When it comes to choosing a wedding planner, I suggest to couples to treat the process the same way they would buying a car. You have an idea of what car you want but you wouldn't buy it from the first dealer you come across. You are going to research and shop around for the dealer with the style, color and accessories you want at the most reasonable price offered. Hiring a wedding planner is the same way. Research wedding professionals in your area or, if your wedding is in another locale, the area where your wedding will be held. Schedule telephone or in-person consultations with several planners or planning companies that interest you so that you may not only compare rates and services offered but also to find the planner with the personality that best suits you. Keep in mind that some planners charge a nominal initial consultation fee which, upon hiring their services, they may credit towards your final payment.
Speaking of payment, as with the price of buying a car, prices for wedding planning services vary. Some wedding planners charge 10 to 20 percent of a couple's total wedding budget which, with the current national average cost of $29,858 for a wedding, would cost a couple up to $5,972 for full-service wedding planning. Not all wedding planners charge on percentage for the their services. Some may charge a flat fee per service or charge on a per hour basis. What you are willing to invest depends on the level of service you need. Following are the most commonly requested wedding planning services:
Full-Service wedding planning - for couples who would like someone to coordinate and manage their wedding planning from the beginning stages of planning until the wedding day comes to a close
'Day-of' coordination - for couples who have taken care of all the planning and details for their wedding day but would like to hand over managing the logistics and timeline for the actual day to a wedding professional so that they may enjoy a worry-free day.
Wedding design - for the couple that would like assistance with defining their wedding design, style or theme and bringing that vision to life.
Wedding consultant - for couples who want to take a more active role in their wedding planning. The wedding consultant will act as an adviser to the couple by recommending vendors, assisting with creating a budget, creating a timeline and advising on any other skill set the couple may need to plan their special day themselves.
If, after researching the services available, you are still not sure if the cost of hiring a planner is worth the expense then consider asking the planner if they offer individualized services and are able to put together a custom package from those services that will fit within your budget.
If you are willing to make the investment, whether you dream of a grand fairy tale wedding at a private estate and need a full-service wedding planner to pull it all together or a small intimate gathering surrounded by family and friends and just need assistance with finding the right venue and vendors, there is definitely a wedding planner out there that will fit you...and your budget.
Suggested Wedding Planner/Vendor search sites: