Everything You Need to Know
Making plans for your wedding can seem like a full-time job. Fortunately for you, wedding planners have the experience and the expertise necessary to handle all these details on your behalf. You can find hundreds of wedding planners and photographs of real weddings on the Carats & Cake website. We make it easy to connect with the right wedding planner for you.
Planning your wedding can involve a great many moving parts, including catering, venue selection, music, flowers, decorations and choosing an officiant. This can be overwhelming for those not already familiar with the complexities of event planning, especially on the scale of the typical wedding. But a wedding planner can take some of the stress and worry out of what should be a joyous time in your life.
Understanding the role that wedding planners can play in creating the perfect reception and ceremony for your special day can help you to make the most appropriate choices for yourself, your intended spouse and your invited friends and family members. Your wedding planner can be a real partner in managing all of the details, working with vendors and helping everything go smoothly leading up to and on the day of your wedding.
We’ve compiled a list of the best wedding planners and vendors all over the world who can make your event something truly special and memorable. In this guide, we will discuss some of the basics of wedding planning, including the following essential pieces of advice:
- Why you need a wedding planner
- What wedding planners do
- Wedding planners vs. wedding coordinators vs. day-of-wedding coordinators
- Where to find wedding planners
- Considerations for choosing a wedding planner
- Average costs of wedding planning services
- Available options for wedding planners
- How to get in touch with wedding planning professionals
Carats & Cake makes it easy to find top wedding planners in your area. We are committed to helping you plan a day you, your spouse, and your wedding party will remember for the rest of your life. Our site is packed with brilliant ideas, photographs of real weddings and the most comprehensive list of vendors to help you get started. We can help you find a wedding planner who is just right for you.
Why Do You Need a Wedding Planner?
One of the best reasons to hire a wedding planner is their degree of expertise in the event planning field. Wedding planning professionals work directly with you to determine your priorities, needs and budget. This can help you to turn your dream wedding into a reality while taking most of the more tedious tasks out of the process. Your personal wedding planner can assist you with wedding design ideas, wedding planning tips and many other facets of your ceremony and reception.
Essentially, your wedding planner is tasked with doing all of the many things that you will not have time to worry about in the days and months before your wedding. Wedding coordinators are similar in that they provide the logistical support to manage your wedding ceremony and reception on the big day, which will leave you freer to enjoy this special event with your intended partner (however wedding coordinators are less involved leading up to your wedding day.)
The best wedding planner for you will typically recommend other vendors with whom they have had success in the past. These may include photographers and videographers, catering companies and even wedding venues that will serve as the backdrop for your special day. By working with your wedding planner, you can select the perfect florists and wedding musicians or other entertainment to make your day truly special for all who attend. We can help you find top wedding planners who will make your dream wedding come true.
What Does a Wedding Planner Do?
Especially for brides who are excited by all of the wedding brainstorming and inspiration-hunting and even the nitty-gritty details of wedding planning, like seating charts and welcome bags, you may wonder if you need a wedding planner. But no matter how enthusiastic you are and how involved you want to be, the closer it gets to your wedding, the less time you have—mentally or literally. From start to finish, there is no question that wedding planners provide invaluable help that allows you to enjoy your Big Day, and the entire wedding process, exponentially more.
So, what does a wedding planner do? Here are some of the key tasks your wedding planner will perform on your behalf:
- Offering wedding design ideas: Depending on the skill set of your wedding planner, they may provide you with ideas for your wedding design or recommend wedding designers who will bring your vision for your wedding day from the drawing board to your wedding venue. This can help you to achieve the wedding day you have always wanted.
- Assisting in choosing vendors: Top wedding planners will typically have a network of trusted industry professionals, and can provide recommendations for excellent vendors for your wedding invitations, wedding dress and tuxedo shops, hair and makeup artists, and so many more. While you are not obligated to choose the vendors recommended by your wedding planner, these recommendations are a definite benefit of working with the best wedding planners in your area.
- Establishing a working relationship with vendors: Whether you already have vendors in mind for your wedding or you choose to go with the recommendations of your wedding planner, you can trust that all elements of your wedding will be managed properly. Finding the best wedding planner will help you to relax and enjoy the leadup to your wedding rather than worrying about every last detail.
- Maintaining your wedding planning timeline: Creating a wedding planning timeline is one of the most important tasks performed by your wedding planner. Wedding planning timelines are used to make sure that all elements of your wedding are proceeding according to schedule. By creating wedding planning timelines on your behalf, your wedding planner can make sure that everything is in place in the months leading up to the Big Day. By juggling the various elements of the wedding planning process, from communications to payments to logistics, top wedding planners maintain wedding planning timelines in an effective and practical way.
- Creating a plan for inclement weather: According to certain cultural traditions, rain on your wedding day can be a sign of good luck and fertility. It can also cause chaos if you have planned an outdoor ceremony or reception. Your wedding planner can create back-up plans that will prevent rain from spoiling your special day. From outdoor tents to shield your guests to indoor venues that can provide added room for getting out of the weather, your wedding planning professional can ensure the best possible solutions when Mother Nature fails to cooperate with your wedding plans.
