Before you start planning your wedding, sit down and try this experiment. Take your current salary and parse it down until you know your hourly wage. Now, consider how much you would charge if your boss asked you to spend all of your free time working. That number is your free-time hourly rate. Now, compare that rate to the hourly cost of employing a wedding planner. If your free-time hourly rate is higher than that of the wedding planners in your area, it's time for you to put down the location-scouting guide and pick up the phone.
While you're off enjoying a nice date night with your fiancé, your wedding planner can deal with confusing vendor contracts, flaky florists, and misplaced invitation orders. Would you rather spend your time eating sushi with your sweetie or chasing down a photographer for digital samples?
Let's talk about cost. Some wedding planners charge a flat fee that ranges between ten to fifteen percent of your total wedding budget. For example, if your wedding budget is $30,000, you may find yourself forking over as much as $4,500 for his or her services. This is understandably expensive (though worth every penny).
But before you dismiss the idea of wedding planners, consider this: many planners charge you per vendor and make their money solely off of vendor discounts. Here's how it works. You want to hire Johnny the photographer, whose going rate is $4000. If you find Johnny on your own, he'll charge you this rate, or maybe $3800, with a discount for good behavior. If you hire Wanda the Wedding Planner who happens to have a working relationship with Johnny, suddenly the rate nosedives to $3000, because Johnny hates hunting down his own business. Wanda signs you up with Johnny, charges you $3400 for the whole shebang, and pockets the extra $400. You're still saving $400, you get the photographer you want, and you've got a wedding planner who'll deal with all of the nonsense. Everyone wins.
Wedding planners profit off of who they know and the relationship they build. Your planner will likely have a stable of people that he or she trusts to do the best possible work. It's unlikely that your planner will bring on anyone that he or she hasn't used several times for a variety of occasions. Why try to cobble together your own team of professionals, when a wedding planner can do it for you for a fraction of the time and the cost?