Should you hire a Wedding Planner?

May 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

As a photographer, I get to be behind the scenes of lots of weddings.  There is one rule that I have yet to see broken and that is this:  Something WILL go wrong on your wedding day.  It’s not always a big something, but it is the kind of something that often causes a bit of a frenzy amongst the wedding party and family.  Why?  Well, that’s an easy question to answer.  Weddings are huge events filled with lots of little details.  I’ve been in charge of planning big events and seeing them through to completion – that is a full time job in and of itself.  Now add to that the stress of getting yourself ready, taking time away from the event to get your portraits done and all the other details that go into getting married, and it could very well be a disaster waiting to happen if you haven’t planned the wedding out to the last detail.  So then hiring a wedding planner should be a dream come true right?  Well, it is a big decision, and not one that you should make lightly.  There are definitely some great benefits of hiring a wedding planner, but there are also some things you give up in doing so.

Let’s take some time to think this through.

The Fun Factor

How many weddings have you attended this year?  You can be sure that the wedding planner has probably planned more weddings this year that you’ve attended in the last four or five and that means they’ve seen it all.  They have ideas for making the wedding even more fun and spectacular. Ideas that you may have never imagined.  Such amazing details often make a wedding more memorable for not only the guests, but for the wedding couple as well.  I remember one wedding that I attended on the beach: flip flop sandals were provided to the guests so that the women in heels wouldn’t sink into the sand – who thinks of these things?  Wedding planners do! 

The Cost Factor

Wedding planners don’t come cheap – good help never does.  They are miracle-workers, but they can demand a king’s ransom.  Do you have a budget for a wedding planner?  If your budget is tight already, then maybe you need to forego the planner right?  Well, not so fast!  You see, most wedding planners that have been around for a while have established good relationships with several of the vendors and they are often able to get discounts for things that you are going to need anyway.  Often the discounts they amass cover the cost of hiring them in the first place.  It doesn’t always work out, but it is worth looking into.  On the other hand, costs may actually go up by hiring a wedding planner.  Remember those details we talked about earlier?  Well they do cost money, and the more of those you go with, the bigger the hit your budget takes. These were details you had never even considered before, but now you can’t live without them!  

The Trust Factor Frick-Karr Wedding_0200Newlyweds`Newlyweds

Just as with choosing a photographer, you need a wedding planner you can click with.  You are placing one of the most important days of your life into their hands.  You are asking them to help you make decisions that communicate to the world who you are as individuals and as a couple.  If the planner is all about dictating to you their vision for your wedding, then they may not be the best fit.  In the end the wedding has to be about you.  And that is one of the biggest hurdles couples have when deciding whether to use a planner or not, are you willing to give up the control over your wedding to someone else?

The Stress Factor

On the other hand, consider what an enormous undertaking planning a wedding can be.  There are so many details, so many different moving parts that if things aren’t planned out just right the whole thing can come crashing down.  If you’re super-motivated and really enjoy the thrill of putting something like that together, then go for it!  If, however, you’re prone to stressing out and have no idea how to plan a big event, the wedding planner will give you peace of mind on that big day.  No worrying about whether you ordered the right number of chairs, or if the caterer was given the correct address for the venue – the wedding planner has it covered.  And what about when that unforeseen problem comes up?  No frantic bridesmaids or family members will be running into your “get-ready” room – the wedding planner has it covered.

The Me Factor

There is one more factor that we should look at here.  Sometimes hiring a wedding planner can leave you feeling detached from your own wedding.  You may begin to feel as if it were not really your wedding.  You might see it as though you’re taking part in someone else’s production and not your own.  Again, that’s why choosing the correct planner is so important.  You want to choose someone who is going to guide and facilitate your vision, not impose their own.  A good wedding planner should enhance the experience on your wedding day, not hijack it.

GroomGroom portraits taken at Saguaro Buttes, Tucson, AZ Alternatives

Venues such as The Savoy Opera House, and Reflections at the Buttes and Saguaro Buttes as well as many others offer pre-packaged wedding services in the greater Tucson area.  These venues leverage all of their vendor relationships to get you great deals and are very adept at putting these events on often doing three or more weddings a week during the traditional wedding season.  If you use one of these, you may not require the services of a wedding planner at all. 

If you want to plan your wedding on your own, but would like that person to be there the day-of to hold your hand and to take care of any emergencies, you can do that too. Many wedding planners do “day-of” planning as part of their services.  

Breaking it Down

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question.  Someone may read this article and be convinced that they must absolutely have a wedding planner, while someone else comes away convinced that a wedding planner is the last thing they want.  And that’s the whole point, a wedding planner is a very personal choice one that should be thoughtfully considered.  The good news is that you have options, so take your time. Research your options, and come up with the best answer for you personally.   


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