedding planner does not make decisions – she offers advice and input. So far, I’ve been using her to help me with budget and get price quotes from local vendors. Since we are having a destination wedding having someone actually IN the area we’re getting married to contact vendors directly has been amazing.

Closer to the date she will do a log of the legwork around the big day like picking up and delivering the cake and flowers to the venue, helping us decorate, and helping us with logistics (i.e. telling people when it’s time to walk down the aisle or find a missing tie) so me, my mom and my bridesmaids don’t have to be stressing out over those little logistical issues that are bound to happen.

wedding cake

She’s also great for advice! Neither Eric nor I have planned a wedding before. My mom hasn’t planned a wedding in 30+ years. Neither of us have planned any sort of event in an area we don’t actually live in. We have questions – lots of questions – she’s a very helpful, un-biased, third-party source.

I guess one thing that irks me is when people say “oh I wish I could have afforded a wedding planner…” We have a budget we are sticking to! I’ve made room in the budget for our wedding planner. I’m giving up other things like flowers as centerpieces and fancy decorations in order to fit the wedding planner into the budget. When planning a wedding it’s all about priorities and in my opinion if someone wanted a wedding planner bad enough they’d make it a priority – that’s what I’ve done and so far it’s been the best decision ever!

No, she’s not planning my wedding for me (although that is a service she offers of course) but she is helping me A LOT along the way!

Do you/did you have a wedding planner when you planned your wedding? If your not married yet, do you plan on having one?

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44 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    I really hate when people say anything like that about basically anything. “Oh I can’t afford a…” whatever it is. In all reality, they probably COULD, it’s just not their priority. I mean sure, I’m never going to be affording a waterfront house in the Hawaii but that’s another story haha. I prefer to say “I decided not to spend” like “I decided not to spend $40 a month on a gym membership because I have some work out stuff at home and I’d rather spend it on yoga classes” etc. haha.

    I technically had a wedding planner, but it was hard to use her because I think the hardest thing for us was agreeing on decisions (with my parents, not with each other). She charged us by the hour leading up so I was always like hmm should I pay X or do it myself? haha. We did do most everything. However, she was really useful leading up to the event with last minute issues including… the fact that our hotel where we were having the welcome party the night before and staying at all weekend closed a month before the wedding, wahoo. She had a lot of contacts in the area so she helped us find a new place. She also helped with random things the day of, even though I thought she was going to have nothing to do because the coordinator at our place was really good. Things come up and you don’t want to have to deal with them 🙂 Plus from what I’ve been told, wedding planners usually save you money in the end because they find good deals for you!

  2. eemusings says:

    Well, if I’m aiming for $5k, a wedding planner would definitely not feature in the budget haha (but I do realise fees can vary a lot depending on what services you hire them for). I’m willing to pay for a pro photographer and I want good food (and obviously a fabulous dress, but I’m determined not to spend more than a few hundred on that) but little things like decorations, flowers, favours, centrepieces I really don’t give a damn about (well some are probably not so little to others).

  3. Heather says:

    I think for me we are going to be on a very tight budget when we get married, but since we are getting married somewhere we dont live as well, I think have a wedding planner is going to relieve a lot of headaches.

    I have no idea how much their services are, but I am like you and would rather keep this as stressless as possible and forgo some of the decor and small things that arent as important in a wedding to hire someone.

  4. I think it can be a good idea- relieves some of the stress for sure!

    I think if I had anything overly big, I’d want one around for a few things.

  5. Becky says:

    We didn’t have a wedding planner but a friend of mine is certified and she acted as our day-of-coordinator. She did so much the day of the wedding so I literally was not worried about a thing – it was so worth it – so if you’ve budgeted for it, enjoy!

  6. Emily Jane says:

    I must admit, looking back, I wish we’d hired a wedding planner! I absolutely love everything about planning a wedding, but it would’ve been great to have someone to do all the running around and be there on the day to make sure everything ran smoothly 🙂

  7. J says:

    I have heard a lot of people hiring day of coordinators and/or wedding planners. We actually have a DOC at our reception who will be there to make sure everything happens at the right time. I guess since we have that I never thought about spending the money for a wedding planner and just thought to save it for something else.

