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Do I need a wedding planner?


Making sure that you have a fantastic, enjoyable wedding day takes a lot of preparation! You can organise everything yourself, you can ask for help from family or a friend, the venue can provide someone or you can use a wedding planner who will provide a professional wedding organisation service for a fee. 

Most venues and hotels have their own in-house wedding planners who work with different brides to arrange their wedding day within that establishment, but they don’t usually work outside their contract of employment for other venues.  Most freelance wedding planners start their careers working for one venue and then branch out to go freelance and run their own business.

There are qualifications for wedding planners under the events management umbrella but if you are looking for a good one, then you can’t beat word of mouth and an impressive portfolio of previously successful wedding days.

Five reasons why you need a wedding planner

Well, weddings are very stressful despite the fact they are happy and joyous occasions and for some people, the sheer amount of work and organisation can be overwhelming and really take the shine off their big day.  And, of course, some people just don’t have the time to organise a big and complicated event.

A good planner can help in all sorts of ways – including:

  1. Negotiating better rates with venues and suppliers to save you money
  2. Getting you booked into a venue that you thought impossible
  3. Helping you stick to your budget
  4. Deliver on your vision when so many others will want to have a say in your special day
  5. And of course, all the arrangements for the day

Who needs a wedding planner?

There are four main criteria which lend themselves to using a wedding planner and these are:-

  • If you are genuinely too busy with work, family life or some other restrictions on your time to organise the wedding properly yourself
  • You get easily stressed and anxious
  • You are not a very good organiser
  • You have never organised an event in your life before

What does a wedding planner do?

A wedding planner will do what you ask them to do so most offer a variety of packages with different service levels so you could consider organising some aspects of the wedding yourself and leave the tricky bits to the planner or you could opt for a complete service and sit back and let the wedding planner take the strain.

Find a good wedding planner near you

Finding the right wedding planner is key to a successful outcome, after all, you are entrusting this person with the control and organisation of one of the most important days of your life.

A quick internet search will reveal plenty of prospects but the key is to find a personal recommendation and from someone you know and trust not just via random comment on social media.

Meet your potential planner and spend some time with them chatting through your ideas; it’s really important that you gel as people – this is no place for personality clashes!  The three key characteristics you are looking for in a wedding planner is creativity – they have to be able to come up with ideas and suggestions for countless different types of weddings and create a vision of a bride’s dream day – flexibility and patience, in bucket loads.

Find out about other weddings they have organised, the number and type – experience can be one of the most key factors.  If the weddings all look rather ‘samey’ then this might not be the right wedding planner for you.  You should not be able to spot similar themes, trends or colours across the different ceremonies which might suggest that the wedding planner is imposing their own tastes on each occasion rather than really reflecting what each individual bride wants.

DIY vs a wedding planner

Some brides feel that a wedding planner would be a waste of time and money because they have no idea what they really want.  In fact, most wedding planners are brimming with useful suggestions and ideas with experience gained from countless other ceremonies, they know what’s on trend and what’s not and usually have a plethora of interesting and diverse industry contacts.  A wedding planner can help guide you and breathe life into your vision even if your starting point is just your favourite colour and nothing more.

Some brides feel that they just can’t hand over control to a wedding planner so why not consider one task as a trial run or just allocating a couple of jobs to them and doing the rest yourself?

Don’t want to pay for a planner then let a wedding website help you get organised

Using a bespoke wedding website or app can be a really effective tool in cutting down work on wedding admin and helping you to get organised without the need to hire a wedding planner.

There are a wide variety of different website options on the market but the key things a wedding website can do for you include:-

  • Custom wedding checklists to help you stay on track when it comes to managing tasks and deadlines
  • Stylish email invitations
  • Quick and easy RSVP collations so you have an up-to-date guest list at your fingertips with easy to pull information like dietary requirements
  • Handy deadline reminders and alerts to pay deposits or make decisions
  • A focal point for your guests providing easy access to information like accommodation lists if they want to stay near the wedding venue, helpful road directions and last minute information on travel or flights with handy links for bookings
  • Stylish and bespoke thank you letters after the big day and all at the touch of a button

Take a look at the app WeddingHappy, your wedding planner in your pocket with helpful checklists and budget planners and useful features like price-per-guest analysis.  This app will also blend with your own calendar so you can fit wedding tasks into your normal daily schedule. 

Take a look at the appropriately named Joy which can be patched in to support a wedding website, not just a helpful organiser, this app has lots of general information and resources like Frequently Asked Questions.

The pros and cons of hiring a wedding planner

Here are the pros:

  • Hand over all that research and wedding admin to someone else – a wedding planner will do the legwork so all you have to do is choose between different alternatives
  • A wedding planner can help you get the most from your budget by number crunching and keeping you on target.  They also have reach when it comes to obtaining good prices with suppliers as most services in the wedding sector will be keen to keep a wedding planner on side as there could be more business available from them in the future
  • A wedding planner can write schedules ensuring no detail or arrangement is overlooked and then timetable this into a calendar, this removes the two key worries for most brides which are that things won’t be done on time or that some essential detail will be overlooked
  • Their inside knowledge is invaluable and can save both time and money sourcing out the right vendors and suppliers
  • You will be exposed to new ideas with a wedding planner who will have managed dozens of ceremonies and receptions, they will know what is trending and will have all the tips and tricks of the trade
  • A wedding planner will become your friendly ear.  One of the most challenging aspects of organising a wedding is managing some of the competing personalities – a wedding planner will have met these issues before and will be able to offer helpful suggestions to smooth ruffled feathers and head off potential arguments and disputes
  • Having an organiser there on the day so there is someone to oversee the wedding and make sure that everything runs smoothly, a wedding planner is also ready to troubleshoot any unforeseen problems which do occur

And the cons:

The main drawback of a wedding planner is the cost and that’s a personal decision; some people see it as the best money they have ever spent whereas other brides view it as just an unnecessary expense to be added to an already overstretched budget.  Some brides who need organisational help will use an app or a website or both but another option if you are feeling overloaded is to allocate certain tasks to family members and friends – this can be the best of all worlds or the worst of all worlds! 

Asking a friend or family member to research and arrange a particular element of the wedding for you can be a very personal touch.  Many people particularly the mother of the bride and the mother-in-law are usually itching to get involved but do allocate tasks with care, for instance, it could be fatal to involve one mother and not the other in dress viewings – being involved in choosing the wedding dress is the jewel in the crown.

If you have a friend or family member who has a particular skill or aptitude then play to their strengths and ask them if they would like to get involved.  This can also be a good way to keep costs lower if the budget is tight as some people may be prepared to offer their time or skills for free.

However, sometimes using friends or family members to help share the load can backfire spectacularly and cause more problems than it is worth. 

A wedding planner as that one key and invaluable element – neutrality!  They are not emotionally involved and sometimes this is a value beyond measure.