Do Wedding Planners Matter?

The sun is shining and outdoor weddings are officially in full swing!   Whether you are getting married, your child is newly engaged, or you’ve received an invitation to a celebration, it’s not uncommon to have weddings on your mind. During this time of year, we receive lots of questions about what we do and why it matters.

Do I need an event planner? 

Can I plan my own wedding without a wedding planner?

The truth is anyone can plan his or her own wedding with or without a wedding planner.  A wedding planner is a specialized profession, but unfortunately is often thought of more as a “hobby” because of representation in media. So, why do I think this is wrong and what do event planners do differently?

Nancy Ray Photography

Nancy Ray Photography

The Budget

Step one to planning a wedding should always be to draft a budget. The truth is, I can put together a preliminary budget document in less than an hour.  Why? Because I do it all the time, I know industry standards/basics, and I simply fill in the variables per location with research.  Can you put together your own wedding budget by reading books, blog posts, magazines, and other guidelines?  Sure! This premise is no different than doing your own taxes or drafting your own will. If you read, research, and spend enough time, you can probably put together a decent document.  But why do you pay an accountant to do your taxes and a lawyer to create your will?  The answer is because you value their expertise and know that they will likely save you money (and/or trouble!) in the long run.  This is also the case when you have an industry pro create your wedding budget.

Vendor Communication

Throughout the planning process, various vendors will want to discuss their services and options.  Vendors are all business people and inherently responsible for selling. This can include, but is not limited to the caterer, the venue, the lighting technician, the band, the photographer, the videographer, and the transportation team.  Each of these companies will likely have opportunities to sell you extra goods or services. Some of these may be worthwhile investments while some may not make sense within the context of the overall vision, or may be just downright wasteful. How do you know where to spend and where to draw the line? A wedding is a significant investment that is likely a once in a lifetime experience. Planning a wedding could be compared to building a house.  Both cost a whole lot of money but the investment is meant to last forever.  The question is this: Would you build a house without a general contractor? Think about the role a general contractor plays in the building process. When the plumber comes to you and says you should spend more money on upgraded pipes and special insulation, how do you know where to invest and where to skip? Same with when your electrician, landscaper, and cabinetmaker all come to you with ideas. You rely on your general contractor for expertise and advice to make smart investments, help steward the overall budget, and ensure every part of the job adheres to the overall vision consistently. A good wedding planner functions the same way in the planning process.


Our team spends, on average, 400-600 hours planning a wedding. That is time prior to a wedding weekend. This includes 1 hour spent on a preliminary budget (not 4-6), and the list goes on.  Our team is composed of experts with over 40 years of cumulative experience, so we're pretty efficient at what we do, and still - it takes this much time. The wedding planning period is also a time in a couple’s life in which they are preparing for married life.  It’s also not uncommon to have friends getting married around the same time.  Between full-time jobs, commitments to family and friends, and previously scheduled weekends/ time off, I encourage couples to ask themselves “do I realistically have an extra 600 hours in my schedule?”

Nancy Ray Photography

Nancy Ray Photography

Working with a full-service wedding planning team is an investment in expertise.  To put it in perspective, couples should think about the amount of money they plan to budget/ invest in entertainment and the amount of money they think a wedding planner is worth.  The average price for a DJ is $1,500 and bands can easily range from $5,000- $25,000, based on the number of musicians. Your wedding entertainment will perform for 4 hours, spend a few hours communicating with you prior to the wedding, some time preparing/ practicing, and a few hours loading in/ breaking down.  On average, the time spent is usually 10-15 hours.  Compare that to the time a wedding planner will spend with you and then consider the amount of money you think each is worth.

Our fee for full-service planning and design services is based on a percentage of the overall budget.  We know that this simply doesn’t make sense for everyone, so we also offer a range of á la carte services to help set couples up for success in the planning period.  No two wedding are alike, nor should they be!  The best place to start is by reaching out to chat about your wedding so we can help give you advice about the services that might be the right fit for you!

A father of the bride once told us, "I see this investment in your services as an investment in my daughter's and our family's happiness throughout the engagement and planning process... not just on the wedding day."

If you’re curious about what we do or want to learn more, we’d love to hear from you!