Wedding Planners Get the Job Done

by La Shawn Witt

Any wedding is complicated. There are myriad details to be discussed, budgeted and executed. But like most brides, your life is filled with demands - job, home, friends and social commitments, and, of course, him. You may not have the time or energy to fully plan, manage and participate in the biggest celebration of your life. If this aptly describes you, you need help.

Hiring a wedding consultant is a cost-efficient alternative to tearing your hair out. What they provide is experience and expertise. Such bridal professionals usually are industry insiders who know the quality and reliability of area vendors. Not only can they keep you within budget, they also relieve you of numerous details and demands. Consultants avoid wasted time by pre-qualifying vendors like florists, caterers, photographers and other wedding professionals. Any such vendors repeatedly hired by a coordinator will perform as well as possible to keep their preferred booking status.

Consultants don't have to do it all - their level of participation is up to you. You may want to handle some functions, while turning over more time-consuming and difficult requirements. If you want a large wedding, the consultant can manage every detail. If you want a small one, a coordinator's involvement can be as minimal as timely advice.

When selecting a bridal consultant, look for experience and organizational skills. Ask about any formal training and if they're certified by organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants or the Association of Certified Professional Bridal Consultants. Check references. Most of all, make sure you're comfortable talking and working with your choice. You're trusting him or her with responsibilities that could make or break your celebration.

Consulting charges will vary, depending on the region, number of responsibilities and wedding size. Expect to pay from 10 to 20 percent of your total wedding budget for a coordinator who manages the entire event. Simple consulting will cost you from $45 to $100 or more per hour. Most wedding coordinators guarantee their services.

Sticking to your wedding budget is difficult. There are so many aspects and details, almost all of which cost money. Without proper planning and organization, your $8,000 wedding could easily end up costing twice that much. The bottom line, however, is that coordination and consulting services will almost always save money overall. Here are just a few of your wedding needs a capable coordinator could manage: ~ Bridal fashions, formal wear and accessories. ~ Cake baking, decoration and delivery. ~ Catering, menus, food and beverages. ~ Ceremony sites and officiants. ~ Florists and site decorators. ~ Gift selection, handling and purchase. ~ Honeymoon recommendations and booking. ~ Invitations, printing and mailing. ~ Jewelry pricing, selection and purchases. ~ Photographers and videographers. ~ Reception site research, booking and management. ~ Rental organizing, scheduling and oversight. ~ Transportation scheduling and management.

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