- Planning transportation: The wedding party and guests will almost certainly need transportation from the ceremony to your reception venue—or from wherever they are getting ready to the ceremony. Choosing from among the top wedding planners listed on Carats & Cake ensures that he or she will have the knowledge of local transportation companies to deliver the best arrangements for your ceremony and reception.
- Arranging wedding rehearsals: Other than your wedding officiant, wedding planners are the ones who really orchestrate your wedding rehearsal. From getting your wedding party lined up and in order, to directing people where to stand, it’s helpful to have an experienced professional assist in this exciting, but potentially confusing process. Wedding planners can also work with you to map out how you would like your ceremony to go, from song selections and special guests doing readings, to the formal order in which family and the wedding party typically processes and recesses from the ceremony.
- Picking up rings: While most couples can find time to pick up their wedding rings before the big day, your wedding planning professional can also perform this task for you, as you will still be quite busy! This can relieve worries about your wedding planning timeline and can take this task off your already full plate.
- Scheduling wedding cake tastings: The wedding cake is often the centerpiece of the wedding reception. A wedding event planner can not only recommend top wedding cake bakeries, but he or she can set up your cake tasting appointments—one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process!
- Managing all the other wedding planning to-do's: Wedding planning duties are fairly flexible. If you need help with things not generally listed in your wedding planner contract, you can often negotiate these services to ensure that all your key concerns are managed effectively.
There are also industry professionals known as wedding coordinators, who are similar to wedding planners in that they can be a huge help on your wedding day. Wedding coordinators are more logistically-focused than wedding planners, and are typically brought in with a shorter timeline leading up the wedding, say a month in advance. In some cases, your wedding venue may provide a day of wedding coordinator to provide practical help for managing all the moving parts that go into a wedding. These services are only provided on the actual day of your ceremony and reception (which can be a cost-saving, but also means you are responsible for any pre-wedding planning.) Your day of wedding coordinator can perform a number of useful tasks, including some or all of the following services (which would also be included with a full wedding planner):
- Managing deliveries: Tables, chairs, tents and other items will need to be delivered to your wedding venue. Your day of wedding coordinator will be on hand to manage all these deliveries and to touch base with the rental company if anything must be substituted or is running late.
- Overseeing setup for tables, chairs and other items: Making sure that all tables, chairs and place cards are in the right place can be a major undertaking on the day of your wedding. Your wedding coordinator takes on this challenge so you have one less worry on your plate.
- Showing the band or DJ where to set up: This may not seem like a major task. However, when combined with all the other things that must be managed to ensure that your wedding goes off without a hitch, you will be glad that your wedding coordinator is there to handle this and many other aspects of your ceremony and reception.
- Fielding incoming calls from vendors: Day of wedding coordinators can provide instructions and directions to the venue to vendors who might otherwise have difficulty in finding your location or in following your instructions precisely.
- Providing you with assistance: Your day of wedding coordinator will be there for you on the big day to provide help in other ways if necessary.
Deciding on the time period for which you will need a planner or wedding coordinator can help you to make the most appropriate and budget-conscious choices when choosing which type of professional to work with. In general, the wedding planning services you expect should be spelled out in detail in your wedding planner contract. If you choose a day of wedding coordinator, you can expect to pay significantly less than you would for full-service wedding planner services that span months or even years, but weigh that against how much your own time is worth over those months or even years.
How Do You Find Wedding Planners?
Carats & Cake's directory is a great place to find a wedding planner online. The directory contains photographs of real weddings that you can use to find perfect wedding planners for your needs. The site contains pictures, contact information for wedding planners and wedding coordinators, and wedding design ideas along with the wedding designers who created them.
If you have already chosen a venue for your wedding, you can often reach out to staff at the venue to see if they provide a day of wedding coordinator or to seek recommendations for wedding planners they have worked with previously. You can also ask friends and family members for recommendations on the best wedding planners, or if there were wedding coordinator duties that were particularly helpful to have someone take off their plate.
Whether you look for a wedding planner online or seek recommendations from venue staff or friends, choosing the best wedding planner for you is essential to ensure that your wedding design and all aspects of your ceremony and reception are exactly as you wish them to be.
How Do You Choose a Wedding Planner?
Choosing a wedding coordinator or planner is an intensely personal decision. The best wedding planner for you may not be right for someone else. It is important to make sure that your personalities are compatible and that you have similar ideas about wedding design and the wedding coordinator duties you expect and need.
The process of finding wedding coordinators or planners should be one of your first steps, especially if you are seeking someone to handle all aspects of the preparations for your wedding. Wedding planners can often be booked for years in advance. Initial meetings with the wedding coordinators or planners whom you would like to work with can give you a good idea about availability, the wedding planner services they offer and overall wedding planner cost.
Another important consideration when selecting wedding coordinators is the extent of the services you will need. A day of wedding coordinator is usually much less expensive than a full-service wedding planner who handles all elements of the preparation process. Full-service wedding planners, however, can sometimes take on some of the creative components if wedding designers are not in the budget, and can provide you with valuable wedding planning tips that can help you achieve the most beautiful ceremony and reception for your very special day.
