Now, more than ever, couples should be hiring a wedding planner. If it wasn’t on your radar before, with all that’s happened in 2020, it should be a top priority. As if it wasn’t clear enough, this week’s podcast episode breaks it down.
Q: What’s the difference between wedding planners and wedding coordinators?
A: It definitely varies from company to company, of course. But the basic difference is a planner is going to help you get from beginning to end. So, finding your vendors, booking your vendors, coming up with a timeline, possibly some design elements, staying organized, checklist, invitations, really more hand-holding along the process. Whereas, a coordinator is going to help you just coordinate. They’re going to help you coordinate the final details. So think, what people call a “day-of coordinator”, or a “month-of coordinator”, they’re helping you to take everything that you’ve planned along the way, bundle it up and actually execute it on wedding day itself. So, timelines, final, final details, transportation schedule, drop-off times, that kind of thing but you’ve done kind of a lot of the heavy lifting on the front end.
Q: Would you ever opt to get a coordinator over a planner even if budget allows for a planner?
A: It doesn’t necessarily matter what your budget is. Your budget is prioritized based on what’s important to you. So, if having a planner hold your hand from beginning to the end is not super important, then maybe the coordinator is what your budget’s allowing. It’s not necessarily a dollar amount, it’s what you’re prioritizing and what’s the most or least important to you. I think everybody, at least, needs a coordinator because you don’t want to be running around stressed out about these things on wedding day but not everybody feels it’s necessary to have a planner. Maybe you have a lot of free time or you have a very flexible job, or you just really love the process of planning a wedding. There’s plenty of people who don’t need a planner but there’s also plenty of people that need a planner that maybe haven’t thought about it.
Q: What are some of the pros to a planner?
A: I think the biggest thing is you always have someone in your court. A lot of times, people say, oh, I have a vendue coordinator and while venue coordinators are absolutely amazing, their job is to coordinate with the venue, so, not that they’re not in your court but they’re working for the venue, they’re making sure the venue pieces are all put together. So it’s great to have a planner who’s fully dedicated to you and to what you need, not just at the venue but with your DJ or band, and with your photographer, and with your invitations and to be your therapist with bridesmaids’ issues or all of those things. So, they’re really that person in your court, they’re that second set of eyes on your wedding invitations to make sure that you don’t have a typo in your name. You know, you’ve seen it 100 times and it looks right and it’s not or read the fine print of your contracts which is more important now than ever. I also think that they will help you to save money and spend money the right way. So, they’re going to help you to sit down and say, okay, this is my budget, how do I prioritize my money, how do I spend money where it matters, where can I save? Help you to find vendors who are matched to your style in your budget. They’re going to be able to help you in ways that you’re not as experienced at because they have planned hundreds of weddings and this is, most likely, probably your first time planning a wedding, maybe even the first time a lot of people, maybe you’re the first of your friends to get married, or first of your sisters to get married, or whatever it may be. So, I think it’s just great to have someone who understands what to expect, what the costs are and what you need to be doing.
Q: I think this is a popular misconception but do planners force their vision on couples?
A: Not if you have the right planner. I think finding the right planner is super important. They’re going to help you decide what your style is in a sense that they’re going to look at your Pinterest board, they’re going to talk to you, they’re going to find out what your personality and your style is. They’re not going to force their opinions on you, they’re going to help you to hone what you want and figure out, because a lot of us, a lot of people don’t know what they want. Maybe they have 17 different styles on their Pinterest board, so they’re going to be able to help you kind of hone in on it, make sure everything’s cohesive, make sure it fits within your budget, I mean, we all love Pinterest but maybe not always budget-friendly.
Q: Sometimes couples who say they are really organized, and they can book vendors themselves. So, why do couples still need planners?
A: Yeah, I mean, that’s true and that’s great but planners just have a knowledge that you do not have. They know what vendors can do what, what styles, they have tools that you don’t have, and they’ve just done so many more weddings than you’ve done that they can give you solutions for problems you didn’t even know about. I think we had a couple who booked a photographer and didn’t know about that fine print, like, they booked them before they booked us, and they didn’t see that only 10 pictures were included with their package. And you can imagine when they got their photos.
Q: What should couples really look for in a planner?
A: I think the biggest thing is figuring out personality. Right, that’s going to be the biggest, most important thing is seeing that you guys are a good fit. Whether it’s with that person or the company as a whole, making sure you guys align what’s important to you guys. And then, of course, budget is obviously important. You have to think about the wedding budget. You might need less planning, maybe you’re doing a smaller wedding and maybe you’re doing a micro-wedding and you just don’t have many moving pieces, so I think that’s all being very open with your planner and asking them, hey, here’s what I’m planning, here’s my budget, is there still a way for you to help me? Maybe it’s an hourly consultation rate, maybe it is coordination instead of full planning, and just understanding that you’ll find the right person for your budget in some way, shape or form.
Q: What should be included with a planner?
A: It’s so hard to answer that question because it’s so different from planner to planner but, overall, I mean, you definitely, at a very minimum, no matter what kind of package you’re looking for, you want somebody who is going to execute on wedding day and help you with those final details beforehand. So, help you to build a timeline, get a good understanding of your wedding and what it’s going to look and feel like. That should be kind of like a bare minimum for what you have going on, and then, for planning typically includes vendor recommendations, budget, timeline, checklist, a lot more details to it. So, what I would recommend doing is meeting with two or three, kind of having them outline what includes with and comes in their packages and then you can compare. Nobody is exactly the same.
Photo credit: Taylor Square Photography