Updated: Jan 26
Planning a wedding on your own is no easy task but it is doable! However, the more help you can get during the process, the better, because it can be a draining experience if you have no idea how to manage your time and all of the different details that planning, styling and coordinating a wedding requires. In this blog, it’s my mission to educate you on the benefits of hiring a wedding planner vs. doing it yourself.
DIY Wedding planning is definitely doable, but you will still need help on the day
So, the alternative to hiring a professional wedding planner, stylist or coordinator is to do it by yourself and/or ask a friend or family member to help you. Obviously, they wont make all the decisions for you, but hiring a wedding planner or asking someone to help is something you won't regret if you get the right person to help.
It is definitely possible to plan your own wedding from start to finish, but you will still need to designate a day of coordinator or person that you can count on to handle all the timings and any other problems that may arise. Sarah Jane from Bish Bosh Becca fully agrees and says "hiring a wedding planner is the best option so you can enjoy your big day knowing all issues can be resolved by the planner, leaving you worry free".
A friend or family member can help with coordination some details, but they won't have the experience with how to layout a wedding day timeline, or won’t want to be running around looking for an extra chair or dealing with the unexpected food allergies. Sara Price Celebrant has seen it all, "on your wedding day the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about the food or whether the DJ will make it through the traffic. Your wedding planner will take care of problems like these and so many more leaving you free to relax and enjoy the best day of your lives".
This is probably the first wedding you've planned?
Having a professional working alongside you during your planning journey is worth every single penny. They can help guide you through the process so that it's a lot less stressful because they have a system in place as they have done it so many times before. How organised are you? Can you handle an abundance of tasks all at once and remember to follow up with them? Do you have a full time job? Wedding planning isn't always the fun cake tastings, or picking out pretty colours or trying on dresses. It can be stressful and requires a lot of time and if you're not careful it could end up taking over your life. Sally, My Wedding Godmother hit the nail on the head, "planning a wedding can be very stressful, we’re not all equipped to run £25-£35k project!"
So, if juggling 100 things at once isn't something you excel at, then hiring a wedding planner might be the best solution for you! A friend or family member could be great at planning baby showers or dinner parties but planning a wedding is another story.
Wedding planners have connections
As well as keeping all of your details together, your planner can assist you with choosing your wedding suppliers to accomplish the day you envision. I spent the first few years of my business building a lovely network of supportive suppliers that are all on the same page as me. We all want to deliver your day, they way you want. Sharon Gordon Celebrant reiterates this point and says “for busy couples like you, having the time to find likeminded professional wedding suppliers that you like and trust can take a lot of time. It can turn what should be a happy time into something quite daunting. A wedding planner takes the pressure off and allows you to enjoy the process”.
A benefit of having someone that is experienced by your side is that wedding planners know the important questions to ask, things you might forget or not be aware of. They are knowledgeable when it comes to contracts, meeting schedules, and other parts of the process. A friend or family member will likely not have the same connections or wisdom when it comes to planning a wedding.
Wedding planners can save you time and money
Blah, blah, blah, you’ve heard this one before and you can’t see how it will work as yes, it is another line on your wedding budget. Well, let’s look at it this way, do you know how much your favourite flowers should cost? Or how much alcohol you may need per person? Do you know how much that incredible 3 tiered cake you’ve pinned on Pinterest might cost you? Well, your planner does and they will help you stay in your budget. Due to some of the relationships they have built in the wedding industry they can find vendors that may be able to work within your budget. A professional planner can also offer suggestions and ideas on how to achieve your wedding wishes to fit your needs, wants and your bank account. And, if it needs to be done they may be able to suggest something different, that’s similar, but perhaps not as expensive!
Your wedding planner wont take over the planning and design process
For some people this is a big worry, but if you pick the right planner then no, it will absolutely not happen. Think of them as a PA for your wedding, they are literally there to help you, not to take over your wedding. They will work with you to select your decor, your flowers, your music, your centrepiece and any other detail that will make your wedding uniquely yours.
Katey and Lloyd from Carter & Olive sum up why hiring a planner is a good idea nicely: "A wedding planner can help navigate & help bring your vision to life. They will have expertise and contacts to help this happen. Also they can act as a point of liaison with a supplier or venue allowing you to concentrate on enjoying the process especially if your feeling awkward about asking about something or if you worried, for example, that your venue doesn't quite get your vision, especially if they're using an in-house stylist. You can still incorporate things that you've made or collected, a planner will ensure that these are allowed to shine as you want them. As for the day itself it will help take away any stress or worries & ensure that what's been agreed (i.e. what happens where and when it happens) runs smoothly, so you can enjoy the moments that you want to remember."
