Hiring a Wedding Planner vs. Doing it Yourself: What’s Best for You?

Whether it’s a fixing a car engine or a planning a retirement party, the question of doing something yourself vs. hiring a pro is always a balance between two questions: What are you truly capable of doing yourself, and can you afford to hire a pro to do it for you?

When it comes to planning a wedding, there is little room for error in the extraordinary juggling act of everything from inviting guests to dealing with vendors and the venue to flowers and invitations to knowing the cost of a wedding officiant. Planning a wedding requires knowledge that you almost certainly don’t have – at least, not completely. A wedding planner, on the other hand, has seen it all…but a good one will cost up to 20 percent of your budget.

Ask yourself these questions before you decide.

Everyone likes to do it themselves, but you have to get a wedding right the first time.

Is it a Destination Wedding?

Whether it’s a marriage in Jamaica or a marriage in Toronto, destination weddings come with headaches that only an experienced planner can truly be ready for. You’ll have to factor in language and culture barriers, travel plans, currency exchanges, and the simple fact that you’re dealing with vendors who are almost certain to never see you or do business with you again.

Destination weddings are usually smaller, but much more complicated. If you’re planning a destination wedding, it might not be the right time to DIY.

Is Your Wedding in Less Than Six Months?

If you give yourself a year or more to plan your wedding, a meticulous person can manage every detail themselves. When it comes to an event on the fly, the skills and expertise of a planner might be well worth the money.

If nothing else, they may be able to save you money. Everything from the cost of a limo to the cost of a wedding officiant goes up the closer the deadline gets. A planner has the contacts to deal with last-minute problems.

Do You Work Full Time?

If you have a full-time job, you might not be able to handle the full-time job of planning a wedding. It takes many hours over many months to get every detail right.

How Big Is Your Wedding

Every wedding is different, but generally the cutoff is 50 guests. Good DIYers can generally handle weddings with fewer than 50 guests. Big weddings with more than 50 are complicated affairs that require meticulous planning. If you want a big wedding, you’re probably going to need help.

Consider a wedding planner if you have destination wedding.

DIY is always better if you’re able to do it right yourself. The thing with weddings, though, is that you – hopefully – only get one shot. If you’re uncertain of your talents or you’re certain that you can’t pull it off, it’s better to save money in other areas and go with a pro.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about event planning and profiles top legal and business professionals such as Timothy Broas, Winston & Strawn LLP.

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