When you're planning a wedding there's a lot to manage and keep track of, and sometimes you aren't sure which direction to go when it comes to selecting vendors and deciding on details. Well-meaning friends and family all seem to have an opinion, but whose opinion is the right one? Inevitably someone says: You should hire a wedding planner!

Did memories of Franck Eggelhoffer - wedding planner extraordinaire (Martin Short's character in Father of the Bride) just flash through your mind? Maybe you're wondering: Is a wedding planner really worth the price? Won't they just take over? What does a wedding planner do exactly anyway?

Not to worry! This article will explore how a professional wedding planner can help you navigate the planning process, save you money, overcome unexpected hiccups on the day of, and help you enjoy your wedding day! I'll also share a few tips on what to avoid as you're choosing a wedding planner.

You'll Enjoy Your Wedding Day

A good wedding planner will help both you and your guests have a much more enjoyable day. As a couple, your job on the wedding day is to make your commitment to each other and soak in all the amazing memories and emotions of the day! You should not have to be worrying about whether or not the candles on the guest tables were lit, if the photographer got fed, or if the DJ arrived on time - All of these things and more can be managed by the planner so that you can be in the moment and enjoy yourself.

Have you ever been a guest at a wedding that was running way behind? Talk about a room full of hangry people! A wedding planner will help you plan for and prevent issues before the big day even happens. The planner will work with you before the wedding to map out a detailed schedule for the wedding and help set expectations for how much time each piece of the day will need.  On the big day, if something still manages to go awry, your planner will be on top of the problem and help move the event forward so that you and your loved ones can still have a great time!

A Wedding Planner Can Save You Money & Hassle

A few years ago I found myself hitting up the acai bowl shop a little too frequently. I thought to myself "I could totally make this myself! It'd probably be cheaper too!" I bought the ingredients and got to work on my homemade acai bowl. Then, just for fun, I did the math...It actually cost me MORE (both in money and in time) to DIY than it would have for me to just have someone make it for me. Oof! In the wedding industry, it's not uncommon to see couples make the same mistake with their wedding budget! The fact is, not all DIY is cheaper in the long run.

So where should you try to save and what's really worth splurging on? An experienced wedding planner will be worth every penny when it comes to this question! Your planner can help guide you through setting priorities and how to make your wedding budget go further. They can also help review your vendor contracts to ensure you're not being taken advantage of. A good wedding planner will no doubt have some creative ideas up their sleeve to pull off your vision without wasting funds. Additionally, their vendor connections and industry experience give them an edge in terms of knowing industry tips and tricks that you may not even realize exist.

Truly experienced wedding planners have seen it all. As a result, they can often foresee potential problems before they even arise and help you plan to avoid costly mistakes.

Navigating The Unexpected

Bad Weather  - Be it a storm, snow, or a nasty heat wave, the weather is something that always needs to be taken into account for a wedding day. Your wedding planner will be keeping up to date with the weather and have a plan in place to ensure you and your guests are as comfortable as possible, whether that means umbrellas, a last-minute tent rental over your outdoor event, or making sure there are shady areas and ice water on a hot day.

Vendor Mishaps - If you've worked with a planner from the start, they'll help you find reputable vendors, to begin with. Even still, things happen (car accidents on the way to your event, etc) that might not be entirely preventable. When issues come up, having a wedding planner is invaluable because it can help mitigate the problem for you and allow you to focus on the most important thing- getting married!

Family/Guest Drama - Weddings are, of course, a happy occasion but it's not uncommon for there to be a little bit of drama at some point along the way. Sometimes it's guests wanting to bring along an extra plus one and sometimes it's a relative/bridesmaid who seems to think the big day is all about them. These are things that experienced wedding planners have dealt with many times during their careers and they'll be able to help you navigate everything from managing RSVPs to setting boundaries/coping with wedding-related drama. While every planner might have a different method for handling these types of issues, it can be a huge weight off your shoulders to simply have someone experienced and understanding on your team.

What to Avoid When Hiring a Wedding Planner

The friend who plans great parties- What makes a good wedding planner great is their experience and knowledge of the nuances that come with years of working Weddings. Someone who plans parties will not have the same advantages as someone who knows the ins and outs of weddings! If your friend is truly interested in working weddings, there are some great opportunities to gain experience by working under established professionals. This protects your friendship, your friend, and your wedding day. In the big picture, it's way more expensive to hire an amateur than it is to hire a professional.

"Day of Coordinator" - Wanna know a secret? The "Day of Coordinator" is kind of a myth! In order for your coordinator to truly be helpful, they'll need to be involved in at least some of the pre-wedding process. For example, let's say your wedding timeline has some unrealistic timeframes on it. The Day of Coordinator didn't make the timeline, but you're expecting them to manage it right? And if any of the other issues we discussed above come up, this person is responsible for navigating the situation on your behalf, right? It's best to set everyone up for success by working with a professional planner (or coordinator) ahead of time to ensure your timeline and wedding day game plan are realistic and well-planned. As they say "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," this principle applies well to weddings too!

My best advice when choosing a wedding planner is to look for someone with a lot of experience under their belt and someone who has stellar client reviews! Make sure to interview the ones you're considering working with to make sure your vision and personality align well with theirs.

If you've been on the fence about hiring a wedding planner for the big day, I hope this article helped you weigh the pros and cons! Weddings are a no-do overs kind of thing, so it's always a good idea to have an experienced professional in your corner that can help you save money, overcome unexpected hiccups, and allow you to be more present on your wedding day. As a wedding photographer, I know I speak for a lot of wedding vendors when I say that we also appreciate having an experienced planner to manage things on the big day too, it helps us stay focused on our jobs and helps to unite your entire team of wedding vendors!

If you want more tips on working with a wedding planner, check out the article Confessions of a Wedding Planner: 3 Things We Wish All Couples Knew by one of my favorite Los Angeles wedding planners and their team!

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