The Money Question

Most people wed once. They plan one wedding. As wedding planners we may only wed once but we'll plan hundreds of weddings. We know the in's and the out's. We have connections with the best vendors and venues, while more importantly staying away from the worst. We have ideas for every wedding style, we have experience with every faith and know how to handle the many unique moving parts of a Chicago wedding!

As Chicago wedding planners, this is our career, our full time job and our passion. Our focus is helping you plan your dream Chicago wedding while having fun doing it!

•But what is the cost of a wedding planner?

•Can you afford it?

•What exactly can professional wedding planners do for you?

•What is important to look for when you pick a wedding planner?

Since you're likely only doing this once, let us give you a few pointers in this area...

What can a wedding planner do for me?

Anything and everything!  A wedding planner will help you with exactly what you need as responsibilities can be tailored to your specific wedding needs.  Wedding planners can help you find your Chicago wedding venue, group hotels, research and provide Chicago wedding suppliers, pull together your event style and help with the little wedding details that add to the big picture logistics.  In Chicago, there are specific needs that are unique to the city, like managing your group transportation and parking plans and alerting you to dates that might conflict with large-scale city events such as the Chicago Marathon, Taste of Chicago, the Air & Water Show or conventions that gobble up ALL the City's hotel rooms!  We can remind you when payments are due. We can create a most detailed timeline for your wedding weekend to keep you, your family and friends, and your vendors all moving through your day perfectly. These are just some of the things a wedding planner can do for you.  The list goes on and on, but it's most important to remember that a wedding planner should plan their responsibilities around YOUR wedding worries and YOUR "hot buttons."

"Day Of" Wedding Planner Myth

Do not be fooled by the term "Day Of" wedding planner, as it does not mean the wedding planner starts working for you on the day of your wedding!  A good "Day Of" wedding planner starts preparation and planning weeks before your wedding date so they can understand your vision, review your vendor contacts, create a timeline, confirm all vendor commitments and tie up any loose ends.   So, that is why the cost sometimes surprises people.  It's not one day of work - it's nearly a month of work that goes into creating a seamless wedding weekend.

Beware of the Family/Friend Wedding Planners

Planners sometimes hear, "we've decided my family friend is planning our wedding."  Be cautious about this option as many of the "Day Of" inquiries that we receive are a result of such relationships having gone bad.  It's not worth risking a close relationship over the stress and responsibility of a wedding. The time, knowledge and constant communication that a professional wedding planner provides cannot be expected from an acquaintance or family member - not to mention the familial diplomacy needed to manage "unique" family situations.

Why won't planners give me a cost quote!?

If you look hard enough, you will find coordinators who charge $800 and some that charge $28K - all for what appears to be the same on paper.  One Chicago planner recently indicated in Chicago Magazine that her planning packages BEGIN at $25,000.  On the flip side of that, we often get calls from people who hire a planner who charges little to nothing and that's exactly what they get...little to nothing!!

If someone published an average cost for a Chicago wedding planner it would be entirely misleading.  Every wedding is different and every couple has different needs. A wedding planner's cost should not be based on the overall wedding budget, because weddings on tighter budgets often require more work like do-it-yourself projects, etc.  A wedding planner's cost should be based on the amount of time required to plan and manage your wedding.  A planner's product is time, insight, style, knowledge and experience. Not only is planning a wedding a lot of work but it is a huge responsibility. The stress and liability of taking on someone's once-in-a-lifetime day should not be taken lightly. Finding out what different Chicago wedding planners can offer you will help you understand any price discrepancies and where the value lies with a professional planner!

What to look for in a Chicago wedding planner:

  • When choosing your wedding planner, choose someone you will want to be around on your wedding weekend.
  • Choose someone who is a full-time professional planner, not a "hobbyist."  You don't want someone experimenting with your wedding.
  • Make sure your wedding is the ONLY wedding they are handling that day/weekend and that they aren't double-booking themselves with multiple weddings in one weekend and sending assistants in their place.
  • Check references! What do their past brides and grooms and families have to say about their work? This will also help you understand how the planning process works.
  • Make sure their on-site support staff is a part of their team rather than friends or family who are thrown into the wedding business for the weekend.
  • Make sure the company has a business license. If they don't then they have nothing to lose and nothing to keep them accountable.
  • Ask to see their emergency kit.   Believe it or not but your wedding planner should be prepared to solve most any problem that could possibly arise that day.
    • -wine opener for the trolley
    • -ground lift electrical cord that can eliminate an annoying buzz in the music sound system.
    • -sewing kit and safety pins for those wardrobe malfunctions
    • -extra place cards for last minute guest seating changes or surprise guests
    • -bobby pins, medicines, hairspray, and other little items that can remedy a big problem
  • When can they meet you? Be sure they can meet you at times that fit your schedule like evenings or weekends.
  • Ask to see a sample timeline.  It should be chocked full of details!
  • Some wedding planners leave after the cake is cut, but you want a wedding planner who will stay to the very end to make sure gifts are safe, your guests are gone, and all lost and found items are accounted for.
  • Shameless plug:  Call Big City Bride (773) 525-7526 to see if we can be a good match for you as your Chicago wedding planner!

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