Couples who want their wedding ceremony to be a memorable, specially designed occasion will eventually have to answer these two questions: Should they have a do-it-yourself wedding, planned by the bride and groom with help from friends and family? Or should they hire a professional wedding planner to handle the many tasks associated with these events?  


Not surprisingly, Pasadena-area wedding planners maintain their services can alleviate a couple’s stress by allowing a more experienced and knowledgeable person to sweat the small — and large — details. 


“I truly believe a professional wedding planner is a gift to the bride and groom,” says Candace Lam of Pasadena-based Love Is Sweet Events. “It gives them peace of mind and lets them enjoy their wedding. Some people think they can do it themselves. But it can get very stressful on their wedding day. They shouldn’t have to be calling the vendors, asking where the cake is. The photographer will be constantly taking their pictures on wedding day, and this stress shows in the pictures.”


“We know all the vendors,” says Chabeli Sanchez, a wedding planner and the owner of P.S. & Associates Event Planning. “That takes all the legwork out of planning. I don’t have to hunt on the Internet for 10 hours to find a vendor.


“A lot of brides these days want a more do-it-yourself, smaller, intimate wedding,” she adds. “But they still need someone to run the show the day of the wedding.” That “someone” can be a wedding coordinator. 


“There are differences between a planner and a coordinator,” says Cindy Pham of Mad Love Events. “A wedding planner plans the whole wedding. A coordinator takes over the month before or the day of the wedding and executes the couple’s plans, so the pair has time to plan the wedding themselves.  You don’t spend all the money to have a planner, but you have someone who can help the couple enjoy their wedding day.”


Mad Love Events offers four options ranging from extensive, long-term wedding production to wedding-day-only coordination. Love Is Sweet Events provides four packages, with the coordination-only option starting at $1,900 and the more comprehensive “Love with All of Your Heart Planning Package” starting at $6,500. 


Pham estimates it will cost at least $8,000 to hire a planner, and between $2,500 and $3,000 for a coordinator, while Sanchez says it can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more for wedding planning services. 


However, some wedding planners argue they can actually save their clients’ money. “We get discounts from vendors,” says Sanchez. 


Couples who hire professionals must also be comfortable relinquishing control of the details to someone else — a problem for those who prefer to be in charge. 


“It’s always good to have someone for support and guidance, to give their professional opinions and suggestions and cohesive designs, who will help you along the way,” says Pham.