"Does hiring a wedding planner to save you money?" This is probably one of the most asked questions in the entire wedding industry. Well, and this one, "Why are wedding planners so expensive?" And, you know what? There isn't a "clean" answer to these burning questions. Just a bunch of industry professionals feeling like they have to justify why they are 100% necessary in the grand scheme of your wedding.
Planning a wedding comes with a lot of unknown territory for the bride and groom, which is why working with a wedding planner who knows the industry and has been through this many times before makes things far more accessible. Too busy with life to really plan your wedding in detail? Have someone else do it for you and check out our list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help take the stress away.
But is it true that having the help of a wedding planner will save you money in addition to time and stress?
The short answer: It isn't effortless. Here, we're taking a look at how the help of a professional wedding planner might be able to save you some money on your big day.
If you ask any wedding vendor if you should hire a wedding planner, the answer will always be yes, because experienced wedding planners are worth their weight in gold. If you ask any couples about their advice for other soon-to-be weds, and hands down, we hear the same reply: Hire a wedding planner.
Most couples don't realize that you don't hire a wedding planner to help with the timeline and get you down the aisle; a wedding planner is your "firefighter" for the day. They solve problems before they become more significant because anything can (and does) happen with that many moving parts!
But before you say that a wedding planner isn't in your budget, did you realize that a wedding planner can save you money? Between discounted rates from other vendors and knowing how much you should be spending to stay within budget, you can't afford to hire a professional wedding planner!
Table of Contents
- 1 Ways a Wedding Planner Saves You Money
- 1.1 Realistic Budget Planning
- 1.2 Keeping You Within Budget
- 1.3 Repeat Business
- 1.4 Recommending the Right Vendors for Your Budget
- 1.5 Cost Saving Tips
- 1.6 Contract and Negotiation Skills
- 1.7 Passing Along Their Industry Discounts
- 1.8 Preventing Wasted Dollars
- 1.9 Avoid Last Minute Surprise Costs
- 1.10 Reading Between the Lines
- 1.11 Saving You Time (which Is the Same as Money)
- 1.12 Best Money-Saving Tips
- 2 In Conclusion: Expertise Can Save Time and Money
Ways a Wedding Planner Saves You Money
Realistic Budget Planning
A planner adds a lot of value by creating realistic budgets for clients based on their preferences. A couple planning their wedding may have to rely on made-up numbers when creating a budget, but a planner can offer a reasonable range of costs for each line item. Having a realistic budget in place from the start avoids confusion and frustration later on.
Keeping You Within Budget
Wedding planners take the budget and break it down into prioritized categories to know precisely how much you have to spend on each. With that, couples and their vendors can make the best decisions in the future. If you go to a vendor meeting without knowing your budget, you are very likely to overspend.
They could start with venue selection and consider what the venue includes and what items you will need to bring in at an additional cost to accomplish the desired outcome. They refer clients to trusted, reliable, and within budget vendors, and because of the strong relationships, they may offer discounts and are more flexible. They review contracts for hidden or avoidable costs. They help clients save money by guiding them on how to get the most bang for their buck when selecting vendors, décor items, flowers etc. It's effortless to get wrapped up in all the little things, and those can add up.
No blog post or article you will read accurately covers what a wedding costs. Please read that ten times, because it's true. One of the best ways planners help you stay on budget is knowing the true cost of everything that goes into a wedding and guiding you to make choices that you can afford. Nothing is worse than booking a venue that's way above your budget and realizing too late that you now have next to nothing left for the rest of your big day. Having a planner keeping track of numbers from day one might seem unnecessary, but I promise it is worth every penny and much more!
The best advice to save money is to hire a planner from the beginning of the planning process. A planner can create a detailed budget based on knowledge of the industry and the importance of certain desires to the couple. A planner can also negotiate vendor contracts and help you to not overspend on certain budget line items, like spending 1/3 of your budget on only one vendor and expect to get everything else you want with the remaining 2/3's.
This is always a tricky area. It's not our wedding; it's yours! A wedding planner can work with a couple to prioritize what is important and create a realistic working budget that looks at those priorities. BUT, nothing is stopping a couple from splurging on something that can blow the budget. A prime sample is referring a couple to a wedding pro who is well within their budget for services. The couple can still go way overboard, adding in upgrades and additional services.
Wedding planners often repeat business to the vendors they work well with and trust to impress their clients. Does that mean you get a bulk discount from these vendors? No. What it does mean is that your wedding planner knows who to go to that'll be the best fit for your style and personality and who can give you precisely what you want based on the budget you've set forth.
