when to hire a wedding planner

Planning your wedding takes a lot of time, money, and emotional energy. At some point during the process, most couples threaten to elope. (And then feel relief on their wedding day that they didn’t.) Choosing to hire a wedding planner isn’t always an easy decision—and it will be another line item on your wedding budget. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, or already have a busy schedule, outside help will actually save you the time, money, and emotional energy you’d otherwise spend on your wedding.

Wedding planners know where to cut costs, how to find the best deals, and might even have working relationships—and therefore discounted pricing—with local vendors or venues. And they won’t miss little details that a first-time bride or groom might. (Like tipping certain vendors, or choosing the right type of flower for your cake.) If you’re unsure whether to hire a wedding planner, use these scenarios to understand all that goes into planning a wedding—and if extra help is needed.

You Don’t Have Time

Hire a wedding planner if you don’t have an extra 300 hours between now and your big day.

hire a wedding planner if you don't have time to plan

According to one 2018 study, the average wedding takes 300 hours to plan—which is almost two full months of a 40-hour-a-week job. But a more recent 2019 study nearly doubles that estimate, tallying up an average of 528 hours. That’s 22 whole days of planning without sleeping or eating!

If your wedding is five years away, these numbers might not scare you; you can leisurely plan your special day without worry. For most couples, however, adding a second job is overwhelming—and near impossible. You don’t want to spend every lunch break talking with vendors. Or every weekend visiting different venues.

Choosing to hire a wedding planner saves you hundreds of hours (literally!). You may still visit a few venues on the weekend, but your wedding planner will narrow down the list for you, so you only tour your top choices. And you still might have a few phone calls about the wedding—but they’ll be with the planner, who will coordinate your decisions with the vendors.

Your Wedding Is Soon

Hire a wedding planner if you have less than six months to plan.

Like we already hinted, planning a wedding becomes a burden when you don’t have much time. Most weddings take up to 18 months to plan. But of course, the less time you have, the more stressful that planning is. Decisions need to be made now, and you might not have the luxury to visit all (or any!) of your top venue choices. Plus, less than six months is last-minute to most vendors. So they may be unavailable, or charge more for the short time frame.

If you’re in this situation—it’s time to hire a wedding planner. Your wedding planner will be able to negotiate contracts and pricing to stretch your budget as far as possible. And they’ll be able to recommend trusted vendors and venues, so you don’t have to guess, or book sight unseen.

Your Wedding Is Out of Town

Hire a wedding planner if you’re traveling more than two hours.

hire a wedding planner if your wedding is out of town

Are you planning a wedding in a different state—or even country? This can make cake tastings and venue visits difficult, or even impossible. You’ll have to rely heavily on images and experiences provided by the company itself, which can be risky. Plus, other countries have their own etiquette, laws, and pricing structures. Navigating all that can be overwhelming and confusing, in an already stressful time. (Remember, you’ve got 300 hours of this ahead of you!)

Hiring a regional or international wedding planner will eliminate the uncertainty of tying the knot in a new spot. They’ll help you understand tricky customs, and even recommend local vendors and venues—so you don’t have to rely on the photos online. Even if you have the time to plan your out-of-town wedding, a wedding planner ensures you don’t hit any major bumps along the way that could delay your celebration.

You Don’t Enjoy Planning

Hire a wedding planner if you keep procrastinating your decision-making.

So you’re engaged—congratulations! Then you slowly told your family, friends, and coworkers the good news. Perhaps you and your soon-to-be even set a date. But the pile of wedding magazines keeps sitting there. And you can’t drag yourself to the computer to find helpful planning tools to stay organized.

If you’re putting off early decisions—or if you want the wedding without the work!—then hire a wedding planner. Your wedding planner will be ready to take charge, and take the planning off of your plate. With a wedding planner, you decide how involved you want to be. If you’re interested in planning, but aren’t good at organization, take a hands-on approach. On the other hand, if planning fills you with dread—let the wedding planner do their thing, and simply check in on a weekly basis.

You Don’t Have a Clear Vision

Hire a wedding planner if online quizzes and Pinterest aren’t helping.

hire a wedding planner if you don't have a clear wedding vision

There are plenty of online quizzes, Pinterest boards, and wedding websites to get inspiration for your big day. But sometimes, there’s too much inspiration. Maybe you like everything you see, and can’t decide. Or perhaps you don’t like any of it, but can’t figure out what exactly you don’t like about it.

A professional wedding planner is just that—a professional. They’ll take the time to get to know you, and make tailored suggestions based off of your interests, personality, and love story. No online quiz or vision board can do that!


Ultimately, it all comes down to one question: Will this benefit my wedding? If you choose to hire a wedding planner—do it as soon as possible. The longer you have, the better your planner can get to know you both. (And the more time they have to shop for great deals on vendors, venues, and services!) Even if you choose to plan your wedding solo, don’t wait! It’s always better to give yourself more time, especially for such an important occasion.

Is it time for you to hire a wedding planner? Why or why not?

it's time to hire a wedding planner