"I want to hire a wedding planner, but mom's giving me a hard time. Says it's a waste of money and I'll have more fun and can make sure I get exactly the wedding I want if I do it on my own. Mom loved you when we met and asked me to get your opinion. Wedding planner thumbs up or thumbs down?"
I gave the idea a thumbs up and here's why.
First of all, I think her mom holds two common misconceptions about wedding planners both of which we can give much credit to Hollywood for creating. Contrary to the prissy, bossy image perpetuated on television and in film, wedding planners are neither outrageously expensive nor are they going to take over and make you endure the wedding of their dreams rather than yours. Not the good ones anyway.
A good professional wedding planner is well worth the investment. This individual can save you both time and money simply by being in the industry and already knowing who the best vendors are. You won't have to weed through the websites of fifteen to twenty photographers and DJs when your wedding planner can introduce you to three or four who best match your personality and expectations. Wedding planning companies may also have discount agreements with vendors that may not be available if you were to book the vendor on your own. You are under no obligation to book vendors you don't like, even those suggested by a wedding planner. Your wedding planner's goal is to connect you with vendors they trust to do a good job and you are comfortable hiring. And perhaps surprisingly, to keep you on budget!
A good wedding planner will listen carefully to your vision, guide you through the available options, and coordinate communication so everyone works together to provide you with the wedding of your dreams within the budget you've set. A great wedding planner will share ideas, give advice, calm nerves, solve problems, and take care of the little details so you don't have to. Aside from concrete cost savings, wedding planners can be worth their weight in gold for the stress relief alone.
Even if you don't hire a wedding planner for every step of the way, consider hiring a "day of coordinator." Being on site at hundreds of weddings, I can tell you with all sincerity I wish every bride had one. I wish I could afford to give every bride one. Ever wonder how awesome it would be if you had four hands and two brains to get something done? Now's your chance!
As in all service professions, there are excellent wedding planners and some decidedly less so. I did have to banish a wedding planner from a wedding until after I left once because she was adding to the bride's stress (and mine), but overall my experience with planners has been stellar. If you take the time to find wedding planners available in your area, interview several who look promising, check their references, and hire the one you like most who comes highly recommended, you won't regret the decision.