The "Hourly Consultation": Could It Save You Money?

-by Lisa

A couple met with us a few weeks ago. They need someone to direct their wedding day. During the interview, the groom began complaining about the fact the Bride wanted to hire a planner to help plan the entire wedding. He then said – well, it doesn’t really matter because we have gone way beyond our budget anyway. I then quickly turned to him and said, "This is exactly why you needed a planner. A good planner will help you stay on budget."

Upon first thought, the low budget bride hiring a planner sounds counterintuitive. Many couples think that planners are a luxury for the rich. Personally, I think that all brides should ensure not just a perfect day, but also a positive planning experience. It’s just for the reason stated above that a low budget Bride needs a planner more than anyone, and I am going to tell you how you can get one - the hourly consultation service.

Many planners will offer hourly consultation. The prices and the minimum number of hours will vary. Make sure that you choose someone who you will be comfortable with and who knows a variety of quality vendors within your budget. This is very important since there are a lot of vendors out there who prey on unsuspecting Brides in all budget categories. Some planners might even offer you free vendor referrals if you book their minimum hourly service. In addition to vendor referrals, planners can help you to find a site, help with your site design, help with your color and theme, give you access to their personal library of magazines and planning books, or help you to find dresses (Bridal or Bridesmaids). Most importantly, they can create a customized engagement timeline, so that you are doing everything that needs to be done. Additionally, they can help define your priorities and help you to build and track a realistic budget that you can live with.

A good realistic budget is so important from the start. I cannot stress this. A good planner can tell you what’s realistic and offer alternatives so that your dream day can become a reality.

During the interview, make sure you ask the planner what she can do for you for the hours that you have. This will give you an idea of how she can help you. Make sure you get a proposal in writing. Also ask about adding additional services onto your hourly consultation - for example, if you hire her to do the wedding day (not right away, but at some future time), would you be able to acquire a better rate on the consultation service, or an adjusted rate on wedding day services?


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