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Do You Love Love? Follow These 3 Heartfelt Steps on How to Become a Wedding Planner

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Not all heroes wear capes, and for soon-to-be newlyweds, wedding planners can be lifesavers. Weddings can be so stressful for the couple, and it's usually the biggest and most significant party they will ever throw: an occasion to be remembered for the rest of their lives. If you love weddings and the idea of bringing two people's dreams into reality so they can celebrate their love, then learning how to become a wedding planner might be perfect for you.

Wedding planning can be a highly rewarding job, but it also takes a lot of specific traits, characteristics, skills (and a lot of hustle). From what it takes to be a wedding planner to the skills and experience you need and how to get them, we've got you covered with everything you need to know about how to become a wedding planner.

Is Learning How to Become a Wedding Planner Right for You?

Wedding planner in pink dress sitting between two women

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Being a wedding planner is a popular job, which makes sense because people are always getting married. Working as a wedding planner can be tons of fun: after all, you're planning a huge party! But it's not always sunshine and butterflies, so how do you know if it's the right path for you?

To be a successful wedding planner, you need to be good under pressure and great at combining a lot of various responsibilities and duties flawlessly, as couples will want every aspect of their wedding to be perfect. It's the wedding planner's job to help them accomplish this goal. Not only will it be your responsibility to make the couple's dreams a reality, but to be a good wedding planner, you must make it happen in a way that requires minimum effort from them while still assuring them that everything will be perfect.

To accomplish all of this, you must be sensitive to the needs of the almost-newlyweds, and you also must be ready to take on diverse challenges, like last-minute cancelations, mixups, and more; all while keeping your cool. Above all, you need to have a passion for putting together weddings, celebrating love, and going above and beyond in everything you do.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Wedding Planner

two decorative chairs on grass field near body of water

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The responsibilities of a wedding planner break down into three main sections: the initial consultation, pre-wedding planning, and day-of duties. 

Initial Consultation

The initial consultation usually consists of meeting with the newlyweds-to-be and discussing budget requirements, theme, color, and other logistics and details. The initial consultation is the wedding planner's time to get familiar with what the couple is like and understand exactly what the couple wants their wedding to be like.

Pre-Wedding Planning 

After getting a full grasp of what the couple wants for their wedding, pre-planning duties include things like securing a wedding, determining decor, selecting flowers, ordering the cake, assisting with the wedding party attire, choosing a menu, hiring entertainment, and more: all while reminding mindful of the budget. When the big day comes, and a wedding planner gets to see all their hard work unfold; but they still have more work to do.

Day-Of Duties

The day-of wedding duties involve directing the wedding and ensuring all the different components of the wedding, from the ceremony to the reception, happen according to schedule and smoothly. These duties include coordinating the grand entrance, setting up for the first dance, preparing the cake for cutting, and much more. As a wedding planner, your job isn't over until everything is all wrapped up and the last guest has left happily.

What Traits Do Wedding Planners Need?

two gold-colored plates on brown wooden table

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If the responsibilities and job description of a wedding planner sounds appealing to you, then a big part of learning how to become a wedding planner is understanding what the traits and characteristics are that make a successful wedding planner. Wedding planners need various skills that span categories like business, design, communications, and more. Here are the most essential traits and skills you'll need to develop or enhance in learning how to become a wedding planner:

Planning and Organizing

It goes without saying, but a wedding planner needs to know how to plan, and to be an excellent planner you need top-notch organizational skills. With all the different aspects that comprise wedding planning, there's no time for disorganization. Managing wedding vendors and guests, sticking to a timeline, remaining within budget, handling a bunch of paperwork and more, all while making sure everything looks amazing, is no easy task to take on; especially with a lack of organizational skills.

Budgeting and Negotiating

A budget is a significant component of any wedding, so having strong budgeting skills is essential for a wedding planner. During the initial consultation, the wedding planner and the couple will determine a budget that will be taken into consideration for almost every decision. Sometimes the couple will want to determine their own set budget, and sometimes they will want the wedding planner's assistance in establishing a realistic budget.

As a wedding planner, you absolutely must ensure that everyone agrees on the budget before you select venues, entertainment, or anything else: otherwise you'll likely face a lot of frustration and end up with very unhappy clients. As a wedding planner, you have to understand how to stick to a budget while also keeping in mind that it may change as the plans evolve: and negotiating skills will also come in handy.

Time Management

Another essential skill for a wedding planner is time management, as the role comprises a lot of work that has to be done according to a strict timeline. As a wedding planner, mostly you are your boss, so you have to be able to make and stick to a schedule and manage all your tasks on your own.

Attention to Detail

Even the smallest details can impact the wedding day, so there's no way to be a wedding planner without attention to detail. From ensuring no detail is missed to catching mistakes before they happen, attention to detail is a necessary skill. A couple wants a professional who has trained eyes and ears and will not miss a thing.

Adaptable

It would be great if planning a wedding was always smooth sailing, but as with any profession, bumps come up. As a wedding planner, at some point, and possibly often, you'll face last-minute changes, cancelations, or other issues. To be a successful wedding planner, you must be able to adapt in the face of these challenges and solve the problem without panicking.

Mediation

Many people are involved in a wedding, and with all the stress and hectic energy, disagreements and arguments tend to arise. As a wedding planner, you must know how to step in and mediate to help make everyone happy.

Flexibility

It's easy to glamorize the role of a wedding planner, but this position requires a lot of flexibility. While there is a lot of glamor in planning a party as extravagant as a wedding, a lot of times wedding planners take part in less than glamorous tasks, like folding programs, putting together wedding favors, carrying supplies, and more. As a wedding planner, you have to be ready and able to wear many hats on any given day.

