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The Event Planner

Why are wedding planners so damn expensive?


A giant ship engine failed. One after another - the ships owner and the crew tried to fix it, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine.

Then they brought in an man who had a lot of experience fixing ship engines. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

The ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine came to life and was running just the way it should!

A week later, the owners received a bill from the man for ten thousand dollars. “What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He just tapped the engine with a hammer!” So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemized bill.”

The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer………………….. $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap…………………….. $ 9,998.00

Conclusion? Effort is worth charging for, absolutely, but knowing what to do and how to do it is where the real value lies.


You – an engaged person who has probably never planned a real wedding before – can probably create a budget, make inquiries, tour venues, come up with a color palette, choose vendors, review proposals, read contracts, and plan logistics.

Doing all of that will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-600 hours over the course of your engagement. We don’t know if you know this, but with a standard 40-hour work week, there are 2080 work hours in a year (2000 if you assume two weeks of vacation.) That means planning your wedding takes the equivalent of 25% of your annual work time.

Let’s say you’re planning a wedding in Huntsville Al, where we work. The median annual income in our metro area is currently around $82,000. Assuming your annual salary is around that, the value of your time to plan your own wedding is about $25k.

So, you lose a huge ton of your time and let's be honest: you’re going to get super stressed, relationships may suffer because you are all consumed with planning and you are probably not going to do all that great of a job at it because you don’t have the experience!

Sure, you can put numbers in a spreadsheet, even in a really nice template you found on the internet, but do you know how much a good caterer or a DJ or a photographeractually costs? Probably not.

You can spend a few weekends touring wedding venues, but do you know what to look for in their spaces and ask about in their policies to ensure all your needs will be met and you won’t be hit with surprise fees later on?

Yeah, of course you can email or call prospective venues and vendors! But can you vet them to make sure they are qualified professionals who will show up and do a great job? (Just take a look through any wedding Facebook group and you’ll see how many couples are regretting their vendor decisions because they went with recommendations from random people in these groups, whose idea of a "great" vendor actually left a lot to be desired!)

You know what colors you like, but can you envision all the small details that turn a vague vibe and some colors into a cohesive design that feels magical to you and your guests?

You can read proposals and contracts, but will you know if what’s included is standard? If the prices are high, average, or too good to be true? If there are red flags in the contracts that might make you regret signing them later on?

And ok, we bet that you can figure out what time things should happen and generally who’s handling which pieces of your wedding puzzle on the day, but do you actually know how long, on average, it takes to do family photos or hair and makeup or what the best schedule is for guest shuttles so you aren’t overpaying? Do you know all the things you might not realize you need to plan time for? Do you know which spaces are likely to become bottlenecks that you can avoid with the right floor plan? Are you willing and able to be available for non-stop questions in person and on the phone from vendors and guests throughout your wedding day?

Lastly, there are some things that you simply cannot do because you don’t have a clone of yourself. You can’t do things on wedding day while you’re getting your hair and makeup done. You can’t quietly usher a late guest into the ceremony while you’re at the front exchanging vows. You can’t make sure the room is reset for the reception while you’re taking family photos or enjoying your cocktail hour. And are you "that guy" - you know, the one that asks their friends and family to WORK on your wedding day versus allowing them to be guests?


That’s why we firmly believe that every couple needs a wedding planner - not just a "day of" person who knows very little about your wedding and even less about you!

You can be willing to invest the time and the hassle into planning, but being willing isn't a substitute for experience. 

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