10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner

1. You need to hire vendors you can trust ~
Think about it this way, it probably took you years to find your perfect match in your future spouse, and now you need to find your perfect match in your wedding vendors, and quickly! A professional wedding planner is a lot like a matchmaker, only instead of finding people his/her perfect mate, she helps match couples with wedding vendors that match their vision, personality and budget.

This is likely your first time planning a wedding. Planners have been in the industry for years and are experts in protocol, etiquette and everything it takes to pull off an event of such magnitude. They are a HUGE and readily accessible resource for education. In addition to possessing a wealth of knowledge, planners have been in the industry long enough to know whom the players are -- which vendors can be trusted and who has the best business practices. A referral from someone who has roots in the industry is GOLD when you have to place such a high level of trust in those you previously had no knowledge of.

2. You need a reliable outlet for all of your wedding energy, thoughts, and ideas ~
Most brides feel tremendous pressure to impress people with their style, creativity, and something different. At the same time, they also felt pressure (mostly self-imposed) to keep their wedding thoughts to themselves so their friends wouldn’t think of them as a wedding-obsessed [I hate this word] Bridezilla.
So, essentially, they feel the pressure to impress everyone while simultaneously burdening no one. Talk about a recipe for a meltdown!

So many of the brides I work with feel that same pressure, particularly when it comes to the insecurity over how much wedding talk to share with their loved ones. One of the greatest joys of my job is the ability to be an enthusiastic and judgment-free outlet for my brides. Wedding planners are a huge creative resource. They listen to your vision and dream for your wedding and bring their creativity to the process to help your vision come to fruition. Because wedding planning is both exhilarating and exhausting, brides need a dependable outlet for talking about their weddings—and a professional wedding planner is exactly that.

3. Your friends and family are not a substitute for a professional wedding planner ~ (this is a long one!)
A couple’s friends and family play an incredibly important and irreplaceable role during the wedding planning process as well as during the wedding. However, I sincerely believe that a couple will save themselves time, energy, money, and stress by letting their friends and/or family celebrate their wedding day with them, and leaving the work of wedding planning to a professional wedding planner. Even the most well-intentioned friend helping out on your wedding day might get distracted from their official wedding responsibilities by having a few cocktails or catching up with you. Many times, it’s best not to blur the line between friend and worker.

Wedding planning is often time-consuming and time-sensitive work. Friends and family members have their own jobs and personal responsibilities to attend to, and may not have the necessary amount of time and energy to devote to your wedding. Since weddings are deeply personal by nature, conflicts can quickly arise between friends and family over wedding-related time expectations. A wedding planner can devote many hours to your event, since it is her job to do so.

Friend or family member may be very creative and/or reliable, but that doesn't mean they have the skills and knowledge that come with experience in event management. A professional wedding planner brings with her expertise on everything from table settings to ceremony music to timelines, while your friend may have only her own wedding experience (or others she has attended as a guest) to draw on.

Someone needs to be in charge of overseeing and answering the questions of your army of helpers. I’ve coordinated several weddings where the couple has had an army of volunteers responsible for everything from bringing salads and cakes to picking up rental tables and chairs, to hanging decorative fabric from the ceiling. While these group efforts are certainly impressive to witness, the more volunteers you have, the more complex the task of managing them becomes. If you choose not to have a wedding planner, you will likely be the one expected to manage all the helpers.

4. You need help figuring out the budget and staying on track ~
I’ve never been scuba-diving in my entire life. But, imagine if I wanted to take up scuba diving. I would to a diving store and I would be promptly asked what my budget would be for buying scuba gear. I would have NO idea where to even start, since I don’t know what gear I would need and what that gear might cost.

Wedding budgets are exactly like that. Most couples have never thrown a celebration like a wedding before, so why would they expect themselves to know how to budget for a wedding? Once you have a budget set (or an comfortable range), a professional wedding planner can help you figure out how to budget for each vendor and all the details that is just right for you.

5. You don’t have time to plan a wedding ~
Planning a wedding is a lot of work. Some experts even estimate that the time a couple spends planning their wedding throughout their engagement, amounts to about 15-20 hours per week. That’s the same as a part time job! Not every couple has the time and/or energy for that after their jobs, hobbies, and social lives. A professional wedding planner can take the majority of the planning time off of your plate (only if you want them to).

On a similar note, there is often a great deal of wedding planning that has to happen during working hours (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm), as many vendors and venues keep regular business hours. Again, many working couples can’t take the time off of work required to get some of that planning done. A professional wedding planner can handle the daytime hour tasks required to make sure your wedding is just as perfect as you dream it will be.

