It can be overwhelming as well as incredibly exciting when you first start thinking about planning your wedding. There seem to be endless decisions to make and knowing where to start is arguably one of the biggest challenges that you will face. Many engaged couples choose to hire a wedding planner to provide clarity, a sense of calm and to ensure that their special day is planned for down to the final details. But naturally you may be wondering if you even need one; especially when you consider their typical price! I decided to spend some time researching everything that they do and weighing up the pros and cons to find out if they are a suitable investment.
So, is a wedding planner worth it? Whether a wedding planner is worth it, truly comes down to your personal preferences as a couple. You need to consider your budget, how much you wish to be involved with the preparations for your day, the involvement of friends and family and ultimately if a wedding planner would enhance your experience as a bride and groom or hinder your creativity and spontaneity of your wedding!
Every couple who intends on getting married will need a wedding planner; there is no denying that fact.
However, the real question is whom will be playing this role. Can or do you actively want to undertake this yourself, or would you rather outsource the process of coordinating your celebrations on your behalf.
Of course, there are pros and cons to each option, which we will address in the following sections. But either way, planning a wedding involves a lot of moving pieces, and to ensure the day runs smoothly is largely dependent on the preparation and organisations that take place before it.
What Does A Wedding Planner Actually Do?
The first stage of the wedding planning process (funnily enough) is deciding whether to hire a wedding planner. So, what does a wedding planner actually do?
Understanding their role within your wedding is key to making this decision.
Typically, you can expect your wedding planner to help with planning your wedding, either in the lead up to or on your big day.
Their role usually involves ensuring that the wedding happens as it is supposed to: right place, right time, right people. They can also make sure that the finer details of your day come together, relieving the bride and groom of that responsibility and enabling them to fully relax and enjoy their special day.
The level of involvement your wedding planner will have totally depends on you as a couple – if your budget allows they can be involved with every detail of your day – down to any personal touches that you wish to include like name cards and favors.
On the other hand, your wedding planner may have a more ‘hands off’ role within your wedding. Utilising their industry contacts to put you in touch with service providers for your big day, for example venues, photographers, caterers, entertainment etc.
Any wedding related service you can think of, chances are your wedding planner will be able to recommend and facilitate the best option for both Bride and Groom.
If you choose not to hire a wedding planner, it is highly likely that the core tasks usually performed by the wedding planner will fall to you as the happy couple.
Each couple are different and whilst planning a totally bespoke and personal wedding completely by themselves may sound like a dream scenario for some couples, for others it can be rather stressful.
Wedding planners will usually be responsible for and offer services such as:
- Getting to know the bride and groom. This initial meeting (or meetings) are so important for your planner to truly gain an understanding of what you envision your wedding to be. Things that will typically be discussed are your budget, special requirements, number of guests etc. These meeting are also a chance for the couple getting married to be notified of any issue that arise in the planning process.
- Providing wedding inspiration. Be this through mood boards, expertise, knowledge and ideas to ensure your wedding truly reflects you as a couple. Wedding planners are industry experts so you can expect them to provide your with in-style inspiration and make suggestions based on your discussions.
- Being the middle-man (or woman) between the bride and groom and their wedding providers! The wedding planner will liaise with venue staff, florists, caterers, entertainment, décor specialists to ensure your day runs as smoothly as possible.
- Managing the wedding diary. In essence, creating the timeline between the initial steps in planning and your big day and sticking to it. Your wedding planner will make sure that payments are made on time, bookings are secured and all vendors are kept informed.
- Ensuring your wedding day runs smoothly without a hitch! Depending on the service they offer, your wedding planner will likely be at your venue on the day of your wedding, organising each and every detail of the day so you can relax and enjoy your special moment.
If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, be sure to go on recommendations from other couples. It is important that you feel comfortable and happy with your choice of planner as they will likely be highly involved with yours and your loved ones special day.
Do You Really Need A Wedding Planner?
Whether you need a wedding planner ultimately depends on your attitude towards planning and orchestrating your big day.
Are you the kind of couple who will thrive off the decision making and planning experience? Or, does the thought of planning your big day make you feel slightly nauseous?
Highly organised couples, who enjoy planning may also hire a wedding planner to ensure that they can fully relax and enjoy their wedding, knowing that their planner is there to liaise with vendors and make sure that every part of the day – from the ceremony to the cutting of the cake and first dance – runs to time.
Some couples will find themselves worrying about the planning and preparation of even the smallest parts of their day, for example who will make sure the correct music is played as we walk down the aisle?! If that is the case for you, then a wedding planner may be a good option.
