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“Do I really need a wedding planner?” It’s usually followed by, “I mean, I’m pretty organized, and I have a lot of friends that are crafty.my friends will help set up and tear it all down at the end of the night (after they have been drinking and partying?) I can probably do this myself.” And you are 100% right. You can do this yourself! You can absolutely use all your friends as unpaid labor. And they’ll probably go along with you – for a while, at least. It’s what happens when they get tired of putting their lives on hold to help you plan your wedding is really the key. When all of your friends and family get tired of making the 100 wedding favors, you will be making them all by yourself! And finding a florist, and finding a caterer that will work with your budget, and getting a crash course in uplighting and draping then finding out that it takes 5 or more months for your wedding dress to arrive once you finally to get it ordered, and on and on and on.
There is a fallacy that if you have a small budget, that you can’t afford a wedding planner. Not always true. Even though our average bride has a budget somewhere between $35,000 – $75,000, we have planned beautiful weddings with budgets of only $15,000! As wedding planners we know all kinds of little tricks to help you keep costs low for your wedding – adjusting your date, knowing what time of year and part of town to get the best discounts, basically knowing how to get you the best bang for your buck.
I’d like to say a few words on wedding vendors. There are good ones and there are not so good ones. There are really good ones and then there are the really bad ones. And we know who they are – you don’t! You have no idea that last week that photographer with the slick ads and the great sales pitch left in the middle of Jane Smith’s wedding because he got sick and didn’t make plans for a backup photographer. We do! You have no idea that the venue you chose is notorious for charging extras fees at the last minute, until the end of the night, and you have to pay up. We do! Add to this the fact that you will only hire a wedding vendor once, but they have to work with us all of the time, and you can see how having a wedding planner could truly help your bargaining position.
Here’s just one real world example (and cautionary tale) of a bride that considered herself “DIY” and didn’t think she could afford a wedding planner. It happened yesterday. She shall remain nameless, as well as the vendors involved. My friend told me that this particular bride wasn’t working with a planner because she didn’t want to pay the “ridiculous” fees that planners charge. She had just booked a wedding photographer and had paid so much (over $10,000) that she now had to cut back on other areas of the wedding. Now, I know this wedding photographer, and they’re really good – at sales! They are equally as good as one of my favorite photographers, which would have been HALF that price. Half! And then she would have had $5,000 back in her budget to do with, in whatever way she wanted, like hire a qualified wedding planner. And once she hired the planner, she may notice seeing some other savings, not just in money, but in time, time spent running all around town chasing down the right vendors. And yes, this is a true story that really happened – yesterday!
We often hear from our brides that the reason they hired us is because they don’t want their wedding to be like their sisters, their best friends, their next door neighbor, you name it. Because they lived that wedding! They were up to the wee hours of the morning, crafting, setting tables, baking cakes, basically being used in whatever way that the bride wanted. One recent bride told us that she just wanted her mom and dad to enjoy her wedding day, and not labor for hours on end on reception décor to the point of exhaustion, like they had done at her sisters’ wedding the year before. To her, the wedding planner was more of a gift to her family.
Hiring a planner is added security that all you just paid for is really going to work out the way that you thought it was. I don’t know anyone that would purchase a $35,000 car and not carry insurance on that car. Would you? Then why in the world would you take a chance on Aunt Sally, your good friend Jane, or the college girl that wants to be a wedding planner – someday, armed with your (or your mom and dad’s) $35,000!?
By the way, just like other wedding vendors, there are good planners and there are bad planners, and their prices typically reflect the category that they fall within. A $500 wedding planner will probably not be all you want them to be. Connections matter in this industry, and $500 wedding planners simply might not have the “pull” that a good planner will have.