The million dollar question, “Do I hire a planner?”
Plan on it!
Any good planner who has years (meaning more than 5) of experience will tell you it can be the best money you will spend. Ask anyone who hired an experienced planner and they will tell you the same thing. First of all look at your event and its complexities or lack thereof, and then look at how much time you have to put into planning the event and whether or not you want to be “working” the night of your event. Many people will dump their duties on to the caterer or hotel person at the last minute, you know, “Be a love and get my daughter down the aisle” or “I just have to run out for a minute (really 5-6 hours) can you make sure all my vendors get set up. The answer should be “No I’m sorry I wasn’t hired to take care of that” but they generally do it, to please the client, which makes the job of a planner seem like a non-needed part of the process. A good planner is there for you in so many ways, a sounding board, idea generator, comic relief, psychologist, family mediator, accountant, relations expert, wall between you and all those pesky vendors asking 100 questions, people wrangler, as well as many other hats. Your planner takes the stress away from you and allows you to enjoy your day, have fun with your family or guests and leave the details to the planner.
Hire me and I will save you money!
In my opinion, if you hear this phrase, ask for proof, or walk away. A good planner can make sure they put the money you have to the best use. They will look at your budget and determine vendors that fit your needs and work within that given budget. The key to this is being honest with the planner and tell them what your budget really is. A bad planner, in the guise of saving you money, will beat up their vendors trying to work them down in price. By the time they get to the event the vendors are not excited to be there. I hear this all the time from vendors about other planners and I feel bad they are treated this way. The client is unaware, but when your vendors don’t want to be at your event or be around your planner then you may not get their best at your event.
Dollars and sense…
Planners charge for their services in many ways, some do it off percentage, some hourly and some by set rate packages. All are acceptable ways of pricing, just make sure you ask a lot of questions up front and make sure you understand what they will or will not do. Many planners will do a base price, and then allow you to add on additional services for an additional cost. Going this route might get you a lower price to start, but in the end can you accomplish all the items on your task list? Be prepared if you fall behind to ask your planner to take on some of your tasks though you will get an additional bill. Your planner is providing a service like many other professions so don’t assume they will just add that task at no charge. Some planners may negotiate with you, but remember their pricing is meant to allow them to pay their bills, have a place to live, put their kid through school, buy clothes, food, salaries, car payment and rightly so.
When considering hiring a planner, the key is finding the value of what we do. The time spent doing things for you, taking your burden away, listening, working with committees and vendors, running errands, making timelines, watching your budget, guiding you through countless decisions and creating your perfect event, priceless.
Have a question? Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org I will post my answer on my blog.