Problem Solving

Weddings involve a lot of different components, from flower arrangements to musical performances, and there are tons of opportunities for things to go wrong. As a wedding planner, you should use your attention to detail to catch problems before they happen; but not all problems can be eliminated. To ensure that things are handled in the best way possible when issues arise, it's essential that as a wedding planner you have excellent problem-solving skills.

Comfortable with Long-Term Commitments

As a wedding planner, you have to be able to commit to your clients ahead of time: often 9 to eighteen months ahead of time. This commitment means you lose a lot of spontaneity and freedom in your schedule. This long term commitment impacts your personal plans, so it's important that you're comfortable with it.

How to Get Skills and Experience as a Wedding Planner

Book calendar on the table

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You may already have some of the skills needed to be an exceptional wedding planner, but to learn how to become a wedding planner, you must know how to acquire all the necessary skills and experience.

College or Certificate?

You don't have to go to college to learn how to become a wedding planner. Plenty of people do it without a relevant degree, but if you enjoy going to school then it can definitely strengthen your skills and give you the experience you need to succeed. While you wouldn't necessarily major in wedding planning, you could major in event planning. 

If you study event planning, not only will you gain the knowledge and experience you need to become a fantastic wedding planner, but you'll also be able to plan other events, like conferences, festivals, trade shows, and more.

While studying event planning, you'll likely take courses in:

  • Communications
  • Event promotion
  • Food preparation for catered events
  • Weddings and ceremonies
  • Negotiations and agreements
  • Concert and event production
  • Business management
  • AccountingFinance
  • Hospitality
  • Floral and cake design

If you don't want to go for a full degree, you can also get a certificate that shows you're qualified as a wedding planner. Many professional associations and trade groups offer these certificates, but they're not all created equal; so do your research before you pick.

Entrepreneur or Employee?

MacBook Pro turn on

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Aside from choosing between college or a certificate, you also have the choice of working for yourself or for someone else. Many wedding planners are self-employed, which has a lot of benefits, but self-employment is not for everyone. If you take this route and start your own wedding planner company, it's recommended that you at least have some business classes or experience under your belt.

If you work for an employer, in addition to planning weddings and other events, you may also be responsible for selling the company's wedding planning services to clients. If you're interested in working for a wedding or event planning company, employers generally look for:

  • Positive attitude
  • Well-kept appearance
  • Exceptional organization skills
  • Planning experience
  • Weekend availability
  • Certification or higher

Gaining Experience

As with most jobs, whether you're working for yourself or a company, clients and employers alike want wedding planners that have the experience; so a big part of how to become a wedding planner is knowing how to build expertise. Here are some tips to help get you there:

Work as an Intern

If you have the time, reach out to the local wedding or event planning companies and see if they have an internship or volunteer program available to help you gain experience. If you can't find any wedding or event planning companies that have this availability near you, you can also reach out to hotels.

Practice on Your Friends and Family

If you can't find an internship, or don't have the time to commit to one, you must find another way to gain experience. One option is practicing by planning free events for your friends and family. Chances are that your friends and family will be happy to help you develop your skills and experience in how to become a wedding planner, so they'll give you the chance to plan birthdays, parties, and maybe even a wedding for free. Make sure to take professional photographs of these events to use in your portfolio.

Read and Research

Wedding planner holding calendar book

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There are tons of research options for wedding planning, so read up on blogs, magazines, and books as much as you can. This tip won't help as much as hands-on experience will, but any advice from other professionals or experienced wedding planners will definitely help and will give you some solid knowledge and tips on how to become a wedding planner.

Conclusion

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Having a job where you get to help people celebrate their love and share it with their friends and family is so rewarding. When you're just starting, learning how to become a wedding planner can seem overwhelming; but with the tips in this article, you're ready to develop or strengthen the skills and experience needed to be an exceptional wedding planner.

The 10 Best Wedding Shoes to Sweep You Off Your Feet

best wedding shoes and bouquet of flowers

Every bride wants everything to be perfect on her wedding day. It is important to think about what you will be doing throughout the day when you consider your outfit. You should be able to sit in your dress, and, most importantly, you should be able to stand, walk, and dance in your shoes. Although high stiletto heels may look lovely in photos, your dogs will be barking before the end of the ceremony and you will most likely be barefoot by the first dance. The best wedding shoes will take you from your walk down the aisle to the last dance in style and comfort.

With so many options to choose from on the market today, choosing the best wedding shoes can be mind-boggling. Do not worry, we have taken the guesswork out of selecting the best wedding shoes by reviewing the top shoes available. We have run the gamut from high platform stilettos to kitten heels in our selection. Whether you are looking for a simple, neutral shoe or a drop-dead dazzler, we have found something right for you. Read on to discover what we believe are the best wedding shoes.

Comparison Table

[amazon box=“B07YD9NDS3,B00TBJMJHS,B0771CBF9G,B07F94SVGW,B01H0SUUP4,B011XZPZXC,B07MWQFXJL,B013FCTKPA,B017MTXZBC,B00J9YQVWO” template=“table”]

Product FAQ

1. What Are the Best Wedding Shoes?

2. What Are the Features of the Best Wedding Shoes?

3. Where Can I Purchase the Best Wedding Shoes?

How We Reviewed

shoe bride surrounded withh sugared almonds with flower

Image source: Pixabay

The following products were reviewed based their Features, Pros & Cons, Price, what real users think about their comfort and style.

Overall Price Range

Pricing for the best wedding shoes varies widely. The best wedding shoes reviewed in this article range in price from $55 to $1,000. The more expensive shoes tend to be made from more durable materials and are more comfortable; however that is not always true. Always check the reviews before you buy. 

What We Reviewed

  • Manolo Blahnik Hangisi 105 Satin Pump
  • Badgley Mischka Women's Kiara Platform Pump
  • JIMMY CHOO Romy 100 Platinum Ice Pump
  • Vince Camuto Women's Stellima Pump
  • Badgley Mischka Women's Ginny Dress Pump
  • Chinese Laundry Women's Rubie Dress Sandal
  • Blue by Betsey Johnson Women's Stela Dress Pump
  • Steve Madden Women's Slithur Dress Sandal
  • Nine West Women's Leisa Leather Heeled Dress Sandal
  • Chinese Laundry Women's Teaser Platform Dress Sandal

Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Satin Pump

[amazon box=”B07YD9NDS3″]

Features

The Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Satin Pump is the ultimate wedding shoe. Featuring a stunning rhinestone accent on the toe, it personifies elegance. The 4" heel provides lift, and the silver grey satin will complement any wedding ensemble. The insole is lightly padded for comfort and they have the hallmark smooth leather sole. These shoes are made in Italy and are guaranteed to be 100% genuine.

PROS

  • Rhinestone accent on the toe
  • Padded insole for comfort
  • Made in Italy

CONS

  • Heel is very high
  • Toe box is cramped
  • Sole is slippery

[amazon fields=”B07YD9NDS3″ value=”button”]

Badgley Mischka Women's Kiara Platform Pump

[amazon box=”B00TBJMJHS”]

Features

The Badgley Mischka Kiara Women's Platform Pump is a peep-toe platform pump made of 100% satin with a leather sole and a covered stiletto heel. It features a dramatic cluster of sparkling rhinestones at the heel counter. The heel measures approximately 4.5" and the platform measures approximately 1". They come in 10 designer colors. These pumps are true to the Badgley Mischka signature style—they are simple, streamlined, and thoroughly elegant.

PROS

  • Peep-toe style
  • Cluster of sparkling rhinestones on the heel
  • Ten colors to choose from

CONS

  • Sizing runs small
  • Rhinestones fall off

[amazon fields=”B00TBJMJHS” value=”button”]

JIMMY CHOO Romy 100 Platinum Ice Pump

[amazon box=”B06VVYC8ZS”]

Features

The Jimmy Choo Romy 100 Stiletto Pump features a dusty glitter fabric upper to add an elegant touch to the simple silhouette. The pumps have a 3.9" stiletto heel and a pointed toe. They have a brand embossed leather lining. The pumps are made in Italy.

PROS

  • Dusty glitter fabric upper
  • Brand embossed leather lining
  • Made in Italy

CONS

  • Sizing runs small
  • Tight toe box

[amazon fields=”B06VVYC8ZS” value=”button”]

Vince Camuto Women's Stellima Pump

[amazon box=”B0771CBF9G”]

Features

These Vince CamutoiStillema Mestico Pumps will have everybody asking where you got these amazing heels. The synthetic 3.3" heels look amazing on any body type, and the padded footbed and flexible sole provide complete comfort to last through your ceremony, receiving line, and a full night of dancing. The self-tie closure with tassels lends the pumps a Boho look. There are seven color combinations to choose from.

PROS

  • Padded footbed
  • Flexible sole
  • Available in seven color combinations

CONS

  • Sole is narrow
  • Straps may cut into feet

[amazon fields=”B0771CBF9G” value=”button”]

Badgley Mischka Women's Ginny Dress Pump

[amazon box=”B01H0SUUP4″]

Features

The Badgley Mischka Ginny Dress Pump is a beautifully embellished low-heel, two-piece pump. They feature elegant rhinestone detailing on the toe and scalloped heel counter. The 2" kitten heel will be comfortable all day and keep you dancing all night. The shoes are 100% textile with a leather sole. The shoes are made in Italy and come in white and black.

PROS

  • Low kitten heel
  • Elegant rhinestone detailing
  • Made in Italy

CONS

  • Sizing runs large
  • Shoes stretch out with use

[amazon fields=”B01H0SUUP4″ value=”button”]

Chinese Laundry Women's Rubie Dress Sandal

[amazon box=”B011XZPZXC”]

Features

The Chinese Laundry Rubie Dress Sandal is a dress kitten heel sandal with an ankle strap and scalloped detail. It is made of 100% micro suede with a synthetic sole. The kitten heel is approximately 2.75". The sandals feature an adjustable ankle strap with a metallic buckle and are available in 14 colors. The lightly padded footbed is designed to keep your comfortable from your walk down the aisle to the last dance of the night.

PROS

  • Low heel height for comfort
  • Adjustable ankle strap
  • Available in 14 colors

CONS

  • Causes blisters on some heels
  • Uncomfortable for some wearers
  • Don't fit wide feet

[amazon fields=”B011XZPZXC” value=”button”]

Blue by Betsey Johnson Women's Stela Dress Pump

[amazon box=”B07MWQFXJL”]

Features

The Blue by Betsey Johnson Stela Dress Pump is a two-piece pump featuring a mesh upper with glitter overlays. The youthful, detail-oriented style has a tie closure at the ankle strap. The heel measures approximately 4". The shoes are 100% man made and have a synthetic sole in Betsey's signature blue. This shoe is geared toward today's fashion-forward, modern bride and will get you from the ceremony to the dance floor.

PROS

  • Signature blue sole with logo
  • Bow tie closure
  • Glitter overlays

CONS

  • Only for sitting, not for standing
  • Ankle strap is not adjustable to a smaller size
  • Sizing runs large

[amazon fields=”B07MWQFXJL” value=”button”]

Steve Madden Women's Slithur Dress Sandal

[amazon box=”B013FCTKPA”]

Features

The Steve Madden Slithur Dress Sandal is made of 100% leather with a synthetic sole. It features a cage design that continues above the ankle for a modern, sexy look. The heel measures approximately 4". This leather dress sandal has a covered heel and geometric cutouts on the upper. The sandal features a buckled ankle strap and comes in four colors to match any outfit.

PROS

  • Geometric cutouts are modern and sexy
  • Available in four colors
  • 4" heel height

CONS

  • Doesn't fit wide feet
  • Ankle strap rubs and causes blisters

[amazon fields=”B013FCTKPA” value=”button”]

Nine West Women's Leisa Leather Heeled Dress Sandal

[amazon box=”B017MTXZBC”]

Features

The Nine West Leisa Leather Heeled Dress Sandal is absolutely chic! It has a leather upper, a man-made lining, a wrapped heel, and a synthetic outsole. The footbed is padded for all-day comfort. The two piece sandal features a closed heel cup and adjustable ankle strap. The sandals have a 2.5" sculpted kitten heel. This sandal is available in four colors.

PROS

  • Padded footbed for all day comfort
  • Adjustable ankle strap
  • Available in four colors

CONS

  • Sole wears out quickly
  • Heels wear through and expose support screw
  • Overall poor quality

[amazon fields=”B017MTXZBC” value=”button”]

Chinese Laundry Women's Teaser Platform Dress Sandal

[amazon box=”B00J9YQVWO”]

Features

The Chinese Laundry Teaser Platform Dress Sandal is a strappy platform dress sandal with a stiletto heel. The platform measures approximately 2" and the heel is approximately 5.5" tall. The sandal is 100% man made and has a synthetic sole. This sandal is popular with beauty pageant contestants because it lengthens the leg in a flattering manner.

PROS

  • Appear to lengthen legs
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Heel height of 5.5"

CONS

  • Smooth sole is slippery
  • Poorly constructed
  • Not for wide feet

[amazon fields=”B00J9YQVWO” value=”button”]

The Verdict

white wedding shoes

Image source: Pixabay

Based on our research we believe the best wedding shoes are the Badgley Mischka Ginny Dress Pumps. These two-part pumps feature beautiful rhinestone embellishments on the toe and the heel counter. The low kitten heel makes this shoe comfortable enough to walk down the aisle, stand through the ceremony and receiving line, and then dance the night away without giving your feet a second thought. The elegant look and comfortable fit make the Badgley Mischka Ginny Dress Pumps the best wedding shoes for brides looking for style, elegance, and comfort.


If you just cannot bring yourself to wear a low heel on your big day, we believe the best wedding shoes with a stiletto heel are the Chinese Laundry Teaser Platform Sandals. A long-time favorite of beauty pageant contestants, these sandals have a towering 5.5" heel and a generous 2" platform that will have your head in the clouds. They are comfortable to walk and dance in, and they blend in with your natural skin tone and elongate your legs to make you look like a beauty queen.

How Much Does A Wedding Planner Cost?

groom and bride's hands on top of the flowers show their wedding rings
bride and groom on a heart shape hands

image via: pixabay.com

Weddings are stressful. Attempting to plan one on your own requires all kinds of time and dedication. You have more important things to do than worry about if the flowers are arriving on time and whether the DJ has your first dance track. This is why you may want to consider hiring on a wedding planner. How much does a wedding planner cost? 
 
Each wedding planner is a little different. Some will charge per event, while most will charge by the hour. Depending on whether you want just a day-of wedding planner or you want a full-service planner, you can expect to spend at least $ and often upwards of $$$.

Wedding planners are available to make your wedding day easier and less stressful. Some wedding planners will offer day-of services, so instead of calling around and fretting over whether activities are taken care of, the wedding planner will handle this for you. Others will offer full-service options which start right after you become engaged. Ultimately, the final cost for a wedding planner will depend on how much help you're interested in and the size of your wedding.

wedding dinner arrangements
image source: Pixabay

A wedding planner is a helpful addition to planning out your wedding. Whether you need an individual for the day of your wedding or if you want them for the duration of your engagement, this particular individual will make your life easier. With that said, it is an added expense you'll need to deal with. 

If you don't want to spend the additional money on a planner, which could potentially boost the final cost of your wedding by thousands of dollars, you'll be better off planning it yourself (and maybe asking for help from friends). But to determine how much does a wedding planner cost, you'll need to understand exactly what a wedding planner does and how it can impact your wedding.

What Does A Wedding Planner Do?

The most important service a wedding planner provides is the reduction of your stress level. Stressing over a wedding, especially the final few days before the wedding, is something just about every couple deals with and is a universal stressor. 

From organizing guests who are coming in from out-of-town to the last minute clothing alterations and pickups that need to take place, this can be a very stressful time. This should be a time that is enjoyed by couples; yet often the couple doesn't have the ability to do so because they are so stressed. A wedding planner helps cut this stress, making it easier for the marrying couple to relax.

What Day-Of Planners Do

groom in black tuxedo hugs tender stunning bride while hey stand
image source: Freepik

The wedding planner, when hired on for the day-of service, will work as someone who basically directs the traffic of your wedding. They will guide the last minute decorations that need to go up and work with the florist to make sure the flowers are in place. They will show up early to work with the location and make any final changes or alterations that need to go on, and they will help musicians and DJs know where to go.

Often the location of your wedding is not where your reception is. These planners will work between the two locations to make sure everything is taken care of. Even if you want to perform most of the planning on your own, having a person to handle the day-of operations is a major benefit and a load off your mind.

What Full-Service Wedding Planners Do

wedding table arrangements with white wine
image source: Pexels

On the other hand, you may want someone to be there to help plan the entire wedding. With a full-service wedding planner, you will sit down at the beginning of your engagement and go over exactly what you're looking for. This can include what you're looking for in terms of venues, how many people you're interested in inviting, whether you want a band or a DJ, and other issues you're considering.

If you were to handle this all on your own, you'd be stuck placing countless phone calls, responding to any number of emails, visiting locations, and putting in a lot of research. The wedding planner will offer a number of benefits here. First, they will often have professional working relationships with many of these services and can work you in and cut through some of the red tape. There are even some wedding planners who can work discounted prices with these locations.

These individuals often work on multiple weddings every week. Due to this, they know what all the local vendors and professionals have to offer and who has some time or space in their schedule. Even if you have been married before, the planner has seen more about weddings in one week than you've seen your entire life. The full-service wedding planner puts all this expertise to work for you and cuts down on the amount of work you need to do and the overall level of stress you have to deal with.

Flat-Fee Services

white chairs in a garden wedding
image source: Pixabay

When looking at the question "how much does a wedding planner cost," you will often run into a flat-fee service provider. This is someone who will charge you a flat fee based on the kind of services you need. Some wedding planners will actually begin work prior to the engagement and work with you in selecting the right engagement ring and take you right to the last call of the reception. 

There are others who will provide partial service in which you pick out what you would like to do and hand over the rest to the wedding planner. The flat-fee wedding planners may have a set fee for selected services and then charge an additional hourly rate if, for whatever reason, additional activities are required.

How Much Does A Wedding Planner Cost In Dollars?

bride holding wedding bouquet while hugging the groom
image source: Pixabay

If you're going to hire on a wedding planner simply for the day, you can expect to pay around $. This will vary depending on several factors. Location will play a big part. A Chicago wedding planner will cost more than a Little Rock planner. The time of the year can play a role as well. If you hire someone on during the slow time of the year, they may charge you less. They may also charge less if your wedding is on an off day (such as a Sunday or a Friday). Saturdays will always cost more for any wedding service, so many will offer discounts to off-day services.

The overall level of experience a wedding planner has will increase your wedding planner cost. Someone who has been in the game longer will have more experience working with the varying vendors. They may be able to pull some favors to get you into locations you might not have been able to without their help. There's nothing wrong with hiring a new wedding planner. They will probably be less expensive, although they will also likely have fewer ties to local vendors.

The full-service wedding planner who is there pre-engagement and works with you all the way through the reception can cost you more than $$$. Now, ten grand for a wedding planner is rare, and it usually only takes place if you have a large wedding in an expensive destination; but it is not unheard of. The popular wedding website "The Knot" recommends putting away around 15 percent of your wedding budget for the wedding planner. So unless you're spending over 100 grand for a wedding, you won't come close to the $$$ price tag.

Related Questions

I’m Not Sure If I Need A Wedding Planner. Is There Another Option?

If after going through "how much does a wedding planner cost," you're not sure if you actually need one, there is another option. You can hire what is known as a wedding consultant. This is someone who you bounce ideas off of, and they will point you in the best direction. You pay a flat fee for a few hours and they will basically give you the information to the locations you want. 

How Do I Know If I’m Hiring The Right Wedding Planner?

wedding table arrangements
image source: Pixabay

When considering the question "how much does a wedding planner cost," you'll find different planners cost different amounts. But which one is right? Just like hiring a contractor or a plumber, you want to perform background checks. You should also make sure they have been certified through the Association of Bridal Consultants. This will help give you peace of mind that the person knows what they are talking about (and what they're doing).

In the end, it's not so much a question of "How much does a wedding planner cost" as "Is it worth the cost to have a wedding planner?" Anyone who has suffered and struggled through planning and executing a complicated or elaborate wedding will likely tell you a wedding planner is worth every penny. In the end, though, it's up to you. Only you can make the right choice for your special day; so think carefully about all the different factors: and then got on with enjoying your future!

10 Helpful Tips And Step-by-Step Instructions For How To Officiate A Wedding

aisle of a wedding venue
aisle of a wedding venue

Image by Pixabay

So, one of your really good friends or relatives is getting married and they've asked you to be a part of this special day by officiating their wedding. If you have been asked to help make things official at a ceremony, keep reading. Below we are going to walk you through, step-by-step, how to officiate a wedding. We are also going to be discussing 10 helpful tips and things you should avoid on that fateful day. Everything you need to know is below; so, what are you waiting for? Keep scrolling!

Who Can Officiate A Wedding?

newly wed couples

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Before you start to learn the ins and outs of how to officiate a wedding, you're probably going to want to know who can even officiate a wedding in the first place. The truth is, it varies by state here in the United States, and as such can be a little confusing. Keep reading for three of the most common types of people that can officiate a wedding:

Religious

Easily the most common officiant for a wedding is a religious figure. Weddings play a role in many religions, and as such it is common for officiants to be a member of a church. Religious officiants can include clergy, rabbi, priests, and ministers.

Civil

If religion doesn't play a role in the bride and groom's day-to-day life, it's not uncommon to see weddings overseen by a civil officiant. A civil officiant means that the ceremony is performed by a civil servant which can include judges, court clerks, and more. If you've heard the term “courthouse wedding,” you can expect to have a civil officiant performing the marriage rites.

Other

If you're reading this article, chances are you're not a religious or civil figure. In today's day and age, the idea of having someone close to you officiate your wedding is becoming more and more popular. In fact, you can get ordained online in a matter of minutes and be as official as a priest waiting for the “I do's.”

