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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!




Guest Post: Wedding Planners | For Brides Series | Are They Necessary?

February 23, 2015

I am SO EXCITED about today’s post in our “For Brides” Series!! It is a guest post by one of our incredibly talented (+ dear) friends, Corinne Van Arsdale, of Canvas Weddings here in Madison!! Today, Corinne is answering a question that I think a LOT of brides run through in their minds as they begin the planning process: is hiring a wedding planner necessary?! We WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with everything Corinne has to say on this topic + hope you’ll leave today’s post feeling enlightened + encouraged!!

And with that, we give you Corinne!! : )

A few weeks ago I found myself watching “The Wedding Planner” on Netflix. I’ve been a wedding planner for several years now, + I couldn’t help but chuckle at the discrepancies between the movie’s portrayal of wedding planning + reality. I could go on for hours, but let’s just say that I don’t ride horses on venue tours or have time for regular Saturday Scrabble matches.

In any case, pop culture at large misrepresents the world of wedding planners, + more often than not I find that most people I come across don’t have an accurate understanding of what it is that I do. As a result, I also find that many engaged couples don’t understand what wedding planners actually do, or the value they can add to a wedding.

I am admittedly biased in thinking that my line of work is important, but it may surprise you to know that I don’t consider wedding planners as 100% necessary. You don’t have to have a wedding planner, + your wedding is not doomed to fail without one.

That said, I think that wedding planners are a worthy investment that will improve the value + experience of your wedding more than you might think. So, without further adieu, here are some ways that a wedding planner can add value to your wedding day:

1. Day-Of Peace of Mind

A wedding day is a wonderful, crazy + emotional ride — and arguably no one experiences the day as fully as a bride. There is hair + makeup to be done, relatives in town who are desperate to see you, getting dressed, taking photos, saying vows, eating food, dancing + mingling with sometimes hundreds of guests who all want a small piece of your time. A bride’s wedding day is full of things that are beautiful + important.

As a wedding planner, one of my main objectives is to make sure that the bride gets to simply be the bride. Her only job is to soak in the day, marry her groom + celebrate with her guests. She’s not worrying about whether the limo will arrive on time, if the centerpieces are set correctly or if the day is running on schedule — that’s my job. If I’ve done my job well, she can relax on the day of the wedding, knowing that there is someone running the show who will advocate for her interests + make sure her plans are executed to the detail.

At the end of the day, I want my brides to enjoy their wedding days — they are beautiful + they are also over so fast. And I know (both from my experience as a wedding coordinator + as a bride myself) that it is impossible for a bride to enjoy the day fully if she is also in charge of the day.

2. Budget Guidance

One of the most common reasons couples decide against hiring a wedding coordinator is cost. Having a wedding coordinator does cost money, but a wedding coordinator can also help you save money in the long run.

Wedding budgeting is one of the most difficult + stressful parts of planning a wedding. Most brides haven’t planned a wedding before, so setting + sticking to a wedding budget is new + unfamiliar territory. Think of it this way: imagine you are going to be going scuba diving for the first time ever, + you walk into a store to buy scuba diving supplies + are immediately asked “What is your budget for a scuba suit?” How would you know? The same principal applies when planning a wedding. If this is your first time planning a wedding, how do you know what you should spend on flowers? On a dress? On food + drink?

Wedding coordinators can help you set + stick to a budget that is right for your wedding. There are hundreds of free wedding budget guides available online, but no website can decide how you should break down your wedding budget for you. Wedding coordinators have been around the block — we know what wedding goods + services cost, + that knowledge, in combination with our understanding of your wedding + your priorities, will help us create + stick to a budget that works for you.

Once we’ve helped you create your budget, a wedding coordinator can also help you stick to it. For example, I know that it’s more cost-effective to have passed hors d’oeuvres rather than stationed ones. I know how to get creative with floral proposals to cut costs without sacrificing the vision. When possible, I can do set up and pick-ups for the wedding that will save you labor + delivery charges from your vendors.

So, while a wedding coordinator is an additional cost to figure into your budget, she may end up saving you money in the long run.

