Do You Need a Wedding Planner?

Most engaged couples know from the beginning that wedding planning is no easy feat. Between meeting with vendors, scheduling dress fittings, making seating charts, choosing decorations, and coordinating events with your wedding party, it can feel like planning your big day is a full-time job.

Fortunately some people do make wedding planning their full-time job. Hiring a wedding planner can help ease some of the stress of communicating with vendors and ironing out the details of your celebration. But is it really worth it to pay someone to plan your wedding?

If you're on the fence about hiring a wedding planner, this handy guide can help you decide if it's the right choice for you.

What does a wedding planner do?

A wedding planner plans and coordinates every detail of a couple's wedding day. Some planners simply offer day-of coordination services to take care of last-minute details at the ceremony and reception venue(s). Others offer full-service planning, and may work with you throughout your entire engagement.

For couples with demanding schedules (or who struggle with staying organized), a wedding planner can alleviate a lot of the stress of planning a wedding. This person is a professional who understands the ins and outs of weddings; they know exactly what needs to happen and when to ensure you have the celebration of your dreams. You won't have to worry about sneaking out of the office to take vendor calls or whether you've remembered to make all your final payments -- your wedding planner will take care of all of that for you.

According to Brides.com, a wedding planner may handle some or all of the following duties:

  • Vendor referrals and contract negotiations
  • Scheduling and attending all vendor meetings
  • Timeline and floor plans
  • Wedding budget management
  • Planning and coordinating design details
  • Coordinating hotel room blocks and transportation
  • Rehearsal management
  • Day-of coordination (ensuring everyone sticks to the timeline, managing vendors, handling emergencies, etc.)

What to consider before you hire a wedding planner

Here are a few important questions to ask yourself to help you determine if you should hire a wedding planner:

Do we have the budget for a wedding planner? This should be your first and foremost consideration. If hiring a wedding planner means you'll have to scrap another important aspect of your big day, it may not be the best choice. If money is a concern but you still think you can benefit from a wedding planner's help, you might consider just hiring a day-of coordinator to give you peace of mind on your wedding day.

Can we reasonably stay on top of our wedding plans ourselves? If you or your fiance are hyper-organized, Type A people, you may not actually need a wedding planner's help. However, if you're easily overwhelmed, have a very busy job, or simply don't want the responsibility of researching and coordinating everything yourself, hiring a wedding planner could be an excellent investment.

Do we want to have a destination wedding or get married in a non-traditional venue? A local planner can be extremely helpful if you're getting married far from home, where you can't easily attend vendor meetings. You might also consider hiring a planner to help you out if you're choosing a non-traditional venue (i.e., not a banquet hall or hotel ballroom). Wedding planners are used to working in all types of locations, so they can help you transform your space, even if your venue doesn't have on-site event staff to do that.

Are we comfortable giving someone else control of our wedding plans? Wedding planners are typically very collaborative and want to work with a couple to bring their vision to life. However, it can be scary to entrust someone else with one of the most important days of your life. Some couples would rather keep the reins so they can make sure everything is done exactly the way they envisioned. If this sounds like you, a planner might not be a wise decision. If, on the other hand, you're okay with delegating the more nitty-gritty details to a pro, go ahead and hire a wedding planner.

Think a full-service wedding planner is the right choice for you? Like any other wedding vendor, you should do your research, read reviews, get recommendations, and have a conversation with each of your potential wedding planners before you officially hire one. This person has the extremely important job of executing your wedding day vision, so you'll want to make sure you and your fiance can both trust that person to deliver.

What about online wedding planning tools?

Countless website and apps like The Knot, WeddingWire, and WeddingHappy exist to help couples track and coordinate wedding planning tasks. These tools can be a great alternative to hiring a wedding planning professional, especially if you and your fiance prefer to stay in control of vendor communications.

Most wedding planning tools are interactive, collaborative, and allow you to customize your to-dos based on your specific wedding details. Many will also give you a recommended timeline for completing certain tasks, such as booking specific vendors, making appointments, mailing invitations, purchasing gifts, etc.

We recommend using an online planner or checklist if you want the benefit of expert insights and organization for your wedding plans, without the expense of hiring a professional planner.

Can other vendors help us plan our wedding?

Absolutely! Most venues have a maître d' or other event staff member assigned to your wedding. These individuals will typically act as a day-of coordinator to ensure that everything is running smoothly and help your vendors figure out where they need to go when they arrive.

If you're hiring a DJ, a photographer, or a videographer, you will do some planning work up front to make sure the DJ plays all the songs you want to hear, and that your photo and video team gets every shot you want. You'll also work with them nail down your exact wedding timeline. With a timeline in hand, these vendors can communicate with each other to keep your wedding day on track.

At Hurricane Productions, we aim to give our clients a smooth, stress-free event planning experience. That's why we offer you access to our online planning portal, so you and your fiance can keep track of all your media and entertainment-related wedding plans. With our tool, you can fill out your wedding details, build your timeline, add special songs and playlist requests, and make payments at your convenience -- all in one place.

