Congratulations on your engagement! What an exciting time for you and your fiancé(e). I bet you already have family and friends asking you when the big day is. If you don’t know where to begin, hire a Certified Wedding Planner!
You may be wondering what the difference is between regular wedding planners and Certified Wedding Planners (CWP). Well, there are “planners” that woke up yesterday and decided that they wanted to plan weddings for a living. These people usually have little or no educational background in the field, and although they may have a passion for planning, hiring one for the most important day of your life brings risks that could be mitigated by hiring a CWP instead. Certified Wedding Planners, on the other hand, have invested in educating themselves and becoming certified; these people attend expos and conferences to further educate themselves, and they are going to bring more to the table during a consultation—they’ll know the answers, they’ll get you the best deals, and you’ll notice the difference.
Similar to professionals who go to college or a trade school to master a skillset, a wedding or event planner can do the same by becoming certified. Imagine hiring an aspiring heart surgeon or a medical student to perform your entire open heart surgery instead of a board-certified heart surgeon—in the same way that we recommend hiring a Certified Wedding Planner for your special day, weddings can be like heart surgery: you have one shot to get it right, and you’re going to want an experienced professional handling the whole thing for you!
Listed next are a few scenarios couples tend to lean towards when thinking about who will plan their wedding. Read the breakdowns below to further understand why some options may not work out and why hiring a CWP is the best solution.
Your venue’s coordinator is NOT your wedding planner:
A venue coordinator’s job is to ensure the venue operation runs smoothly. They ensure their staff arrive on time, cook your food, put the food out on the tables, and break down their tables and chairs when the event is done. They don’t assist with anything that isn’t specific to venue operations. So, for example, jobs such as creating an overall timeline, ensuring you get that photo with your maid of honor, and paying vendors at the end of the night don’t fall under their roles.
Your friend or family should NOT be your wedding planner:
Most likely, they have never planned a wedding. But let’s say they are an actual wedding planner, or even a CWP—don’t you want your loved ones to enjoy and be present for your special day?
DIY weddings are NOT the cheapest and most STRESS-FREE way to go. There are two scenarios here to consider:
Wedding planning is a full-time job:
Experts estimate wedding planners spend about 15-20 hours a week planning each client’s event. You probably already have a full-time job. After work, family duties, hobbies, and social activities, do you have the time and energy to dedicate to planning your own wedding? Additionally, most venues and vendors are businesses that operate Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. They do events and weddings on the weekends, so their office or visiting hours are usually during the week. Are you available during your work day to be planning your wedding? Many working couples can’t afford that time off.
Did you know that Forbes produces an annual report on job stress and the ranking of the most stressful jobs in America? Did you know that Event Coordination is repeatedly ranked in the top 5 most stressful jobs?
Why is the event planning industry ranked so closely to military and emergency services? Could you imagine waking up on wedding morning, and, instead of just chilling with your bridesmaids and grooms-people, you were running around, setting up a whole ballroom, meeting up with each vendor upon arrival to get them set up in the space, and looking at your watch to manage time and stick to the itinerary? Talk about stress! A wedding is supposed the be the “happiest day of the couple’s life.” Emotions are high. Everyone wants to look their best and relax that morning to pamper themselves and calm their nerves. That is why hiring someone to manage the whole operation is essential.
The Do-It-Yourself (or “DIY”) Projects:
Time spent on DIY projects is time that could have been spent just relaxing with your new fiancé(e). “Time is money”—ever heard that phrase? Picture yourself a week out from your wedding, and you left all the DIYs until the last minute. You may end up taking a couple days off work to complete the projects. Or you may end up just cutting them from the to-do list altogether. If that DIY look is your aesthetic, then your planner can assist you in hiring vendors to achieve the same look, or they can outsource the products from sites like Etsy. Why do it yourself when you can have someone else do it for you and save yourself from the stress? In most cases, you don’t own every component that it takes to complete the project, and you end up investing in a whole box of crafts and other materials you have leftover in the end. Unless you own all the necessary materials, it’s cheaper to just purchase over DIY.
So what is the difference between hiring a new wedding planner, an experienced planner, and a Certified Wedding Planner (There are a few scenarios here to consider):
You find someone SUPER cheap and think you are getting a deal. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. A really inexpensive novice “planner” is not going to include as much in their package as someone who is charging a little more and is a CWP. Maybe this is the first or second wedding they ever planned. Do you still feel comfortable trusting them with your special day? In this scenario, you are going to play a very hands-on role while still paying someone for their services.
You find a planner (non-certified) who is competitively priced. They are able to assist with nearly all the tasks you would like them to cover in their contract. However, they may not have as much knowledge of good venues and vendors. They end up hiring the cheaper options for all vendor categories to keep on budget, and you are left on wedding day with the wedding singer.
Certified Wedding Planner:
You hire a Certified Wedding Planner who is competitively priced and willing to create a custom proposal to work with your budget and needs. They also offer a full a la carte menu, so you can add on services you don’t want to manage on your own. They have connections in the industry and can offer you deals and promotions, so you get the better vendors at great rates. On the day of your wedding, you just enjoy yourself as their team takes care of the rest. Certified Wedding Planners aren’t always more expensive, but they are often more knowledgeable.
A Certified Wedding Planner is worth the value and could assist with the following:
- Creating a site plan design
- Creating a wedding weekend itinerary
- Creation and management of budget
- Recommendations of venues
- Access to an exclusive preferred vendors list (Baker, Caterer, Entertainment, Florist, Hair Stylist, Make-up Artist, Photographer, Rental Company, Transportation, Videographer, Etc…)
- Review of all vendor and venue proposals and contracts
- Save the dates and invitations, including even custom graphic design work
- Tracking of RSVPs
- Reserving hotel blocks
- Conducting the wedding rehearsal
- Advise on attire, wedding etiquette, processional order, invitation etiquette, invitation wording,
addressing envelopes wording, wedding programs, etc.
- Access to a wedding emergency kit to assist with many last-minute disasters
- Exclusive discounts through partners in the industry
- Peace of mind that you are going to be taken care of
- And so much more!
Our closing advice? Do your research. Pick two to three planners to meet with and include at least one CWP in the list. Ask the tough questions that have been weighing on your mind. In the end, pick the planner that you jive with and you know deep down will successfully plan the day of your dreams. Don’t be afraid to invest in knowing that you will be 100% present the day of your wedding. And one last recommendation: Pick the Certified Wedding Planner, because doing so greatly increases your odds of the day going off without a hitch!