  8. Rhona says:

    Well, personally I have no intention of ever getting married but I think a planner is for the best. My sister is getting married in October and she has one. It is the BEST decision thus far. The stress on the day off will be all on the planner and not us. We can enjoy instead of running around to pay vendors etc.. And, she has been making all the decisions. The planner has offered great advise and she is invaluable. Good choice. I say go for it.

  9. AshleyD says:

    I’ve been to weddings where there have been planners helping coordinate the day and others where it was just the bride and groom. Neither turned out horribly, but I much preferred the weddings with the planner to help things run smoothly.

  10. lisa says:

    no wedding planner for me, but honestly, i’m not even sure they had them back when i got married, if so, it wasn’t the norm

  11. erin says:

    i think having a planner is helpful in some aspects. and really depends on the type of wedding it is. Like I had hired someone to work with me in terms of trying to plan an out of country wedding because it was really tricky in terms of trying to get a straight answer out of the different hotels’ event planners and they took forever. So they did all the leg work in looking for different hotels, provided me with the options, costs for guests, etc. then presented me with the information. then the coordinator at the hotel met with me a couple days before the wedding to nail down details. i say the 2 ladies i hired in the U.S. were very helpful in keeping things streamlined and they answered all of my DUMB destination wedding questions!

  12. Charise says:

    I didn’t have a wedding planner, because I really just didn’t want one. I love event planning and am type A, and had a somewhat small wedding, so wanted to do it all myself. But I DID have a friend who is an event coordinator at a museum serve as my day-of coordinator, and THAT was a great decision. Not having to worry about the logistics and following up with vendors, etc., that day was a sigh of relief. I also have a good friend who is a wedding planner for very high-end weddings (as in, “there is no budget, we can do whatever we want”, or multiday Indian/Christian fusion weddings that get complicated), and I think for really large, expensive weddings that have a lot more going on like that, wedding planners are a god send.
    I think it’s a personal decision everyone has to make – I, for one, preferred pretty flower centerpieces and decorations instead of a planner, so that’s what I budgeted for. I agree that it’s often not “I can’t afford x” but more like “I haven’t made/don’t want to make x a priority and am spending money on y and z instead”.

  13. mandy says:

    I’ve had some friends who had wedding planners and others who did it themselves. I hated the one friends planner, she was so pushy and downright mean insisting things had to be done this way or that. I think planners are a great idea in a destination type wedding to help with vendor and the logistics.

  14. Jess says:

    I’m not married, engaged or anything close, but when the time eventually comes, I think I’m going to be way too much of a control freak to let anyone do anything outside of my immediate family. I know planning a wedding is a lot of work after watching my cousins do it, but yea, I just couldn’t imagine that I’d be OK enough to let someone else do it lol.

  15. We have a “month of” wedding planner. That basically means that she’s a little more hands on that a Day Of coordinator, but not so hands on that she’s doing much for us ahead of the wedding. In February, she came with me and my mom to meet with our venue coordinator to discuss logistics of the wedding and to help organize the flow of the evening, so we know the timeline of everything.

    She’s also helped recommend a few vendors that I’m using, since I had very limited time to meet with vendors while I was home. I had to make sure they were worthwhile beforehand. Next month, I’ll meet with her again to go over more details, and then finally, she’ll lead the rehearsal and keep everything going on the day of the wedding. It will be really nice to just be “the bride” on my wedding day instead of a pseudo-wedding planner. I think you made the right decision!

  16. I don’t think I’d use one, because I’m 99% sure that my wedding is going to be really low key and simple-but who knows. Maybe once I actually get engaged and start planning I’ll find out that I need one.

  17. Alina says:

    I totally agree with you – everything in life is a trade-off, you have to figure out what’s important to you. I would definitely hire a wedding planner for my hypothetical future wedding – logistics are stressful and not necessarily my strong point either. It would the process much more pleasant for me, I think. then again, some people love doing all their own logistics and that’s fine too!

