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Hiring a wedding planner may seem like a luxury to many couples but if you are someone who buckles under pressure, you may consider the expense. On the other hand, if you are a creative and organized bride who enjoys event planning you might want to go it alone. Read below to find out more about both options.
If you are busy bride or one who wants to just enjoy the ride, then a wedding planner might be for you. Because the best value can be had when hiring a planner right from the start, I recommend making this decision early on in the planning process. Most wedding planners offer the following services:
• Guidance through the planning process: Timeline, to-dos and budgeting are just some of the tools they will provide.
• Negotiate contracts: Because they have the potential to be return customers, planners have more buying power when it comes to negotiating with vendors on pricing and services.
• Hire and manage vendors: Your planner should serve as your liaison with all of your vendors. She will attend interviews and keep in constant communication with the team servicing your day.
• Wedding day management: A wedding planner is usually there from the beginning of the day until the last guests leave the reception. She will get you down the aisle, manage vendors and take care of all of the little details that make up the day.
• Design: As a general rule, most planners have seen dozens if not hundreds of weddings. Because of this, they know what works and what doesn’t. They can offer design advice that will make even the least expensive wedding more polished and sophisticated.
Depending on where you are located, plan on spending 10 to 18 percent of your budget on wedding planning services if you hire her throughout the entire planning process. For wedding day coordination only, $250 to $1000 is a great estimate to work with.
If you are organized, resourceful and have a little time on your hands, you may consider planning your own wedding. While a professional planner can make the process easier, there are many resources out there both online and in print designed to assist the DIY bride. By delegating some responsibilities to your bridal party or even an eager family member, you can still have a great event.
Some areas you may consider handling yourself include:
• Budgeting: There are many online budget trackers available on wedding planning sites such as The Knot and the Wedding Channel to help you outline the basic wedding expenses.
• Stationery: If you are a whiz on the computer and have access to a great paper provider, you can easily send out handmade invitations to all of your guests. This takes time, but in the end this will save you money and your invites will be completely customized.
• Florals: While a little risky, many couples are now designing their own centerpieces, ceremony décor and bouquets. There are many bulk floral providers out there that will ship flowers directly to your home. With a little preparation and teamwork from your bridal party, you can make some great décor and save a few bucks.
• Music: With the growing popularity of iPods, many couples are creating custom song lists to play throughout their ceremony and reception. Renting or borrowing a large sound system to connect to your iPod is much cheaper than hiring musicians or a DJ for several hours. One note, however: if you are going to go this route, assign or hire an Emcee. You will need someone to guide the formalities such as the toasts, cake cutting and formal dances.
No matter which direction you go, I highly recommend hiring a day of coordinator so ALL of your family and friends can enjoy the day instead of worrying about the little things like if the place cards are in alphabetical order. Sure, you could do this yourself, but why would you want to!