Have you ever been to a party where you never see the host except for when they rush past you looking harassed? Or a wedding where the bride/groom/best man/bridesmaid keeps running off only to be found dragging a beer pong table across a lawn or frantically setting up glasses? Or have you held your own ticketed event and had moments where you’re at work and can’t get your brain to function as you have so many emails to respond to about table sales, flowers and canapés?
Planning events is a lot of fun for some people but others hate it! And even if you do enjoy it, it’s a lot of work and it isn’t always conducive to your lifestyle or mental well-being to do it all yourself. I have many friends who have planned their own weddings or parties and every single one has at some point said ‘there’s just so much to do, I'm struggling to stay on top of everything’. The day before they are often drowning in tasks and set up, excited but exhausted.
So what are your options? One is to rely heavily on friends and family and delegate a lot of the work to them to free you up. This can be fun! If you have a trustworthy and hardworking squad around you, doing it as a team effort can be lovely. Due to my experience I am often asked to help with the events and weddings of my F&F and I always really enjoy it. I've done everything from merely 'checking' that things are happening at the right moment, to setting up rooms and queuing bridesmaids down the aisle whilst holding the sheet music to Bach's Cello Suite No.1 and frantically following it to make sure they walk at the right time. But there's always the worry that someone might forget something, or that there is simply too much to do to ask and you feel guilty. So another option is to hire an event planner, and again this comes with its pros and cons.
The pros are that you have someone who will guide you through the process, shouldering the workload. They’ll meet with you to discuss the brief and agree a schedule of work/their roles and responsibilities. They’ll help you to bring your vision to life using their skills and expertise. Develop your ideas by being a sounding board, adding nuggets from their previous clients and experiences and making recommendations. They will remember the things you don’t, remind you of deadlines, collate information, do the boring paperwork and most importantly, they will be working on your event whilst you get on with your life.
They will focus the time you spend on it rather than it being spread out in dribs and drabs which can seem all consuming. And then on the day itself you can relax and enjoy the experience, safe in the knowledge that it’s being delivered by a team of worker bees in the background. That to me is the element with the highest value, especially at a wedding.
But obviously with any professional service, it will cost you. The exact amount will vary depending on who you hire and the complexity of your event, but either way it will be a dent in your wallet. Most will charge a flat fee and/or a commission on total expenditure so if you really push the boat out, the cost will be exponentially higher.
Catering companies will always have a manager to oversee their elements and venues will often have an in house event manager as well but there are always things that fall outside of either remit, and it's these loose ends, these special touches that need the attention. I'm going to do a more detailed post soon about making your event schedule and this will often indicate if you need extra help, but it's worth thinking about how many little its and bits you are planning to have and how feasible it is to deliver them.
(Never underestimate how long it can take to string fairy lights up)
So to hire or not to hire? It's a very personal thing as everyone has their own idea of what they can and want to achieve themselves. Some people have very nifty and organised friends/family who they can draft in to help as I've mentioned, some people simply won't be able to relax and enjoy the experience without extra help and some people simply don't have the time.
For me? My wedding would be the only time I would consider hiring someone but I still switch back and forth on this and whether or not I actually would when the time comes. On the one hand I have all the expertise to do it all myself. Plus I’m a control freak with some seeeerious Vision and I know I will want everything just so, and handing it over to someone else would be hard. But I also know I would find it very hard to switch off and enjoy things if it all fell on my shoulders, and even the shoulders of my friends and family. I feel like I’d only trust a professional to get it all done according to my schedule.
My opinion is that money, time and happiness/well-being are all a resource. You have them all in your pocket and you have to choose which one you would rather spend, or which one you can afford to. There is only a certain amount of money people are ok to spend, there is only a finite amount of time to get things done, and also...you are meant to enjoy this! The event itself is meant to be fun and joyful and full of happiness, and as soon as it isn’t fun you are spending your joy. What is worth more to you? If all you have from the event is stunning photos but no happy memories as you were so sick with anxiety over whether or not things were happening, then was it really worth that cash you saved? Ask yourself the question and find the balance that works for you.
Have you ever hired an event planner or are you currently pondering this? Let me know I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you think you need some help but don't want to hire someone for the entirety of the process due to budget or other reasons, check out my 90 minute online power planning sessions here.