When to Hire a Wedding Planner

When to Hire a Wedding Planner123 days to go? Is this real life? I can’t believe how quickly the wedding planning process is flying by and while I am anxiously waiting for the moment when I get to walk down the aisle and say “I do” to the man of my dreams I have to be honest, I’m really going to miss the whole planning process. 

Crazy, right? Wedding planning is overwhelming, stressful and well, very expensive but with a day job planning events for other people I LOVE being able to finally plan an event where I get to choose all the fun details.

When it comes to the big day, Steve and I chose to plan everything on our own. Since I was already familiar with the Chicago wedding industry and event planning, we decided to save a little in this area and instead chose to hire a good friend just to manage day of so we can soak in every moment without having to worry about if a vendor is arriving on time.

While planning on your own does come with a bit of a budget saver and a full wedding experience, it also comes with lots of google spreadsheets, time and apps to keep me on track such as the WeddingWire App.

Now normally I am an old school pen and paper list maker where I can check things off when completed but when it comes to wedding planning, your to do list is much longer than most notebooks so that’s where the WeddingWire App has become my new best friend. It helps keep me on track, manage all my to-dos and my favorite part, it even creates a custom, suggested timeline of to dos and when to have them completed by based off your wedding date. Plus, you can go in an add other to-dos you think of as well as rearrange them to fit your preferred timeline. It’s been my personal wedding planning lifesaver and I may or may not check it everyday because it also has a countdown;)

When to Hire a Wedding Planner

Ok, ok enough about my crazy organization methods. Let’s talk wedding planners!

If you caught my insta-stories last month I actually was hired as a day of wedding planner for one my clients at work who I’ve become close friends with. We work together on events all the time and when she got engaged she reached out and asked if I would be interested in being her day of planner.

More wedding fun and practice for my own? Of course! 

I was her day of planner on New Years Eve (so fun!) and had the absolute best time! I also learned a lot that day about what goes into day of planners and overall planning/organizing of vendors so thought I would share some insight because when it comes to wedding planning the biggest question is “do I need a planner?” and if so, how much do I need them for and how much do I budget for them?

Below is my mini guide on how to decide what type/if a planner is the right fit for you.

Wedding Planner Guide

Full Execution Wedding Planer

What they do: A full execution wedding planner is someone who is with you starting day 1 to help plan every step of the way. Each planner is different as to how involved they are, but for the most part they will join you for tastings, meetings, walkthroughs, etc. and help you make all final decisions. They will keep you on a timeline for what needs to be done each month as well as help you manage your budget. 

When you need them: Most people who need a full execution planner are couples who are too busy and don’t have the time to do it all themselves or who are not well immersed in event planning and have no idea where to start or maybe just don’t want to mess with it so would rather leave it up to the professional. 

Things to consider: A full wedding planner is a huge stress reliever but having someone do everything does come with a hefty price tag. Also, remember this person is going to be a big part of your whole experience so pick someone who you see as a professional you trust but also someone you enjoy being around as they will share all the special moments on your big day.

Day of Wedding Planer

What they do: A day of wedding planner is someone who will manage everything day of. From setting up the escort card table to making sure everyone is where they need to be and when. A day of planner will be there from the start of the day until the very end and will usually meet 2-4 times before the big day to go over everything and assist with your timeline/vendor coordination.

When you need them:  When you have a lot of things happening day of (personal touches, transportation provided, dog coming to photos, etc.) or don’t want to have to worry about anything but making sure you’re enjoying every moment of the day. Also, if you have things happening in multiple locations, having a day of is helpful as you won’t want your bridesmaids running around while trying to get ready.

Things to consider: Day of planners come at a much lower cost, still a chunk of your budget though so make sure to factor it in if using one. Also, they are a huge help in being able to enjoy your big day as there are many little things (place bar signage out, set up guest book, setup escort table, etc.) your vendors don’t typically do and you won’t want to have your bridal party doing while you’re trying to all enjoy the day. They also allow for you to do more little and personal touches as they will manage them for you. 

Friend/Family Planner

What they do: This is completely dependent on what you want to hire them for but mainly they will manage all the little details you don’t want to worry about day of or won’t have time for. They can assist during the whole wedding stage or just day of on the little items. They essentially are a personal assistant and extra hand for anything you need and will help keep everyone on schedule day of.

When you need them: When you want to be able to just relax and enjoy the day while someone else manages everyone or when you have multiple venues and want to make sure everyone is where they need to be. Also, when your vendors won’t do the little details a family or friend helping as a planner can do these for about 1/4 of the cost. 

Things to consider: This will by far be your cheapest option to be stress-free on the big day. This will allow you to enjoy each moment without managing each person and it will be someone you are familiar and close with that is tagging along as your third wheel which is always nice. Do be sure though that it is someone you trust to stay organized and who knows how to manage events/people. 

Side note: If you live in the Chicago area and are looking for a budget friendly planner let me know! I had such a fun time doing it that I would love the opportunity to do it again!

No Planner

What they do: Now a days there are so many apps and online websites that many people choose not to even hire a planner which means it will be up to the couple to plan everything from booking vendors to creating the day of timeline. 

When you need them: This is for the couple that wants to utilize their budget in another way or would rather take on the responsibility of doing it all themselves. Usually this is a couple who is familiar with the event industry or planning events and is hiring vendors who will do everything day of or is having their wedding party assist day of.

Things to consider: If not familiar with event planning this can get very overwhelming and the last thing you want on your big day is to realize you forgot to do something or have something go wrong because of misplanning but luckily there are so many ways to avoid this nowadays with apps and websites. For me the WeddingWire App has been a lifesaver in keeping us on track and making sure we’re doing all the little things you don’t normally think of.

Saying “I do”? What is your input on hiring a planner? 

Photography: Aimee Mazzenga

Megan’s outfit: Rent the Runway

Steve’s outfit: Made to Measure Suit by The Tie Bar

Makeup: Makeup by Aga

Hair: Mario Tricoci Salon


This post was sponsored by WeddingWire. All opinions and photos are my own. Thank you so much for supporting my favorite brands that help keep Blog Appétit up and running!

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