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It’s Wednesday and you know what that means?? It’s time for my weekly wedding planning blog post! Today I’m going to talk about the importance of hiring a wedding planner. When I ask my past brides about their biggest regrets when planning the wedding, a good chunk of them say ‘not hiring a wedding planner.’ So, I talked with my good friend Hannah with Eleven Events and Planning to find a bit more out about her business and how she serves couples.

In case you have never heard about Hannah, she’s an incredible person and I’m so glad to call her one of my best friends in the industry. She describes herself as “a laid back person who tends to laugh a lot. I have an obsession with coffee, my dogs and Gilmore Girls.”

She got her start in wedding planning after loving the experience of planning her own wedding.

“I could plan 500 more of these and never get tired of it,” she said. “So I decided to shadow some planners after that. I have been planning under my business name for 2 years now, but I have planned A LOT of events for family and friends over the years.”

Without further ado, here are three reasons why you should hire a wedding planner! Stay tuned for a Q&A with Hannah at the end!

Miss Kansas USA 2015 at Cedar Valley Forest

1. They’ll keep you on track!

Have you thought about who is going to write your timeline for the day? Sure, your photographer will write the photo timeline and your DJ will write the reception timeline, but who is going to keep track of all the arrival times and make sure your vendors are where they are supposed to be? This is the job of a planner! Your photographer is a wonderful resource when it comes to how long you need for pictures, but ask me what time your caterer should arrive, I have no idea! I can give you a good idea about how long hair and makeup usually takes from past experience, but it’s not my job to communicate with your hmua to make sure they have everything they need.

Having a planner will alleviate a lot of the stresses of making sure your vendors all know what’s going on and ensure everyone is on track.

“As a planner, it’s my job to know when every vendor’s arrival time and location is, when the ceremony space should be ready, and when all the major events of the wedding day will take place,” Hannah said. “This is all noted in timelines I create for your wedding day. Your photographer and DJ’s timeline will likely not have other vendor arrival times and will also probably correlate more to their job like when family photos will be taken, when welcome music should begin, things like that.”

Along the same lines, do you know exactly how to line up when you’re walking down the aisle? Do you know how fast to walk? Do you know when to start walking? Do you know where to hold your bouquet? Your planner will likely be there to instruct you when to go in order to make sure you get the best pictures. Sure you can Google these questions and easily find out the answers, but by the time you get ready to walk down the aisle, you’ll mostly be overcome with stress and excitement that you’ll forget everything you told yourself to do. Having a planner there will ensure your walk down the aisle goes as smoothly as possible.

Whenever you do not hire a planner, the photographer will often take on this role. While it’s possible, I can never dedicate myself 100% to taking pictures while also organizing the flow of the day. Let your photographer do what they do best and hire a planner to handle the rest.

Calligraphy by Virginia Graham Designs at Cedar Valley Forest wedding venue in Desoto Kansas

2. They’ll give you an almost “stress-free” wedding experience!

I say “almost stress-free” because there will always be stress involved in planning a wedding, but having a planner will alleviate a good portion of that stress. What are you currently stressed out about? Are you worried about who is going to clean up the reception at the end of the night? Are you worried about what your centerpieces are going to look like? Are you stressed about keeping track of all your vendors and how much you owe them? A planner can help with all of this! If you don’t want to worry about all the small details on your wedding day or force your friends and family to worry about it, you need a planner.

“No matter who you are, and no matter who you hireI always tell brides that they should AT LEAST hire a day of coordinator,” Hannah said. “I don’t think many brides realize how busy they will be on wedding day between getting ready, taking photos and that whole getting married thing, and you won’t have much time to set up your decor and assure things are running on time. Wedding coordinators also help your vendors feel more at ease, as it keeps them in the loop of all the goings-on on the wedding day and helps them do their job easier.”

3. They may be more affordable than you realize!

When I talk to clients about if they are hiring a planner, the most common answer I get is they can’t justify the cost. Yes, a wedding planner is not a required cost like a venue or photographer, but hiring a planner may not cost as much as you would expect.

Hiring a planner may actually save you money because of their industry partnerships. For example, if you book me through Hannah, you’ll automatically get a $200 discount on my packages. If you book Hannah through me, you’ll get $100 off her packages.

“We can help save money by using our preferred vendor list,” Hannah said. “There are many vendors that I have on hand that provide my couples with discounts and also are great vendors to work with. We also have the resources and knowledge to help find you vendors that fit your budget. Searching all over KC for the right vendor to fit your budget can be stressful and difficult, but since planners have the experience, we can easily find you a vendor to fit within your budget.”

If you are still worried about fitting a planner in your budget, ask about how you can modify their packages to fit your needs.

“The average wedding planner is usually at your wedding for about 12-16 hours, depending on how long of a day it is,” Hannah said. “It’s possible you may not need a wedding planner to set-up or break down your décor, so you could limit the hours they are there, which could possibly help cut costs. I, like many planners, also offer packages that can be modified to fit your needs and doing this to get help on with the things you’d need on the wedding day can save you money and help you be stress-free!”

