Alright, my soon-to-be-wed friends, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of planning your dream wedding. On average, you’re looking at dedicating around 250 to 300 hours to bring this magic to life, and trust me, each moment invested is absolutely worthwhile for that enchanting day. Now, gear up because here’s the breakdown of the essential steps to master this wedding planning game. First up, there’s the venue hunt – finding that perfect spot for your fairy tale. Then, you’ll navigate through the guest list, embark on the quest for the ideal outfit (oh, the choices!), and dive into the intricate world of vendors. We’re talking florists, caterers, celebrants, photographers, hairdressers, make-up artists and stylists, to mention a few! All working hard to turn your vision into reality. Don’t overlook the invitations, the decor game plan, and the crucial cake decisions. SO. MANY. DECISIONS!
However – your first and most important decision is whether to use a professional wedding planner or go down the DIY path. Both have their pros and cons, but I’m here to decode all my wedding planner secrets so you can choose which is right for you –professional or DIY. Grab your favourite cuppa, and let’s dish out the secrets to creating your perfect day!
One of my recent clients compared it to a rollercoaster, and let’s be real, it’s a ride filled with love, laughter and a bit of chaos! At first, it might seem like a wild adventure, but with a solid plan, you’ll ride that coaster like a queen. Did you know that 40% of couples used the terms “very” and “extremely” to describe wedding planning stress? So, how do you tackle it? Well, first, you need to decide whether you should go for the magic touch of a professional planner or rock the DIY vibe and take control of your big day.
Ok, so I am probably biased, but hiring a professional wedding planner is like diving into a relaxing pool of expertise and local secrets. We’re like your wedding GPS, guiding you through the maze of decisions. On the other hand, going full DIY gives you the reins to control every sparkly detail, plus it might save you a few bucks. Pros are like fairy godmothers. We aim to make the journey stress-free for those wanting an effortless experience, while DIY is all about hands-on fun for those with the luxury of time to go all in.
REAL LIFE – A DIY couple recently decided to supply all their own candles for their wedding. Not knowing how many to buy they spent more than $700 on cheap candles that didn’t last the evening and the jars they used were not the right style so many kept blowing out and being cheap, burnt down quickly, causing no end of stress during the evening for the couple. Plus they spent $100 on candles they didn’t even use as no one remembered to put them out in time. Had they used a planner, they could have had the right amount of beautiful long lasting candles in glass pillars that they didn’t need to put out or pack up at the restaurant afterwards. For the small amount of cost saving, they had a large amount of stress.
Professional Wedding Planner – Sit Back and Relax
Professional wedding planners – we’re the architects of a seamless celebration! Imagine having your very own wizard, making your dreams come true. They define and execute your wedding vision, have the lowdown on the best vendors in town, and are your go-to if you want a planning process as smooth as silk. They can calm your nerves and save you massive amounts of time, and often even save you money in the long run.
I’m frequently asked by couples when they first come to see me, ‘Where do we start?’. It can be so completely overwhelming to know what to do in what order and how much you should be paying – let alone managing a constantly changing guest list! One of my clients remarked that hiring a planner was the single best decision they made for their wedding as it meant they could enjoy the day rather than worrying about if the cake had arrived or wishing well was put in the right place. If the only thing you want to do on your wedding day is sip on a glass of bubbles, then a planner could be the best approach for you.
REAL LIFE – I recently had a bride that did not have time to try her dress on before her wedding day. When she opened the dress bag to put it on, she realised that the straps for the corset where not in the bag. I quickly made a few phone calls and had some replacement ribbon on site in 35 minutes and laced that dress up like no tomorrow!
DIY approach – be the mastermind of your dream day
However, if you have the time and inclination, then the DIY or do-it-yourself approach might be for you. Here, you get full control over every detail and organise it all from scratch – often including the setting up and packing down afterwards. It’s all about doing it your way – from orchestrating every detail to hand-picking vendors and decorations. It’s perfect for the hands-on couple who craves complete creative control and wants their wedding to be as unique as they are. Need resources and tips for your DIY shindig? Head over to The DIY Bride – your DIY HQ!
What are the key jobs in planning your wedding?
