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Wedding Planner on a Budget

Q.

Can we afford a wedding planner?

A.

The good news: Skilled wedding consultants are trained to work within a variety of budgets. While it's true that many are hired on a soup-to-nuts, start-to-finish basis (which can get expensive), wedding consultants can facilitate wedding planning in other capacities too. For example, you can schedule a consultation where the consultant provides a blueprint -- usually a preparation guide and a list of trustworthy, talented vendors to check out. You can also hire a wedding consultant to oversee things on the evening before and actual day of the wedding. Or you can contract a wedding consultant to work with you on a freelance basis (to scout out a location, and advise on catering firms and florists, for example), in which case they're paid by the hour. These selective services should run quite a bit less than full-service help. Note that the billing process depends on your coordinator: Some consultants charge by the hour, others charge a flat fee depending on what you need them for. So make a list of things you know you want the consultant to handle, then call a few to see what they charge.