Wedding planners are the secret weapons of couples everywhere. They look after every aspect of the wedding (with your input, of course) and their first concern is you. The biggest reason to pick a wedding planner is that they can save you money, because the combined cost of everything without that planner’s influence on the pricing will wind up costing you more than the fees associated with hiring the wedding planner in the first place. They have connections that you don’t, and they’re able to negotiate better pricing for your big day because, on average, most wedding planners have been at it for several years (between 15 and 20). Although somebody with less experience may still be able to get you the same, or similar, deals, that extra time really does make a big difference.
As Creative Wedding Planning mentions in their article, a wedding planner does the legwork for you, freeing you up to do look after your own business instead of turning the wedding preparation into a full-time job. You have a life of your own. You have your own stuff to do, things to take care of, maybe even a job and family to look after. You can’t afford to be spending all of your time figuring out wedding details. You’ll have to do some research ahead of time to figure out who’s the right wedding planner for you. Get recommendations from friends and family, and spend some time looking up wedding planners that are local to you (as well as their reputations). People tend to be at one end of the spectrum or the other; reviewers are rarely fence-sitters, and you’ll get a clear idea of what people thought of their experience with specific wedding planners when you look them up. A few bad reviews on an otherwise spotless reputation are usually not a big concern – the averages are what you’re looking for.
Some things to look out for in your research: how does the wedding planner present themselves and their business? Planning a wedding is a big, creative endeavor and if someone wants to do that for a living, their advertising and online presence ought to reflect that creative aspect. Their website should be informative and not look like something from the mid-1990s, design-wise. All the information that you need to access should be easy to get to, and any wedding planner that can’t manage to get their act together long enough to figure out a coherent, cohesive, and pleasing online presence is not worthwhile.
Be sure to really take a close look at their pricing, too. If a wedding planner’s fees are incredibly low (below 10% of any given budget), it’s good to be wary. Consider this: the wedding planner is doing all of your wedding-related running around, negotiating with suppliers, setting up everything that will make your special day truly amazing. That should not be cheap.
A good round number to think of when you’re figuring out fees is, as mentioned before, at least 10% of the wedding budget. Some, like Cranberry Blue , are closer to 15% of the budget – and for good reason. The higher the quality of a planner’s work, the more they can get away with charging, and you do get what you pay for.
It’s not a bad idea to find out how the wedding planner that you’re considering has built their relationships with suppliers and venues, and if they get a fee for connecting them with you. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s good to know, and the wedding planner should not be pushing you to pick a supplier or venue because of this. Knowing how they developed their relationships and how long they’ve been working with other businesses is a good way to figure out the quality of your potential planner, too. One more thing: if the planner you’re checking out doesn’t have any references available, or doesn’t have a portfolio to show you, run. A reputable wedding planner, like Niemierko will have a decent portfolio available of events that they’ve put together.
After all of this, here’s a great example of what a wedding planner should look like and how they should present themselves: Jessie Thomson’s site is coherent, its design is cohesive, and it’s fairly easy to find her information and portfolio.
The portfolio itself offers video and still images that show Jessie’s design sense and give any interested couple an idea of just what to expect if they hire her.
Have fun and most of all remember to ENJOY your special day.