A Guest Post from our Friends at Zola!

You’re engaged; congratulations! Once the initial shock has worn off, it’s time to get serious about wedding planning. There are so many things to consider – the venue, how many guests, the dress, the list goes on and on! Before you get too overwhelmed, my best piece of advice would be to hire a wedding planner.According to a survey conducted by online registry Zola, approximately 20% of couples regretted not hiring a wedding plannerEven though hiring a planner is an additional cost, it ends up saving you time and money in the long run! Something that happens all the time is that the couple is so excited that they start the process without really thinking through their budget and find themselves overspending on different aspects.

Now, how do you go about hiring a wedding planner? First, do your homework. Research prospective planners’ websites for photos of past work they’ve done and create a list from there. I’d recommend having an idea of what you’d like your wedding to look like. Are you going for simple, rustic, or full-on glam? Compare your taste with the work of the planner and you’ll find your match.

After you’ve narrowed down your list to about four planners, call each one to discuss what services they offer, their availability, and the estimate costs. If these match what you’re looking for then proceed with making appointments. Before heading out to your meetings, there are a number of questions you should prepare. Make sure your vision is being heard and feel free to take the extra step and contact their references before committing.

One of the most important aspects of wedding planning is choosing the venue. This is something couples typically overspend on if they go in without a planner. Before you even start looking at venues, have a budget set in place as wedding costs do add up. Some venues are full-service while others you’ll need to bring in your own vendors and decor. Does a venue have in-house catering? Ask if there’s a food and beverage minimum and be sure to include tax and gratuity. Talk with your planner and the venue to decide what services are included and what the price breakdown would be. If the extra expenses end up exceeding your budget, you may have to scale back on design or look for a more affordable space.

You should also discuss your budget when meeting with your planner before checking out different venues. They will be more familiar with the space, layouts, and the time you’ll need to bring your vision to life. Knowing how many guests you’re expecting to invite will also help before looking at venues. This way you can avoid the common mistake of choosing a venue too small, and having more guests RSVP than you were anticipating.

Most importantly, stay true to yourself and your vision. Just because you may have to scale back on some additional costs, it does not mean you should compromise quality.