Yes, weddings are joyful occasions, but sometimes, planning one can be anything but. Sure, you can probably sweat through it, but it may pay to call in professional reinforcements. Here, we consider the pros and cons of using a wedding planner.
Pro: They'll Sweat the Details
Chances are, you've never planned an event of this magnitude. So. Many. Details. Wedding planners have done this before—like, a lot—so they can help you wrangle details you might otherwise overlook. Planners can also help you make the most of your budget and allocate it properly.
Con: You Have to Relinquish Some Control
If you're the type who can't stand the idea of not doing everything yourself, it might be hard for you to turn over the details for one of the biggest events you're likely going to have. It's not impossible, of course, says Leslie Weekes, former wedding and event consultant at the now-defunct Leslie-Manning Events: "Contrary to what I was told when I first got into the business, Type-A clients work well with planners; in fact, I think they make us better planners."
However, you need to be honest with yourself about whether it's something you can do comfortably. If so, says Jayna Cooke formerly of EVENTup, an online marketplace for finding event venues, be sure that your planner is as detail-oriented as you are and has values and communication styles that align with your own.
Pro: They Have Insider Knowledge of the Local Market
Planners can be a godsend if you're putting together a wedding in a city where you don't reside. Even if you're keeping things local, you'll be able to benefit from their services because they've likely worked with most of the venues and vendors in town. "Since many of us are full-time event planners, we are networking and researching vendors and suppliers to build our network and to stay ahead of the trends almost daily," says Weekes. "If we have a client who is looking for a cinematic photographer, finding one does not take weeks of research and sending emails that appear to go into the ether. It's one phone call."
Con: It's an Additional Cost
Yes, planners have an inside track, which means sometimes they can save you money—but not always. According to Atlanta wedding planner Susan Graham, planners often offer multiple tiers of service. Be sure to ask for a customized service if you don't see what you need on the planner's initial price list.
If your budget is already stretched, but you could really use help, consider a day-of coordinator. As Cooke mentions, if you choose a venue that offers prepackaged services, it's also unlikely you'll need a planner's services.
Pro: They'll Troubleshoot
According to Graham, your wedding planner has the time to chase down obscure details and stay in constant contact with vendors for the day-to-day questions. Plus, if something goes awry during the ceremony or reception—and something always does—you don't have to take care of it. They'll worry so you don't have to.
Con: It Can Be Hard Finding Someone
Specifically, finding someone that you trust and get along with. It's a process to find "The One" and sometimes it can be as hard as dating. They'll be in charge of planning one of the most important days of your life after all.