Post # 1
We have short listed a few sites around the Chicago area that we love and have planned to meet with the managers and tour the facilities soon, but should we have a planner first? Please note: We don’t know anyone who has been married in the area, so most of our research has been done online.
Having a wedding planner wasn’t ever a consideration beyond a DOC or maybe week of coordinator until I watched “Battle of the Wedding Planners” on TLC yesterday. Can wedding planners really save you that much on venue costs, floral, music, etc? I now find myself thinking “What if they can save me that much and I find a planner too late?!?” I’m also concerned that since I don’t know anyone who’s been married or into event planning in Chicago, that we might be missing out on some great venues to consider.
What were your experiences and what would you suggest? Also, what kinds of questions did you bring to the interview?
Post # 3
I think it depends what kind of wedding planner you’re going to go with. If you’re going to do a full on event planner, helping you source venues and other vendors should be a major part of what you’re paying them for.
If you end up going the day of coordinator route, you can probably wait to hire them until after you’ve found your venue.
Keep in mind that part of the discounts those planners were getting was because the venue would be showcased on national television.
Post # 4
Hi…i saw the same show too and coming from a bride that at some point considered 2 of the 3 locations featured i doubt a wedding coordinator can save you that mach money. My Fi and I scouted out a couple venues and once we knew what venue to pick we brought in our coordinator to meet with the venue manager to help hash out the details of our contractor. In the 30 minutes we spent discussing our contract our coordinator was able to cut down our rental rate from 3600 to 2400. The price cut came from our coordinator knowledge of the typical wedding schedual and what an event our size would need we were able to eliminate alot of extras we didnt need, that i would have agreed to pay for if it wasnt for her. Her fee was basically paid for in that one meeting!
Post # 5
Wow! $1200 in savings is still pretty amazing! Is your coordinator a week of, or a full service planner? Also, what kind of questions did you bring when you were first meeting with her?
Post # 6
Not all wedding planners save you money. I told mine when I hired her that my #1 priority was to stretch my budget dollars. She agreed and acted like that was fine and said she could save me money. But I feel like she’s upcharged me on every single thing and then kept the difference. The only vendors that are giving me a decent price are the ones I contacted myself before she had a chance to get to them.
Post # 7
Wedding planners can definitely save you money. As a bride you are coming in considered one stream of revenue, however, many venues know that if they do a good job, they stand to gain repeat business from coordinators. Granted, you need to hire someone experienced to benefit and not a newbie who had so much fun planning her own wedding.
Also, the benefit is that the coordinator can tell you all the behind the scenes associated with the wedding and save you a ton of time. If you know what you like, they should be able to narrow down your options and let you know the truth about the venue, not just the sales fluff.
If you are hiring just a DOC, most don’t book that far out in advance anyway, and venues aren’t typically part of the package.
Post # 8
If you are needed help negotiating or just want the planner to pretty much pick the location for you, Id get a planner before a venue. If you want to pick the venue on your own Id wait to get a planner. As a Catering manager for venues, I would give the same price to a bride that I would a planner. Its bad business practice to give planners or referrals a lesser price if they give you a kick back. A planner can definitely save you money on other items such as rentals and other wedding related items since most companies have vendor pricing that is cheaper than retail pricing.
Post # 9
My wedding planner said that she doesn’t accept kickbacks and wouldn’t necessarily be able to get me a lower price, but on some vendors, she said that she would have more ideas about who would fit in my budget and the style I was looking for. Negotiations and that sort of thing can happen, but I’m not sure I would go into it thinking you would save that much money. It can happen, but it’s not a guarentee. I know several venues were also willing to work with me on my budget if I needed, so it’s not like you have to have a wedding planner to do negotiations either.
Post # 10
Hi Kaymiebee….The coordinator we eventually choose to go with initially caught my attention bc i noticed her getting some mention on some note worthy blogs. While it was a long shot for me to reach out to her i was confident that her style matched what me and FI were looking for. I made sure to be painfully honest about our budget and wedding expectations which ill be honest was kinda uncomfortable considering our tiny tiny budget (15k). I knew she was the one for us when she didn’t blink an eye to our budget and still spent an hour speaking with me giving me cost cutting tips before i even signed the contract. We are very fortunate that she offers a package that is less than a full coordinator but more than DOC in our package we get a total of 6 meetings 3 for planning and budgeting and 3 for event design, we also have unlimited vendor referrals and email communication and unlimited time on the day off. If you feel that you can handle the majority of the planning but need a knowledgeable person with you at your meeting with the big vendors..ie location, and caterer a package like the one we got is perfect. I strongly recommend you choose a coordinator that you feel 100% comfy discussing your budget with and don’t feel like you need to pretend to be more well off than you are. I spoke to several coordinator before deciding on ours who made me feel very self conscious about our budget and made me feel like our budget wasnt big enough for them to be intereasted in our event. Hope that answered all your questions!
Post # 11
I actually chose the venue first then hired a coordinator. I just wanted to do the venue part by ourselves for some reason…i wanted us to fall in love with it and not have someone telling me why it would be so great…it was just something i felt more comfortable figuring out on our own.
Post # 12
I think wedding planners save you money if you are having an extravagant wedding, and if you want a super exclusive place you might need one before you find your venue.
Otherwise, you might want to find your venue first because some come with a coordinator. Our caterer was our coordinator, and she did more than I would have imagined. I’d thought she would just be a DOC (we chose the caterer because of their experience with our site and the food was known to be amazing) but we met several times and emailed plans, and she kept everything running on schedule at the reception.
Post # 13
We hired our wedding planners because FI and I have no time to plan/organise our wedding since we both travel for work very often. We’ve the idea where we want the wedding to be held but we don’t really know the area well. Our coordinators certainly make our lives easier.
I agree with MidCenturyVee. What we did was meeting a few other agencies before we decided to go for the one we’re using now because they make us feel comfortable.
Post # 14
I had considered hiring a DOC but after touring a few venues, we picked one that has their own planners (and they have been amazing so far!). If you have a short list of venues, I would check to see if any of them have people on-site first.
My venue is also an event management group so they are working with the vendors. Just keep asking the questions when you talk to the venues- they’ll be able to recommend the best people.
Post # 15
Look, wedding planner can definitely save you money. HOWEVER you won’t get what you want. Why? Because in order for them to save you money they keep on bringing business to the SAME vendors, which might not be a fit to YOUR vision. I suggest you figure out what you want FIRST, then do some research on what a suitable price is and then contact vendors to make a CUSTOMIZED proposal for you and don’t set for anything less.
Post # 16
i definitely believe my wedding planner has saved us money! she goes back and forth with vendor contracts 2-3 times before i even see it and does not upcharge anything (which is slightly amazing). i lived in a chicago for a few years and think its simlar to DC and other large cities – there are so many choices and you need some guidance. if you are in a small, there may only be 1 or 2 great florists while in a city, there may be hundreds. a planner will help narrow your choices, which saves a ton of time.
you can always make some appts and talk to some planners without obligation. in fact one thing that impressed me so much about the one i ended up hiring is that she gave me a lot of info over the phone before we met in person about venues, what worth looking at, what places could accomodate our numbers etc. it was tremendously helpful and the fact that she was willing to be so helpful before i paid her or committed to her was awesome. when you meet with planners, they will talk to you about your wedding and all the different aspects, which will help you start to think about different details that you didn’t know anything about. they may even throw out an awesome idea you hadn’t though of. i met with a few and i think i took some ideas from each before settling on the one i hired.
so even if you just want a DOC, i would get started with some meeting now!