Recommending the Right Vendors for Your Budget
Wedding planners can help save couples money with our vendor relationships. By working at multiple weddings in the same city and surrounding areas, we know vendors very well. Once we know a couple's desired wedding budget, we can give them suggestions on the best vendors who will fit their budget.
Cost Saving Tips
Wedding planners who've been in the industry for several years know exactly what couples can do to cut costs, and they're happy to share these tips with their clients. That means advising teams to do things like cut their guest list, get married on a Friday or Sunday or choose an off-peak wedding date. Plus, they know when a vendor comes back with a quote that's too high or is outside of the couple's budget range.
Contract and Negotiation Skills
Not only do seasoned wedding planners know what red flags to look out for in a contract, but they also know when and how to negotiate on your behalf. This is especially helpful when you're booking a venue or hotel blocks.
Passing Along Their Industry Discounts
Because we have our preferred vendors we work with often, they may pass down discounts, waive certain fees, offer special pricing packages and be more flexible with their services.
Experienced wedding planners work on creating relationships with the best professionals in the industry. Since we are a good referral source for companies providing a service to the wedding industry, wedding professionals will reach out to us with specials or new products and services. Normally we are the first to know who has new services or pricing. We also have preferred wedding professionals who enjoy working with us frequently; therefore, they are always willing to offer discounts, perks, or special packages because we make their job easier. Even if, for some reason, we are unable to offer you discounts or specials on specific elements or services, we are knowledgeable in the cost of products or services. Therefore, we will know if you are getting a good deal or not, and if we should continue to look for better pricing.
Many planners are offered 'kickbacks' from vendors in exchange for referring business their way; this may be for vendors who are looking for more business or from vendors with whom the planner works often. Some planners will pocket this kickback as a commission for referring their client, while others will pass along that savings directly to their couples. We do not accept kickbacks from the vendors we work with; referring vendors based on their stellar reputations, products, and services are always our motivation. Instead, we ask our vendors to take that referral incentive and apply it towards our clients' invoices as savings to them. We believe this makes us even more valuable and trustworthy to our couples.
The best example in which a wedding planner saves you money is his/her Rolodex that you now have access to. A true professional can obtain 'wholesale' or 'in the business' pricing on your behalf. First, they consistently recommend a shortlist of excellent vendors. This way, the focus is on the clients' needs and wants versus negotiating a contract. Second, the vendors that are hand-selected by the planner are not required to market, advertise, and sell themselves to the client and therefore pass on these savings. It is important to note that certain vendors do not allow access to just anyone. They typically work with a select group of planners that over the years have created a relationship (and represent 80-90% of their work). As an example, photographers, videographers, and live musicians are willing to do one and two-hour time blocks when they would normally require a half-day session because we reserve so consistently and pay in full before the event.
We can receive discounts on rentals, cakes, lighting, and pretty much anything else. Discounts shouldn't be your main priority when choosing a planner, though! The most valuable thing your planner can give you is talented professionals who charge full price and go above and beyond to give you everything they're capable of! The occasional discount or favour is just icing on the cake.
Preventing Wasted Dollars
A wedding planner can save you money by preventing you from making costly mistakes. We hear all the time from couples, and if I could do it again, I would do it differently. Engaged couples are inexperienced at planning a wedding, so mistakes are expected. Hands down, mistakes cost money. A professional, experienced wedding planner has been there and done that, so they know how to prevent couples from making mistakes that, in turn, cost them money. Whether it's hiring a vendor that goes out of business or undergoing a costly DIY project, a wedding planner can stop you before you go down the rabbit hole of wasting money that you can't afford to waste.
We help couples to focus; you can spin your wheels running from one end of the region to another or looking at venues or services that aren't a good fit for you. Even online research takes time. We have done the research and stay on the pulse of who's on top of their game. We listen to what couples want and refer them to people who can offer that. Additionally, we help couples focus on a few high-impact items that will be focal points and enhance those instead of sprinkling money on many small things that might go unnoticed.
Staying on budget and avoiding wasting money is a major role of any wedding planner. Our job is to keep you from having any regrets. We have been to many weddings, know what makes an impression, what guests like and remember, and what not to spend your money on. We have worked with numerous vendors ranging from Etsy retailers to luxury venues and know who delivers a quality product that you will not be disappointed with. If you work with a professional wedding planner, you will avoid the dreaded "If I had to do it over again.
