Even though I’m only working four hours a day, I’ve still been spending a lot of my free time planning for our wedding next summer. Since my fiancee is busy with school, I’ve become the ‘unofficial’ wedding planner and let me tell you, it’s a lot of work. We ended up picking a venue that requires you to bring in all your own vendors so there’s even more to do than normal. It’s our responsibility to coordinate everything from tables and chairs to a full kitchen and flooring for the catering staff.
It’s definitely a lot more planning than a normal wedding but one of the nice benefits is that we get to customize nearly everything. The price will be about the same as amore traditional venue though since we’ll save on things like alcohol by bringing in our own bar. My day job hiatus came at the perfect time since it allowed me to start planning the wedding and get a lot of the initial steps out of the way.
Where to Start
After we booked our venue, I was pretty content for a while. I kind of slacked off in the planning department after we put our deposit down and it was my fiancee who got me going again on the planning. I soon realized that planning a wedding is a lot of work! It’s one thing to talk about it but it’s another thing to actually go out and do it. Just figuring out which vendors to book first was a huge task in itself, eventually I figured it out though.
Booking a Photographer
I started my search for a photographer like I would with any other vendor I use in my daily life, I went straight to Yelp. I use Yelp mainly for food reviews but I figured they would also help me out a ton for some of the bigger wedding vendors. I ended up contacting about 5 vendors from Yelp and 10 from a Facebook status update I made asking for wedding photographer referrals(I never realized I had so many friends who knew great photographers!).
One of the first things I noticed was that I was spending inordinate amounts of time just filtering through photographers. We already had a rough idea of our budget but since not one photographer lists their prices online I had to individually contact all of them just to see if they were within our budget and available on our wedding date. I have no idea why there isn’t a huge wedding site out there that allows you to filter vendors by different characteristics but there should be.
Ok I Need Some Help
One of the reasons why we ended up hiring a month of wedding coordinator was because I was spending a lot of time sorting through vendors who didn’t even come close to what we were looking for. I was doing a ton of e-mailing back and forth with various photographers about the same stuff over and over and it kind of seemed like a waste of time. That’s exactly where a wedding planner comes in handy.
Let’s be honest, you don’t have to be a genius to plan a wedding. It’s not that hard to coordinate vendors, make up a schedule, etc. But what is extremely valuable is the experience that a wedding planner can bring. Especially with big events like weddings, little problems and hiccups will show up when you least expect it. By hiring someone who’s familiar with these situations, you reduce the chances of something going wrong.
When I first started planning my wedding, I thought it would be manageable to do it by myself. I quickly realized though that it wasn’t and I didn’t mind asking for a little help. Even though I’m a big do it yourself-er, there’s not a whole lot of value added to my knowledge base by planning a wedding. If I spend hours and hours researching vendors, I’m going to have a kick ass wedding but what am I going to do with all that information afterwards? I guess I would know exactly who to hire if someone needed to cater an event for 150 people.
But since I don’t tend to hire photographers to take pictures of me or cater parties very often, all of my wedding planning knowledge would go to waste. In a way, I’m outsourcing this task to someone more knowledgeable and more experienced so that I can focus on other aspects of the wedding.
Readers, did you hire a wedding planner for your wedding? What do you think about all the research that goes into planning a wedding if you do it yourself? Do you think it’s a waste of time or is there some value added?
-Harry @ PF Pro
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On a related topic, Pauline talks about how you can make extra money in the wedding industry on Make Money Your Way