When you first get engaged people immediately start with the questions – Where are you getting married? Have you set the date yet? How much is your budget? Can my brother’s girlfriend’s cousin attend? And then, for the entirety of your engagement, the questions never end. They come from all directions, from parents and friends, to co-workers and even strangers! An engagement should be one of the happiest times of your life. You should be able to enjoy it, because after all, it is based on the fact that you have found your soulmate, the one you are going to spend the rest of your life with! This is the time you should be reveling in your love and not dodging questions and getting bogged down with emails and meetings! That brings me to why you should consider hiring a wedding planner.
1. A planner takes on the stress so you don’t have to. A planner will be the one to respond to all of the emails from various vendors and serve as the point person so you only have to deal with one contact. They will coordinate all of the meetings and be there to remember the details, plus ask the right questions. And most importantly, the planner will be there on the big day to make sure everything runs smoothly so you can be with you family and friends.
2. There are several guides you can find on the internet which will tell you what percentage you should be spending on every aspect of your wedding. I believe it is fine to use them as a guide when making your decisions, but I think it is also valuable to know what is important to you and put your money there. If food is your thing, then you might want to throw extra money into the catering budget. If you are a music lover, you might want to put a greater amount of money there. That’s why it is important to discuss what you (and this means anyone who has a say in the wedding) care about the most and in what order. A planner will offer guidance about what is within your price range and what will throw everything else out of whack. It is easy to get excited about all of the possibilities and make an uninformed choice, but a planner will serve as a great resource since they often know the acceptable range of what a service is worth.
3. A planner is in the position to work on multiple events and they have established relationships with vendors of all sorts – photographers, florists, DJ's etc. Not only do planners spend time researching and meeting with vendors to know the best that’s out there for every budget, but they also refer couples to vendors constantly. As a result of all of these referrals, a vendor is more likely to negotiate with a planner since they can give them repeat business.
4. Most people are planning their wedding with no knowledge of how to throw a large-scale event. Of course there are books and plenty of tips from well-meaning friends and family, but a planner has seen many events. A planner is in the unique position to know what things should cost in every range. They can tell you if you are being cheated or if that “expensive” photographer really isn’t so expensive after all. They know what questions to ask your vendors and how to schedule the day so that you can get your photos taken, your guests fed, your speeches completed and everyone out on the dance floor.
5. More and more venues are requiring planners. Hotels used to have banquet managers to assist couples throughout the whole day, but this is an easy cost-cutting measure for venues. They get to cut their staff and have them go home and your planner will be the one to stay until the end of your wedding and make sure everything gets wrapped up – rentals collected, gifts delivered to your room, wait for vendors to come and pick up their items. Site coordinators offered up by the venues often represent the venue, not the couple. They will help you, but they will not advocate for you as a planner would. In addition to traditional venues, many couples are now seeking out unusual spaces for their weddings – barns, art galleries, lofts – and all of these spaces need planners as well since they double as a wedding site and often have no one to help.
If you are considering hiring a wedding planner and live in the Cleveland area, I suggest you contact Amy Hissa, the owner and president of At Last Event Planning. Check out her website