  18. mania says:

    I got married more than 6 years ago and the prices where not the same as today, I know; wedding is a big expense for everyone and I think it should be something that brings a smile to your face everytime you think about it. at same time ( couple of months after me) my cousin had her wedding and hers was 10x bigger than mine . I ‘m not those people that compares myself to anyone else because I think everyone is different , that was hers and I had fun in both of the weddings, she had a different taste, plans and point of view and she enjoyed her wedding a lot, so did I. that’s all that matters:)
    I had a wedding planner I really need one bc I was travelling a lot during those months ( mine took about 3 months I mean the planning thing, we got engaged in Sep and got married in end of Jan) I told them what I wanted exactly and they find the best deals on those for me like flowers and the rest of the stuff, for food, cake we knew where we wanted to get them without the wedding planner, so that was fast and easy actually:) I think having a planner is helpful ( it could be close friend, cousin …or a professional) ,the % of their involvement on the wedding planning is different from one to others 🙂 so enjoy yours and look at it as a fun activity and do what you both like to do not what others like you to do…xoxo

  19. Leigh says:

    We didn’t hire a wedding planner for our wedding, but I don’t think we needed too. We had an engagement of almost 1.5 years, so I had LOTS of time to plan and look at different vendors. I think they are a great idea though. Especially for you because you are planning a destination wedding and the planner will know lots of vendors in the area.

    The one thing I regret not doing or hiring for our wedding was a videographer. I really wish we would have because there are so many details and events that I have already forgotten from our wedding!

  20. Morgan says:

    I fully intend on using a wedding planner someday because 1) the idea of planning a wedding stresses me out, I will absolutely need help 2) I’m already kind of obsessed with one who’s blog I read in the area 3) I have absolutely no desire to plan all that stuff anyway. I don’t mind making decisions about it but if it were up to me, we’d just elope. (Spike absolutely refuses this idea.)

    I can’t wait to hear more about your big day as things unfold!!!!

  21. Holly says:

    I wish I’d had a wedding planner too! I wasn’t at all familiar with any of the wedding venues/vendors in Edmonton so my MIL completely took over – it would have been nice to have had someone who could show me what was available and then let me make my own decisions, ya know? I was SO stressed – it would have been nice to have someone else take care of things 🙂

  22. I hate when people make comments trying to get you to feel bad about your choices. Making the “oh I wish I could afford a wedding planner” comment is just like “oh, I dont have TIME to eat healthy”. Its not true, and it doesnt matter anyhow because its YOUR decision. I think hiring a wedding planner is genius. I would have no idea where to even start with planning a wedding, and having someone to help out, and do some things for you is wonderful.

  23. I didn’t have a wedding planner. Not because we couldn’t afford one. Frankly, I didn’t feel we needed one, never looked into the cost of one and loved being a part of every up and down of planning and executing our wedding. That said, if I were having a destination wedding, I would definitely want someone in that location who is on my side, so I think you were smart to work one into your budget.

    By the way, weddings do funny things to people. We can get very sensitive about decisions we are making for one of the most important days of our lives. Based on the language you used in this post, it seems like you feel attacked for getting a wedding planner. And you most definitely shouldn’t – you have your reasons and they’re sound. Even if they weren’t sound, it’s your wedding and no one should knock you for it. That said, be careful about judging other people who say they can’t afford a wedding planner. Some people really do have VERY limited budgets and probably cannot afford one. And that’s OK, too. So long as every bride and groom feels uniquely special on their wedding day, that’s really what matters, regardless of the road they took to get there.

  24. Lisa says:

    I don’t get why people were giving you a hard time. Hiring a wedding planner is kind of “the thing to do” now. PLUS it’s a destination wedding! That makes sense to me.

