So I never post responses to anything I see on here, but I just had to respond to you.
My mother was convinced we NEEDED a planner. Just after I got engaged, she became overwhelmed and convinced she couldn’t plan my wedding without one.
Fast-forward 6 months, and she’s regretting hiring one. Or at least hiring the one we have. What I’ve learned is that a full-on planner is great if you have a vision but don’t know how to implement it, or don’t have a vision at all. A planner can come in and select your venue, negotiate your contract, pick your dress, etc. HOWEVER- if you already know what you want, they’re kind of pointless.
What I’ve learned is that planners have relationships with specific vendors, AND WILL ONLY GET YOU DEALS FROM THOSE VENDORS. I had already booked my venue, whom she didn’t have a relationship with, so our planner didn’t save us any money there. All the caterers she had agreements with were not ones I liked or ones that were in my budget. So she didn’t save us any money on our caterer. She didn’t help me choose a dress. To date, all she has done is arrange a hotel room block. My mom has been doing all the work.
Bottom line, unless you use/like the vendors they have connections with, you won’t save a dime by spending $2k on a planner. And frequently the vendors they work with are expensive – with a budget of $20k or less, I doubt a planner would be able to save you any money (just being honest, my budget is about the same so I know what you’re dealing with).
The only caveat is that my planner will take care of all of the day of activites, which I’m grateful for. Other than that, while she was paid to be a full-service wedding planner, she hasn’t lived up to it. I don’t want the hassle of canceling the contract, so I’ll keep her for the day of my wedding. But don’t be fooled by planners or other people who assure you that they’ll save you money.
Maybe ask your potential planner who they have connections with and research from there? If they know vendors you really love, it could be worth it. But be cautious….