You’re newly engaged – Congrats, by the way! – and you’re beginning to think about all the things you need to do to kick off your wedding planning journey. You’ve toyed with the thought of bringing a wedding planner on board, but you don’t really know the first thing about what they do, or the differences between the varying types of planners (day-of, partial, or full-service planners). No worries, you’re in the right place! I’m here to break down the type of planner that fits your wedding (and budget) best, along with when to hire your pro to get the most bang for your buck!

As I mentioned above, there are three main types of wedding planners and a lot (enter: the majority) of planners offer at least a couple, if not all three, of these services in the form of packages or a la carte services. Here at Ivory Couture we offer full-service planning, partial planning and day-of planning packages for our clients. While packages are a great place to start, I recognize that every wedding is different, so our packages can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Full-Service Planning & Design

When to hire: As soon as you’re engaged, or 12-18 months out from the anticipated wedding date

I get it, taking a few moments (or months) after your engagement to soak up the bliss is ideal, but in order to get the most out of your full planning experience, I always recommend hiring your full-service wedding planner as soon as thoughts of wedding plans start entering your mind. Your planner will walk the entirety of your wedding planning journey with you – from scouting venues and hiring your dream team of vendors, to choosing a color palette and designing décor. The services they’ll provide are start to finish.

Partial Planning

When to hire: 8 -12 months out from the wedding

A partial wedding planner might be best for you if you want (or already have) to plan some of the details, but need help bringing together your vision. When you hire a partial planner, you’ve typically already booked your venue, set a date, and have half or more of your vendors already scouted and booked. Your planner will step in to assess where you stand in the planning process, then provide budget guidance and a checklist of remaining tasks to get you to the finish line. While every partial planner’s services differ, most will provide design inspiration and help bring together your wedding day vision. And of course, this is all in addition to the day-of coordination duties they already offer.

Partial planners often charge based on the number of months you’ll be working together and the number of tasks you want them to take care of. The Ivory Couture partial planning experience starts with light help at booking, then my team and I take over at the 6-month mark. (Check out the full list of services here) But like most planners, you can always add-on extra tasks or months of service if needed.

Day-of Planning

When to hire: 4 – 10 months from the wedding

I’m of the belief that it’s never too soon to hire your wedding planner, regardless of the type of planning services you need. It’s never really ‘too late’ to book a day-of planner either (well, the week of your wedding might be cutting it *close*). But where’s the sweet spot you ask? Generally, I say 4 to 10 months from your wedding date is the best time to hire a day-of planner. At this point you most likely have a date set and venue booked. Your day-of planner will meet with you, get a feel for where you’re at in the process, and provide you with information to set you up for success. Think along the lines of a preferred vendor list, budget breakdown and checklist. While they won’t be directly handling these tasks for you, your planner is there to support you through the process and make sure your wedding planning journey is a successful one. Think about it this way: The more support they can provide you from the beginning, the better put together the details are likely to be when they take over. And speaking of them taking over… Your day-of planner will typically step in around 4-8 weeks out from your wedding day. (Here at Ivory Couture, we start managing the details at around 8 weeks out from the wedding.) Head over to our services page to view the full list of day-of planning services we handle.

So, there you have it! I hope after reading this post you have a better idea of the different types of wedding planning services most planners offer, along with when to hire your wedding pro! If you only take away one thing, though, just keep in mind that sooner is always better than later when it comes to booking your wedding planner, regardless of the services you intend to book them for.

If you have any questions or you’re interested in booking Ivory Couture for your wedding, head on over to our contact page and shoot me an email. I’d be happy to answer any of your questions. In the meantime, learning more about the Ivory Couture planning experience here.