Planner or not?
The decision to hire a planner is obviously a personal one and many factors come into play with the decision. Do you like details? Do you like research? Do you have time in your life or are you already busy with work, school, and having a life?
Budget is an important factor too, but not the way you might think. A planner is not necessarily a luxury for only those with large budgets and actually is very important if you are on a tight budget. Based on our business relationships, many times we can negotiate for discounts or already get them with venues and vendors which translates to savings to you!
There are several levels of service that most planners offer and considering your wants, time, and the things mentioned above will help you decide what type of help you need.
Consultations (beyond the initial meeting) or ‘ask me anything’ This is for the couple who may just want to talk to someone for a few hours to get any questions answered. If offered by a planner, typically it is at an hourly rate.
Guidance – You want a resource for questions to get you started, referrals, and then a wrap up before your wedding to make sure you have it all under control. You do the leg work and use the planner as your resource. Your wedding day management is left to you.
Full Planning. Exactly what the name implies. When you begin planning you have a partner working with you, but not just any partner. You have someone in the wedding industry who knows how to research, negotiate, and make the details come together. If you have questions, concerns, or are just getting overwhelmed, your planner is there for you. The venue and vendor search and initial contact is handled, ideas for theme and décor are discussed, who do I call for what, what is the proper way to handle this … all questions your planner can field. Your timeline is created, your rehearsal is managed for you, and on your wedding day you just worry about having the time of your life!
Day of Coordination. You have time and love to plan, but you do not want to worry about your day. This is the perfect package for you. You handle the details, select your venue and vendors, pick your flowers, decorations, colors, and theme. Every detail that goes into your wedding is done by you or someone helping you. Your planner gets involved a month or so ahead of your wedding date to make sure your contracts are in order and you are getting what service you think you are, she/he (will use she) directs your rehearsal and then on your wedding day all the details, time line, and problems are handled for you.
My ‘Day of’ goes beyond just the normal 11th Hour. I am available for emails and phone calls if you have a question while you are planning. If you are needing a referral, consider it done. If you call stressed out and just need to vent, I’ll meet you for coffee (and you don’t have to buy).
Venue Coordinator and Day of too? One thing I do hear a lot is my venue has a coordinator, why do I need a ‘Day of’ at an additional cost. As with the decisions above, the answer is it depends on you. It also depends on the venue, but some of the onsite coordinators are only responsible for the venue itself, others do more and will direct your rehearsal and ceremony. If they provide onsite catering, someone will oversee the meal and bar as well. Typically from what I have experienced their responsibility stops at that point. Who will do decorations beyond putting out your centerpieces? What happens if your florist doesn’t show or the DJ is late? Who will handle problems? You or your family will!
I have been told by onsite venue coordinators that they welcome outside planners. It makes their day easier and they can focus on the venue setup and food/bar service. Personally I enjoy working with the catering managers and onsite coordinators. They know what they have to do and it gets done and I can focus on the other details. Just another set of eyes/hands to make sure the day is amazing.
Planner or not? If you have not planned anything this important before, know that the options and choices can be overwhelming. I do this as a business and sometimes I get cross eyed from all the fine print and choices!
I was told once by a very experienced venue planner, it is not a wedding if at least 3 things don’t go wrong. Are you prepared to handle a problem or two on your wedding day?
Planner or not? What type of service do I want? All depends on you.