Elegant rooftop wedding reception table
Photo: Shelby Rae Photographs

Should you hire a wedding planner? Do you have to? For a long time, I thought that hiring a wedding planner was an absolute, that Getting Married = Hiring a Planner. But that's not always the case. When my brother was married a couple years ago, he and his bride hired a day-of coordinator. After the wedding, he told me that he wished they'd hired a month-of planner because of all the work that needed to be done in the weeks leading up to the big day. I've heard similar comments from a handful of close friends who shared that they wish they had budgeted for an experienced wedding planner, too. On the other hand, I've never heard a newly married couple tell me that if they could do it all over again, they would not have hired a planner. 

Sarah Chancey, of Chancey Charm Wedding Planning & Design, told me she finds that "a lot of couples view [hiring a planner] as a luxury, but the reality is that there are a number of key jobs your wedding planner performs the week and day of the wedding that will fall on someone else (often immediate family) if a planner is not hired. Adding stressful favors to your parents and close family during the wedding weekend is a quick recipe for disaster and emotional conflict." Still feeling undecided? Here's a quick rundown on some of the key advantages of hiring an experienced wedding planner.

SEE MORE: FIND A GREAT WEDDING PLANNER NEAR YOU

The Services Are Often Scalable

I think there's a bit of a misconception out there, especially among grooms, that hiring a wedding planner is going to be prohibitively expensive. Why? Because we think that the only available service is an all-inclusive package. In other words, we think a planner runs the whole show from months in advance. While this is certainly an option, many planners today offer all sorts of packages. Sure, you can hire a wedding planner to do everything for you, but you can also scale it down – and the price—by hiring day-of services, or month-of, depending on whom you work with.

Planners Have Great Vendor Relationships

Your event planner is going to know a lot of people. She will know what florist is the best fit for you, where to get a suit for your groom, and which photographers are established and reliable. Sure, you can go out and find vendors on your own, but if you live in a big city, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of vendors in each category. It can be a daunting task to sift through all the options (that's a lot of coffee meetings!).

However, when you work with a planner, they will tend to have solid working relationships with many of the vendors who share their same level of service. They will know which vendors work well with others, who may be a good fit for your personality and needs, and who is at the appropriate price point.

Planners Can Fill in the Blanks

In my opinion, a lot of what you're paying for when you hire a wedding planner is their experience. They've probably planned dozens (maybe hundreds!) of weddings and you're working on planning one. They've learned a lot over the years. They know what works, what doesn't, and most importantly, how to deal with the unexpected challenges that arise during the ceremony or reception. She or he will have all the necessary phone numbers of all the vendors at the ready and know just how to handle any issues that arise. 

They Can Do it All

In my line of work, I've had the pleasure of getting to know quite a few wedding planners. And I've worked with them on styled shoots all over Colorado. I'm always delightfully surprised to see how many hats they wear; there's simply nothing a talented planner can't do. From loading 45 pound giant letters (that spelled "love") into a pickup to making minute adjustments to a table setting, a good planner gracefully jumps from task to task. But most importantly, your wedding planner will free you up for other things, like enjoying the ceremony and reception!

Still searching for the right wedding planner? Start here.