Many couples don’t think that they need a wedding planner. Hiring one may seem like an unnecessary expense or extravagance. However, not only can a wedding planner help you achieve a wedding beyond your dreams, they might actually save you money… Yes, I said save money! I know first-hand the countless ways a great wedding planner contributes to the wedding (before, during and after) and the many reasons why you should hire one (including saving you money… yes, I said save you money)!
Wedding Photographer Tips: Your Guide to Wedding Planners
As a wedding photographer, I get a lot of questions from my brides and grooms about wedding planners. I wanted to share some insight on the most frequently asked questions about wedding planners. Then, I will share the top reasons why you should consider hiring a wedding planner! Sit back and enjoy these tips and some wedding photos from amazing weddings that wouldn’t have been able to happen without the help of a professional wedding planner.
Wedding Planners vs Venue Wedding Coordinators
QUESTION: My venue already has a venue coordinator. Should I still hire a wedding planner?
ANSWER: YES! This is one of the biggest mistakes a couple makes. It can be confusing, and many couples think a venue coordinator and a wedding planner are one and the same. So, it begs the question…What is the difference between a wedding planner and a venue coordinator?
A venue coordinator’s main priority is managing all the weddings that will be taking place on their property. They are there to make sure everything that has to do with the venue runs smoothly. Venue coordinators are responsible for tables, chairs, linens, food (if provided), and the timing of meals and ceremonies (if applicable). They work for the specific location and may oversee several weddings on the same day. Most will be working between each event to make sure the venue is meeting everyone’s’ expectations. Once dinner is served or the cake is cut, their job is technically finished.
A wedding planner helps with your entire wedding celebration, no matter how many days. They review contracts, design details, create the flow, secure hotels, and even help with the wording on invitations. They look out for your best interest in staying within your budget, answering your many etiquette questions, calming your anxiety and finding the right vendors that fit your budget and style.
A wedding planner will work together with the venue coordinator to make sure your day is relaxing and fun. I love working with the top-notch venue coordinators at THE VINOY in St.Petersburg, FL. They explain what a wedding planner does this way:
“Your wedding planner is responsible for your entire day, your family and your wedding guests. They will take care of knowing where your dance shoes are, whether Aunt Betsy in a wheelchair is comfortable, coordinating the ceremony, options for altering your dress, managing and designing details for programs, escort cards and signage and making sure that the flow of your reception is going smoothly. On the day of your wedding, your wedding planner will also handle all questions from your vendors (photographer, videographer, DJ). This way you can truly enjoy your celebration.”
Wedding Planners for Budget Weddings
QUESTION: A wedding planner sounds great, but can I justify one on a tight budget?
ANSWER: YES! A wedding planner can actually save you money! That’s right! In addition to all of the great benefits of hiring a wedding planner, they can actually save you money! How, you ask? With their planning experience, they can advise where to splurge and where to save. They can keep you on time and on budget with your vendor contracts. They may have contacts and connections that could result in savings for you! (For example, I offer a discount when my wedding couples work with certain planners!)
Wedding Planners for Destination Weddings
QUESTION: I am having a small destination wedding. Should I hire a wedding planner?
ANSWER: YES! If you’re having a destination wedding, you absolutely should hire a wedding planner. Local knowledge is key. Not only can a wedding planner recommend and coordinate with reliable local and destination vendors, but they know the ins-and-outs of transportation, gorgeous photo ops, and other key details that are difficult to ascertain from afar. Having a BEACH WEDDING? A wedding planner knows the ins and outs of working with the elements—the sand, the sun, the wind – and the vendors who can make it all go smoothly. For an example of a gorgeous beach wedding, check out THIS BLOG POST from Contemporary Weddings Magazine about my awesome couple, Brenna and Mitch, and their tropical beach wedding in Florida.
Sometimes the best and most beautiful locations present the most unique challenges. In my many years of photographing on Mackinac Island, MI, where no cars are allowed, I have come to know and trust long-time wedding planner Carole Erbel of FOR THE LOVE OF MACKINAC. She knows everything there is to know about a destination wedding on Mackinac Island. According to Carole:
“In a place where cars are not allowed, everything must be transported by bicycle or horse. This can lead to some complicated situations. I love being the person who makes sure your entire time on Mackinac is stress free. I can meet you at the dock, ensure that your dress makes it safely to your hotel, and coordinate the unusual logistics of transporting people and goods without motorized vehicles (this means by horse)! Oh, and most importantly, I will also arrange transportation for you and all your guests. Whether it is a Mackinac “Taxi” for your guests or a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride for you and your beloved for some incredible photographs on your big day.”
