@Soon2B_MrsS: Part of it really depends on how hands-on you want to be about your wedding, and how much support your venue offers. One of my BMs recently got married, and her venue took care of the catering, cake, tables/linens, china and silverware, DJ, etc. She had to pick out a florist and an officiant, but most other things were taken care of. She’s pretty hands-off when it comes to decorating, so she enlisted her family to help make some pretty simple centerpieces, and that was it. She didn’t have a planner, and she didn’t really need a planner. I think the venue may have provided a day-of coordinator, but I’d have to double-check.
My venue does provide the catering, but we are responsible for the cake, DJ, flowers, renting extra tables, all glassware for the bar, alcohol, decorations, officiant, etc. I’m finding that it’s a lot of work but I enjoy it so it’s not too bad. We have a 10-month engagement, which seems to be just the right amount of time. If we were only engaged for a couple months, I would probably hire some kind of planner, because I would go crazy. I also don’t have much help in my city – my mom and best friends live 3,000 miles away, and I don’t have any sisters. I hired a day-of coordinator to take care of things the day of the wedding, since none of the women in my family will be here early enough to be filled in on most of the wedding details.
I hired a day-of coordinator after reading this thread because I got nervous about who in my family would be able to organize vendors, help set things up, and make sure everyone is where they need to be at the right times. We expect to have ~150 guests, so I know my family and wedding party will be all over the place and hard to locate at times.
So the bottom line is, if you want to keep things really simple, or if you want a lot of details but love planning parties and coordinating things, then you don’t need to hire a full-blown wedding planner. You might want to hire one if you expect to be really busy and really want some assistance in planning. If you are most worried about organizing things the day (or week) of your wedding, you may want to hire a day-of coordinator.