Who needs a wedding planner?

Photo by  Annie Gray  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Gray on Unsplash

How confident do you feel about organising your own wedding?  Even if you intend your big day to be a relatively modest affair there’s an awful lot of decisions to take, things to organise and expenses to manage.  And if you have a grander occasion in mind things are going to become considerably more complicated, more demanding and more expensive.  Is it any wonder then that an increasing number of couples are hiring a professional wedding planner to help them manage the process from beginning to end?

Wedding planners are not just for the few

We all know that no self-respecting celebrity or royal would dream of tying the knot without a wedding planner to do all the organisational heavy lifting, style directing, vendor negotiating, crisis managing and general sorting.  But me - surely a wedding planner is a bit out of my league…to say nothing of beyond my budget?!

That might have been true in the years gone by but times are changing – wedding planners are no longer the exclusive preserve of A-listers or wealthy bridezillas.  Recent research conducted by The Knot magazine indicates that 26% of couples in the US hired a professional wedding planner in 2015, up from just 19% in 2010.

Why is that?  Possibly because weddings are becoming more elaborate affairs and because life is getting more-full on and faster paced – two factors that put more pressure on couples to get extra help from a professional planner.

Photo by  Emma Matthews  on  Unsplash

Should I hire a wedding planner?

If you love the idea of project managing your own wedding and are confident that you have the time, the organisational ability and the necessary support from family and friends then go for it.  If, however, you really don’t have a clue where to start and are worried that it might all get too much and take the shine off your big day then maybe, just maybe, you should think about getting some extra help from an experienced professional.  Here are some factors you need to weigh up before coming to a final decision.

Time and availability.  On average it can take about 250 hours to plan your wedding.  If you both work full time and have a lot of commitments already then hiring a planner might be a necessity.  Are you only available to meet vendors at the weekend?  Can you take calls and have discuss details while you are in the office?

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Ready-made support network.  Do you have plenty of outside help - an involved mother-of-the-bride, capable bridesmaids, knowledgeable friends, family members who are creative and have lots of skills that might come in useful?

On a tight schedule or worried you are falling behind.  Have you decided on a short engagement and need to get things done in a bit of a hurry?  Is it all proving a bit more challenging than you thought, your ‘To Do’ list is getting longer by the day and time is getting worryingly tight?

You are having some personality issues with parents and other family members.  Perhaps you need someone independent to step in and just move things forward without it getting too stressful and emotional?

You have a clear picture of what you want.  But do you struggle with decision making, attention to detail, negotiations and budgeting, checklists and deadlines?

You really have no idea what you want.  Do you feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available to you, the whole idea of organising something so big and complicated is stressing you out already and elopement seems an increasingly attractive option?!   

Photo by  Alex Jones  on  Unsplash

Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

Will my budget stretch to include a wedding planner?

Every experienced and professional wedding planner will charge slightly differently but on the whole most UK wedding planners will want between 10 – 15% of your total budget spend to fully plan your wedding, with a minimum fee applicable.  Minimum fees generally start at around £3000.  So if your budget is £10,000 the cost will actually be 30%.  Also, the minimum fee could be higher than that.

Wedding planning options

One important thing to bear in mind is kind of obvious…but worth spelling out.  You need to be absolutely clear what that fee covers.  In general there are three possible options:

·         Full Wedding Planning.  Comprehensive service that probably includes pretty much everything – sourcing and booking venue and all suppliers, attending all meetings with you, sorting all the admin (or ‘wedmin’ as it is known in the industry), and pulling all the details into a schedule with costs and timelines.  Managing everything on the day so you can totally relax and enjoy it to the max. Be sure to ask if there are any items which they don’t include in the service - many planners won’t include the cost of the rings and wedding dress in the budget when calculating your fee.  

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·         Partial Wedding Planning.  Ideal if you start the planning yourself but then realise you need some help.  For instance, you might have booked your venue but then feel overwhelmed at the thought of sourcing all your suppliers.  Or your circumstances might change and you suddenly find you have less spare time.  This option allows you to bring in a planner at any stage to pick up where you left off.  They will assess what is left to do and base their price on the amount of work this will need.  This service is usually comes at a fixed price, rather than a percentage – expect to pay anything upwards of £1500.

·         Wedding Day Management.  As the title suggests, you have sorted everything yourself but just want to free yourself up on the day itself.  This is ideal if have hired a ‘dry hire’ venue where nothing is provided apart from the space – for instance, you set up a marquee in a field or you book a barn and have to bring in all your suppliers, set up a bar and goodness know what else for yourself and co-ordinate it all with no help from venue staff.  It’s worth pointing out that Full and Partial Planning include Wedding Day Managements in their price.

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Book a venue with a team to support you

Hiring a wedding planner is not essential – but bearing in mind all the points above you might find it appropriate.  Another option, and one that is still the most popular by far, is to choose a venue with an experienced team to help you. 

If you book a wedding at Clevedon Hall you probably don’t need the additional expense of a wedding planner.  A lot of resources are included – full catering, drinks, bar, 25 luxurious bedrooms, a cottage for bride and groom and much more.  You also have your own dedicated Wedding Manager, a dedicated Events Manager and a Master of Ceremonies.  Together they will help you with much of the planning and recommend trusted local suppliers who are most appropriate to your needs.  On the day our events team will manage and co-ordinate things and act as master of ceremonies so you can just relax, enjoy the moment and focus on your guests. 

If you want to hire your own wedding planner as well then that’s fine – and we do occasionally host weddings in partnership with planners.  However, the resources, experience and people we provide you with means a planner is not really necessary.

Hopefully this post answers most of your general questions about whether you need a wedding planner or not.  But if you have some more specific queries than just get in touch – we love talking weddings!

Jim O'ConnorComment