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Need Help? Our Top Tips for Hiring a Wedding Planner

A wedding planning professional can be a huge help when it comes to your big day, especially if you’re on a short timeline. Wedding planners specialize in helping your unique vision come to life and they know all the right people to help you do it. Although it is an added cost, they’re particularly good at finding great deals, as well as negotiating better fees with vendors. This can ultimately help recover the price of hire. It’s a big relief to know a professional is there to support you on such a busy and important day!

bridal party celebrating in gold and burgundy bridesmaid dresses
Wedding planners leave you to do more of this! Photo Credit: Kara Evans Photography.
Contact us to get this look!

Should You Hire a Wedding Planner?

Depending on your specific need, a wedding planner, coordinator or designer can really provide some much-needed guidance. What’s the difference? We’ll break it down for you:

Wedding Planners: From the point of hire until the big day, your wedding planner will handle the logistics. They’ll recommend vendors, schedule and attend all vendor meetings, negotiate contracts, keep you on budget, etc. They also have great industry connections to find you better deals. With an eye for detail, a wedding planner can spot hidden fees in contracts to ensure there are no surprises. A wedding planner is great for couples who don’t have any extra time to plan or have a very specific vision but don’t know how to execute it.

Wedding Coordinators: Coordinators can be hired for to assist you a few months prior to the wedding all the way up to the day of. They’re typically contracted for month-of, week-of, or day-of services and pricing will vary by package type.

Coordinators will help you identify and stick to a day-of timeline and make sure this is communicated with all of your vendors. They’ll handle any last-minute oversights and loose ends, so you can focus on celebrating with your friends and family! Coordinators are helpful for virtually any couple; they provide extra support so you don’t have to ask a loved one.

Wedding Designer: Designers will facilitate all visuals to create a cohesive look from beginning to end. From floral design to lighting, stationary and table settings, they’ll put it all together! Hire a designer if you have extra budget and want a picturesque setting. Note that a wedding designer does not replace a planner or coordinator; they are usually an added resource. So they’ll often only focus on vendor management or logistics as they relate to decor. A designer is great for someone who cares the most about decor, needs help with creative ideation, or has too many ideas and wants some help narrowing in on a concept.

wedding decor details
Beautiful, down to the very last detail. Photo Credit: Kristin La Voie Photography

Some wedding planning companies offer all three of these services, and many professionals do some combination of them. (For instance, a wedding planner will likely be with you all the way until the day of as your coordinator.) You might also find that they have ad-hoc services like event rentals, calligraphy or lighting. Before hiring a wedding planner, be sure to do some research and see what they specialize in.

We recommend booking a planner early to ensure they have the date available and (depending on service level) so they can help with big wedding planning tasks like finding a venue. Here’s some hiring tips:

Key Tips on How to Find a Wedding Planner

  • Ask your venue manager if they can recommend someone. A planner that has experience at your location is a huge plus because they know all the challenges and opportunities. For instance, they’ll know an ideal number of guests to hit to fill the space, or how to coordinate the flow of people to the bar.
  • Get insights from other recently married people. Outside of your friends and family, there are a number of wedding planning facebook groups, message boards and local professional resources that you can use to see what other people in your area have done. It’s nice to get a first-hand account!
  • Experience is crucial. Ask how long they’ve been in the business the type of weddings they’ve worked on. Are they credentialed? How many weddings do they do a year? 
  • Before you sign a contract, read reviews! Check online to see what other brides have said about working with your wedding planner or company. You can often find these on Yelp, Google, Wedding Wire or The Knot. 
  • Look at their rates. They can have hourly, fixed or flat fees, and even referral charges for booking certain vendors. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but it’s nice to know for budgeting purposes.
  • Listen to your heart. It’s important to feel like you can have a good working relationship with this person. If it doesn’t feel right, listen to your instincts. Wedding planners are doing the same thing on their end!
outdoor wedding ceremony setup
Your planner can ensure nothing is out of place, so your photographer gets the perfect shot! Photo Credit: Drew Brashler Photography

The Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner or Coordinator

On the fence about whether you need a wedding planning professional? Here’s why it might be worth it:

  1. They’ll help you save money. Your wedding planner has your best interests at heart, which means they will work to give you the best deals they can find. They know how to stretch your budget and prioritize spending. Plus, they typically have great vendor relationships and insider deals that can really bring costs down. Why? Because planners bring in repeat business, whereas couples do not!
  2. They eliminate stress. Wedding planners and coordinators fill in all the gaps in coverage and responsibility. If it rains, they’ll come up with a contingency plan that keeps your vision in-tact. If a piece of hair keeps falling in your face, they’ll have extra bobby pins and hair spray on hand. If someone keeps taking out their phone during your unplugged ceremony, they’ll quietly remind them to put it down.
  3. They can handle tough transitions. Do you have any multi-purpose spaces? Your wedding planner or coordinator knows how to strike the room and reset it for the next event with your exact specifications. Although event staff will be set everything up, a planner will execute on all the special little details that make your wedding unique.
  4. They help your wedding day come to life from start to finish. Your ceremony or venue space make come with event managers, but they are usually only responsible for the services they provide; e.g, the food, facility, etc. However, the benefit of a planner is that they are there for every event and everything in between for you, be it corralling everyone for pictures or making sure the rings are in the right place. It leaves more time for you to relax and enjoy your day!
  5. They come prepared to share lots of industry expertise. You’ll be able to tap into your planner for great ideas on everything from unique table settings to how to incorporate your dog into the day. They’ll help you personalize your day, or just help you navigate a messy situation. Either way, it can be nice to have an objective opinion. 
wedding dessert table set up
Have an elaborate dessert table like this one? A planner will set it up just right.
Photo Credit: Katie Lindgren Photography

At the end of the day, the decision about hiring a wedding planner, coordinator or designer lies with you. Consider what you think will make your day unfold the way you envision it. Some couples may feel that they have enough support and planning capabilities to handle it all themselves. If you’re used to planning big events and know your space well, you might not need any extra help. Of course, you can always ask your venue event manager what other couples typically do. It’s a great point of reference. 

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