According to TheKnot.com, the average cost for a professional wedding planner is just under $2,000, but many couples don't have that kind of wiggle room in their budgets. In fact, 74 percent of couples didn’t hire a wedding planner in 2015, the website says. You can still pull off a polished wedding if you borrow a few tactics from a wedding planner’s bag of tricks.
Make the rental store your playground
Professional wedding planners don’t stockpile wedding items, they rent what they need to make a wedding run smoothly and look great. From tents and outdoor heaters, tables and chairs, to glassware, dishes, dance floors and décor, rental stores supply the wedding industry with the basics, luxuries and everything in between.
When a professional planner rents items, he or she typically passes on the rental cost to the clients, on top of fees for professional services. You can rent the same items yourself through a rental store — visit RentalHQ.com to find one in your area.
“Working with rental companies is like being in a fantasyland,” Minneapolis-based wedding professionals Matthew Trettel and Bruce Vassar, The Wedding Guys, recently said in an interview with Rental Management magazine. “There are so many endless possibilities, and the only thing holding you back is the event budget. Even on the smallest budget, you can always enhance or elevate an event working with a rental company.”
Professional wedding planners use their organizational skills to ensure weddings go smoothly despite any surprises that arise. You can employ many of the same organizational tricks they use to help yourself manage the numerous details that go into a wedding, including:
- Create an inspiration board. Gathering your color choices, theme elements and inspirations in one spot can help your decision-making process. For example, not sure which floral arrangement will look right for your wedding? Refer back to your inspiration board and see which of your choices best matches your inspiration.
- The budget can be the most challenging aspect to manage, so be sure to talk with your partner about your budget before you sign any contracts. Set a budget and use a budgeting worksheet (readily available for free online) to help control costs.
- Numerous types of planning helpers are available, from online worksheets to apps, books and old-fashioned paper planners. Find one that’s easy for you to use and stick with it. Your planner should include a checklist with a timeline, and allow you to store all pertinent information, including estimates and contracts, in one place.
Work your connections
Professional wedding planners have networks of vendors to choose from. You can also network to find vendors for your wedding. Ask family, friends and co-workers for recommendations. Talk to any couples whose wedding you recently attended to see who they recommend.
Another trick is to find one professional with whom you really connect — a photographer, florist or entertainer — and ask for referrals to other quality professionals he or she likes working with. Check out their websites and feedback on social media to get an idea of their work.
Planning a wedding can be challenging and rewarding. With a few tricks borrowed from professional planners, such as renting what you need, you can create the wedding of your dreams on your real-world budget.