The Truth About Wedding Planners – Can They Really Help?
June 03, 2020
With Caroline from Caroline Griffiths Wedding Planner
As a Wedding Planner we have always been regarded as a bit of a status symbol for the rich and famous! But now savvy couples have realised a good wedding planner can actually help them instead of taking over, and is definitely something to consider.
I may be hearing some of you say “Why would I hire a wedding planner when I can do it myself”; this is a fair point! Experienced Wedding planners have seen all aspects of wedding planning, from helping couples set up realistic wedding budgets to pulling together the logistics with details on how the wedding day will run. From photography to catering and flowers to the music playlist, wedding planners keep you organized all while lessening your stress and relieving your time. But most importantly they know how to avoid the mistakes of planning a wedding and can manage the risks that all big days will experience.
What Does A Wedding Planner Actually Do?
Hiring a professional planner is a little bit like having a bridal personal assistant on hand throughout your engagement. Reading contracts, completing booking forms, chasing guests that haven’t RSVP’d, creating schedules and then assisting with the set-up and clear-down; a planner can carry out a vast array of tasks that are a little tedious, a tad boring and incredibly time-consuming. The result?….. You to catch up on Netflix rather than spending your evenings doing ‘wedmin’. Most importantly we are there on the day to ensure everything goes to plan. Normally the on the day coordination falls to the Best Man or Chief Bridesmaid or a family member. These people are not often professional organisers and invariably find the task significantly more demanding than they had imagined. They also want to enjoy the day and celebrate with you – they are your closest friends and family after all – and you certainly don’t want them dealing with the various issues that can arise on your wedding day.
Don’t wedding planners cost a lot of money?
It might be worth browsing through some wedding magazines, or reading the blogs that you begin to realise just how many hours go into organising a wedding. It’s estimated it takes couples 250-300 hours to organise a wedding – a lot more if its a marquee wedding. Understanding that hiring a professional wedding planner is not an additional expense. If you think about it, your wedding day will most probably be the biggest and most expensive party you will ever host. But this party isn’t a straightforward dinner party. This is a party stretching over a full day that may have multiple locations, potentially hundreds of guests, a tight schedule and a long list of suppliers to orchestrate. That’s a lot going on!
Paying for a professional can actually save you money, keep you in line of your budget and give you options that are often cheaper.
“You employ a professional for every aspect of your wedding, so it makes sense to employ a professional to assist with the planning process and on-the-day management too”
Keep in mind that because of inside connections and experience, wedding planners have the toolset to avoid common mistakes and last minute added costs. Hiring a wedding planner might be the most cost-effective move, in the end, to save you from troubles and make the entire wedding process seamless and easy.
Money – For those who just see the big picture and think it’s daft to spend money on a planner when that could be spent elsewhere you should definitely keep reading…
Often planners can negotiate supplier discounts for booking through them, which you wouldn’t be able to get going direct. I only recommend suppliers because they are awesome, not because I am getting a cash incentive to put them forward, so that cash incentive goes straight to you. We also have an extensive recommended supplier list so can put forward an incredible range of suppliers at different price points; a far better selection than you’ll get from carrying out an internet search or going to a wedding fair. Many vendors prefer to meet mid week as the weekends are often a busy time for them. This leaves you taking time off work leaving you using your holiday or being unpaid. Planners have the knowledge of the best times to get married and the prices for peak and out of season and the best knowledge of venues that hold all exclusive deals to venues that are dry and need to hire in everything but the kitchen sink!
Stress – Pulling off a perfectly planned and beautifully styled wedding can be quite stressful, especially if you haven’t got any experience of planning. Creating a picture of your wedding day isn’t as straightforward as deciding what you want and booking it; there are so many details, logistics and timings to consider. As as Planner we have experience of the industry and will know what will and won’t work, be able to problem-solve, know what to book and when to book it and know to cross check everything to ensure nothing is missed.
Initiate Family Mediation – Whether we like it or not weddings can highlight family dynamics that cause heightened emotions. Often it’s my job to work on finding compromises and hold conversations that need to happen. Usually, a simple clarification needs to happen so that everyone gets on the same page! One of my biggest jobs as a planner is explaining to Mum and Dad why Uncle Bill isn’t invited when you haven’t seen him for ten years. Or when the bridesmaids are being difficult over bridesmaids dresses. Having someone impartial to the situation always helps.
But our venue has a Wedding Coordinator?
If you have a dedicated contact at your venue, that’s fabulous news and they should be able to take a lot of the time-consuming aspects away from you. I’ve had the delight of working with some simply a-mazing venue coordinators, worth their weight in gold a hundred times over. All I’d say is: bear in mind standards differ and that ultimately, they work for the venue, not for you, and will by definition have to put the interests of their employer first.
For many, hiring a professional is an easy decision to make but you might still be unsure whether it’s right for you or not? Whether you and your future spouse are behind in your wedding planning or just looking for some general guidance, my easy checklist below will help you find out if hiring a wedding planner would help. If you answer “yes” more than “no” to the following scenarios, then a wedding planner is likely right up your street!
Why you might need a wedding planner
You might need a wedding planner if:
- You are way behind on your wedding checklist and schedule.
- You both work full-time jobs that will prevent you from meeting with vendors on weekdays.
- You do not have other outside help such as an involved mother-of-the-bride, helpful bridesmaids, or knowledgeable friends.
- Outside the area – perhaps you have decided to marry outside the area you live. In which case you want a planner local who can truly recommend the best suppliers and venue for you.
- You’re having a marquee at home – If you are having a marquee wedding don’t underestimate the amount of work involved not only in the organisation but in the actual set up as well. It’s a much greater challenge than a hotel or venue because you have to organise everything from scratch.
- You have hired a dry hire venue – if this is the case then like a marquee you will need to hire everything in from the furniture to the caterers. Coordinating that many suppliers can be tricky and if you’re not used to this some key elements may be forgotten
- You are having a destination wedding.
- There are personality conflicts between the couple, their parents, and/or other people.
- You’re excited to be married, but just thinking about wedding planning fills you with dread.
- You are having a very short engagement.
- You can envision your wedding, but you have no idea how to make your dreams come true.
- You can not even envision your wedding at all.
- You are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and generally wishing that you had decided to elope.
- Coordination – in some cases couples organise a wedding themselves but do need support coordinating all suppliers. In these situations a planner might come on board a few months before to assist the couple.
How do you know if a wedding planner is any good?
There are many wedding planners out there but hiring a good one is invaluable. Believe it or not, it takes years of experience to become a good wedding planner. Having a passion for planning and pinning photos of Pinerest is the easy bit which most every day people can do! When you hire a good wedding planner they take on a whole lot more and really are there for valuable guidance and knowledge every step along the way. They are professional personal assistants, project managers, contract managers, creative directors, consultants and at times counsellors in a niche industry packaged as a ‘Wedding Planner’.
Read more of Caroline’s insightful blogs: