From the moment you get engaged, it feels like you need to do all the things right this minute. Of course, it feels that way because you get bombarded by All The Questions. You know, questions like, “Where are you getting married?” and “What’s the theme?” I thought I was prepared for wedding planning… and then I jumped in and discovered it was way more complicated than I expected.
When my husband and I set the intention to get married, we started researching right away, even before he’d “officially” proposed. Actually, I started planning, because I’m a nerd who loves to research and project plan—timelines and Gantt charts are my thing. Wedding research became a hobby for me, and I happily spent hours on my laptop looking at vendor websites and compiling lists for my husband to review. In my excitement, I did what most brides do… I dove in headfirst and immediately was overwhelmed with information and choices.
I recognize that I’m somewhat of a weirdo, and most people do not enjoy spending hours looking at websites and reading reviews. A lot of people take one look at anything wedding-related and feel overwhelmed. At some point, we all feel like we need help, but it can be hard to even know what kind of help you need. Lots of people will offer to help you with your wedding, but that tends to be for the fun stuff—food tastings, gown shopping, and so on. But what if you need help with… everything? Should you get a wedding planner? Can you even afford a wedding planner? Is that a thing that “regular” people do, or is that something only for rich people having huge weddings? What if you just need help with the day-of stuff? And what if you can’t afford help, but you really need it?
Let’s start with the easy answers. You should get help if you need help, but what that looks like will depend on your circumstances. Generally, this help will fall in one of three categories: wedding planner, day-of coordinator, or wedding stage manager. Most people think that wedding planners and day-of coordinators are the same thing, but that’s not exactly… true. Most wedding planners you meet will offer both wedding planning and day-of coordination services, but the scope of work is different and so is the cost.
A wedding planner is just that: someone to give you hands-on assistance in planning your nuptials, or do all the work for you, if you choose. Most wedding planners have established relationships with a variety of vendors, with some providing discounts or extras. A wedding planner will help you find and select vendors, and will work with you on design concepts for your wedding. Generally, if you hire a wedding planner, coordinating services for your wedding day will be included.
You might want to hire a wedding planner if: you or your partner work sixty hours a week and simply don’t have time to plan this thing; you’re planning a wedding with a ton of moving parts; you have parents that are difficult enough that you want someone who’s not you to manage them; or you want to have a wedding, but you simply have no interest in planning it.