Still undecided? Here are 9 questions you could ask yourself;
1. Do you and your partner have full time jobs?
Wedding planning is an occupation in itself, according to a study the average modern wedding can take 528 hours to plan, which is why it often makes sense to hand over some of the work to a professional, but if you or your significant other are currently taking some time off and want to take on some of the preparations personally, then having a planner may not be too necessary.
2. Are you worried about managing your budget?
While you'll have to pay out extra cash for the services of a planner, they will be able to help you navigate hiring other high-cost vendors, like the venue, caterer, and florist. Even better? You'll likely benefit financially from their insider connections—especially if they've been in the business for a long time. If you're a first-rate money manager with a penchant for spreadsheets (and are absolutely stringent about reading the fine print), feel free to tackle this component on your own.
3. Do you want to get married in 9 months?
Maybe you want to get married on the anniversary of your first date. Perhaps you just don't want to wait the standard year-and-a-half to marry your best friend. Either way, you have to plan a ceremony and reception in nine months—and you have no idea where to start. I'll give you a clue: Start researching experienced wedding planners in your area (a tight deadline makes extra help a must!).
4. Are you planning a destination wedding?
First of all, if you’re unsure what my definition of a destination wedding is read this blog. Getting hitched an hour or two away from home is one thing. But if you're venturing halfway across the country to tie the knot? That's a little stickier, and a scenario in which having a planner is a necessity. Save yourself the headache by hiring an expert to take the lead.
5. Do the vendor contracts confuse you?
Unfortunately, some of the paperwork you're about to be responsible for looks like it takes a law degree to understand. While it doesn't (usually), weddings often involve lots of vendors—which mean lots and lots of vendor contracts. A planner is there to help you make sense of it all, so you don't get slapped with hidden fees that you and your budget definitely weren't prepared for.
6. Are you unsure about the vision for your day?
While most of your decor falls into the hands of a stylist, plenty of planners specialise in both planning and design (I DO!). At the very least, they're equipped to help you develop your big day vision—meaning, they'll be able to find the sweet spot in the middle of your bohemian-meets-rustic-meets-contemporary-meets-traditional wedding Pinterest board.
7. Is wedding planning impacting your relationship?
While pre-wedding stress is normal whether you have a wedding planner or not, having assistance definitely alleviates the burden and I don’t think you need to think about it much more… Planning shouldn’t be impacting your relationship.
8. Are you thinking up things you really don’t need? Do you need a reality check?
I mean, everyone has over the top wedding dreams, but sometimes you need a little bit of real talk. Before you can even think about getting ahead of yourself, your planner will help you keep your goals, theme and budget in check. It works the opposite way, too. Stressed about making sure your napkins are three shades of grey lighter than your table runner? Your planner will be there to tell you not to sweat the small stuff. After all, your planner has got it covered.
9. Do you not enjoy wedding planning?
Don’t worry, you can admit it… It isn’t for everyone! The engagement period is one of the happiest of your life. Why subject yourself to something you know will make you categorically miserable for a whole year? If you know you want to be more hands on, but don't want to shoulder the entire responsibility, consider hiring a planner for a few specific goals. So you can tackle the planning categories you love, like the flowers and the menu, and leave figuring out a seating arrangement for your 300 guests in your barn venue to your planner.
So, here is your homework: decide to hire or diy
Conduct a search for wedding planners in your area (or in general, if you find one you absolutely love, they may travel!). Decide on 3-5 wedding planners that you can reach out to after researching their websites & social media accounts. If you think they might be a good fit, send them an email to see if they are available and to start a conversation. Don’t automatically assume that you can’t afford them.
If you’ve reviewed your options and talked to a handful of planners and it’s still not in the budget to hire a professional planner, make a short-list of close family and friends that you can approach about assisting you with coordinating on the day of your wedding.
If you are planning to do it yourself download the FREE printable “wedding planning timeline” to get you started or order the “wedding planer in your pocket” that includes the spreadsheets that I use to plan my clients weddings.
If you have any specific questions you would like to ask me, find out about my availability or would like a personalised quote get in touch and I will get back to you as soon as possible or download my brochure already to have a browse!