Reprinted from the Bridal Guide e-newsletter on July 19, 2007, http://www.bridalguide.com/
WEDDING PLANNING, IDEAS & ETIQUETTE
'Q: I am really feeling overwhelmed. My job is demanding - I have to put in long hours, travels and even work some weekends. My fiance is just as busy. We both feel that there's no time to tackle planning details. A friend suggested hiring a wedding consultant. What exactly do they do and how much do they cost?
- Huntsville, Alabama
A: Sounds like you are an ideal customer for a wedding consultant! A good consultant can do many things: He or she is a professional party planner, with experience in coordinating all types of weddings, who can not only save you time but may also be able to save you money. Because of their extensive contacts, consultants can often get discounts from vendors. They will work with your budget and make sure you get the most for your money- negotiating contracts with vendors as well as coordinating and supervising details and, in general, keeping things organized and on schedule. Your wedding consultant will advise you about etiquette and offer creative and cost-cutting tips.
Consultants fees vary according to where you live, how big a wedding you are having and how much time the consultant spends on the job. But you can expect to pay in one of three ways: Some consultants charge an hourly rate (anywhere from $75 to $200 per hour), others charge a flat fee and still others may ask for a percentage (usually 10% to 15%) of the entire cost of the wedding.
If you think you may not be able to afford a consultant to plan your entire wedding, consider hiring one for an initial three-hour consultation to get you started and help map out a schedule of what you need to do. You can also bring in a consultant at any point during the planning process or hire one just for the wedding day itself to keep things running smoothly. In light of your demanding jobs and busy lifestyles, its certainly worth looking into... Chances are you will have less stress, more peace of mind and will really be able to enjoy the months before your wedding.'
I agree with everything except the reference to party planners! I prefer to use the term event planners :-) I also want to stress that true professional wedding planners who charge a percentage of your wedding are not doing so to up-sell in order to make a larger fee. Professional planners are ethical, they want to give you the most within your budget, and charging a percentage is their chosen fee structure. Those who charge a percentage do so because the amount you are spending generally relates to the amount of hours the planner will spend putting all of the details in place and creating a flawless day for you and your fiance.