Why Would Someone Want To Learn How To Officiate A Wedding?

cropped image of a newly wed couple at wedding stairs

Image by ANURAG1112 from Pixabay 

You may be wondering why someone would want to learn how to officiate a wedding. The truth is, as we've touched on above, it's an incredibly easy process that saves time and money. If couples opt for a religious officiant, it's not uncommon for those figures to require the bride and groom to take a certain number of religious-based classes centered around marriage before they are allowed to wed. It's also standard procedure for you to be a member of the church and religion that your potential officiant is a member of.

Having a friend or family member officiate a wedding is a much simpler process than working with religious or civil figures. It's also a great way to keep things intimate. After all, if a couple is having a small wedding, an added unknown religious or civil figure can easily alter the mood of a room. In just a few clicks, you'll be helping out, saving time, and learning a thing or two yourself.

What Are The Steps For Officiating A Wedding?

kissing couple after the wedding ceremony

Image by Noemi-Italy from Pixabay 

Now that you know a little more about officiants for weddings, we can get into the nitty-gritty, step-by-step tutorial on how to officiate a wedding. Keep in mind that every state's laws on weddings and officiants are different, so be prepared to do a little outside reach in order to complete the process correctly. Keep reading for a standard and thorough walkthrough below:

Step One: Get Your License

Step Two: Plan With The Bride And Groom

Step Three: Write The Ceremony

Step Four: Arrive Early

Step Five: Officiate And Sign

10 Helpful Tips To Remember

bride wearing the ring to the groom

Image by kgorz from Pixabay 

Now that you know the step-by-step tutorial of how to officiate a wedding the right way, you can move on to some helpful tips and reminders. Below we've put together 10 of the top tips you'll want to keep in mind if you want a successful and stress-free experience officiating your first wedding. Avoid the extra drama and mishaps by heeding our advice below:

Tip One: Meet the Couple

The first tip you'll want to remember when learning how to officiate a wedding is to meet the couple beforehand. You may already know one of the people getting married rather well; however, it's always great to make the effort to get to know the spouse as well. Getting to know the bride and groom as a couple will be essential to you creating a ceremony and vows around their personal relationship.

Tip Two: Lead with Love

It can be tempting to create a ceremony that gets people laughing instead of crying. This is especially true for people officiating their friends' weddings. Our biggest piece of advice is to always lead the ceremony with love. Marriage is such a sacred act that making jokes and turning the conversation too light may seem inappropriate. Take special note of the individuals attending the wedding; if your audience is more traditional, they'll likely appreciate something more even toned.

Tip Three: Double Check

If you have been asked to write the ceremony or vows, double check everything before the special day. One of the best things you can do is run your script by the bride and groom or wedding coordinator before performing it. Sometimes another opinion is all you need to avoid a mistake or make something great!

Tip Four: Read It Out Loud

Before you perform your duties on that special day, one of the best tips we can give you is to read it out loud. Reading out loud is much different from reading in your head and the same is true for reading something alone versus in a crowd. Don't be afraid to ask for your friends, loved ones, or even the bride and groom for a chance to practice reading your script out loud before the big day.

Tip Five: Speak Clearly

One of the ways you can ensure success when learning how to officiate a wedding is to speak clearly and loudly. Mumbling or talking too fast can easily ruin the moment not only for the bride and groom but for the guests involved as well. Take your time and enunciate to the best of your ability.

Tip Six: Don't Be Nervous

For our next tip, we'd like to stress that you keep your nerves at bay. This may seem easier said than done; however, simple techniques like taking a deep breath and relaxing your shoulders can help keep nerves at bay. After all, you want to ensure you can speak clearly and confidently for such an important day.

Tip Seven: Write It Down

If you've been tasked with memorizing your script, you'll want to write it down at least once. Writing something down can help commit it to memory. It also gives you a chance to objectively look at the entire script, which makes it easier to improve it and make unbiased changes.

Tip Eight: Be Helpful

Learning how to officiate a wedding for your friends or family is one of the nicest things you can do. That being said, it's always nice to offer additional help throughout the day. Offering to help seat people or MC is a great way to be a big help.

Tip Nine: Stick Around

When you're asked to learn how to officiate a wedding, you may be wondering whether or not you're considered a traditional guest. More often than not, the officiant is welcome to join in the festivities after the ceremony. After you've played such an important and essential role in the day, the bride and groom will likely love it if you stayed throughout the festivities.

Tip Ten: Be Confident

If a bride or groom has asked you to be an officiant, you have all the reason in the world to be confident when delivering the ceremony. Hold your head high and know that you're a vital part of this process. Without you, no would be able to legally get married, so lead with confidence as well as love!

Conclusion

Now that you know the ins and outs of how to officiate a wedding, you can begin to prepare with confidence. During this process, always do your best to keep in mind that this is a great honor your friends or family have bestowed you with. Some people even find that an officiant is a more sacred role in the marriage ceremony than the best man or groomsmen. No matter your involvement, be helpful and appreciative that you're a part of such a life-changing day!

AliExpress Wedding Dresses Review: What You Need To Know When Buying Online

woman in a wedding dress

As a bride on a budget, you are always on the hunt for a bargain. If you are looking to save a ton of money, buying your wedding dress online is one way to cut costs. But where do you go to buy an online wedding dress? Amazon.com is typically the place to start, followed by eBay and Etsy. But have you heard about AliExpress.com? In this Aliexpress wedding dresses review, we'll be walking you through the pros and cons of buying your wedding dress online through this inexpensive international market.

