Deanna Dillender – Great Expectations

As a professional event planner, even I like to say that when my daughter gets married, we’ll be hiring a wedding planner. Why? Because I want to enjoy the day, I want to be present in the moment. Could I do it myself? Sure.  But why would I want to work on one of the most important days of my life? I also like to compare it to a home project.  Yes, I could build that deck or renovate my kitchen with my husband, but is that really how I want to spend my free time?  Do I really want to wonder if I am getting a good deal or can trust my vendors? Or, do I want to pay someone who done it before and knows what they are doing?  A contractor knows how to save me money and time.  They already know the path to success to get the job done in the shortest amount of time, have the least amount of stress, and get the best value for the dollar.  I feel the same way about wedding planning.    

I recommend every wedding couple consider at least a “day-of” or, what I call the “month-of”, wedding planner package.  With this plan, you may book this planner as much as a year out, but he/she will not come on board until the last month of your wedding.  They will help you tie up all the loose ends, create a timeline for your wedding week, draw diagrams of the ceremony and reception set-ups, and manage your vendors the week of the wedding.  Of course, they also coordinate your ceremony rehearsal and the wedding day from beginning to end.  I’ve had grooms give this package to their fiancé as a gift, so their bride-to-be is not stressed the month leading up to the wedding. I have also seen out-of-town parents buy this for their daughter when they are not in town to help.  You cannot go wrong having a planner take you into the home stretch. 

At the other end of the spectrum is the “full service” wedding planner.  This planner helps you in just about every aspect of planning your wedding.  He/she will recommend, and help you decide on which vendors you want.  You will be assisted with your budget creation and be given direction as to how to divide it into budget categories.  You will be led and supported at every turn. Your wedding planner will guide your dream of the perfect wedding from vision to reality.   In my opinion, this is a must for out of town couples or couples who plan to do an outdoor event or full weekend of events. It’s also for couples who don’t want to deal with any stress or for those who simply don’t have time due to their busy career or studies.  Full service planning will cost more, but in the long run, it will save you the most money, stress and time. 

Often times, planners will customize their packages somewhere in between “day-of” and “full-service” for different circumstances.  Each planner does things a bit differently, so be sure to ask when you meet your potential planner.  Ask around, referrals are important.  You should hire someone with whom you feel comfortable.  This person is your advocate.  They will fix problems for you.  They will go to bat for you.  They work for you and with you.  Therefore, it should be someone you can be completely honest with, including your true budget and any family issues you expect may be a problem.  They will remind you when you need to refocus.  They will be true to the things you have said are most important to you. If you want one of the most important days of your life to be the best, your smartest choice may be getting a wedding planner.

Photos: Love The Renauds