I honestly cannot count the number of times I've had to box up favours at the end of the reception or throw out ceremony programs. There are certain things that couples think they need when, in reality, it will be money down the drain. From details that no guest would ever notice to overpaying on a specific vendor category, we help guide our clients to make sensible financial decisions and get the most bang for their buck!
Avoid Last Minute Surprise Costs
Couples who are not using a wedding planner should remember to set aside a buffer fund to accommodate last-minute costs that may come up in the final weeks and days leading up to the wedding. When working with a wedding planner, couples are less likely to need this buffer, as everything has been accounted for ahead of time, including a backup plan for inclement weather. Looking for the Top Wedding Planner in Melbourne? Look no further and check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners here.
Reading Between the Lines
A professional wedding planner will examine contracts for hidden fees, educate clients on what a contract does and does not include that may result in additional expenses, and make a note of payment deadlines to avoid late fees. Planners review contracts for accuracy to ensure everything is specified as discussed and all the tiny details are covered. We also make sure our clients fully understand the cancellation and postponement language and what that could mean for them and how to protect themselves.
An experienced wedding planner will review your contracts to ensure you will not be taken advantage of, that nothing slips through the cracks, and that you have everything you need, such as enough power for the band, DJ, or lighting company or the right amount of food and beverages to match your guest count and will remind you when payments and final counts are due, so you do not fall behind or breach your contract. Sometimes what initially looks like a considerable value might not be. We've learned to read between the lines. Things that make the venue what a couple wanted might come with additional costs. "Oh, by the way, there's a cleaning fee," or "You really need to have valet parking," or even "That package is actually before tax and service charge." A 25% increase might change what looked like a bargain price drastically.
Saving You Time (which Is the Same as Money)
A professional wedding planner will save you a tremendous amount of time and all of your sanity. It's no longer time is money.' Now time is the new money. A wedding planner will do extensive research and find the perfect rehearsal dinner location or suggestions on the best place to handle a brunch the day after your wedding. That's time back in your life, and time that you didn't waste looking for the right fit because it was delivered to you with options from your wedding planner.
A professional wedding planner is hands down a time saver for any couple planning their wedding. We do all the research and sourcing for you and present you with options to fit your needs. We are making calls and emails to the vendors, so you don't have to. We are doing all the thinking, planning, and working to free up your time for other things. You know the saying' time is money, and we give you back your time!
I spend at least 400-600 hours on every full-service wedding that I plan. That's a lot of time most couples don't have to spare, and we're not even taking into account that I do this every day of my life. If you're walking into this with zero experience, you'll end up spending a lot of wasted time going back and forth with vendors for months over something that would probably take a planner one week.
Best Money-Saving Tips
Hiring a wedding planner at the beginning of your planning can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. Unfortunately, couples planning a wedding don't know what they don't know until they're well into planning. Not having a plan, a budget and a clear picture of your priorities can be a costly mistake.
Examine your guest list. Don't get caught up in having to have a large wedding or a certain number of guests. The guest list affects almost every aspect of the wedding. Weddings are expensive and should be reserved for the closest, most intimate of family and friends. It is one of the most common regrets among couples months after their wedding when they realize they forfeited things that they wanted due to budget and didn't know or even speak to a lot of their guests at the wedding.
Hire a planner. If that's not in the books for you, then really understand what a wedding costs in your market. Don't book a venue before you know what you're able to afford. Lastly, reserve a portion of your budget for unexpected expenses (because there will be a lot if you're doing this on your own!)
In Conclusion: Expertise Can Save Time and Money
While it might seem counterintuitive for brides on a budget to consider hiring a wedding planner, party coordinators as industry insiders are often privy to discounts.
Especially with the current economic climate, everyone is pinching pennies and looking for a deal, but I've always likened it to this analogy: You hire a CPA to prepare your tax return, versus doing it yourself. The professional is aware of critical elements that can save you dollars, and that's the same thing that a planner does. A good planner can save you five to 10 per cent on your wedding, so sometimes it can come out where it's an even wash.
Wikka says planners often provide brides with budget spreadsheets that track wedding-related expenses and can reign in potential overspending. They also supply checklists to help couples stay ahead of fast-approaching deadlines.
In addition to keeping cash in the hope chest, a planner can also save a bride plenty of heartache by vetting everything from the venue to the videographer. Check out our Top Wedding Planners here to help make your special day as smooth as possible.
We have relationships and resources that an everyday person doesn't have. We know that our vendors are going to show up on time; we know the good people to go to.