Comparison Table

Product Name

Price

Aliexpress.com

Lightinthebox

BridesFamily.com

Milanoo.com

What Is AliExpress.com?

woman holding her shoes

image source: Pexels


AliExpress is a Chinese online retailing subsidiary of the giant company AliBaba. AliExpress is challenging online giants like Amazon and eBay by providing affordable products to the world. Unlike Amazon.com, Aliexpress.com is a trading platform, not a supplier. Technically, when you buy a wedding dress through Aliexpress.com, you are purchasing from a specific seller, not the site.

Aliexpress Wedding Dresses Review

wedding dresses

image source: Pexels

The wedding dresses we selected for this Aliexpress wedding dresses review were listed and offered by different suppliers. Overall, most of the wedding dresses are manufactured in small- or medium-sized factories or family-owned workshops. The wedding dress manufacturers are mostly located in Suzhou and Guangzhou, China. These two cities alone make up the manufacturing center of wedding apparel in China.


So Many Choices

Another thing we discovered in our Aliexpress wedding dresses review is that the range of styles featured on the site is extensive. You could never find this wide a range of wedding dress styles in a brick-and-mortar store. A search for wedding dresses at Aliexpress.com resulted in over 455,000 gowns! So, whatever style you are looking for, you will easily find it on Aliexpress.com.


Familiar Designs

The Chinese wedding dress brands we researched in our Aliexpress wedding dresses review are traditional western wedding dresses and are designed to appeal to a worldwide audience.  More than a few of the styles took their inspiration from world-famous designers. What is unknown is whether this is intellectual property theft or just a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.


An Important Note On Sizing

What we do know is that for a hugely discounted price, you will receive a custom-made dress, tailored to your measurements. The only hazard we discovered in this Aliexpress wedding dresses review was the sizing element. Please, please,please make sure you are conforming to the supplier's sizing standards before you place an order.


The professional sellers on Aliexpress.com often offer European or American sizing standards, but there are others who used Chinese sizing standards to make the dresses. So remember to measure twice before you hit the buy button because you don't want to receive an improperly sized dress for your big day.

Pricing

woman holding a bouquet

image source: Pexels

Our Aliexpress wedding dresses review uncovered a range of prices for wedding dresses—from about $20 up to around $1400. This means you can find a wedding dress to fit any budget.


Free shipping is only available on select items and often lasts for a limited time only. You can use the “free shipping” filter on the top of the listing page to display only the wedding dresses for sale that include free shipping.


We found one hidden cost in our Aliexpress wedding dresses review: import taxes. There are import taxes for all items purchased overseas and shipped to the United States. It's your legal responsibility to pay import taxes. So be mindful that your $20 wedding dress will cost you more than $20, and make sure you budget accordingly.

How It Compares


We picked a few similar wedding dress suppliers to see how they compare to AliExpress.

  • Lightinthebox
  • BridesFamily.com
  • Milanoo.com

AliExpress.com

Ease Of Ordering: 

Our Aliexpress wedding dresses review revealed that ordering from Aliexpress was as not as easy as selecting the dress, picking a standard size and color, and then clicking buy. There were lots of measurements to take and more conversation with the seller than what is often encountered with suppliers like Amazon. However, all the extra work on the bride's part delivered a custom-made wedding dress. So, in the long run, the extra time, effort, and contact with the seller was a good thing.

Order Fulfillment Time:

Shipping is typically 60 days and could be more if your package gets flagged by customs.

Design Quality:

As a third-party seller, Aliexpess.com has no way to control the quality of any product listed on the site. Our Aliexpress wedding dresses review flagged this as the biggest disadvantage of buying wedding dresses online. The quality standards all depend on whether the sellers are honest with their product descriptions or not.


To confirm the quality of the wedding dress you've picked out, you have no choice but to do more research on the seller through their customer reviews. However, you can take some comfort in the fact the whole transaction process is under the supervision and financial protection of Aliexpress.com.

Warranty:

Aliexpress.com offers a full refund only if the item is not received. A full or partial refund may be given if the quality of the wedding dress is not as described. Refunds on custom-made wedding dresses are given only if the product received isn't as it was described. Return shipping is paid by the buyer. Our Aliexpress wedding dresses review found that, in the cases of deeply discounted wedding dresses, the return shipping could easily exceed the cost of the item.

PROS

  • Huge selection of wedding dresses
  • Prices that will fit any budget
  • Gowns custom-tailored to fit the bride-to-be

CONS

  • Quality of the product not controlled by Aliexpress.com
  • Import tax is a hidden cost
  • Shipping can take over 60 days
  • Returns and refunds are difficult to negotiate

Lightinthebox.com

Lightinthebox.com is a global online retail company that delivers products worldwide. The company was founded in 2007 and specializes in three core categories: apparel, small accessories, and gadgets for the home and garden.

Ease Of Ordering: 

Lightinthebox.com conforms to the standard method of online purchasing. Pick a wedding dress, pick a size and color, press buy. There is also a tailor-made option, which lengthens the purchasing process by requiring the bride to have her measurements on hand. However, the custom measurements are submitted by checking a box labeled "Custom Measurements" and typing in the numbers. No direct contact with the seller is required.

Order Fulfillment Time: 

Expedited shipping is available for many of the wedding gowns we reviewed in our Aliexpress wedding dresses review. Tailoring was also done within 9 to 15 days on the gowns we selected. However, what was advertised was not always a reality. Delays in production and especially in shipping were common. Was this the fault of the manufacturer, shipping company, or customs? Impossible to determine, especially as the communication from the company regarding these issues was either non-existent or untimely.

Design Quality: 

The wedding dresses we selected in this Aliexpress wedding dresses review all looked gorgeous in the pictures. However, a glance at the online reviews for these products revealed that the materials used to make the gowns were often not what was advertised. On many occasions, the design, while still beautiful, differed greatly from the website description.

