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DIY weddings vs. hiring a wedding planner: the pros and cons

by | 1 March 2014 | Inspiration

Some people hire a wedding planner. Some people plan and deliver every last bit of their own wedding. Some people do a bit of both. Whichever you choose, there’s no wrong or right decision. But there are perks and pitfalls to both.

For couples who are getting married abroad, having a large event or are going for a last-minute shindig, a wedding planner is a viable option. Planners can help you with the time-consuming activities like whittling down a venue, handwriting your invitations and, if you’re having a destination wedding, the practical stuff, like visas and legalities.

They’ve also got contacts in the business. So if your tastes are more niche, like a Marmite-flavoured cake (yes, this was real – and no, I didn’t take any home), then a planner could come in handy.

And for couples who are on a budget, are self-proclaimed control freaks or have a lot of ‘friendors’ (friends they trust to be temporary vendors for their wedding), doing it yourself is a popular option. But what are the major pros and cons for each?

If you’re hiring a wedding planner

The pros

  • They’ve got the contacts.
    Having professional contacts might mean you get more bang for your buck (a lot of planners have ‘agreements’ with respectable vendors – ‘You bring me ten weddings a year and I’ll give you a special price’). That sort of thing.
  • They know what they’re doing.
    And they like doing it. (After all, it’s their job.)

The cons

  • You’re putting your trust in a stranger.
    Unless you have a really clear vision of what you want, planners will give you options depending on your budget, which could make it feel less like planning your special day and more like doing a questionnaire.
  • You have to pay for a planner’s service.
    As Bernadette Chapman, director of UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) told me: ‘The extra cost for a full wedding planner’s services can be anything between 10-15% of your overall budget,’.

If you’re DIY McGuyvering

The pros

  • You can put your own stamp on your big day.
    Whether it’s the hand-made favours, the centrepieces or a ceremony on the farm you grew up on, when you plan your own wedding, every aspect can’t help but say something about your personality.
  • You could save money.
    If you’re strict with your budget and don’t get swept away by all the shiny details, DIY weddings can keep costs down.

The cons

  • You’ll have to do all the leg work.
    Unless you already know the wedding business, you’ll have a lot of research to do, which takes time.
  • You’ll need a lot of ‘you’ time.
    And I’m not talking about the bubble-bath-and-scented-candles type ‘you’ time. I’m thinking more along the lines of sacrificing every waking moment you have spare to planning and doing.

Of course that’s not an extensive list – it just highlights the major talking points of what each option can and can’t give you.

But what effect do these options have on your emotions come the big day? Are the DIYers sneakily checking that things are on schedule, or are they helping themselves to another glass of champers because all of their hard work’s done? And are those that had a wedding planner wishing they had more control over things, or are they oohing and arghing at the surprise element of the day?

Next week get the low down from a couple that planned every last bit of their wedding and another that hired a wedding planner.

About the author

Jo Wigley

From her word-nerd studio (way) down under in New Zealand, the copywriter in Jo crafts websites, advertising campaigns, scripts, blogs and brochures for businesses across the world. While the creative consultant in her helps brands, big and small, find their voice in one heck of a noisy world.

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