Do you need a wedding planner?
If you are currently planning a wedding, I bet at times of increasing pressure, whether it’s related to the complex dietary preferences of your guests or organising the ever increasing and demanding list of suppliers, you have muttered under your breath:
“I wish we’d booked a wedding planner!”
I recall a beautiful DIY wedding only recently, for which the couple spent up until the last minute before the ceremony rushing to get everything ready (and I mean the LAST MINUTE – they were still in jeans and t-shirts setting up tables and organising flowers only moments away from their ceremony) - and these were the very same words I overheard them say to one another as they headed off for their first photograph.
So how do you know whether you are going to need a wedding planner or not? I had a lovely chat with Caroline Griffiths, my local wedding planner in Cornwall, to ask her advice for helping couples decide if a planner is going to be worth the investment:
“Well firstly, does the thought of planning your wedding fill you with joy or dread? If it’s the latter, then there’s the very first sign that a helping hand might be welcomed! Are you going to be pushed for time? It’s thought that the average wedding takes in excess of 250 hours to plan, so if you haven’t got much spare capacity in your life, then you might want to find some professional assistance. Maybe you’re not local to your venue, or you are planning a destination wedding, and don’t know where to start with sourcing the sort suppliers which will suit you?
A planner not only has the inside knowledge, but they can sometimes secure specially negotiated discounts for their clients. And as with your recent experience, Lisa, DIY weddings - particularly those involving marquees and a whole range of independently sourced suppliers - actually require a lot more organisation than booking a venue which provides everything for you.”
So far, so good! But here’s my thought: booking a planner is super-expensive and a bit of a luxury, right? Not the case, says Caroline!
“There are lots of different types of wedding planning support, and they are designed to suit different needs and different budgets.
You can book a planner purely to help out on the day – which is really useful if your venue doesn’t have a wedding coordinator, or if you want someone independent of your venue who is fully on your side. Your planner will meet with you in advance, and help you work out what support you’re going to need on the day. They then create a timeline and a schedule of events, and confirm all the final arrangements with your suppliers. On the day, they will be there from start to finish, being the first point of contact for all your suppliers, handling all the questions and queries on your behalf, and generally ensuring everything runs perfectly to plan.
Some couples might decide they need support on the day, plus a little extra, which we call partial planning. This could include tying up the loose ends of things you have already started, such as finalising plans with suppliers. It could be dealing with the remaining finances, contracts and scheduling. It could be ceremony planning, invitation list management, table planning, styling advice or helping with setting up your venue. This is a really popular option for those couples who feel they are running out of time, plus they can set a budget that suits them, as well as delegate the tasks they really don’t want to do!
And then of course there is the full service planning option, for couples who are either right at the beginning, or in the first few months of getting organised. Every detail of your wedding is taken care of, and the planning normally starts a year in advance of your wedding which definitely helps take the stress and pressure off. By working with you from the very start of your planning journey, the planner will think and plan for anything and everything wedding related, and you can simply relax, knowing that a professional is dealing with every little detail.”
So from talking to Caroline, it seems to me that a planner can be a bit of a life-saver, a family mediator and a financial advisor, as well as a source of inspiration and organisation. I think I might need a Caroline in my life!
Caroline laughs and says,”I like to think that having a planner means you can enjoy more of your engagement and the lead-up to the wedding, and less time wading through the internet interrogating suppliers, or arguing over who sits where at dinner. Even when a full service wedding planner isn’t on the cards, hiring a professional to oversee on the day can be a complete game changer and allows you to focus completely on enjoying your celebration –which is just how it should be.”