Warranty: 

Before ordering, read their FAQs and return policies so you understand any items you need to exchange or return will have to be shipped back to China at your expense. There is a short timeframe in which to initiate a cancellation, return, or exchange. Also, their policies vary depending on the products you order.


For wedding dresses, our Aliexpress wedding dresses review found that wedding dresses, whether standard size or custom-made, that do not fit properly but are in accordance with the specifications you ordered, cannot be returned or exchanged. Your only option is to look for a local tailoring service at your own cost.

PROS

  • Over 1200 wedding dresses featured
  • Reasonably priced with all under $1000
  • Custom tailoring available

CONS

  • Advertised shipping times not accurate
  • Cancelations, returns, and refunds difficult with short timeframes
  • Custom gowns cannot be returned, even if ordered in a standard size
  • Communication from the company in the form of order confirmations, shipping, etc. not timely

BridesFamily.com

Bridesfamily.com was founded in 2009, and they launched their exclusive brand of gowns in 2014. They have over 1500 wedding gowns featured on their site. If you cannot find the style you are looking for, you can have it custom made by sending drawings or photos of the gowns to Bridesfamily.com.

Ease Of Ordering:

Bridesfamily.com conforms to the standard method of online purchasing. Pick a wedding dress, pick a size and color, press buy. There is also a tailor-made option, which lengthens the purchasing process by requiring the bride to have her measurements on hand. However, the custom measurements are submitted by checking a box labeled "Custom Size" and typing in the numbers. No direct contact with the seller is required.

Order Fulfillment Time:

Shipping is advertised to be 3 to 5 days. We could not find any evidence that there were significant delays in the shipping of items from Bridesfamily.com.

Design Quality:

The wedding gowns featured were beautiful, and the reviews were overall positive. Buyers were pleased with their gowns and stated that they were exactly as advertised.

Warranty: 

A very complicated but comprehensive refund and exchange policy is listed on their website. Returns must be arranged within five days. Refunds are only offered for products that are defective or sent by mistake. And if your dress doesn't fit, your only option is to take it to a tailor for alterations at your own expense.

PROS

  • Over 1500 wedding dresses
  • You can design your wedding dress and have it custom made
  • Dresses are all priced well under $1000

CONS

  • Strict return and exchange policy
  • Shipping from China may involve delays because of customs
  • If the wedding dress does not fit, you must have it altered at your own expense

Milanoo.com

Founded in 2008 by Albert Feng, Milanoo.com is a leading online retail store based in Chengdu, China. Milanoo.com specializes in men's and women's clothing, wedding and special events items, cosplay costumes, and a wide variety of other products. Milanoo.com takes pride in the high quality of their products.

Ease Of Ordering:

Milanoo.com conforms to the standard method of online purchasing. Pick a wedding dress, pick a size and color, press buy. There is also a tailor-made option, which lengthens the purchasing process by requiring the bride to have her measurements on hand. However, the custom measurements are submitted by checking a box labeled "Tailor Made" and typing in the numbers. No direct contact with the seller is required.

Order Fulfillment Time:

Shipping to the United States on the gowns we reviewed in this Aliexpress wedding dresses review was cited to be 24 hours up to a week, depending on the style. The only exception was if the dress was tailor-made. In the case of tailor-made dresses, the bride would need to add approximately 25 days to the process. Unfortunately, a quick perusal of Milanoo.com reviews revealed that although a short shipping window is advertised, many items were received far past that timeframe. It's unknown if that was a delay in shipping at the company or whether the items were held up in customs.

Design Quality:

Milanoo.com states that their manufacturing teams are handpicked and all of their products go through strict quality control checks. A perusal of the online reviews for purchases made through Milanoo.com does not seem to support their statement, and some buyers have noticed their products have an odor, the colors could be faded, and the gowns wrinkled.

Warranty:

The return policy at Milanoo.com is complicated and frustrating. One must submit a return or exchange application and then wait for the company to respond. If the company doesn't respond within seven days, they may have closed out the claim without addressing the customer's concern. Also, return shipping is paid by the buyer and subject to a restocking fee. Our Aliexpress wedding dresses review also uncovered an extensive list that Milanoo.com recommends buyers take into consideration before requesting a return or exchange.

PROS

  • Website is easy to navigate
  • Over 9,000 different wedding gowns
  • Reasonable prices
  • Speedy shipping advertised

CONS

  • What is advertised might not be what is received
  • Shipping speed may not be accurate as the items are coming from China and can get held up in customs
  • Returns and exchanges are difficult to negotiate

Conclusion


In our Aliexpress wedding dresses review, we have determined that you can save big dollars by buying a wedding dress online. The huge selection and deeply discounted pricing are the two main reasons Aliexpress is rated one of the biggest online destinations to shop for wedding gowns. Whether you want a super-cheap wedding dress or a luxury wedding dress, the site has an amazing variety of styles but there is no room in this online store to be a Bridezilla.

Our Aliexpress wedding dresses review discovered the most important point regarding buying a wedding dress online: you are doing business with a foreign country. There are language barriers when dealing with sellers and customer service. Shipping is often out of the manufacturer's control. The item may be shipped as advertised (a breath-taking 24 hours in some cases) but could encounter significant delays going through customs. There is also a hidden cost—that pesky import tax on items purchased overseas, which will affect the cost of your purchase.

And last but not least, when ordering from any of these wedding dress suppliers, you cannot simply walk into a local store and try on the gown. If that discount bridal gown doesn't fit, returning it may not be an option. So, keep in mind that the gown may need last-minute alterations, driving up the cost of that inexpensive wedding gown, and budget accordingly.