When you are planning a destination wedding, or even a wedding that’s a bit of a drive… a wedding planner can help you to make sure you understand all the unique aspects of the area. With a wedding, the last thing you want is a surprise, so a wedding planner can reduce stress and help you all throughout your destination wedding planning process!
Wedding Planners for Organized Brides
QUESTION: I am highly organized, and I already know exactly what I want. Plus, my friends and family have offered to help. Do I still need a wedding planner?
ANSWER: YES! With a wedding planner’s experience, resources, and ideas, they can enrich and expand your vision in ways that you may never even have imagined. From the get-go, they can assist with the overall aesthetic, recommend and coordinate with vendors, manage conflicts, and take care of countless details. Plus, you don’t want to have the stress of coordinating everyone including your friends and family.
The Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner:
Now that we’ve covered the most frequently asked questions about wedding planners… as promised, here are the top 5 reasons to hire a wedding planner!
1. Wedding Planners Provide Design Assistance
A wedding planner can help you articulate and execute your unique vision from the color palette to the guest gifts and centerpieces. Everything should work together harmoniously to achieve the look and feel that you dream of.
- They can help design or coordinate paper goods — invitations, programs, place cards — wedding decor, flowers, and countless special details that personalize your day.
- Even if you intend to have a mostly DIY wedding, a wedding planner can advise and assist you in executing those aspects of your day… That way, they don’t end up as Pinterest fails.
- On your wedding day, wedding planers can ensure everything is in place and everything looks just as it should for your ceremony and reception.
2. Ensure Your Wedding Apparel Coordinates Seamlessly
A wedding planner can advise on the bride’s ensemble, the bridesmaids’ outfits as well as the coordinating apparel and for the groom and groomsmen. (Think fun socks that match the personality of the couple or different color bridesmaids’ dresses.)
- They can work with you so that the styles and colors for the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other ceremony participants all contribute successfully to the aesthetic you desire.
- Most wedding planners are aware of well-known designers and what they have to offer.
- Wedding planners have an eagle eye for detail in case something breaks, or you have a piece of hair out of place before the photographs. They also keep watch for when brides or bridesmaids forget to take their hair tie off their wrists!
- They are there for you when it is time to quickly bustle up that dress and your maid of honor is nowhere to be found.
3. Wedding Vendor Advice and Execution
A wedding planner can recommend the perfect vendors that fit your style. They will also become your point of contact with them which will save you time and stress.
- They will schedule and attend meetings, take care of calls and emails, negotiate and review contracts, and keep track of payments.
- Consider that most vendors work during regular business hours, so if you are unavailable during that time, a wedding coordinator could be especially valuable.
- The day of the wedding, they will make sure that the vendors load-in, set-up, and clean-up properly and on time. They will troubleshoot any issues so that you do not have to!
4. Wedding Planners Build a Wedding Timeline
A wedding planner creates the timeline for your entire wedding celebration… from the days leading up (welcome parties, rehearsals) to the days following (day-after brunch, farewell gatherings, etc).
- They understand many aspects of a wedding that can be overlooked… how long it will take to get ready, how much time is needed for transportation, how to cue the processional, how to make sure that everything is in place (including the microphone and speakers) for the reception, when to have the cake cutting, toast, first dance, and how to make a Grand Exit!
- They can coordinate transportation for guests and wedding party.
5. Stay on Schedule
Most importantly, wedding planners can make sure the day runs on time… so you don’t have to. If anything runs late during the wedding day, it can throw everything off! From the transportation schedule, to cold food, to cutting into your dance time, a coordinator makes sure you don’t have to think about these things.
- They coordinate the schedule that you’ve built together and gently remind people of the timeline.
- A wedding planner can jump into action when a problem arises. Trouble with the limo? No problem! The wedding planner can hop on the phone with a backup plan.
- So many things can go wrong on a wedding day, but with a wedding planner, you never have to worry about how to handle it… and your guests will probably never know.
Wedding planners, venue coordinators, and I do everything in our power to make you feel relaxed so that you can fully enjoy and look back on the special day that you dreamed of! Keep scrolling for more images of details and moments that wouldn’t have happened without the help of a wedding planner!