How-To: Choose the Right Kind of Wedding Planner

Posted by mallen on Oct 20, 2009

coordinator.boutWe’ve all seen the movies and the TV shows that showcase or spotlight wedding planners.  But what type is the right type for you?  Depending on the needs of the wedding day and the needs during the planning process, one type of professional may be more well-suited (in services or price) than another.

  • The Wedding Producer is just that – a Producer.  This professional is an all around go-to for every aspect of the wedding day.  They will work with the couple in creating the entire event design and decor elements, arranging for all the necessary elements (rentals, linens, decor, flowers, etc.) often incorporating their go-to team of event professionals to deliver a top notch event.  Essentially, this producer or production company takes the bride & groom’s vision and makes it happen.  This is for the bride that has no time to focus on the wedding details and trusts the Producer to make the magic happen.  (This service is your most expensive option.  Then again, when time is money, it may be the better option when your time is scarce.)

  • Full Service Planner acts as organizer, resource guide, etiquette expert, and all round right hand.  This professional is perfect for the bride and groom who wish to be active in their planning, but want the expertise of a seasoned pro along the way.  Expect vendor recommendations, design meetings, meetings with vendors, site walk throughs, attendance at the catering tasting — the full service coordinator will be there at every stop.  (Because more time is involved in this service, expect this option to be the higher price point of most coordinator’s packages.  This option would be ideal for planning a wedding at a private estate or location that will require rentals, tenting, or other elements that are well served under a professional’s attention.)

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  • There is a misconception in the term Day-Of Coordinator, as it implies that this professional just shows up on the day and coordinates the elements.  Not so.  This planner will want to meet with the couple in advance (at least two weeks, often a month or six weeks) prior to the wedding to discuss the details as they have been arranged so far.  This professional will take all the information and details already established and wrap up the final loose ends.  The primary goal of a Day-Of Coordinator is to get the vendor team on the same page and to manage a schedule for the day.  (This is a very popular service and is recommended as the bare minimum for a wedding day.  Hiring a Day-Of Coordinator allows the bride to maintain control of all the planning herself while having an event professional on the day of the event to actually manage the day.)
  • For the bride that has the time to research and plan, but would like some professional direction when getting started, she may choose to book a wedding planner for Consultation Hours.  This is an open forum in which to explore whatever aspects are most pressing: vendor referrals that the bride pursuit herself, design a preliminary timeline that the bride then carries with her to vendor appointments and her venue to revise along the way, or perhaps brainstorming design themes or elements that the bride can then orchestrate herself.  (This service offers a low cost gateway to wedding planning, while still having expert advice on which to draw.  Its also a good option to incorporate with the Day-Of Coordination packages to get a more complete experience if full service planning is not in the budget.)coord.b.g

Most often, wedding coordinators will charge a flat fee for their services, as they will most likely have a good understanding of the hours and efforts involved in the the execution of the contract and can charge according to service provided.  A wedding producer or full service planner, however, might charge based on a percentage of the wedding budget. Whatever the price structure, be sure you understand their services and when you sign a contract, make sure the details as you understand them are listed in writing.

“Happy planning!”