Wedding PlannerThere are a lot of moving parts that have to come together to make a perfect wedding day. You’re planning a ceremony and a party at the same time, both of which come with their own sets of challenges. How do you know you’re not overpaying for the venue? Do you really need those chair covers? How big of a cake do you actually need for the number of guests you have? Before you spend hours sifting through Yelp reviews of florists, or Googling “wedding day venue last minute,” you might want to secure the services of a professional. Here are a few things to consider when you think about hiring a wedding planner:

Pro: Experience

If you’re getting married for the first time, you haven’t had any experience planning a wedding. You don’t know which vendors to use and which to avoid; you don’t know what complications commonly arise; you don’t know the exact temperature at which a beautiful buttercream cake becomes a puddle of goo. That’s where the wedding planner comes in. If you choose your planner carefully, he or she will be better at planning than you are just by virtue of having done it many times before.

Con: Expense

Full service wedding planning doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay $2000-$5000 for the services of an experienced wedding planner. Wedding planners often get discounts from vendors, so you might save a little money on flowers, cake and the like, but don’t expect to save enough to cover the fee. It just depends on whether the peace of mind is worth the added cost.

Pro: You can outsource a lot of stress

When you have a wedding planner, any problem that arises during the planning on up to the ceremony is not, at least first and foremost, your problem. The wedding planner is a buffer between you and the chaos of putting the event together. It’s the planner’s job to make sure the flowers are arranged properly and the flower girl has her flower basket; all you have to do is show up and enjoy the day.

Con: Less Control

A wedding planner’s professional reputation rides on how good your wedding looks and how smoothly it proceeds. Odds are they’ll have strong opinions about decorations, colors, flowers–they’ll want to bring their experience to bear on every aspect of the wedding, which means you might have to fight for something if you don’t see eye-to-eye. If you need to be in control of every aspect of the process, a wedding planner might not be right for you.

Considerations: Choosing a Planner

Once you’ve decided you need a wedding planner, you should take the same care in choosing one that you would for any other vendor. Check reviews, get recommendations from friends, and when you sit down with a potential person, ask questions. Here are a few things you’ll want to ask:

  1. What are your fees?
  2. Do you receive commissions from any vendors, and if so, how much?
  3. When will payment be due to vendors, and who needs to sign the contracts?
  4. Will you be present through the entire festivities, or just the ceremony?

Wedding planning can be a logistical nightmare. If it were easy to do, there would be no such thing as a full-time wedding planner. If your budget and temperament allow, it’s definitely a good idea to look into hiring a wedding planner to make sure everything goes smoothly.