Whether you choose to hire a wedding planner or not, working with Hurricane means you can stay organized and on top of your plans for the big day.

Ready to book your wedding entertainment, photography or videography services? Check out our all-inclusive packages or request a quote to confirm our availability for your wedding date.

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If you would like to receive booking information or would like to make an appointment please contact us using the form below.

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NJCU Athletic Awards 2019: How We Transformed a Gym for an Awards Gala

Lots of universities hold their student award ceremonies on campus in a theater or gymnasium. Event organizers will often dress up these on-campus spaces with a few balloons, banners, and plastic tablecloths in the university colors. At NJCU, they fully transformed their gym into a sophisticated event venue worthy of any awards gala.

On May 6, 2019, New Jersey City University held its annual Athletic Awards Banquet. This "feel good" event celebrates a growing community of student athletes, administrators, and families, and highlights the athletic achievements of NJCU's Gothic Knights.

The banquet was held in the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (JMAC) -- but you'd never have known it. This 2,000-seat sports arena is normally set up for NJCU basketball and volleyball games. On the night of the Awards Banquet, though, it was nearly unrecognizable as a gymnasium.

Hurricane Productions and its sister brands MediaCutlet and CaneAV worked with NJCU's Athletic Administration to transform the facility into a fully functional ceremony space, complete with a custom-designed stage, lighting, and audio services.

Stage design

We set up a temporary stage in the JMAC arena as the focal point of the banquet. Black pipe-and-drape panels extended across most of the gymnasium floor to create the back of the stage. We also carefully arranged white cardboard boxes along the back "wall" for a unique visual element, as well as to pick up the stage lighting.

Lighting and effects

Every stage setup needs lighting, so we lined the front and back of the stage with uplighting to make sure everything and everyone on stage looked great. The green lighting matched NJCU's primary school color, and our synced lighting created an exciting atmosphere for the presenters and attendees.

Audio equipment

Hurricane provided a full audio system for the banquet, including speakers and microphones for the presenters.

With our extensive experience designing athletic events for Rutgers University, we felt confident in our ability to bring NJCU's vision for the Awards Banquet to life. Check out the finished product, including "before" shots, in our video from the event:

Looking to transform a space for a special occasion? Get in touch or fill out the form below to talk about how we can help you create the perfect event.

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Tell us a little about your vision for your event and we'll help you make it happen.

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Celebrate Your Sweet 16 in Style at the Island Chateau

The Island Chateau: Sweet 16 Venue in Staten Island, NY

Staten Island is an ideal location for any event with guests coming from both New Jersey and New York. If you're looking for an easily accessible Sweet 16 venue with elegance, charm, and sophistication, the Island Chateau is an excellent choice.

Located just off the Staten Island Expressway, the Island Chateau sits in the quiet community of Grasmere. This venue only hosts one event at a time, so the Island Chateau's staff will be entirely dedicated to your daughter's celebration.

When guests walk through the arched French doors, they'll be greeted by an impressive mosaic tile design. The carpeted grand staircase leads up to a second-floor balcony that's perfect for photo opportunities.

The Island Chateau's Banquet Room can be configured to accommodate small, intimate parties of 50, large celebrations of up to 220, and everything in between. It features large, draped windows and crystal sconces all along the walls, and exquisite chandeliers overhead. The room's pale walls are perfect for uplighting and Name in Lights designs to match her color scheme.

The oversized white tile dance floor is the focal point of the room, so all eyes will be on your daughter as she does her candle ceremony or special dances. The Island Chateau can also provide a throne-style white chair trimmed with gold, so your guest of honor can truly feel like a princess.

Planning a Sweet 16? Hurricane Productions offers several all-inclusive media and entertainment packages to suit your needs. Let us help you and your daughter plan the perfect birthday celebration. Request a quote or check out our pricing page for more details.

Rylee's Sweet 16 - Razberry's Banquet Center

Rylee's Sweet 16 at Razberry's

Rylee celebrated her Sweet 16 at Razberry's Banquet Center, an elegant Hunterdon County event venue located in Frenchtown. The ballroom was decked out in royal blue for Rylee's special night, from the table settings to the birthday girl's gorgeous gown.

Hurricane Productions provided entertainment and photography services for the evening. Our photographer, Corynn Egreczky took portraits of Rylee, her family, and her court on the grounds at Razberry's Banquet Center. The venue's gazebo and water fountain provided a beautiful backdrop for outdoor shots, while the lobby served as the perfect spot for indoor photos.

During Rylee's celebration, MC Robbie Padovano entertained the crowd with giant glow sticks and a dry ice cannon. Hurricane set up intelligent spotlighting and royal blue uplighting to match the event color scheme. We also designed a personalized graphic for Rylee and displayed it on two LED TV screens on the dance floor. As an add-on service, Rylee and her guests enjoyed the use of an attended photo booth throughout the evening.

Hurricane Productions offers all-inclusive media and entertainment packages for Sweet 16s, Quinceañeras, and Mitzvahs. Check out our pricing page for more details, or contact us to request a quote.

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