6. You need help focusing your vision ~
One of the greatest blessings of getting married in the era of Pinterest is the wealth of inspiration and ideas that couples have to draw from. However, that blessing can turn into a curse when it comes time to narrow the focus and put together a cohesive event that truly reflects a couples’ personality. Check out my blog post on Pinterest - http://swflweddingplanners.com/blog/pinterest-good-bad-ugly. Oftentimes, one of the couple’s biggest struggles is finding their final wedding look from among all of the pictures, pins, and blog posts they like. Bringing a vision to life is a tricky business, and a professional wedding planner can help you incorporate many of the elements that inspire you, into a cohesive, unique, and meaningful wedding.

7. Your venue’s Venue Coordinator, isn’t really your wedding planner ~
Nowadays, many wedding venues have a “wedding planner” on staff, who, typically, is the couple’s main point of contact with the venue. While these venue coordinators are valuable (and I truly mean that), they make my job easier, for sure), don't expect them to take care of all your wedding needs. Their job is to ultimately represent the interests the venue, not the couple.
The venue coordinator’s job is to:

•Ensure the venue staff is doing what they are supposed to do
•Ensure no damage is done to the venue
•Ensure that the venue is set on time (tables, chairs, linens, tableware, etc.)
•Ensure the kitchen is running on schedule

And while some venue coordinators are willing to do some extra set up for the
couple, many will not do things like setting up escort cards and decorations or
consult with vendors on anything other than arrival times.

Bottom line: Even though your venue may have a “wedding planner,” chances are that person is not a substitute for a professional wedding planner. Check out my blog http://swflweddingplanners.com/blog/venuecoordinator-vs-weddingplanner

8. You can’t be in two places at once ~
This is a BIG ONE! And why I believe strongly in the value of Day-of wedding planning for every couple!

Some couples choose to have their ceremony and their reception in separate locations. Obviously a couple can’t be getting married at the ceremony venue while they are setting up their for reception at their reception venue at the same time nor should they be setting up their wedding.
Now, while I would LOVE the ability, I can’t be in two places at once either. In the case where I have a two location event, I have an assistant or two to ensure that set-up and execution is on-point at all locations throughout the day.

Even weddings where the ceremony and reception are in the same location often need an extra set of hands to ensure that set-up of the event is done on time. Many event venues have strict time limits where couples are only allowed access to the space for a few hours (or less) before their wedding, so it is near impossible to juggle getting ready for the event and getting it set up on time. A professional wedding planner will likely have juggled multiple-location and time-crunched events before, so do yourself a favor and at least, hire a Day-of wedding planner.

9. You have tricky family dynamics to navigate ~
Nothing brings out a wealth of family dynamics quite like a wedding. Couples often have to navigate not only their own, but also their families’, expectations about a single day. Naturally, it’s no surprise that tensions can arise between family members during the process of planning a wedding. A professional wedding planner can be a great objective resource in tricky family situations.

So whether a couple’s parents insist on being kept in the loop and involved in the decision making, a divorce in the family has left bad blood between exes who need to be kept apart at the event, or a cousin on the guest list has a reputation for disorderly conduct at social events, a professional wedding planner can help you navigate tricky family territory. You can count on her to answer your mother’s questions about etiquette, make sure that guests who don’t get along are seated far apart, and diffuse tense situations on the wedding day without the couple having to be involved.

On occasion, I’ve even told couples that they can “blame the wedding planner” in situations where they are making a decision that they know may upset a family member. I have no issue taking the blame if it can ease tensions and save relationships.

10. You should be 100% present on your wedding day ~
Your wedding day happens once, and it can never be repeated. So, why not invest in someone who can free you from every responsibility other than drinking in every moment of that day? You’ve likely invested a great amount of time, energy and resources in your wedding, so you should get to enjoy it.

The difference in the stress level of a bride who has a professional planner and one who doesn't is palpable. When it comes to the day of your wedding, the most important thing is that you are able to relax and enjoy it. You are the bride. You don't want to end up being the point person for issues and questions that will inevitably arise. Hiring a planner frees you and everyone you love to live in the moment on your wedding day.

The greatest joy I derive from my work comes when I can see my couples living in every moment of their wedding day, because that means that they will actually get to remember their wedding. If I’ve done my job well, my couples should be able to describe in detail the moment they saw each other for the first time, what it felt like to squeeze each other’s hands during the ceremony, the taste of the cocktails, and the exhilaration of dancing until their feet hurt with their nearest and dearest family and friends, all because they were at liberty to surrender the details of the day to their planner and simply enjoy every moment!

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