Okay, so I have a confession to make. I really, sincerely dislike wedding-related Top 10 Lists.
As a wedding planner, I’ve read many of them: “Top 10 Reasons Why You Must Do a Receiving Line,” “Top 10 Reasons You Need To Have a Plated Dinner Reception,” “Top 10 Reasons You Have to Do a First Look.”
There is certainly some wisdom to be found in these lists, so my problem is not so much with their content, but rather their attitude. In essence, these lists seem to say that if you make a choice other than the one the list is arguing for, you will inevitably live to regret it.
Of course, as a wedding planner myself, I'm admittedly biased when it comes to the topic. And, while I'll never tell you that you absolutely must hire a wedding planner (it may not be every couple’s choice and that's okay), I sincerely believe in the value of professional wedding planning for every couple. Will you keep an open mind as I tell you why?
1. Your friend and family are not a substitute for a professional wedding planner
Before I dive into this topic, let me be clear: a couple’s friends and family play an incredibly important and irreplaceable role during the wedding planning process. However, I sincerely believe that a couple will save themselves time, energy and stress by letting their friends/family celebrate their wedding day with them, and leaving the work of wedding planning to a professional. Here are a few reasons why I believe this:
- I believe that the most important role that friends and family of the bride and groom can play is active witnesses and celebrators of the marriage. That role is crucial and not one that is easily accomplished if they have the added responsibilities of managing the event. So, even if your friends/family members are playing an active role in the wedding planning process prior to the wedding day, hiring a day-of wedding planner will free them up to play their most important role on your wedding day.
- On a related note, 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 an old friend. 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.
2. You need a reliable outlet for all of your wedding energy
I don’t often talk about my own wedding, but as a bride, I felt tremendous pressure to impress people with my style, creativity, and sentimental whimsy. At the same time, I also felt pressure (mostly self-imposed) to keep my wedding thoughts to myself so my friends wouldn’t think of me as a wedding-obsessed [I hate this word] Bridezilla.
So, essentially, I felt the pressure to impress everyone while simultaneously burdening no one.Talk about a recipe for a melt-down!
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. 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. 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.
Without a wedding planner, most couples base their decisions about vendors on online searches or recommendations from friends. While those tools are valuable, most professional wedding planners have extensive networks of vendors with whom they have worked closely, and whose work they can vouch for, so they can both set you up with great quality vendors as well as steer you away from vendors that wouldn’t be a great fit.
As a planner, I consider vendor matching to be one of the most important services I offer my clients. Your wedding vendors comprise your wedding “team,” and a professional wedding planner can help you draft the right vendors to make a winning combination for your day.
4. Your venue’s “wedding planner” isn’t really your wedding planner
Nowadays, many wedding venues have a “wedding planner” on staff, typically the couple’s main point of contact with the venue. While these planners are valuable (and I truly mean that. Site coordinators 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 site planner’s job is to:
- make sure the venue staff is doing what they are supposed to do
- make sure no damage is done to the venue. And while some site planners 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.
5. You need help figuring out the budget
I’ve never been scuba-diving in my entire life. But, imagine I wanted to take up scuba diving and I went to a scuba-gear store and was promptly asked what my budget was 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? A professional wedding planner can help you figure out a budget for the event that’s just right for you.
6. 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 amounts to about 15-20 hours per week (basically a part time job) throughout their engagement. Not every couple has the time/energy for that after jobs, hobbies and social lives. A professional wedding planner can take a large chunk of the planning time off of your plate.
On a similar note, there is often a great deal of wedding planning that has to happen during working hours (Monday-Friday 9-5pm), 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 work 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.
7. 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.
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 and meaningful wedding.
8. 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 on 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.
9. 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.
Many 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.
Now, while I would welcome the ability, I can’t be in two places at once either, but in cases where I have a split-location event, I hire 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 hire a day-of wedding planner.
10. You should be 100% present for 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 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 the nearest and dearest friends all because they were at liberty to surrender the details of the day to their planner and simply enjoy it.
So, there they are --- my top 10 reasons why you should consider --- not why you must --- hire a wedding planner. Happy planning, party people! I hope our paths will cross in wedding world.
We can't thank Corinne enough for sharing her words of wedding wisdom with us.
If you are planning a wedding, we would HIGHLY recommend you give Corinne a call. We have personally found her to be a great planner and more importantly, a truly wonderful person.