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Full-time grad student...Would you recommend hiring a wedding planner?

I'm a student in PT school finishing up my first year (whoop!) and I recently got engaged. We haven't set a date yet (still working on it!) and I'm trying to figure out whether we should invest in a wedding planner or not. With a limited budget, I'm not sure if that's something we should consider. I've heard that wedding planners can actually save you a lot of money on things like venues and catering and such because of their connections. I was just wondering what others have experienced, with or without wedding planners, while trying to plan a wedding when you're in school. I know it's completely subjective and depends on the person, but I just wanted to hear from other peoples' experiences. Any and all input, whether it's through personal experience or someone you know, is much appreciated!!:) Thanks, Cassie

Re: Full-time grad student...Would you recommend hiring a wedding planner?

  • Hi Cassie, 

    I'm also a student and I have very few summer job prospects at this point because of the slow economy. I also have an eye for detail and a knack for getting the best bargains. For a low price I would love to help you with planning. I'm talking like under $150 to find you price quotes on venues/flowers/music as well as ideas. I hope this doesn't come off as a weird offer because I'm completely serious! I love planning big parties and I think I could do a really good job. 
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  • Cassie - Sorry for the 2 replies, I didn't want my advice reply linked to my page to the KnotGods.

    I'm a full time grad student. I'm in a research based program, so it's structured a lot differently than PT. We didn't hire a wedding planner. I did find it stressful to plan a wedding while in school. I tried to get as much stuff done as possible when I had lulls in school. There is a planning timeline through TK as well as several that are on Pinterest. I used these time lines to have an idea when I needed to get everything done, and that helped my stay focused on a few items at a time instead of trying to get everything done at once and being overwhelmed. I also booked an "all inclusive" venue that provided catering, bartenders, servers, tables, chairs, linens - basically everything but the photographer, officiant, florist and dj, but they had recommendations - so I didn't have to worry about finding all those things. On TK, we don't tend to advise you ask people besides your FI to help with your wedding. However, I would say this depends on your relationship. My mom was very excited for me to get married, and she had already priced out venues before I even started looking. I am really grateful for her help, and it really helped keep my stress done.

    As for the deal aspect of a wedding planner , I don't really know if that's true. My husband and I paid for the wedding ourselves so we didn't have a huge budget. We had our wedding during the off-season so we were able to get a lot of deals including venue rental fees waived and photography discounts. A lot of other Knotties have gotten good deals by having their weddings on Sundays or lunch/brunch receptions. If you head over to the Budget/DIY board a lot of the posters have great suggestions for saving money. 

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    kla728
  • I am also a full-time graduate student. DH and I planned our wedding when there was a lull in my program, we also had a 23 month engagement, so I did a lot of the planning during the summer when I was working on my thesis/interning and not in classes. It worked for us. I was not too stressed because we had all of our major vendors (officiant, venue, reception, food, florist, DJ, cake, photographer, etc.) booked over 12 months out.
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  • I agree with PPs. With our work and course loads, FI and I have had to plan around the breaks to speak with vendors and the like. We're pretty low key and gave ourselves over a year, so there hasn't been an issue yet.
    But - if you're disorganized or are planning a more extravagant wedding, it might be easier to hire a wedding planner. My sister was out of school while planning hers and she would have been better off with a wedding planner because she was disorganized (and had a shorter time frame).

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  • I am also a full-time grad student in a research-based program working on my PhD.  It is stressful at times to plan, but it's definitely doable. I had to "marathon plan" this winter because my advisor recently sent me out of the country to do research for 3 months, which means I'll be back 1.5 months before my wedding. It's completely doable, and vendors who aren't willing to work with your schedule, within reason, for tastings/tours, won't be helpful in the future. Most vendors I was in contact with understood that I'm a student and were very accommodating.

    I asked the owner of our reception venue for names of people she recommended for photography/cake/music, and that saved me a lot of time. You might try that too.

    Good luck! 


  • kla728kla728
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    I'm about to finish a 2 year graduate program and got engaged to Fi halfway through (last summer).  We did not hire a wedding planner for a few reasons:
    1. we didn't have the money,
    2. I wasn't aware they could potentially save money, and
    3. the venue I fell in love with included a day of coordinator.

    I'd be lying if I said it was easy.  As I just posted in my 'OMG ITS ALMOST OVER' thread, I'm exhausted.  I also work full-time, and have had parental health issues to deal with during this time.  I should probably note that I'm getting my Masters in Public Administration, so its not as intense as a medical/scientific graduate degree.  However, balancing school & wedding planning is definitely not impossible and honestly I think that if I wasn't in school many of the same things would have stressed me out anyway because I'm a bit (a lot?) type A.  

    I agree with some tips from PPs:
    - if it works for you and your Fi, have a long engagement.  Ours is almost 16 months.  
    - pick a venue that provides a lot of services all in one.  Our venue will be the location for the ceremony and reception, they provide all of the ceremony chairs, reception chairs, tables, table settings, basic linens, etc., and the caterer is on site so while we need to plan the menu, we don't have to search for another vendor.

    Congratulations & good luck! 
  • I just finished my MA in May. I recommend a long engagement above everything. I started in May 2012, got engaged in August 2012, and finished a 63 credit grad program in 2 years while working full-time. It's doable, trust me! Just give yourself some extra time to plan, and network with other brides around you. It's been relatively low-stress other than the recommended amount of family drama ;)
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  • Hey @moonpie16 I will give you my advice from a personal POV. First figure out your finances and budget. Then research coordinators like a mad woman. If it is something you can afford I 100% reccommend it. Also ask around to see if any close friend or family member knows anyone who does wedding planning that may be able to give you a discount or even do decoration and coordination for a more affordable price. 

    We have a coordinator. She is a friend of my grand-aunt and she did my godmother's wedding. She is an amazing woman and she has been doing our coordination basically for free. Since she will be doing our flowers and decorations she is "bundling" the services for us. I am starting medical school in a few weeks and she is a godsent. I no longer get overwhelmed with planning. Plus she knows so many people we are getting a lot of extras in the packages we are getting. 


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