3. Vendor Match-Making

As a planner, I consider vendor matching to be one of the most important services I offer my clients. Your wedding vendors comprise your wedding “team,” + a professional wedding planner can help you draft the right vendors to make a winning combination for your day.

Think about it this way: it probably took you years to find your perfect match in your future spouse, + now you need to find your perfect match in your wedding vendors, + quickly! A professional wedding planner is a lot like a matchmaker, only instead of finding people his/her perfect mate, she helps match couples with wedding vendors that match their vision, personality + budget.

Without a wedding planner, most couples base their decisions about vendors on online searches or recommendations from friends. While those tools are valuable, most professional wedding planners have extensive networks of vendors with whom they have worked closely, + whose work they can vouch for, so they can both set you up with great quality vendors as well as steer you away from vendors that wouldn’t be a great fit.

Trust me, outside of having a great planner, nothing will add more peace of mind to your wedding day than a team of seasoned vendors you can trust.

4. Relationship Preservation

Weddings tend to bring out all sorts of unique relationship dynamics in us all, + wedding planners can help you protect + preserve the relationships that matter to you the most.

Many brides rely heavily on friends + family when planning their weddings. There is nothing wrong with that — family + friends play an important + irreplaceable role in the wedding planning process. However, I sincerely believe that a couple will save themselves time, energy + stress by letting their friends/family celebrate their wedding day with them, + leaving the work of wedding planning to a professional. Here are a few reasons why I believe this:

  • I believe that the most important role that friends + family of the bride + groom can play is as active witnesses + celebrators of the marriage. That role is crucial + not one that is easily accomplished if they have the added responsibilities of managing the event. So, even if your friends/family members are playing an active role in the wedding planning process prior to the wedding day, hiring a day-of wedding planner will free them up to play their most important role on your wedding day.
  • On a related note, even the most well-intentioned friend helping out on your wedding day might get distracted from their official wedding responsibilities by having a few cocktails or catching up with an old friend. Many times, it’s best not to blur the line between friend + worker.
  • Wedding planning is often time-consuming + time-sensitive work. Friends + family members have their own jobs + personal responsibilities to attend to, + may not have the necessary amount of time + energy to devote to your wedding. Since weddings are deeply personal by nature, conflicts can quickly arise between friends + family over wedding-related time expectations. A wedding planner can devote many hours to your event, since it is her job to do so.
  • A friend or family member may be very creative and/or reliable, but that doesn’t mean they have the skills + knowledge that come with experience in event management. A professional wedding planner brings with her expertise on everything from table settings to ceremony music to timelines, while your friend may have only her own wedding experience (or others she has attended as a guest) to draw on.

A wedding planner can also be an immense help to your relationship with your wedding vendors, as the presence of wedding planner insures that they will not have to worry about creating timelines, confirming delivery + pick up times, or wondering who the wedding day contact-person will be. A wedding planner saves your wedding vendors time + energy that they can then devote to their own work.

5. Wedding Insurance

I hear stories all of the time from wedding guests, family members + random people I meet about how they wish they had hired a wedding coordinator because on their wedding day decorations, plans + a million other small details were left unfinished — either because there wasn’t enough time to complete them or because someone didn’t have the right tools to complete a project. Couples spend precious hours, energy, creativity + money on their weddings, + a wedding planner can help them get the most out of their investment.

I like to say that hiring a wedding planner is like having wedding insurance — you’re protecting your investment. When you buy a car, you get insurance in case anything goes wrong. The same principal applies to your wedding. If you’ve spent thousands of dollars on the events of the day, then why not hire someone to make sure that your plans are executed + that you get to enjoy everything you’ve worked so hard for?

In short, are wedding planners absolutely necessary? No. But are they a valuable asset to your wedding? Absolutely. So, think about hiring a wedding planner. Chances are, it’s a decision you’ll be glad you made!

All images from weddings planned by Corinne; images via Booth Photographics, Woodnote Photography, Green Paint Photography, Bellow Blue Photography, T&C Photographie, Willow & Stone Photography, Paper Antler, Paige Green Photography, Audre Rae Photography 

To read more posts in this series, go click below!

The Details of Your Day: Things to Have Ready When We Arrive

How to Prep for Your Engagement Session

Getting Ready: The Location

The Groom’s Experience

For Brides

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