There’s an old saying -- "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur!" This is certainly true when it comes to hiring a wedding planner.
Planning a wedding yourself is certainly possible, but you will likely miss some of the best deals in the industry and impose a significant time commitment upon yourself. "We’ve planned more than 200 weddings," says Kathy Piech-Lukas, president and founder of Your Dream Day, a wedding planning company that has been serving Cincinnati and Dayton since 2004. "It’s inevitable that a couple planning their first wedding will make costly rookie mistakes. An experienced wedding planner should be able to save the bride at least the cost of their service, if not more, because this is what they do for a living. They know what to look for, what questions to ask, and ways to spend a wedding budget wisely."
When you retain a wedding planner, you aren't buying a tangible product like flowers, cake or linens. "You buy me. You’re buying my Rolodex, my contacts, my resources, my advice and my experience. That’s what you are buying when you buy a wedding planner, and those tips, tricks and long-standing relationships with wedding vendors can make a huge difference in the quality and cost of an event. It will also use your time more efficiently. I even have tips that can instantly save you $5,000," says Piech-Lukas.
Piech-Lukas says that coordinators can let you handle as many or as few details as you want. "There are planning packages for any budget. There is a misconception that planners are only for the very wealthy, but in fact, we work with all ranges of budgets." She suggests that you consider the fact that when you plan your own wedding, you are in essence taking on a part time job for 9 to 12 months. "The question is this -- do you want to enjoy your free time and outsource the work to a professional, or do you want to take on a part time job instead?' She says, in planning your own wedding, that is exactly what couples do.
Hiring a planner also means you can relax and enjoy the planning process. "Enjoy the engagement," Piech-Lukas says. "A lot of couples focus so much on the hoopla of the wedding that they forget it’s about two people exchanging vows in front of family and friends." One task she recommends doing early on is finding out what requirements there are for your church or other venues. "If you’re going to get married in a church, connect with that church, find out what dates are available and what requirements there are. You may need to attend Pre-Cana or other counseling, you may have to be a member of the parish, or may have a six to 12 month waiting period before you can marry," she says. "Some churches won't perform ceremonies during certain months of the year. I actually prefer couples to have contacted the church before they contact me so they know a date or general time frame."
Your Dream Day is often booked for dates 12-18 months in advance, which is the timeframe that you should be booking your venue or church, your dress, and your planner. From there, you should start selecting the other vendors like photographer, entertainment, cake, flowers, video, transportation, hair, makeup, tuxedos, and other items for the big day.
Check out the gallery below for trend info and examples of Kathy's work!