It’s the number-one thing couples say they don’t regret splurging on—the wedding planner. But these services come in many sizes, shapes, and forms. Here, Michelle Garibay of Michelle Garibay Events and Melissa Tuvey of I Do Weddings spell out the differences in most packages.
If you’ve got deep pockets—maybe because you work so hard!—and are open to handing over some decision-making power to a pro, full-service planning should be an option for you. It often encompasses the full shebang, from booking the venue to breaking down the last table at your reception. Perhaps the biggest benefit of bringing in a pro early on is that they’ll make choosing your vendors easy. As Garibay explains, planners have existing relationships with vendors—that means deals you can’t find anywhere else. “I’m never going to recommend someone I haven’t worked with,” Tuvey adds. And because full-service planners will have been working with you for such a long time up until your wedding, they’ll be able to put out little fires on your big day without you even knowing (like, say, moving misplaced name cards so your divorced aunt and uncle aren’t next to each other). “I’m not the executive decision person,” Tuvey says, “but I should know within five percent what the client will want.”
In between full-service planners and wedding management is partial planning, ideal for couples who want to embrace more decision-making on their own. Partial planners step in after you’ve booked several of your vendors and are there to chip away at the little details up until the big day. You’re the visionary, they’re there to guide you, to execute in small ways up until the wedding, and to run the show the day-of. “Hire someone you trust who is going to stay the entire time,” Tuvey advises. “So many planners leave after dinner. There’s breakdown!”
Often called “day-of” or “month-of” coordination, wedding management is ideal for couples with plenty of time and the will to plan their own big day—and who want to spend just a few grand or so to ensure it goes off without a hitch. “We’re tying into a pretty little bow all the planning you’ve done,” Garibay says. “The only thing we should be dealing with is getting the timeline down. Essentially, we are the cog manager.”