Ask Jacki: Should I Hire a Wedding Planner?

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Question: Jacki, a couple of my friends who've been married recently have suggested that I hire a wedding planner to help us with our wedding. My parents are questioning whether that's a necessary expense. Could you help me to explain to them why it's important? Thanks.

Answer:  Picture this:  It’s your wedding day.  You’re having an outdoor reception under a tent.  The rental company has dropped off (literally!) your tables, chairs and linens under the tent.  You assumed they would set everything up. Your groom and his groomsmen are playing golf so you and your bridesmaids have to go to the reception site and set everything up.  You finally get to start dressing, and while the stylist is working on your hair, the band calls and wonders where the electrical outlets are located?  Then the caterer calls you because there’s no lighting for them in the catering tent … how are they supposed to see when the sun goes down?  The bus company doesn’t show up to pick up your out of town guests, and your cell phone is ringing off the hook because everyone has questions for you! Had you hired a planner, all these calls would be going to that person!

If you were building a home, having your car repaired, even getting your hair cut and colored; you’d seek the services of a professional, correct?  Well, isn’t your wedding day just as important?  Professionals in the wedding industry have experience and knowledge that is invaluable to brides and grooms.  And who better to help you with choosing the perfect wedding team than a professional wedding planner.

Below are some reasons a professional planner could be right for you:

You could save money. In the long run, working with professionals likely will save you money.  They’ll be able to direct you to the best-quality products and services within your budget. They know how to help you start the “budget” conversation; create a budget and how to stay within that budget.

You’ll avoid making uninformed or impulsive decisions. Most likely, you’ve never thrown a wedding before. And that’s OK, because professional service providers have. You’re paying them not only for their talent and expertise, but also for their experience, and that can prove to be the most important investment a bride and groom make during their planning process—especially if they make it early on. Having a professional on your side to guide you from the very first decisions you’ll make about your wedding is the best way to avoid impulsive or unwise choices—in other words, a professional planner can provide level-headedness when a bride may be emotional.

You’ll be able to stay focused on your vision. Wedding inspiration and ideas are everywhere you look, and a bride can get dizzy with all the ideas. A wedding planner will help you cut through the clutter, and get to what’s important—and what best represents your vision, budget and style.

You’ll get everyone involved on the same page. A wedding involves countless moving parts. Making sure that everyone who’s involved is informed, updated and reassured is a huge task—and one that a bride can’t, and probably shouldn’t, take on by herself. Your wedding planner is the one voice that will make sure all lines of communication are in order between the vendors, families and you and your fiancé. And, on your wedding day, the planner becomes the “go to” person for all the questions or any adjustments that may arise.

You’ll be able to rely on someone you can trust, and who can mediate for you. From dealing with the guest list to plotting seating charts to addressing food preferences, family drama always seems to find its way into the wedding-planning process. Your wedding planner (hopefully) has worked with you since the beginning of your planning process, and they know you and your fiancé fairly well. They’ll be your voice for dealing with “pushy” family members or expressing your desires to other wedding professionals.

You’ll be more likely to keep the peace within the family. So why add to the drama by “hiring” a family member to provide a service on your big day? What can you say to the uncle who videoed the ceiling during your ceremony? What can you say to the cousin who gave you fuzzy photos from your wedding reception?  Is it worth a family feud?  Never.  By hiring a professional, you will receive quality, contracted services and your family and friends will enjoy your day by being a guest at your wedding. And your wedding planner will direct you to those professionals who are the “best fit” for you.

Keeping peace within the family is pretty priceless, right?  And being able to enjoy and “be in the moment” for the entire day … what is that worth?  Experiencing your wonderful day and not having to wait for the photos to find out what happened … is there a value to that?  Mom and Dad being able to spend time with family and friends they haven’t seen in years, and not have to worry about doing a j-o-b … wouldn’t that be nice?

Just one more thought … if you’re unable to hire a professional planner to assist you during the entire planning process, please consider meeting with a wedding coordinator who will assist you at rehearsal and wedding day. Schedule an appointment with them early on, and get one reserved for your wedding day … especially is you’re having an outdoor ceremony/reception!