Downtown Kansas City wedding

There you have it! Three reasons why I believe every wedding should hire a planner. Now, hear more from Hannah about her business and how she can serve your day!

– q&a –

How would you describe your style of planning?

Hmm..probably laid back, personable and organized. I truly do not get flustered very easily at all because I am such a “fixer” when it comes to things going wrong. I also enjoy being involved with the couple as much as I can, because this job to me is about building relationships. It’s also so much easier to plan for a couple who you know well.

Can you explain the differences between full, partial, and day of coordination? Which do you prefer?

So full service planning is the whole shabang. You get a planner’s guidance throughout the whole process, and your planner will also assist with design, choosing vendors, etc.

Partial would be a little bit of full services, as well as day-of coordination. My partial planning includes referring you to vendors that fit your style, making your timeline, helping you with a seating chart. I think partial planning is best for the couple who has a good grip on what they want, but needs resources from a planner to help accomplish it.

Day-of coordination is primarily just for your wedding day. I usually meet day-of couples about 2-3 weeks out from their wedding day to go over décor details, as well as timeline and vendor contacts. Then I am there for the wedding day to coordinate the day. That can span from setting up décor, directing vendors where to set-up when they arrive, making sure the day is staying close to the timeline, and making sure the couple is served well and don’t have worry about the little things throughout the day.

I don’t necessarily have a preference, though I do love full-service planning because I get to see the event from start to finish and it’s so fun to see it all come together!

I think deciding you need more than day-of can be decided just asking yourself a few questions. Do I need/want a planners guidance finding vendors? Do I need someone to assist me throughout the process? I’ve had a few brides that book me for day-of and then realize they need more than that, so just evaluating what you’ll need beforehand can help.

Downtown Kansas City wedding

What advice can you offer to any bride planning her wedding?

Take it one task at a time. It’s so easy to think “I’m getting married” and then begin thinking of ALL the things you have to do before you get to the wedding day. If you look at it all at once,  you will become super overwhelmed and panicked. This is why I like checking in on my brides. I usually send them a checklist of things they should be getting done at however far out they are from the wedding day. Just slowly chip away at the tasks and you’ll be amazed how it all comes together before the wedding day.

Also, don’t stress out about the little things like how your napkins will be folded. Those little things are only something that you will notice on the wedding day and stressing over it can take up valuable time you can be spending on the things that truly matter when it comes to wedding planning.

What is typically not covered by a planner?

Things that are not covered by a wedding planner are things typically things that you would not THINK a wedding planner would cover. We don’t usually sweep and mop at the end of the night to help clean the venue, though we are willing to stay and help clean up your items and make sure you didn’t leave anything behind. We also aren’t your DJ, photographer or any other vendor that you would normally hire on your wedding day. There are a lot of couples who will ask a planner to run music from an iPod or help with flowers if you didn’t hire a florist, to help cut costs, but those things are difficult to do when we are also responsible for other décor, making sure your other vendors are arriving on time and things are going as planned and running on time for your wedding day. There may be some vendors who can accomplish this, but like many other vendors, we like to stick with what we are truly hired to do, and that is plan and coordinate your wedding within our scope of expectations as a wedding planner.

We are great resources for finding vendors who can fit your budget and needs that will help avoid you needing one vendor to do multiple jobs. When researching wedding planners, think about whether you will need their help finding a vendor who will fit your needs and budget.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

This is such a hard question because I love so many things about this job. I love the design aspect of this job and helping brides accomplish their visions. I also love the relationships I build and seeing glimpses into the couple’s lives. I also love seeing everything come together on the wedding day and just watching two people in love get married and start a life together. I love the married life and am always so excited for my couples to experience it.

When should a couple hire you? How many months before the wedding do you recommend?

I would recommend looking into a wedding planner 12 months out or so, especially if you are considering full-service planning. Some planners book far out in advance and 12 months beforehand allows you more possibility that they will still have your date available. For day-of coordination, you could get away with waiting until 6 months or so before the wedding day, though you may have a little bit of a harder time finding someone available.

What is important to take into consideration when comparing planners?

If you find multiple planners that fit within your budget, it’s good to look at what they offer within that budget. There are several things that a planner can be responsible for, though some may offer more than others.  I am also a big believer that it is important to find a planner who you get along well with and feel good about. Meet with a few and see who you (as much as I hate this word) “vibe” well with. Getting a good feel for their personality will also give you a good idea of what kind of planner they are and if they are a good fit for you.
The Gallery Event Space Wedding
Thanks so much Hannah for helping me out with this article. If you are looking for a planner, definitely check her out! All EGM clients get exclusive access to my preferred vendor list as well!
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Thanks for visiting!

A little bit about me: 

  1. I describe my style as real and vibrant. I focus on bright colors and incredible sunsets. I will force you to break away from your reception during sunset for pictures. You won’t regret it!
  2. I’m a huge animal lover. I own three cats and volunteer whenever I can at an animal shelter. If you ask if you can bring a pet to your engagement session, you will become my new best friend.
  3. I’m a newlywed, so I understand the wedding planning struggle!

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