Wedding Wednesday: Do I need professional help?

Early on in my wedding planning, I started thinking that I needed an event designer. I've had so many ideas in my head about the look and feel of our wedding and I wanted someone to help me navigate through all the great inspiration out there and establish a vision.

I emailed all of the wedding planners in town with some questions. One didn't seem interested, but the rest were enthusiastic and showed me their packages. One of the big names in the area even had a "design only" package, which was pretty appealing. Another created a custom package for me. At this point, my busy season at work began and I set planning aside for a few weeks.

A few weeks ago, another essay contest pulled me out of my work mode for a little bit. A great planner up in the DC area was offering "month of" coordination (or a reduction in the cost of another, more elaborate package of services) to the best essay. I started working on my essay at the same time as my essay for the wedding dress contest. I was thinking that I'd need than a month of wedding planning, so the cost reduction was a pretty exciting prospect. I was lucky enough to win the wedding dress, but I didn't win the wedding planning. Winning both probably would have been too good to be true!

Now I'm back to thinking about hiring a wedding planner. Of course, I've been reading everything I can about planners on message boards and review sites. The one factor that people seem to disagree on is whether hiring a planner saves money.

Some people say that wedding planners negotiate better contracts for their clients. That could be better prices or it could me more services for the price that is give to others, I guess. Is it true?

If you have used a planner, did they save you money? If so, how? Was having the planner something "nice to have" or is it a "must have" for a wedding?

If you aren't using a planner, did you consider it?


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