Walk into any Chapters or Indigo store and you will see stacks of books and magazines on planning your wedding.

Google “wedding planning” and you’ll find thousands of websites that will show you how to create a budget, how to word an invitation, how to match linen colours and what flowers are in season during your nuptials.

Post that you’re engaged on Facebook and suddenly tons of friends who were recently married will pop up offering their advice, suggestions and tips.

With all that free advice and information available to the modern couple, are wedding planners becoming obsolete?  Do you even need one?  What can a planner do that you, Google, all the bridal books and magazines in Chapters and your group of newly married friends can’t do?

I’ll admit, it’s tough to look at your resources and take a chunk of that to allocate to a service that seems almost unnecessary.   But what I know is that there actually are things that a wedding planner can do that your collective team of magazines, friends, Google and wedding blogs can’t do.

Think about this scenario.

You and your fiance head to your city’s most popular rental company to select your decor items.
You guys play around with samples and colours and you put together your dream roster of wedding decor.  Blush satin linens with chair ties to match.  Gold chiavari chairs with ivory cushions.  Glass chargers with gold detailing around the edge.  Navy napkins with swarovski crystal napkin rings.  You are thrilled with the design and can’t wait to see your ballroom full of all this goodness!  But then you receive the quote back for your guest count of 150 and you realize that it’s over your budget!  So you have to start cutting things off your list.  You have to decide if you really need those chargers you both love.  Or if you really need those chairs you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest for months.
It sucks but what can you do?

Now if you had a planner on board it may have gone a little something like this.

You, your fiance and your planner sit down to discuss your decor plan and you give her your wish list along with your budget.  A good planner will have taken the time to network with vendors in the city and familiarize herself with things like inventory, services and pricing.  She provides you with a list of companies that fit into your budget without having to adjust your vision.  She even arranges a consultation with some vendors she has a history of working with and may even be able to negotiate a discount or added value to your contract.  (Can Google do that?)
And even if your budget really doesn’t match your vision, a good wedding planner is always on top of trends and will be able to suggest an alternative option to make sure you get your vision without breaking the bank!

Still not convinced?  Okay here’s another scenario.

You and your fiance meet with a baker who you love.  The bakery is a cute little spot close to your work.  You’ve had coffee there on your lunch break and are obsessed with the double chocolate fudge cookies.  The cake you taste is delicious, you love the design he came up with and the price is right in line with your budget.  You guys shake hands at the end of the meeting, he writes down the details you discussed in his notebook and you pay your deposit.
Two weeks before the wedding the baker sends you an invoice for the remaining balance and it’s double what it should be!  You are completely shocked because you haven’t changed anything from your original order.  You call immediately and ask what happened and he explains that he’s increased his prices due to inflation.  Of course you are upset and demand that he honour the price you discussed at your consultation but because he never provided a contract for you to sign there’s nothing you can do about it except pay the higher balance or forfeit your deposit and your cake two weeks before the big day.

If you were working with a planner it would have played out a little differently.

You and your fiance sit down with your planner to discuss bakery options.  You tell her there’s a great bakery near your work that you would love to check out.
She arranges a consultation and accompanies you to ask questions, take notes etc.  Once it becomes clear that the baker doesn’t have a contract, your planner advises you to not pay your deposit until the baker provides a contract and puts what he is responsible for along with the agreed price in writing. 
Two weeks before your wedding, the baker sends you an invoice for the balance and it’s double what it should be, even though you didn’t adjust your order at all!  You immediately call your planner to tell her what happened.  She contacts the baker and uses the contract he provided and signed to keep him accountable for the price he quoted.  
Because you have a signed contract he has no choice but to honour the original price and the best part is that you didn’t have to deal with any of the yucky, uncomfortable stuff.  Your planner handled it all leaving you to worry about the important stuff – like which cute cake topper you’ll order online!
Your planner is your biggest supporter and your best ally when it comes to making sure vendors uphold their contractual obligations.

So what do you think?  Still think that wedding blogs and TLC shows are a good enough substitute for a wedding planner?  Well let me give you one more scenario to think about.

It’s your wedding day and you wake up excited and ready to walk down that aisle!
You start to get ready and suddenly your phone starts ringing.  It’s the banquet manager at the hotel.  It seems there’s been a bit of an issue with your linen delivery and the staff is ready to set up the room but they don’t have your linens, chair ties or napkins.  They need them as soon as possible because they have another wedding and a bar mitzvah to set up for today and they ask if they can simply set the tables with their plain white linens.  You say absolutely not.  Then you hang up the phone and call the rental company to find out what’s gone wrong and they realize that the delivery truck left without two of the bins filled with your all your linens.  You ask them when they can get them to the hotel and they tell you that all the trucks are out right now and they won’t be able to get them out for another hour and a half.  They suggest sending someone to pick them up but everyone needs to be at the ceremony in an hour.  You call around and finally find a cousin who is able to go pick them up.  He gets the linens to the hotel in time for them to finish setting up before they move onto their next event but he now has only fifteen minutes to get across town to the church.  He gets stuck in traffic and misses the ceremony which upsets your aunt which upsets your grandmother which of course upsets your mother and suddenly everyone is angry at someone.

However, you move past it and you, your new spouse and your bridal party go to take photos before the reception.  During the photos your phone buzzes and you look to see a message from your florist.  She has sent you a picture of the centerpieces she just set up and they all have red roses incorporated in them when you had specifically ordered pink roses.  You know that your contract states clearly that there should be pink roses in each centerpiece, not red, but it’s back at home in your wedding planning binder.  You call her immediately on the verge of tears and she says that there’s nothing she can do because it’s too late to find pink roses.  Feeling like you’re hitting a dead end you hang up the phone and call your parents.  You ask them to go take out all the red roses and rearrange the other flowers to fill the empty space and hope that they still look good.