    When the bf and I get married I plan on doing most of the wedding planning myself but at some point I will probably hire a wedding planner to take care of some details–at the very least I want to hire someone for my wedding day so I don’t have to deal with any BS. 🙂

  25. I think there are lots of things that some people prioritize and others think are luxuries. I, for example, will probably try to find room in the budget to hire someone to clean my house once I have kids. I would be willing to give up some other things in order to make that happen. Some will probably look at that and say “ooh…they must have money to spare because they have hired-hep for cleaning” but for me, it will be worth it. I HATE cleaning and would rather spend time with friends and family and give up expensive hair cuts… it is all about priorities.

    I didn’t have a wedding planner- but I can definitely see why it would be helpful to have one. A planner can help you find good deals and vendors you’d never find on your own!

  26. Rachel says:

    woohoo! i had a wedding planner too and oh my lord was she a life saver! for destination weddings especially, i can’t imagine planning without one. and from a vendor perspective, it’s always nice. they keep things running smoothly for the bride and that equals awesome photos of you because you’re cool as a cucumber! 🙂

  27. Actually, sometimes you just can’t afford a wedding planner. Even if you want to budget it in. Even if you know how to prioritize. Honestly, I wish I could afford a wedding planner. But I can’t since my budget is waaay under most wedding budgets ($4kish). This is unfortunate and I do wish I could afford a wedding planner, but that doesn’t mean I think badly of you because you have one. I might be a bit jealous (hehe!) but I think it’s awesome! Go you with your great decision!

  28. A Super Girl says:

    Hey! We can be wedding buddies! I just got engaged a couple months ago and we’re getting married next spring!

    …that was a lot of exclamation points.

    Anyway, the question at hand. I am not planning to hire a wedding planner. Even if I did, I’d likely hire a day of coordinator only. That being said, I’ve always thought it would be fun to BE a wedding planner and totally get why you’d want one, especially given the destination aspect. For me, I just wanted to take care of everything myself, even though I am a tad nervous as to how everything at the reception is going to get set up. But that’s another story.

    I think you do what you want. You’re right that it’s not usually about having the budget, it’s about making the budget. And we all have different priorities when it comes to our own weddings (and life in general). So people need to get off the hater train!

  29. Nora says:

    I’m so glad she’s such a great resource for you 🙂

    I’m my own wedding planner so far, but I think that’s only cause I know what I need and where to get it in STL. If was doing a destination or planning a wedding in a location I was not informed about, I’d do the same thing. In fact, I was looking at them for all the Florida locations and etc. So it totally makes sense to me!

    I will have a personal attendant on the day of the wedding who handle the delivery of things and etc. for us which will be a huge help. Less to stress about = happy Nora & Knight!

  30. Are people really giving you that hard of a time? They’re probably just continuously surprised at how responsible and organized both you and Eric are. Really, it’s rare, and I can’t believe how young you both are. You seem much older and mature than a typical couple your age.

    How a couple plans their wedding is completely a personal decision, like you said! Knowing myself, I would like to have one because I stress out very easily. A wedding planner would just make sense for me. And, because I will probably have a destination wedding (the big hoopla at home sounds stressful) I would like to have someone in said destination organizing things for me while I’m spending time with my fiance. Makes sense! 🙂

  31. Caroline says:

    I’m not married and I’ve really never planned a wedding, but judging by Kel’s wedding last year – I’d say anyone who can reduce stress right before/during the big day is worth budgeting in!

  32. We used a wedding planner and I’d say it’s practically a MUST when doing a destination wedding!!!

    Don’t feel bad about your choices and don’t let anyone question them either. You’ll notice along the way that people will voice all sorts of ridiculous opinions but in the end only what you think matters!

    Ignore the haters, amiga! 😉

  33. Melissa says:

    I’m not sure if I’d have a wedding planner, but I think it’s a great idea. It sounds like she’s helping you out A LOT and it’s important that you can enjoy your special day and not feel stressed about it. Everyone does what they feel is best and you’re totally right, if it’s a priority you’ll fit it in the budget just like you guys did!

  34. In the last couple of years, I would say that most of my friends had a wedding planner. Their involvement varied from helping early on to being a day of coordinator. All of them said it was the best decision to hire someone as it took alot off their plate.

