Featured Photo: Suggs Photography
To hire a wedding planner or not to hire a wedding planner. For couples saying “I do” on a short engagement timeline, that is the question.
Taylor and I planned our destination wedding in 4.5 months. We didn’t officially hire a wedding planner, however, a close family friend who owned an event production company at the time did provide us with a lot of assistance in the design and planning department. My mom also did a ton to help us stay organized and on track throughout the process. I was working as a freelancer for a publishing company based in Dallas at the time of our engagement, and in between juggling article deadlines, planning our wedding, and booking a major vacation (AKA our honeymoon in Mexico), I had a lot going on. I had actually considered hiring a wedding planner who was based near Hilton Head (our wedding destination), but during our interview she wasn’t able to fully articulate to me what she could do that I couldn’t do on my own.
Because of that, I decided to go more of the DIY route. I’m organized and enjoy designing and planning things, I thought. Heck, I even ran recruitment for my sorority in college!
Silly, silly girl.
Now that I’ve actually gone through the wedding planning process myself, and have spent the better part of five years working as a social media manager for a major event planning company in Dallas, I have a better understanding of what a coordinator brings to the table and the value of the services they provide...and I can unequivocally state that I do recommend hiring a wedding planner if you will be engaged for six months or less.
While you might be tempted to think that planning a wedding quickly gives you a pass to forgo hiring a wedding planner, I personally think that a shorter engagement makes a wedding planner all the more essential. Here are a few of the many reasons why!
5 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner for a Short Engagement
1. A wedding planner is more organized than you’ll ever be.
I consider myself an organized person, but there is SO much that goes into executing an event as complex as a wedding. Just deciding what you want to include in your welcome gifts will feel like a huge task, not to mention—pause for deep breath—creating a guest list, following up on missing RSVPs, booking a hotel block, keeping track of food allergies, determining if round or square tables are best suited to your venue space, thinking through lighting needs, securing a backup power generator, ensuring adequate restroom availability, solidifying a rain plan, hiring babysitting services for the flower girl and ring bearer…and the list goes on. Keeping track of all this information (and staying on budget while you’re at it) is a full-time commitment, so before you decide to go completely DIY, honestly consider whether or not you’re prepared to take on a second high-pressure job that comes without pay. On a semi-related note, scenarios and snafus that might constitute an “emergency” in your book probably wouldn’t even make a seasoned event planner bat an eyelash extension. So just go ahead and delegate—the only thing you have to lose is some extra stress.
2. A wedding planner has the kind of vendor relationships you’ll never be able to make.
Wedding planners maintain a list of preferred vendors they have worked with previously and can personally vet. Also, fun fact: When they’re not busy working on your event, or—you know—having a life of their own, your coordinator likely spends a good chunk of his or her time networking, communicating, and relationship-building with other event pros at various industry functions. In other words, these people all know each other. As such, they will be able to quickly ascertain whether or not the vendors you want and/or need are available on your date, if their proposals are likely to come in at or below your budget, and so on. Due to their existing relationships and partnerships, they are also likely to obtain faster email response times and better prices than you would ever be able to land on your own.
Bottom line: Even if you are the most organized girl on the block, unless you are directly associated with the event industry, you will not have the same negotiation power that your wedding planner has worked so hard to earn. Let your wedding planner put his or her relationships to work for you—I promise you won’t regret it!
3. A wedding planner can take care of the details better than you can.
On the morning of my wedding my mind was inconveniently bombarded by an array of small details that I had not previously thought about. I needed signage to go next to the wedding photos of my grandparents. Someone needed to write the brunch menu on a chalkboard. More signage was needed for the guest sign-in table and gift drop area. Umm...wut. Talk about a scramble. These are the types of little details that you don’t want to be thinking about on the morning of your wedding—and if you hire a wedding planner, you won’t have to because they’ll all be taken care of in advance!
If you are cool with personally ensuring that all groomsmen have their proper attire, and that your bridesmaids are dressed and ready at the right time, and that all emergency-type scenarios have been pre-anticipated and planned for, then go ahead and plan your own wedding. If reviewing contracts, distributing vendor tips, overseeing set-up and breakdown, and troubleshooting transportation is your thing, then you’ll have a blast working without a wedding planner! But if the opposite of all that is true? Then by all means, hire a professional planner to take care of these details, and spend more of your time on the things that make your heart sing.
4. A wedding planner is less emotionally invested in the Big Day than you are...and that’s a good thing.
Trust me, I know what an asset moms can be in the wedding planning process…but working exclusively with someone who is so emotionally tied to your wedding can also create a lot of drama. When it comes to creating seating charts, culling the guest list, politely declining design suggestions that are so not your style, and MANY other scenarios (like this one), it’s extremely helpful to have somebody on your team who is unbiased, impartial, and willing to advocate for your vision—even and especially when that vision conflicts with the desires of your closest friends and family members.
5. A wedding planner can help speed up your decision-making time.
Take, for example, the venue space. You could spend, like, 99 hours googling venues ranging from barns to ballrooms only to find that they’re all booked solid through Christmas 2025, or you could trust your wedding planner (thanks to those aforementioned relationships) to identify the venues that are available on your date and best suited to your overall vision. Catering packages, furniture rentals, floral designs—this is the stuff your planner lives and breathes. They’ve seen it all, and thanks to that exposure, they’ll be able to help you cut through the noise and quickly narrow down the plethora of options out there.
So there you have it: the top five reasons why I think you should hire a wedding planner if you’re planning a wedding in six months or less. Yes, you will give up some control by hiring a wedding planner...but you’ll also regain time for focusing on the most important aspect of the wedding planning process: preparing for marriage. Remember, a shorter planning time frame does not mean fewer problems; in fact, it can mean even more logistics. My suggestion? Bring an expert on board to help you, and keep your focus on saying “I do”.
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