You’re engaged–yay! Chances are you are both equal parts excited and nervous about the wedding planning process. That’s totally normal and a big reason you want to consider hiring a wedding planner for your big day. But, figuring out how much support you need can be kind of tricky. After all, you’ve probably never planned a wedding before! So to help you navigate this process, here are our top tips for finding and booking the right wedding planner for you.
What does a wedding planner do?
Wedding planners are expert consultants in the wedding industry. When you hire a planner, you’re getting access to their knowledge and experience which helps you to streamline your planning, ultimately saving you time and money. Depending on the level of service you choose (more on that in a minute) your wedding planner can provide things like a month-by-month planning checklist, help you with design, suggest trusted vendors that work in your style and budget, assist with the ceremony coordination, and answer any questions you have throughout the process. They’re also there the day of the wedding to liase with your venue and vendors and provide personal assistance to you and your fiance. You wedding planner is essentially your advocate, ensuring that every detail you worked so hard on comes to life, and putting out any theoretical fires that may arise!
How to know what kind of wedding planning package to choose?
Most wedding planners offer multiple packages that feature various levels of service and pricing. At Well-Dressed Events, we have a full-service wedding planning package, partial wedding planning package and day-of wedding planning package.
Our full-service package is for the couple who is looking for support throughout the entire planning process. Maybe they have a demanding career or children and don’t have the time to devote to planning a wedding on top of everything else going on. These couples sometimes live out of state and need “boots on the ground” who can make recommendations from experience in that specific location.
Full-service wedding planning packages start one to two years prior to the wedding date. It includes a design call, vision board, decor sourcing and styling, monthly check-in calls, a personalized checklist outlining what needs to happen each month, and unlimited access to the lead planner via email and text. This couple likes us to go out and find a few options in a vendor category (florist, photographer, etc) and then just be able to say “yes” or “no.” The couple comes to us with a budget and then we allocate funds based on experience to each vendor category. We manage that budget throughout the entire planning process. We liase with vendors on their behalf, always keeping them in the loop. We’re also there to facilitate the ceremony rehearsal for our full-service couples, and on site with our day-of services like managing the vendors, flow, and providing personalized assistance for 9+ hours on the wedding day.
Our partial planning packages are for the couple who feels confident booking all of the “core” vendors on their own. Think venue, florist, DJ or band, caterer (if needed), photography and videography. They’re looking for us to step in and help find and book vendors like the guest hotels, transportation, hair and makeup, officiant or special elements like photo booth or late night food trucks.
Partial planning packages can begin as early as 8-12 months prior to the wedding date. The key differentiator is the number of vendors we source for you (partial is approximately 3), number of phone or zoom calls, and level of budget assistance. For example, we’ll already take your existing budget allocations and help direct you to available vendors in that range. Partial wedding planning also includes rehearsal coordination and all of our day-of package support.
Day-of wedding coordination is actually more than just one day. We step in about two months before the wedding to help the couple tie everything up into a nice bow. Once your contracted planning service begins, you hand off all of your contract to us and we use the information to put together a detailed minute-by-minute day of timeline. We become the main point of contact for all vendors leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day. On the wedding day we’re there to keep you on schedule. Help facilitate first look and bridal party/family photos. Facilitate the ceremony and manage the flow of the reception with your band or DJ. This means, we keep the night running while you have a good time! No need to worry about when toasts need to happen or when it’s time to cut the cake. You just focus on being present with your friends and family and shaking it on the dance floor! At the end of our contracted time we collect all of your personal elements, including gifts and cards, and place them in your bridal suite or hand off to a designated person. Having a coordinator with you on you wedding day is truly the best wedding gift you can give yourself!
I notice your website and other wedding planner’s sites say “starting price”. What does that mean? How will I know what my entire wedding planning package will actually cost?
We put together standard packages to help give you an idea of the types of planning services we offer, but we don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to wedding planning. Once we have our initial consultation and understand your needs a bit better, we provide a customized proposal.
For example, if you are only interested in support on the day of the wedding, but would really love a design consultation and for us to put together a vision board for you, we would create a custom package for you to reflect those services. If you want full-service wedding planning and also for us to stuff, stamp and mail your invitations or source, stuff and deliver your hotel welcome bags, we’ll create a custom package to reflect those add-ons.
Total cost is also dependent on travel. We include 60 miles of roundtrip mileage in our wedding packages, and 40 miles of roundtrip mileage in our wedding packages. Any additional miles are added to the proposal at the standard IRS reimbursement rate. Depending on the distance or event schedule, we may also require a hotel. We dive into all of this during our initial consultation and break it all down in your customized proposal. If you hire us before you know where your wedding will be held, we will add on the mileage at a later date once you’ve secured your venue.
What is the most important thing to consider when deciding to hire a wedding planner?
The most important thing we tell our couples is to choose a planner who they actually LIKE. Of course, you should ask the right questions, check their reviews and make sure they fit into your budget, but at the end of the day your personalities have to jive. Your planner is the person you will be spending the most time with throughout the process and on your wedding day. You want to look forward to your calls with your planner, you want to trust their recommendations and you don’t want to mind them following you around your entire wedding day, and being part of some intimate moments. You’ll hear us say it on our initial consult call, “this is a vibe check.” If we don’t like each other, it’s not going to work.
We hope this helped shed a bit more light on that various responsibilities of a wedding planner and how they can help you plan your wedding. If you want to see how Well-Dressed Events can be part of your wedding day, contact us!