Over the last few years the Junebug team has frequently asked our readers “What is the best decision you made when planning your wedding?” By far the most popular answer is, “hiring a wedding planner!” With a substantial financial investment, and between 200 to 400 hours allocated to planning the average size wedding, it’s no wonder so many couples are grateful to wedding planners for helping them navigate the many details of their wedding planning process.
(wedding photo by Elizabeth Davis Photography
What does a wedding planner provide?
An experienced wedding planner offers you sound budget and management advice, contract negotiation, timeline creation, vetted vendor and location selection, along with stylish design aesthetic and execution. Contrary to popular belief, wedding planners can actually save you substantial amounts of time and money while ensuring you and your guests are delighted with your decisions.
(wedding photo by Claire Morgan Photography
What does a wedding designer provide?
Designers are experts at creating atmospheres that blend complementary décor concepts throughout your entire celebration and they generally work with your planner, lighting crew, décor companies, and photographer to transform your venue into an unforgettable experience. Celebrity couples and couples looking to make a one-of-a-kind statement frequently employ wedding designers. The wedding planner you choose may also be an experienced wedding designer, and if not, you may decide to hire a designer separately to create the overall visual aesthetic of your wedding.
(wedding photo by Cunningham Photo Artists
Whether you choose to hire a planner, designer, or both, here are five tips for choosing the professional that’s right for you.
- Look to your friends, family, co-workers, and highly-vetted resources like Junebug Weddings to create your own list of wedding professionals. Visit their websites and blogs, and read online client reviews. Be sure the companies you’re considering have orchestrated numerous weddings from start to finish before you trust them with yours (we ask our members to have at least 50 weddings completed before they join Junebug Weddings).
- Choose 3 to 5 planners to interview, and pay attention to how well they listen, and how comfortable you feel with their ideas and responses. Ask them for multiple references and check them. Trust is the most important component of a great working relationship, so choose someone who you believe will keep your best interests at heart, and who you are looking forward to spending time with in the months ahead.
- Set a budget upfront and let your wedding planner and/or designer make the most of it. Your budget will include your wedding planner so keep in mind that wedding planners charge for their services in several different ways. Some charge by the hour, others charge a percentage of your overall budget (generally 10-20%) and still others charge a flat rate. Be sure the pricing structure you agree to fits your needs and desires best.
- Share your style, history, and dreams with your planner, and let them know how involved you would like to be in the planning process. After all, you want your wedding to fit you to a tee so the more your planner and designer knows about you and your expectations, the more likely they will be to exceed them.
- Keep in mind that your wedding will be much more than a party. Chances are your guests will vary in age and interests, (and even dietary restrictions) and the scope of your celebration from the days leading up to your wedding and the days after will be full of details, logistics, and frequently unforeseen changes that can cause you unnecessary stress. If you decide to plan your wedding yourself, or if you’re going to let your friends and family do it, you may want to consider having a “day of” coordinator with you on your wedding day; a professional to help you manage logistics and last minute details so you can relax and enjoy your wedding day unencumbered with worry, and overjoyed by the all the little moments that will never come again.
(wedding photo by The Rasers
Junebug Weddings has spent years compiling our World’s Best Wedding Planners and Designers Hotlist. Every planner and designer we recommend is highly sought after and trusted for their talent and expertise, and every one of them is ready to make your wedding planning more fun and easier than it could ever be without them. Don't miss it!
(wedding photo by Elizabeth Messina