Planning a wedding, while being the most exciting and wonderful time in a couple's life, can also be one of the most stressful (trust me I've been there, just ask my husband). Okay, so you know you'll need a venue, music, food and some decorations, but is there more? Here are some things that go into planning a wedding that you likely have never even thought of;
What is the difference between an escort card and a place card?
How much can I expect to pay for a photographer?
When should I sent out invitations?
What happens if hair and make up runs late?
Which vendors do I need to tip? (yes, you need to tip vendors!)
When should I order a wedding dress (or outfit)?
Do caterers include plates, tablecloths, glassware, etc?
How long do I need to set my event up?
What are the different types of photography?
Which venues hold "x" amount of people?
How long should I plan for photographs to take on event day?
When should we do our speeches?
Should we do a first look?
Who manages room blocks?
Who coordinates everything on the day ?
What do I do if I have to re-schedule?
This is just a fraction (and we mean small fraction) of the items that going into planning a wedding. While each wedding is different and has its own components, a lot of them are still made up of the same key ingredients, and will pose the same questions. Hiring a wedding planner can seem like a waste of money, but the benefits of someone with knowledge, experience and know how, FAR outweigh the cost. If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, or unsure if you need one, I'm here to outline a few things to keep in mind to help you decide.
What does a wedding planner do?
Great question. Many wedding planners offer various levels of service that range from helping manage/ coordinate just the day of, to full service event planning, in which your planner will help you with every single item on your to do list and them some. A few things that you can expect from a full wedding planning package are;
Manage wedding budget
Assist in selecting vendors (flowers, music, photographers, rental items, lighting, etc.)
Create tablescapes and decor ideas
Help pick out a venue (you will need a ceremony and reception space!!)
Manage timeline of events leading up to wedding (i.e. when do I send out save the dates, when should my RSVP date be?)
Create floor-plans and timelines
Schedule vendor meetings
Walk through the wedding rehearsal
Create procession and recession lines and order
Manage hospitality bags
Point of contact for all your vendors
The list of things a wedding planner does is truly endless. There are also some more subtle things that you may come across while planning that you'll be glad you have someone with experience on your side. It can be nice to have an unbiased opinion to gently say no, to those crazy ideas your aunt has for what kind of wedding to have. Unsure how to address your cousins (envelope) and his new wife who's a doctor? A planner can help you!
Don't most venues come with a planner?
This is one of the biggest misunderstandings that couples come across that has to do with the venue. While most venues have an "Event Sales Coordinator" or "Venue Manager" etc., in most instances this person is not responsible for managing your day of/timeline, but more so to make sure that everything venue related is taken care of. Things like making sure the lights are on, the AC is running, all necessary doors are unlocked and overseeing the property are some of the things this person is responsible for. They won't be able be responsible for managing your wedding party, getting you down the aisle, or keeping track of the when you're supposed to have your father-daughter dance.
How much does a wedding planner cost?
This can be a tricky question, as there are so many factors that go into pricing. While there is no set in stone answer, in the D.C. area it's not uncommon for a "Month of Coordination" package (aka Day of Coordinator), to range from $1,500-$3,500 depending on what they offer and a Full Planning Package, to range from $6,000 - $15,000 +. (Keep in mind when you are looking at planners, that you understand what each package contains, as you may not always be comparing apples to apples. Also- your planner may be able to save you money on certain items and will definitely be able to help you allocate the right amount of money to the right places.)
What happens if I decide I need planner after I've started planning?
No problem. Assuming they have availability, majority of planners will take on a client even if you've already started the planning process. Keep in mind there are times of year that are "high season" for weddings, so a lot of planners may already be booked up for your date.
So what's the takeaway from all of this? If you want the wedding planning process to go smoothly, fully enjoy your day and lessen your stress, a wedding planner is the way to go. The internet has tons of information on how to's, and wedding day tips but there is no replacing someone with actual experience and a person that you truly trust on such an important day.
- LR <3