Why I Finally Hired a Wedding Planner and How I Found My Dream One for Under $3k
I considered myself to be the last person to ever hire a wedding planner. I’m usually the one helping others plan their big events so why on earth would I pay someone else to do what I’m good at?!
Picking out linens and curating color palettes may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it sure is mine! I actually love wedding planning- all (errr) most of it.
The truth is, it’s a lot of work. I know every bride has different expectations of what their special day will be like but I think we can all agree we want our visions met and even exceeded. Without a professional crosschecking your work, how can you be certain you are not missing something? If you are as detail-obsessive as I am these thoughts can keep you up at night.
Most importantly, I needed someone to handle all of the logistics the day of and make sure everything runs smoothly. I want absolutely no involvement- we deserve to enjoy our wedding!
So let me walk you guys through what I’ve already done in the planning process and where I am at with everything.
Step one: Find a venue
Do you have a paper bag nearby? This shit gave me a panic attack.
Most venues are overpriced, factory-style catering halls and I just wasn’t getting excited about it. I searched high and low for one that felt like “the one” but to no avail. I spent months scouring the internet to try and weed through the traditional wedding spaces and find the hidden gems (this is exactly what inspired me to create Hashtag).
Then one day, I stumbled across a wedding blog on Pinterest and I FOUND THE ONE. Cairnwood Estate located in Bryn Athyn is an architectural masterpiece from the Guilded Age radiating European-Savoir Faire. I fell in love right away and knew my search was over. I immediately booked a tour with Pasquale and sealed the deal.
One of my favorite rooms inside the estate. My mom calls it the cupcake room, lol. This is where we are most likely doing the dessert/cake cutting.
The best part? There is a gothic cathedral on the estate which is where our ceremony is taking place. It’s nothing short of breathtaking and our guests don’t have to travel far. Our reception is right up the hill.
It will be an indoor-outdoor reception which I love. People aren’t stuck within the confines of a banquet hall and guests can faction off into their own cozy nooks.
Step two: find a caterer
This part was easy because the venue predominately works with only two vendors so it’s their preferred options. We went with Sage Catering which is based outside of Philly after we felt like they were able to deliver what we were looking for best.
Food is a big deal here.
My father-in-law is biting his nails at the thought of using a caterer outside of his accustomed Italian norm.
I think he’ll be surprisingly happy.
Step three: wedding stationary
I am obsessssssed with Ink and Press Co who is doing my stationary. How gorgeous is her work?! She’s incredible! She will also be doing some of the details for my bridal shower. I will reveal to you guys soon what the theme of my wedding is and will be sharing my invitation suite on the blog.
And that’s just about where I am at before I decided to bring a wedding planner on board.
**** Drum roll please ****
I’d like to introduce Megan, the creator behind Indie and Ivory. I stumbled across her page on accident and it was right in the nick of time because I was just about to sign contracts with another vendor.
Her style aligned with mine so well that it naturally seemed like such a perfect match.
After a phone conversation with her I knew I made the right decision, we complimented one another so well and I knew we were going to create magic together.
When she told me her price for full-service wedding planning I was in disbelief. $3300 which included her traveling fee and bridal shower styling assistance as a custom add-on. Was this REAL?
This was so affordable and made me feel a hell of a lot less guilty. I never factored in a wedding planner to our budget so I’m happy that this unexpected expense wasn’t tipping the scale.
How to Find the Perfect Wedding Planner:
First realize this may not be a luxury item for you, it may be a necessity.
Especially if you are having a destination wedding. You definitely don’t want to roll the dice and assume things will go as expected, we all know that’s never the case. This is your special day and you should have complete peace of mind knowing a professional has everything covered.
No really, don’t. Just because someone has the title of “wedding coordinator” doesn’t mean they are inherently a good fit. You have to go off someone’s energy and see if you jive. Is their style complimentary to yours or are you trying to fit a square peg in a round hole?
Where do you find “the perfect planner?”
Ahhhh, my favorite question. Guys I’m a lunatic with research. I don’t resort to Google when I’m searching for services/products. Instead I use Instagram hashtags and Pinterest. (Seriously so so sooooo excited for my new start-up Hashtag !!!!)
Let me walk you through my psycho process-
If I’m looking for a wedding planner, it may not be as obvious as searching #weddingplanner. That’s a good start and you can definitely search through hashtags but you’re going to have to weed through a-lottttttt.
My approach was using the hashtag #cairnwoodestate and looking through the visual feed of results. I narrowed down my niche so I know it was the most relevant. If I saw a picture I liked I would click on it and see who was tagged in the photo. Most vendors always tag and give credit to the other vendors involved in the event so it’ll give you a clue as to who did the photography, rentals, planning, etc. You will discover a ton of hidden gems by doing it this way!
Work with free-lancers and smaller businesses
If you’re like me you hate big box ANYTHING. Commercial businesses are a hard pass from me. I like boutique, smaller companies that are personalized to my taste. Also, you’ll often get a killer deal on the price so it’s a win-win. My wedding planner charged me $3300 compared to the “bigger companies” that were around $8-$14k! She’s a little bit newer to this space but her talent is certainly not compromised.
I hope this was helpful if you are planning a wedding or know someone that is! This should be the most exciting time of your life so be real with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you have any questions I’d be super happy to answer them, just leave a comment below.