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Trying to decide whether or not you need a wedding planner in order to bring your big-day vision to life? Ultimately, an in-person planner isn’t your only option. Wedding planning programs can be found in books, podcasts, video tutorials, apps, software, and more, but does anything of the sort really replace a traditional wedding planner? Here, we’ve turned to the founders of The Firefly Method, an online wedding planning handbook, to help us weigh the pros and cons of these systems.
Related: How Quickly Can You Actually Plan a Wedding?
Pro: You’ll learn the basics, which can ultimately save you time and money.
According to Alia Wilson, co-founder of The Firefly Method, two of the biggest tasks you’ll work with a wedding planner on are creating a realistic and cohesive budget and a realistic and detailed production timeline. The Firefly Method addresses both of these tasks in tremendous detail, taking the guesswork out of each element, and giving you confidence that your plans are realistic and achievable.
Con: You’ll have to manage your own negotiations.
The amount of support you have will vary depending on the planning tool you use, but none will give you the negotiating power that is a full-service wedding planner. Wilson says, “We provide tons of email templates and we give you strategies for negotiating, but you’re the one physically doing it, whereas a full-service planner would typically do those things for you.” So, basically, some of the service element is stripped away with a planning tool, but you’ll be provided with a thorough foundation in its absence.
Pro: It’s significantly more affordable than hiring a partial or full-service wedding planner.
Wedding planners’ pricing ranges from thousands of dollars to a hefty percentage of your overall budget. The cost of digital planning services vary, but you can generally expect to pay a few hundred dollars.
Con: You might still need a day-of wedding coordinator.
Wilson says, “We absolutely suggest that couples still hire a day-of coordinator for the wedding day so that they can actually enjoy the event. It’s not possible to be in two places at once, and this task is too consuming to ask a family member to do.”
Pro: You’ll have a tool that guides you through your priorities.
One of the biggest challenges for couples planning a wedding is deciding what your priorities should be and how to allocate your budget accordingly. The next toughest aspect of planning a wedding is knowing which are the right questions to ask. Wilson says, “There are so many details on the big day that couples don’t even know about. We make sure you know all the details, what questions to ask, and what is fair to expect from each vendor.”
Con: Wedding planning will still be time consuming.
Using a digital planning service will help you save some time, but finding your venue, communicating with your vendors, planning your budget, designing your wedding, creating a timeline, and staying organized will still take many hours of dedication. These tools are meant to be a guide, but they can’t do the actual work on your behalf. You’ll need to be prepared to put in the time.