A few days ago, I attended a professional event where – surrounded by suits, iPads, and so many handshakes it made my hand hurt just watching them occur – I overheard a conversation about whether an engaged couple should hire a wedding planner. Of course, the conversation seemed out of place given the surroundings, but what made it even more unusual is that it was being had by two grooms.
The grooms were debating whether hiring a wedding planner was worthwile. The first (let’s call him Mr. A) questioned the necessity of a planner, while the second (Mr. X) all but urged Mr. A to immediately leave the room and hire one:
Mr. A: “I just think that we can do it all. A planner seems unnecessary.”Mr. X: “Do you both work full time?”Mr. A nods.Mr. X: “Then you can’t do it all without giving something up. Trust me, I know – last week I would have had to miss the first March Madness game for a conference call with the stationer.”New drinks are delivered, causing a short pause in the conversation.Mr. X: “Plus, there are all of the savings.”Mr. A perks up: “Savings?”Mr. X: “Yeah, our planner so far has saved us about $3,000. It’s awesome.”
While not the precise words I would use, they do incorporate aspects of the top five reasons why a couple should hire a wedding planner:
- They manage your budget.
Staying under budget for an event as big as a wedding is not as simple as setting a maximum amount. The base amounts for venues, food, clothing, and flowers may seem straightforward, but are rarely the actual amount you end up paying. Taxes, delivery fees, and gratuities can quickly cause you to blow your budget.A wedding planner incorporates these additional costs into your budget, ensuring that your final, total wedding bill makes you smile.
- They may just get you more.
By having established relationships with vendors, a wedding planner can sometimes get you more bang for your dollar. To a vendor, a wedding planner is a gateway to additional business, while you provide only a single job. This doesn’t mean that the vendor will put less effort into your event, but it may make them less willing to budge on what they charge or provide you.It’s not uncommon to receive extras - engagement photos from a photographer or flowers for the cake table from the florist – or discounts when a planner negotiates your contract.
- They know where to go.
You might walk by a florist or drive by a store with fabulous wedding dresses in their window every day on your way to work, but do you really know whether you should shop there? What if the florist never delivers on time? What if the dress shop is on the verge of bankruptcy?Planners are familiar with vendors’ operations, reputation, and overall health, and can point you in the direction of the one that is best suited to deliver you what you want at a price you can afford. This saves you time, money, and reduces stress.
- They make you a timeline.
A wedding involves lots of intricate steps, and planning the execution of those steps can sometimes be daunting. Planning those steps when you don’t know essential information (“Oh, the limo can’t make sharp right turns and the drive to the ceremony is going to take 15 minutes longer than expected?”) can be disastrous.
- They can keep a secret.
Do you really want to know if the band throws a tantrum and won’t play because they haven’t received a hot meal? Will it enhance your big day to learn that the photographer was late because he needed to acquire security passes before entering your reception venue? No: all that matters is that you received what you paid for.Planners keep secrets from you. While secrets are not usually a good thing, when it comes to your wedding they’re fabulous because they insulate you from any problems that may arise.
Hiring a wedding planner is the first step to making wedding planning calm, fun, and productive, and your wedding day a success.
Dear Ms. X, the answer is “yes,” you DO need a wedding planner, and Mr. X has my card.