If you are planning a wedding, let us begin by saying congratulations! We are so glad that you are considering hiring a wedding planner. Depending on the stage of your planning and your own experience with weddings in the past, you may very well be asking yourself, “What type of wedding planner do I need?”
If wedding planning is really new to you, you might be surprised to know that there are types of wedding planners. In fact, one type does not fit all couples. While every planner has a specialty and a custom list of services, there are common “levels” of service that reflect the different levels of need various couples may have.
Full-Service Wedding Planners
Most people hear “wedding planner” and envision someone who is involved in every decision and every appointment before the wedding. This view best fits the “full-service” wedding planning model. Even among full-service planners and packages, however, there can be major differences, so consider this description a general guideline.
Couples with limited time, insanely busy schedules, moderate to generous resources, or special circumstances such as planning from a distance or during deployment, all find full-service wedding planning the level that likely fits them best. Depending on the planner’s packages or proposal, this service might include guiding you through the selection and contracting of vendors, designing and even creating your décor, tracking (and in rare cases receiving) payments for all services, booking and tracking guest accommodations, managing guest responses, handling all of the “little” details, and managing the entire event weekend from guest arrival through post-event breakfast.
Within the confines of your written agreement, full-service generally means just that – you receive support with every possible detail of your wedding. This is the highest intensity of service, and as such, the most expensive. What is difficult to quantify, though, is how much money you save by not making costly mistakes, and how much that “stress-free” experience is really worth to you.
Partial- or Custom-Level Planning Services
Not every couple needs services as extensive as the traditional full-service wedding level. Sometimes a very capable professional event manager is available through their venue to handle the site logistics, and only certain services are needed to complement the venue manager’s role. Sometimes a couple has some things under control, but needs help with other aspects.
Some planners offer a service level between full- and day-of. This level varies widely between companies, but it usually represents a compromise that acknowledges that some tasks are complete and handled, while others need the attention of a professional planner. The rate for this service usually reflects the specific roles the planner plays and may or may not be customizable or negotiable.
Day-of Coordination, Wedding Day Management, Month-of Coordination
The last broad category of planning services has many different names, but serves a specific purpose. Most commonly called “day-of coordination”, this last category is for couples that have done all of their own planning, but want someone to assist with tying up the final loose ends and managing the wedding weekend events.
Even the savviest couples may not realize how much work it is to finalize all of the details and make sure everything is happening as planned at the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding day, and post-wedding events. The benefit of an expert event manager devoted to ensuring that you experience the least stress possible on your wedding day is more than a luxury. We’d argue that it’s a necessity. You simply can’t be everywhere at once on the wedding day. If you could, it certainly wouldn’t feel “magical”!
“Day-of” is a misnomer because no professional wedding planner simply shows up on the wedding day without having extensively consulted with the couple first. Most services start during the month prior to the wedding, and most include contact with vendors to verify details. Some include venue walk-throughs, and all include some number of consultations to hammer out the details.
That brings us back to the question: “What kind of wedding planner do you need?” As you search for your perfect wedding planner, keep your priorities and your challenges in mind. Know that every planner is different. Some specialize specifically in full-service, others are more design-oriented, and still others are exclusively available for day-of coordination. Bring your wedding needs to the table at your initial consultations, and find the planner whose offerings best meet your needs. Your perfect wedding planner is out there and waiting to meet you. Reach out today!