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Wedding Planning

Let a wedding planner take care of the details

You're engaged, you've set a date and you're getting ready to do some serious wedding planning. Chances are, you already have a vague notion about what your dream wedding might look like; but now is the time to start hammering out the wedding details and making definitive decisions.

Some of this process can be fun, like shopping for wedding rings and trying on wedding dresses. Other decisions are harder, like choosing wedding favors. While your wedding plan will depend on your own tastes and style, inevitably other people will want to influence your choices. How many guests will you invite? Who will be in the wedding party? Will you get married in your hometown, close to your guests, or travel to a destination wedding? Then there are all the details to keep track of, contracts to sign and people to organize.

Although it may be one of the happiest occasions of your life, planning a wedding can also be accompanied by some major stress. Enter the wedding planner: wonder-woman (or man) of all things wedding, and the diva of designing and implementing a bride's wedding vision. Basically, the right wedding planner can become a busy bride's best friend. If planning your wedding seems like an overwhelming task and you'd really prefer a professional helping hand, you should consider hiring a wedding planner, consultant or event coordinator.

But before you leap to the phone to call local wedding planners, be aware that their services will cost you anywhere from $1000 to $4000 for a typical wedding with all the trimmings. Make sure you're getting what you pay for by following these tips:

  • Experience - You will definitely want to hire someone with some experience in event planning, especially if your wedding is going to be large and elaborate. Don't discount hiring a rookie planner, though - you can often get a great price for an enthusiastic and eager-to-please new wedding coordinator.
  • Your Vision - While you might be prepared to turn over some of the responsibility to someone with more planning experience, it's still your wedding. Be sure to find a wedding planner that you can work with to bring your vision of a perfect wedding to life.
  • The Basics - Is your future wedding planner familiar with the best wedding locations, florists, caterers, wedding photographers and DJs in your area? Is he or she on good terms with these vendors?
  • Invitations - Some wedding planners don't do invitations. Will yours be prepared to handle the entire invitation process from choosing stationery to licking stamps?
  • The Honeymoon - Will your wedding planner be helping to plan the honeymoon as well? Ask in advance to make sure it's included in the cost.
  • The Contract - Your contract with your wedding planner should be thorough, comprehensive and legally binding. Make sure you understand what services you're paying for before you sign.

If you can't afford a wedding planner, or if you really want to do it yourself but you just need some help staying organized, try looking into online wedding planning services. These handy websites provide wedding checklists, timelines, budgeting tools and helpful advice to make this time one of happiness and excitement - rather than one of anxiety and chaos.

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