Having a Wedding Planner…

Having a Wedding Planner…


Jennifer Lopez brought the term “Wedding Planner” into a whole new realm with her movie “The Wedding Planner”. For those of you who haven’t seen it, she portrays a wedding planner from New York City who spends one month on planning one wedding. In New York City, there are three types of wedding planners. One is a consultant that will speak with you and discuss all of your options and venues. An average wedding consultant will make $40 to $60 an hour in that area, with a more experienced one asking for $100 to $150 per hour.

A coordinator for just the day of the wedding with the bride having made all of the arrangements will get $600 to $900 for the day and the more experienced asking for $1200 to $1800 per day. The Full Service Wedding Planner which is what JLo was in the movie will run from $3500 to $5000 for the wedding, to the professionals getting from $5000 to $10,000 for the wedding. In other parts of the United States these services run from $2000 to $3000.

You can see why JLo needed to give her undivided attention to this couple for the entire month – her paycheck was about $10,000!

Back to the real world! Many brides think they should have hired a wedding planner after the stress of their wedding is over. Not all brides need a wedding coordinator as they have many family members and friends involved with various aspects of the ceremony and reception. If you are going to plan your own wedding, you need to be organized as well as the others planning, responsible and have lots of time!

A destination wedding adds another twist to all of the above. The brides usually do not know the area or any of the vendors. A destination bride usually needs a wedding planner!

Don’t be nervous about this decision. Since most wedding planners understand the unusual stress of a destination wedding, coordination is typically built within the wedding planning budget. When you see packages offered by a company, ask if the coordination is included – it should be. The only time a wedding planner in Hawaii will ask for additional funds is if you would like them to be in person the day of your wedding. Since the wedding planner has coordinated the whole ceremony and if you choose to have a celebration dinner or reception, the “in person” service is an extra.

According to The Knot, a wedding planner can run from $1000 flat fee and up. Some request 10% of the total wedding if a reception is attached and 20% if it is just for the ceremony here in Hawaii. The best way to find out what it is costing you is to ask for a breakdown of your wedding fees. That is what we do at Maui Aloha Weddings. Our coordinator fees are usually under $100 for all of the coordination and $50 an hour to be present the day of the event. You are spending so much on your destination wedding with flights, hotels, meals, activities, your ceremony and reception, we do not want to add on extra expensive charges.

What do you get for the money? Actually, whether your planner charges $100 or $4000, they probably do the same tasks for you. They will be working with the same vendors within your city unless they have private ones that just work for their company. When this happens, make sure you are getting the quality that you deserve.

Many companies are wedding factories. Sometimes I am on a beach preparing for one of our weddings and I will see a minister just stand in one place and see the brides and grooms come every hour on the hour to have their ceremony! This is your special day. It should be devoted to you not keep you on your assembly line. Always ask how many weddings your company, planner, minister and photographer are doing that day. If you hear that it’s more than 3 (morning, afternoon and evening) be prepared not to receive the attention you deserve.

We hear vendors say that they can handle the weddings as long as they have an hour in between. We say – no you cannot! What happens if the first bride’s limo breaks down or the stylist was late? What will happen to your wedding? You wedding planner should be aware of all of this as well and take care of you. That’s one of the little details you may not think of but they will. Here are some questions to ask your wedding planner:

How long have you been working on weddings? Is this a full time job or a hobby?

What organizations do they belong to?

What are their actual charges?

What do they do from the moment you hire them to the day of the wedding? Are they the ones planning or is it someone else too?

What is their relationship with the vendors they suggest? Do they have to use their vendors only or can you suggest a minister, photographer videographer? Will they work with your selected vendors?

Do they take a deposit? If the wedding is cancelled or postponed, how much will you get refunded?

How many weddings are they working on the month of your wedding? How do they cover more than one wedding a day? Do they ever refuse weddings (because they will not be able to give them the attention)?

A good wedding planner is worth the additional expense. Enjoy being catered to and eliminating as much stress as you can!

We at Maui Aloha Weddings would love to help you with your big event (no matter how small it is!). We strive to give you that attention to all of your details as well as to you.

Happy Wedding Day!

Much aloha,