Many couples go into the wedding planning process with a clear vision of what they want – the date, the reception venue, the look. Some brides and grooms fumble around a bit, not sure. They definitely want to get married, maybe a smaller affair, but of course we have to invite all the family, plus our co-workers, so that’s at least 100 people right there…perhaps a destination wedding? Coordinating a wedding may sound easy, any bride who planned her own wedding soon found out the details can be overwhelming.

Wherever you fall on the scale, the right wedding planner can help you realize your dream wedding, and possibly even save you a bit of money in the process. They know the florists, the caterers, and the venue owners, and they know which expenses are absolutely necessary to make your wedding perfect, and which can be skipped. But before you start planning the wedding, you need to determine which type of wedding planner is right for you.

What Type of Wedding Planner Do You Need?

Wedding planners call themselves different things, but the most common terms – planner, coordinator, consultant and producer – actually denote something very specific. They have different price ranges and offer different services. It’s important to understand these differences before making a hire, so you can be sure that you and the wedding contractor are on the same page, expectations-wise.

A Wedding Designer, sometimes called a wedding architect, is someone who takes the couple’s dream, and helps take it to the next level, much as an architect does not physically build the structures he designs, a wedding designer does not handle the nitty-gritty contract work. Rather, they help the bride and groom realize their vision for the wedding, and then let a coordinator take over the rest.

A Wedding Coordinator (or consultant), conversely, does not design weddings. This type of contractor is better suited for couples who have a clear sense of what they want, and are simply seeking someone to help make their dream a reality. They handle the logistics of scheduling, meeting setup, and vendor referrals, but usually do not attend every meeting. They are typically on-site during the actual event, handling last minute logistics and crises. They are usually less experienced than certified wedding planners, and may not have a degree. Therefore, their services tend to be slightly more affordable.

A Wedding Planner is commonly a full-service wedding designer and coordinator rolled into one. They typically hold a university degree in event planning or a related field, and they will be present, from beginning to end, as you conceptualize and realize your dream wedding. From floral arrangements to last-minute videographer replacements, they are there to make your wedding day go off without a hitch.

The Interview

Once you know what you are looking for, it’s time to start looking for the right planner for you. The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, Inc. is the perfect place to start looking, as they can provide referrals to certified wedding planners in your area. After you’ve checked out your local certified wedding planners websites, you should call and make appointments to interview 3 or 4 of your favourites. The in-person interview is critical, as it gives you a chance to ask about their experience levels, what precisely their wedding planning packages include, and whether they are able and willing to work with your preferred venues and vendors. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to assess the degree of fellow-feeling between you and your wedding planner. This is someone you will be spending a great deal of time with, and trusting with one of the most important days of your life. If you aren’t comfortable, personally and professionally, with your planner, than they may not be the right choice for you.

Late Getting Planning Help – Now What?

Some couples begin planning their wedding, and as the date looms closer, they begin to realize that they need professional help. That’s where ‘day-of’ wedding planners come in. They cannot truly be hired on the actual day – no planner worth their salt would walk into an event like that sight unseen – but usually start a minimum of 30 days before the actual wedding. They can help gather up what you have accomplished, find out what you haven’t, and work to pull it together into as near-seamless an event as possible. This is not uncommon, and turning to a ‘day-of’ planner (also called a wedding director) does not mean that you are in trouble or that it’s too late. These professionals specialize in last-minute course corrections, and they’re there to help.

Plan with a Wedding Pro

Hiring a wedding planner can initially seem a bit daunting, but ultimately it proves to be essential for many busy, modern couples. By hiring a planner, you save yourself months of stress and potentially quite a lot of money, since you have an experienced professional by your side the whole way through, looking out for you and working to make your dreams come true.



Photo credit: © Bevan Goldswain |