    I think with major events in life, people have judgments and they share those judgments. It seems like weddings and having babies brings out a whole lot of those judgments/opinions, and I think it’s hard to not take some of those comments personally. Kind of like how i was and am still annoyed by comments from people who say, “it must be nice to have a cleaning service”….

    I think you made the right choice! Esp since you aren’t local – so it’s tough to do alot of the coordinating from far away! I would say most people who do destination weddings hire a planner – often times, it comes w/ the package, i think!

  35. I’ve never seen a problem with hiring experts to help you. Experts are there for a reason and their services are often totally worth it! While I don’t know if I’ll use a wedding planner (probably not, mostly because I’m from a small town where I know all the potential vendors personally) but I think it could be a great idea. Many people hire a real estate agent to sell their house, an accountant to help with their taxes, why not a planner to help with that AWESOME wedding you’re planning.

  36. Stephany says:

    I think it would definitely depend. If I chose to have a destination wedding, then most definitely. It would make the most sense. But if I had a wedding around my location, I probably wouldn’t spend my money on one. I know the locales and the vendors and all that. I can do all that on my own.

    For me, I am planning to spend a lot of money on a professional photographer and decorations. That means the most to me.

    But I can definitely see how a planner could relieve a lot of the stress of the planning process!

  37. Nicole says:

    I didn’t have a wedding planner but our venue had a wedding coordinator so she helped do a lot of things for the reception that were extremely helpful while planning and the day-of.
    You are right- it’s all about priorities. Some people absolutely want chair covers but are willing to spend less on flowers or invitations to add that special touch elsewhere.
    If I planned a destination wedding like you are I definitely would have hired a wedding planner as logistically it makes a lot of sense.

  38. Keri says:

    Congrats! I don’t think there is anything wrong with hiring a wedding planner…I’m sure your wedding will be beautiful!

  39. Kyla Roma says:

    Since Jesse and I were both stage managers in a previous life, planning the wedding was really straight forward for us- we had a google doc with the areas we needed to make decisions on, and then a running schedule of what would be determined every month leading up to the wedding and a “day of” plan. Since most shows are planned in a month, having four months to get the wedding happening felt like way too long! There weren’t even any lighting cues! 😉

    I’m glad you’ve made a decision that’s right for you, and that you’r comfortable with- that’s all that matters 🙂

  40. If I ever get married, I am totally getting a wedding planner. It can be a stressful time and and planner can help ease your mind knowing that some things will be taken care of with out you having to worry about it. Yet, you are still totally in control of your big day. Win-win!

  41. shoshanah says:

    We aren’t hiring a wedding coordinator, although our site does have a DOC that will help out thankfully. Apart from booking the actual venue we haven’t done a whole lot of planning. Part of me would though would like to have a planner, although I know I can do it without nice, it would be so nice to have someone to go to for advice who really know what they’re talking about.

  42. Wendy says:

    We didn’t (our wedding is this coming October), but sometimes I wish we did. Particularly as life can just suddenly get busy and whatever time you thought you hand, you might not! I had a huge project start up at the beginning of this year that was a bit of a surprise and it consumes so much of my time that by the time I get home, I just want to relax and not think or plan anything! As a result, there are a few things we are still needing to complete with only 4 months to go. Luckily, I’m quite laid back and think everything will go just fine. Fortunately, my other half has been a tremendous help in doing a lot of the work. I think it’s great that you are utilizing your wedding planner in the best way that fits your needs, making the decisions that you want and on your own terms!

  43. I didn’t have a wedding planner … but now I am one! I just do it as a side thing, so I like to keep it to a wedding or 2 per year. I became certified about 2 years ago as a wedding planner/coordinator. I love the consulting part the most!

  44. I didn’t have a wedding planner, but my mom was basically my wedding planner. I cared about a few certain things and gave my input but she made it happen. The wedding really wasn’t my cup of tea.. I just wanted to have the party.. 😉