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Should You Use A Wedding Planner?

Wedding planners are thankfully no longer the preserve of the rich and famous. Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, particularly these days when most people are strapped for time.

Having someone in the know who can step in and organise logistics with military precision is, for many, a godsend. Call them what you will – rent-a-friend, fairy godmother or lifesaver – they are often used by couples working long hours and with little spare time for sourcing and managing wedding venues, suppliers and the myriad other things on a never-ending to-do list.

A professional planner helps with the design, planning and management of a wedding and acts as co-ordinator on the day. But it doesn’t have to be an ‘all-or-nothing’ arrangement: a couple can agree in advance where they need the help and the cost involved by getting a breakdown of the planner’s fees for each element of the process.

When you say ‘yes’ to a wedding planner

Establish a good relationship

A good planner can save you money by reigning in potential overspends, tracking down the right suppliers through their professional contacts and getting better deals. Vetting everything from the venue to a photographer takes time and knowledge. A planner can be the key to smooth arrangements if, for instance, the couple live some distance from where the wedding is being held or the ceremony is in another country.

At the initial meeting, it’s important that a good relationship is established between couple and planner. Both need to be on the same page during the planning process, so if you don’t ‘click’, find someone else.

The planner learns about what the couple wants and needs – some clearly say what they don’t want, the budget he or she will be working with and a bit about the couple’s personalities.

The planner aims to develop and broaden the couple’s ideas and create their vision for the wedding, not a version of the planner’s own. The planner should not dictate how things need to be done. The result is to take some of the pressure off the couple and keep things harmonious before the big day. Planners sometimes act as a buffer between the bride and relatives.

When you say ‘yes’ to a wedding planner

Easy to focus on endless details

They also manage the mundane tasks while leaving you to do the fun stuff like food tasting and dress shopping.

Wedding planners often say that while it’s great to be inspired by the likes of Pinterest, it’s so easy for people to be caught up with endless details. For example, replicating wedding novelties in large quantities can start off being fun but then become tedious and time-consuming. Guests, ultimately, remember the day for its atmosphere, the food and dancing – not for the handmade salt dough tags on the tables.

There are some wedding planners who offer the full service, with everything from early planning of logistics and contract negotiations to design services and the day-of co-ordination, while others offer one element.

Some people get confused by the different services offered by people who help organise your wedding, so here’s a quick guide:

  • The wedding planner is the logistics person who deals with vendor referrals, contract negotiations and the day-to-day running of the couple’s vision for the day. She or he would attend appointments with the bride and keep track of the budget.
  • The wedding designer offers design and styling services. This artistic person takes a boring floor plan and transforms a space into a stylish and sophisticated look, working with lighting, props, flowers, furniture, linens, etc.
  • The wedding co-ordinator works on a shorter timeline than a planner, often for just a month before the big day. The co-ordinator’s role is to tweak any details and tie up loose ends. She/he will confirm vendor contracts, create a day-of timeline and check that all payments have been made and confirm the final guest numbers. They won’t be involved in the earlier planning or keeping track of the budget. Their job on the big day is to co-ordinate the suppliers’ schedules and ensure the day runs smoothly, allowing everyone to enjoy themselves.

Venues have co-ordinators but they aren’t wedding planners. They are there to handle anything involving the venue.

When you say ‘yes’ to a wedding planner

A wedding with no drama or hitches

With the help of social media and easy internet searches, the DIY bride may want to take up the challenge of planning the wedding herself. It may be good to do so if you’re decisive and have the time to do lots of research, but it’s the ‘What ifs…?’ that can really cause stress and anxiety.

If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to key questions such as ‘Do I have a stressful job and am I short of time? ‘Do I feel overwhelmed by details?’, ‘Is the wedding some distance away?’ and ‘Do I need to avoid family drama?’, then you could be in need of that fairy godmother dressed as a wedding planner, to help create a dream wedding without the drama and hitches.

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