It may take some time to find the best wedding coordinator or planner for your upcoming ceremony and reception. Meeting with wedding coordinators is a good way to determine if they are the right choices for you and your wedding.
Some of the most important questions to ask when interviewing wedding coordinators or planners include the following:
- Do you have references? Looking at pictures of previous weddings that were handled by your prospective wedding coordinator or planner can be a good way to determine whether your styles are compatible. Touching base with previous clients of wedding planners can also provide some insight into what to expect.
- Are you familiar with the venue? If you have already booked a wedding venue, it may be worthwhile to ask if the wedding coordinators you are considering have worked with the team at your venue. This can sometimes make it easier to manage wedding coordinator duties efficiently.
- How big is your team? Larger teams can cost significantly more. If you are planning a destination wedding or a large-scale wedding ceremony and reception, however, wedding planners with larger teams can deliver the wedding planning packages you will need to manage these complex events.
- What services are not included in the wedding planner contract? These may include welcome bags, transportation arrangements to destination weddings and other services that you may need to manage yourself.
- Is travel included in the cost of your services? If your day of wedding planner or wedding coordinator must travel to reach your venue, will that cost be absorbed in the overall scope of wedding coordinator duties? This can help you to keep your wedding planning costs within your allotted budget.
- What role will your wedding planners play in managing preparations and providing recommendations? While day of wedding coordinator costs are generally lower than full-service costs, the services they provide can also be much less comprehensive. For example, providing wedding design ideas and working with wedding designers is usually only included in the wedding planning services offered by full-service wedding planners. These services are not generally included in a day of wedding coordinator cost.
- How do I get in touch with your wedding planners throughout the process? Communication is an important key to success in wedding planning. Making sure you can reach your wedding coordinator easily if problems arise will lower your stress levels when managing your wedding planning timeline.
These questions can help you to find the best wedding coordinator or planner for your upcoming nuptials. You can also look at the available wedding planning packages offered by your favored wedding planners to determine which of these professionals is right for your specific set of needs.
How Much Does a Wedding Planner Cost?
According to Business Insider, the average cost of a wedding in 2020 was $19,000. This is down $10,000 from the $29,000 figure reported in 2019. Top wedding planners often cost a significant percentage of this amount. In return, however, you receive wedding planning services that are tailored precisely to your needs.
Catering costs are another important element in your wedding budget. The average amount paid for catering ranges between $1,800 and $7,000, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages served at your reception.
You may be wondering, "How much is a day of wedding coordinator?" There is no one average wedding planner cost, unfortunately. A great deal will depend on your wedding planner timeline, the wedding coordinator duties you will need and the time frame for which you will need assistance. Before you begin reaching out to wedding planners, it's a good idea to try to get a ballpark estimate for the costs of wedding planning services so that you know what to expect. In general, the average wedding planner cost starts at about $1,500 and can be much, much higher, depending on the services you need, the length of time for which you need them, and where you are located. Full-service wedding planners usually start at about $5,000 and up. Wedding planning packages go up in price as the services you need increase in number and complexity.
Some wedding coordinators and planners charge a flat fee that covers a specific number of hours. Others base their fees on a percentage of the total cost of your wedding. The number of people on the team will also often play a role in determining wedding planner cost. If transportation and accommodations for wedding coordinators is required, that will also increase the amount you spend on wedding coordinator services.
When choosing the best wedding coordinator or planner for your needs, wedding planner cost should not be your only consideration. Wedding planners can provide invaluable services and wedding design ideas that can make your ceremony and reception a memorable and beautiful occasion.
What Options Are Available When Choosing Wedding Planners?
Whether you find a wedding planner online at Carats & Cake or you choose a wedding coordinator based on the recommendations of your venue, you can expect to choose from the following types of wedding coordinators and planners:
- Day of Wedding coordinators generally only provide logistical assistance at the venue of the wedding. These wedding event planners may be affiliated with the venue you choose, or may be available for hire independently.
- In-house wedding coordinators work at the venue and may be very limited in the services they will provide on your behalf.
- Short-term wedding coordinators are brought in when you have most of your wedding vendors lined up, and help coordinate the final communication and logistics of your wedding.
- Full-service wedding planners can provide start-to-finish services that begin with wedding planning tips and conclude with managing the clean-up after your reception is over.
- Wedding coordinators and planners may also offer packages that include a set list of exactly what they will do on your behalf to plan your wedding.
You can often negotiate additional à la carte services for a supplemental fee with the wedding coordinator you choose. Finding the best wedding planners can help you to make the most practical choices for your budget while still enjoying the wedding of your dreams.
How Can I Get in Touch With the Best Wedding Planners?
At Carats & Cake, we make it easy for you to find and touch base with the best wedding planner or wedding coordinator for your very special event. As a trusted resource for couples getting married, Carats & Cake provides access to thousands of real weddings to allow you to find and contact the right wedding planners quickly and easily.