The Wedding Planner: The Right One Can Help You Cut Wedding Costs

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You'd think hiring a wedding planner would increase your Big Day costs, wouldn't you? Not always. The right, experienced professional can save more than it costs to hire him or her. Such was the case with Elaine Atencio and Albert Nam, who estimate they saved thousands with their pro planner, Wendy Lee of Weddings by Wendy in Toronto. "She kept us on budget and looked for places to help us save," says the couple. "She's about smart spending. And she definitely saved us time and anxiety."

Certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, Lee has been in the business for more than 10 years. "Experienced wedding planners have built up a network of trustworthy suppliers and the industry knowledge that allows them to see easily where clients should spend and where they should save. Couples should be able to present their budget and receive advice on vendors who fit their style and resources," she says. "And honestly, I just love a good deal. Why spend a lot of money when a little legwork and effort can cut costs? A better price just makes everything that much sweeter."

As well as hunting down deals at every turn, Lee also passes savings onto her clients via preferred rates she's negotiated with her most trusted photographers, florists, jewellers, makeup artists and venues. Because she's saving them the trouble of searching out business, her suppliers are happy to offer services to Lee's clients at a discount. "Referrals from a wedding planner streamlines the process," says Trina Turl, a photographer from The Art of Weddings.

Nicole North, owner of Petals, Stems & Leaves in Richmond Hill, doesn't discount. But working with Weddings by Wendy simplifies the process for her as much as it saves money for Lee's clients. "Wendy is unique," she says. "Wendy understands flowers and building arrangements so well that she knows exactly where she can make adjustments without compromising the impact of the final product. I don't have to explain complicated floral-design concepts or undermine my own high standards."

For Lee her career is about helping people create the dream day they've always wanted. "It's not about what vendors I want to work with or what decor I want to see. The clients make the decisions. What they want is my focus," she says. "I'm here to help with advice, research, and know-how, to save time and maximize all resources, but it's the clients' day, built to their wishes and personality."

For spend/save tips and how Elaine and Albert saved, see Budget-Friendly Planning in the MetroNews. Because saving on the day of your wedding dreams, of all days, is a thing of beauty.

Image of Wendy Lee courtesy of Weddings by Wendy, www.bridal.net. Photography, Alexis Jardin.