As you arrive back at the hotel you are greeted by your aunt who tells you not to panic.  You tell her you’ve already heard about the roses and she asks if you’ve heard about the cake.  Clenching your teeth to keep from going into a full meltdown, you ask what happened to the cake.  It turns out as the baker was delivering it he tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and dropped the entire thing.  All the sugar flowers and piping detail you fell in love with were ruined. He went back to his shop to whip up a new cake but he won’t have time to decorate it the way you had wanted.  Because he has to bake a new cake from scratch and let it cool enough to frost it, he will only be able to provide a plain fondant covered cake in the time you have before it’s time to serve dessert.  You go upstairs to your hotel room and lock the door behind you.  What had started out as the happiest day of your life has turned into one train wreck after another and you just want to cry.

I know what you’re thinking, how could a planner fix all those disasters?  Well, let’s take a look at that day again.

You wake up excited and ready to walk down the aisle!
Your hair and make up team arrives and you enjoy getting ready with your bridesmaids while sipping mimosas.  Because your planner has informed all your vendors weeks ago that she is the main contact for the wedding day the banquet manager calls her when the linens haven’t arrived.  She calls the rental company and is told that they can’t deliver them for an hour and half so someone has to come pick them up.  A good planner always has an assistant on the wedding day and you’ve hired a great planner so she sends her assistant to the rental company to pick up the linens.  She does get stuck in traffic on the way to the ceremony but because your planner and assistant each have separate vehicles your planner is able to arrive at the church with plenty of time to help fluff your train, make sure everyone is seated and that the ceremony goes off without any issues.  Every relative is in attendance and everyone cheers and claps as you are pronounced married!  You go to get your photos taken and enjoy champagne in the limo with your new spouse and your bridal party!

Your planner and her assistant head back to the hotel in time to see the florist putting out centerpieces with red roses in them.  Your planner tells her that the roses are the wrong colour and she needs to fix them immediately.  Your planner pulls out her binder which has copies of each vendor contract and she shows the florist exactly where it states that you ordered pink roses – not red!  The florist says its too late to get pink roses and there’s nothing she can do.  But your planner immediately gets on the phone and calls a flower market she trusts and asks if they happen to have pink roses in their cooler.  Luckily they do and your planner tells the florist that because it was her error she is responsible for the cost of the new roses.  Her assistant goes to retrieve the pink roses and they pull out every red rose and replace it with a bright, beautiful pink one!

Shortly after, the baker arrives and trips over a crack in the sidewalk, dropping your entire cake on the ground.  Your planner immediately tells the baker to go back to the shop to start baking a new cake.  She instructs him to leave it in sheet form and deliver it back as soon as possible.  She then calls another bakery that she knows has a large window full of display cakes (usually these are Styrofoam but covered in real fondant and sugar work).  She fills them in on the situation and asks if they have anything in your colour scheme.  They have a white cake with pink sugar roses all over it and your planner asks if she can borrow it for an evening.  Because they’ve worked together in the past and have a good working history the baker agrees without question and one of their bakery assistants brings it down to the hotel immediately.  Later on when it’s time to cut the cake, you and your fiance pose for photos beside it before the hotel staff wheels it into the kitchen to “cut” it.  What they actually bring out and serve is the sheet cake that your baker made earlier that day.  No one is the wiser and everyone enjoys their slice!
You and your new spouse take to the dance floor for your first dance and as you sway together to your favourite love song you can’t help but think, this day has been absolutely amazing and you didn’t have to worry about a thing except saying “I do!”

So?  What do you think?  Are you seeing the value in a wedding planner yet?

Now I’m not knocking the DIY mentality or the budget conscious couple.  In fact my husband and I were both budget conscious and a DIY couple when it came to our wedding!  But that’s why I know from experience that there is major value that having someone who is not involved in the wedding in any way take over the reins and execute your day to the best possible degree.

A good planner will guide you along the way, loan her expertise and knowledge to your planning process and manage your wedding during your engagement so that on the day everything will go smoothly.  And should things go awry like they did in our example above, a great planner is able to react, troubleshoot and provide quick, effective solutions to those speed bumps that come along.

Think about it this way…if you are planning to build a house would you buy “House Building For Dummies”?
Or Google “tips for building your own house”?
Or would you post a status saying “To my friends who have houses, how do you lay a foundation?  Is insulation really necessary?  Where exactly do support beams go?”
Hopefully not.
I think the majority of people would hire a contractor.
Someone who has been trained in building houses, who understands how structure works, who has connections with vendors and can get you a deal on your cabinets and flooring.
Someone who is an expert in their field.

Guess what?
Wedding planners aren’t just people who spend all day on Pinterest, drinking lattes and posting pretty things on Instagram.
Wedding planners are experts in their field.
They have taken the time to be educated on event management.
They know how to create the atmosphere you’ve always dreamed of for your wedding day.
They know how to manage a budget and more importantly help you stay on track of said budget!
They spend time researching vendors and meeting with bakers, florists, photographers and DJ’s and they know which ones are good and which ones to stay away from!
They are awesome at handling negotiations with vendors, conflict within your wedding party and even defusing family drama!
But guess what??  They don’t mind all that!  In fact, wedding planners love all that stuff!  And why do they love it all?
Because at the end of the day what they are most passionate about is making sure that your wedding day is truly one of the happiest days of your life.

 I encourage you to contact a planner in your area to see what sort of services they offer and talk with them about how they can be a valuable addition to your day!  If you’re in the Edmonton area we would LOVE to chat with you about how we can help you create something beautiful.  If you’d like to set up a free initial meeting please contact us here.

Happy planning!

Photo credit: Google Images