Sometimes, I think planning a wedding is like conducting a symphony, and I am the conductor! Here’s a list of things I have put together that you will need to consider for your wedding day to get that orchestra playing perfectly in tune:
- Heart-to-Heart Chat: Visions, vibes, and, of course, budgets
- Budget Boss: Not only setting a budget – but keeping to it
- Venue Vibes: Scouting the perfect spot for your magical love fest.
- Vendor Love: Assembling the A-team – photographers, florists, celebrants, photographers, caterers, the works!
- Time Travel: Creating a time map for your big day
- Guest-List Gala: Rolling out the red carpet for your VIPs. Who’s in? Who’s out? Let’s make it a party to remember
- Design Dream: Crafting the look and feel. Think Pinterest boards brought to life
- Decor Dash: Hunting down the dreamy decorations – flowers, fairy lights, and all the Insta-worthy bits
- Stationery Sass: Bringing your love story to paper – invites, place cards, the whole shebang
- Wheels & Deals: Sorting out rides for the wedding crew
- Rehearsal Party: Practicing the aisle walk and fine-tuning the vows
- Ceremony: Vows, rings, and maybe a few happy tears
- Reception: Hosting the ultimate party – speeches, dances, and a feast fit for royalty
- Set up and Packdown: Both for ceremony and reception
So now you know a little about what’s involved, let’s look at the pros and cons of going solo or having a pro by your side.
One of my brides was from Scotland, and she wanted to incorporate a little bit of her Scottish homeland into her Noosa wedding day. We worked together to create a lovely balance between both cultures by sourcing some Scottish tablets (fudge) and some little whiskey bottles as gifts for guests. I arranged all the personalised packaging that tied to their theme and made sure it was at each guest’s place on arrival at reception.
Pros & Cons of Hiring a Professional Wedding Planner
- Expert guidance and industry knowledge
- Access to local vendor connections
- Stress reduction and time management
- Creative design and theme execution
- Day-of coordination and problem-solving
- Higher cost than DIY
- Less direct control over planning details
- Potential for less personalization
- Dependence on the planner’s availability and style
- Limited to the planner’s vendor network
Pros & Cons of DIY Wedding Planning
- Complete control over wedding details
- Potential cost savings
- Personal satisfaction from hands-on involvement
- Total customization of wedding theme
- Flexibility in vendor and venue selection
- Time-consuming and potentially stressful
- Lack of professional expertise and industry discounts
- Challenges in managing logistics and vendors
- Risk of overlooking important details
- Difficulty in day-of coordination and problem resolution
Destination Wedding – a Whole Other Planning Ballgame
Being lucky enough to have my business on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, I have the absolute joy of helping couples interstate plan a destination wedding here in this little piece of paradise. My couples constantly tell me that planning a destination wedding brings a whole extra layer of stress trying to coordinate by phone and email with vendors. The logistical intricacies, unfamiliar vendors, and potential language barriers can turn your DIY dreams into a daunting reality. This is where we, as professional wedding planners, become worth our weight in gold. Our local expertise, established connections, and familiarity with the destination’s quirks ensure a seamless execution. Make sure you consider the location before you fully commit to DIY.
REAL LIFE – I had a couple who had organised for the mother of the bride to make the wedding cake. The cake had to travel over 100km to the reception destination. The combination of the hot weather and delays on the freeway meant that by the time the cake arrived, it had collapsed. My team was able to source a new cake, decorate it with fresh flowers and have it at the reception venue just in time!
Do I Invest in Hiring a Professional or DIY?
Choosing between hiring a pro or going DIY is a deeply personal decision shaped by your personality and priorities. Are you a laid-back couple craving a stress-free journey? A professional planner might be your wedding superhero. If you thrive on hands-on creativity, the DIY path is calling your name. Consider your priorities, and remember – it’s about what feels right for you.
Next Steps If Hiring a Professional/DIY Is Right For You?
If you’re leaning towards hiring a professional, start by researching local planners and scheduling consultations. For the DIY enthusiasts, create a detailed plan and timeline, and don’t forget to relish the process! No matter which path you choose, your dream wedding is just around the corner.
Happy planning! 💍🌟