Trusting someone with planning something as important as your wedding can seem daunting. However, wedding planners are industry experts! Know that your wedding is in safe hands and focus on enjoying the lead up to your wedding worry free!
How Much Is The Average Wedding Planner?
Typically, a wedding planner will charge 10-15% of the total wedding budget. Or, in monetary terms, anywhere between $1,500 and $4,500 in the higher end of the market. However, this will depend on the package or plan you select.
If you are seeking to employ a wedding planner for just the basics: meaning minimal assistance or involvement in the finer details of your day – wedding planning can occasionally run at around a few hundred dollars.
As with anything, the level of experience your desired wedding planner has will also impact the rate that they charge.
A highly-experienced planner is likely to have a rich and diverse network of trusted industry contacts to work with – therefore will charge their planning services at a premium.
Don’t let this put you off considering them – it is likely that due to their professional network they will be able to source the best deals from the ideal vendors to suit your big day!
How Much Should You Spend On A Wedding Planner?
As a couple, if you think that hiring a wedding planner would be the perfect choice for your big day, the next thing you should do is consider how much you would be willing to spend.
As a general rule a wedding planner should account for around 10% of your total budget. So, if you are looking to spend $20,000 total on your nuptials, you should be budgeting $2,000 dollars of your total spend to pay your wedding planner.
There are also several other factors to consider. Couples will pay more for their wedding planner depending on: their reputation, experience, availability to list but a few!
It is recommended that you contact perspective wedding planner in advance to discuss with them your requirements decide whether any of their planning packages would be suitable and cost effective.
Benefits Of A Wedding planner
Weighing up the pros and cons of hiring a wedding planner can provide clarity for couples as to whether they should (or even need to!) employ one.
Whilst, the cons mostly consist of an increased spend on your wedding and for most couples, finding the extra money in their budget can be tight, we think the benefits definitely outweigh any cost involved.
In fact, by hiring a wedding planner some couples may even end up saving money due to their planner’s professional network and ability to negotiate favorable rates.
Here are some other benefits of hiring a wedding planner:
- Save time, your planner will typically lead any email/phone exchanges between vendors and suppliers for your wedding, saving the couple lots of time,
- Save money, the industry contacts and friends your planner has will undoubtedly be of benefit to your budget! Your wedding planner will also use their expertise to save you cash in things like selecting seasons flowers as part of the décor and negotiating deals,
- Budgeting, chances are your wedding will not be your planners first! Budgeting can be overwhelming for couples planning their wedding – your planner will have some tips and tricks to smooth out this whole process and, in some cases, handle your budget entirely independently as part of their planning service,
- Putting you in touch with their network, industry contacts, particularly in the wedding business, are never a bad thing! Your planner will likely be able to get favorable rates with their contacts and suggest vendors that would work best for you, as a couple,
- Can negotiate best deals, using their network of contacts, the prices that your planner puts forward for every element of your day are likely to be highly competitive,
- Expertise, if this is your first (or even second marriage) planning a wedding is an unfamiliar experience, having an industry expert on hand to provide advice and guidance can be extremely useful,
- Calming, wedding stress can be real. Having someone with know-how, can do and leave it to me powers it highly comforting to couples. This can allow you to relax and enjoy your big day knowing that everything is in hand!
- Business acumen, this final benefit links all of our other points. Planning a wedding is similar in many ways to running a business, for the process to be smooth, it is always a good idea to utilize the business acumen of your planner.
As with any big decision about your wedding, we would advise couples to take their time and weigh-up the pros and cons of whether or not to hire a wedding planner.
It is important to discuss whether you would like to plan every aspect of your day yourselves or whether you would like to appoint someone else to manage this process.
If you are considering going it alone – be sure to have the conversation early about your respective roles when planning your wedding. This discussion can be eye opening and if neither of you have particularly strong organisational skills, can prompt the search for the ideal wedding planner!
If you do choose to work with a wedding planner in the lead up to your big day, be sure to consider the level of support in planning that would suit you best as a couple: both in terms of budget and involvement in the wedding planning process.
Overall, your wedding is going to celebrate the love and commitment between you and your partner. There is no right or wrong way to do that!
Hiring a wedding planner certainly has its benefits, but for your day to be truly magical, it needs to reflect you as a couple. A wedding planner can help to ensure this happens.
At the end of the day, the love you share is the most important thing. We wish you all the happiness and love in your future.
Hey, I’m Allison – a bride-to-be and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I have accumulated since researching for my wedding over two years ago. I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding.