What Exactly Can You Expect When You Hire A Wedding Planner for Full Planning

There is often a lot of confusion as to what exactly a wedding planner does when it comes to full wedding planning and what exactly a planner will be doing for the fee they are charging. I have noticed that there is a lot of uncertainty around what one can expect from the different services and how much in general each service costs.

Each planner has their own specifics that they will include in their full wedding planning package but there is a generally accepted list of tasks that your wedding planner will perform during the process of helping you plan your wedding. When you are looking for your wedding planner, do your research and look around and if their fee is substantially lower than others you have found, be weary. I don't just say this without good reason. I won't go into the reasons for why a supplier will reduce their fees to get the booking as each supplier has their reason, however; what often happens is you and the supplier have very different expectations as to what is included for that fee. Always ask them for a breakdown of exactly what they will be doing for that fee.

Onto what you can expect (please keep in mind that each planner will have their own idea of this but this is a list that is generally accepted within the UK).

An initial consultation:

This is a vital step for both you and your planner for various reasons, most importantly that you can both assess whether you will work well together and whether you are the right fit. It also gives your wedding planner the opportunity to learn a little about you and the style of wedding you want and what your overall budget it (more or less). It will be after this stage that your wedding planner will be able to determine if they are able to help you with the wedding you want.

The proposal:

The wedding planner will then put together a proposal outlining all the details you discussed at your consultation, the type of service that you discussed (with a full breakdown of what they will be doing for you) and what their fee will be for them to complete this service. Some planners might include a brochure with the full details of all the services that they supply. This is a vital thing to get from your planner because it will be from this that they work from and you both need to agree on the details. If you feel they should be doing more than mentioned then speak to them now and see if it is doable based on the fee they have quoted you. If they say not and that it will cost you extra for that work, then they probably mean it but if you are not certain then continue doing your research. On average you can expect to pay a % of your overall budget for full wedding planning with minimum fees starting at £4000 and this varies depending on the planner and the experience they have.

If you both agree then the next steps will be as follows:

A contract will be signed with the service chosen being outlined and the agreed upon fee

Budget Breakdown:

This is a vital step and if it's not done by your wedding planner, you might want to ask them why they have chosen not to do one. It doesn't matter what your overall budget is, but a budget breakdown is vital unless money is just not an issue, and it doesn't matter how much you spend. For most people they will have an overall budget that they can afford to spend and having a budget plan is the only way to make sure that you don’t overspend.

Sourcing initial suppliers:

Depending on when you hire your wedding planner but in general the first things your wedding planner will do is clarify any details that still need clarifying with regards to your vision and what you want in terms of style and then taking your budget break down your planner will start with recommending suppliers assuming you have not found any yet they will usually start with the ones that get booked up quickly.

They will take your vision (they might have created a mood board for visual representation if they are a style lead planner) and your budget they will make the initial enquiries as to availability and whether or not the supplier can do what you are looking for (i.e. if you are wanting a particular style of photographs but that is not the photographers style then they might not feel they are the right supplier for you).

Your wedding planner will be your liaison and contact point regarding all details with your suppliers. Any questions you have or any that they have will generally go through your wedding planner. They will usually find 3 that are available, within budget and suit your style and then pass those on to you, you make your choice, and your wedding planner will then take your choice of supplier and make all the necessary arrangements.

They will do venue walk throughs either for you or with you. They will make sure that if there are any issues with the venue set up that can be changed are seen to etc.

Save the Dates

Around 9- 7 months before your wedding, your wedding planner will probably check in with you and help you find your stationer (if a stationer is required for save the dates and invitations). They will provide you with all the advice you need in choosing the design of your save the dates and the wording. Between both your wedding planner and your stationer they have experience in this and will know the best way in which it should be done. Half of the reason you are hiring a wedding planner is because they have the knowledge that you don’t have in planning your wedding. They have the expertise to advise you.

Throughout the following months depending on the supplier, you wedding planner will help you with sourcing the rest of your suppliers, arrange tastings with both your caterer and your cake maker. Go with you to meetings with your décor supplier and your florists. Give you the best advice they can when it comes to choosing all the different aspects of your wedding that will make it a whole.

It would be great if they were in continuous communication (within reason, don’t go messaging your wedding planner at some ridiculous hour).

They will keep track of all invoices sent by suppliers, remind you to make payments due and generally keep track of the details that might seem minor but in essence make sure that it all comes together, and which take time to do.

Just Before the Wedding

Closer to the time of the wedding day, they will confirm all the details and add in any final details with suppliers (if you have a marquee wedding, they will be checking in during set up a few days before). They will start putting together a timeline, start helping to bring all the details together for you. They will make sure that the stationery is correct when it arrives. They will check that all names of guests are spelt correctly, they will draw up seating plans for all your suppliers to make sure they know where everyone is sitting (particularly important when it comes to dietaries). They will track all your RSVP’s. They will put together a complete document with all the final details to send to suppliers with all relevant information.

A Few Days Before

A few days before depending on what type of wedding and how early you can set up, will see your wedding planner on site, checking that all is as it should be (this will be a few days before particularly if it is a marquee wedding where they will need to check that everything has been set up correctly for an ideal and issue free wedding day). A finalised timeline will be put together with final details of guest numbers and guest dietaries, with finalised timings and any other details that need to be added.

Wedding Day

On the morning of your wedding your wedding planner will be onsite early (this depends on the wedding planner) but this is around 9:00/10:00 and they will oversee the setting up of everything from table set up to the set up of the ceremony area. They will check all the finer details (when I say this, I mean that they will check that the table is set exactly as you wanted it, that the place settings are in the right place, that the table numbers are correct, that the candles are lit, that the baskets for the flower girls are in the right place, that signs are visible, that any emergency exits are not blocked and all health and safety procedures are in place. These and many other details will be check and if necessary corrected). They will be checking in with all suppliers and checking that they have everything they need. They will chivvy any suppliers that are running behind. They will make sure that the minister arrives and that your groom is waiting for you at the end of the aisle and that the mum of the bride arrives and has a seat. Throughout the day and night, your wedding planner will be keeping a hand on the pulse of everything going on and will make sure that everything that needs to happen happens.

All of these are of course for a Full Planning service and not generally for the Month of service or the On the Day Coordination.

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