Anticipation Events celebrated TEN years as Chicago's best wedding planners in 2019. With all of that experience, what sets us apart are our innovative ideas, knowledge of the event landscape and best vendors, and the ability to design and coordinate. We disagree with the idea that your wedding "has" to be a certain way. Let's get creative and design a day that is totally YOU and doesn't conform. If you're looking for "wedding planners near me" or "wedding planners Chicago," the experts at Anticipation Events offer wedding planning for rad couples who want an amazing party but maybe haven't dreamed about their wedding day since they were five (or have, we do well under pressure.)
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finding the best wedding planner in chicago
We’re not going to lie. We think we’re the best wedding planners in Chicago - and beyond. And we know we’ll kick some serious butt when it comes to planning your wedding. But we also know that we don’t want you to hire us unless you agree. You’re going to spend a LOT of time talking to us in the months leading up to your wedding and even more time with us on your wedding day, so we want you to like us a lot! So, let’s go over some stuff you should consider before hiring a wedding planner, what it is that we really do, and why we think it’s key - even crucial - to hire a wedding planner for your big day.
what does a wedding planner do?
Many people wonder what does a wedding planner do. It’s just like the movies. We walk around barking orders at people while wearing a fancy headset and falling in love with the groom. NOT! As you can probably guess, wedding planning - like most jobs - is a lot less glamorous than you’d expect. We joke that we spend a lot of time schlepping boxes and herding cats, but we also spend a lot of time hunched over our laptops drinking coffee and sending emails, going through contracts, writing timelines and confirming every single detail. We also spend a lot of time talking to you about your wedding day and making sure we know exactly what you want so you have the best day of your lives.
The experienced team at Anticipation Events also:
- Researches vendors for clients. This means getting to know as many vendors as possible in Chicago and then spending time with you to figure out which vendors are perfect for your wedding and helping you book them.
- Reviews vendor contracts and help negotiate terms so you get exactly what you want and at a price that works for you. We’re crazy good at reading contracts and working with you and vendors to figure out how to make the most of your budget and more.
- Meets with potential clients, current clients, and vendors.
- Creates a wedding budget and works with you to build a wedding within that budget.
- Goes to walkthroughs and leads rehearsals.
- Creates ridiculously detailed timelines and checklists so your wedding day runs as smoothly as possible.
- Answers all the questions we can possibly answer for our clients and gives as much advice as they would like us to give.
- Answers all the questions we can possibly answer for our client’s vendors and goes back and forth with them in the weeks leading up to the wedding to get it all right.
- And, of course, we're on-site on your wedding day from beginning to end to make sure everything goes according to plan (or adjusting the plan if it doesn’t!), handling any last-minute emergencies, setting up escort cards and other little details, overseeing all of the other set-up needs, coordinating with other vendors to make sure we’re all on the same page all day, and being there to make sure you have everything you need (and a drink in hand) at all times!
what is the difference between a wedding planner, event designer, and wedding coordinator?
As wedding planners, we wear a lot of hats and it’s often confusing to figure out the difference between a wedding planner, a wedding coordinator and an event designer. We get it. There was a time before we did this when we didn’t know the difference either. Here’s the answer in a nutshell: A wedding planner usually works with you from the beginning to plan your wedding day. If you want someone to help you find a venue, book vendors, order invitations, and basically design the day from start to finish - a wedding planner is for you. But many clients like to plan their own weddings (and we get that - we do too!), so they usually hire a wedding coordinator. In that case, the client is their own wedding planner, but we’ll take over once they plan out the big pieces to make sure everything is executed perfectly on the day of. Essentially, a wedding planner plans and executes events; a wedding coordinator executes what you’ve planned.
An event designer, or stylist, is a bit different. A wedding planner/coordinator is generally deals with a lot of logistics (and trust us, there are a LOT of logistics), whereas a designer/stylist is thinks more about the aesthetics of how your wedding will look. They look at all of the elements - venue look, floral, lighting, place cards, place settings, etc. - and figure out how to put those all together to give you the wedding of your dreams.
We do all of the above - planning, coordinating, designing and styling. There’s overlap between them, so it can get confusing. Wedding planning isn’t a cookie-cutter business, so some couples may want a little wedding planning, a little styling and a lot of coordinating. Others may want more styling and less planning. No problem. We customize our services to fit each client’s needs, so call us and we’ll figure out what’s the right fit for you.
how much do wedding planners cost in Chicago?
Wedding planners cost anywhere from $600 to $4,320, according to WeddingWire's Annual Cost Guide, so the range is pretty broad. (1) In Chicago, we typically see wedding planners charge between $2,500 and $5,000 for day-of/month-of services and anywhere from $4,500 to $15,000 for partial or full planning.
Here are a few things that factor into a wedding planner’s rate and a lot of things we recommend considering when you book a wedding planner:
1. Experienced wedding planners give you peace of mind
There are a lot of new wedding planners out there who are trying to get their feet wet, so they don’t charge much in exchange for honing their craft on your wedding. If your budget is tight, this might be the right fit for you. You can get someone with a little experience who will help you out at a much lower rate than an experienced wedding planner. However, a word of caution if you go this route - you get what you pay for. You may get an incredible wedding planner who just needs more clients before they can charge more. But you might also get someone who’s very green and doesn’t know the ins and outs of planning a wedding and ends up being less than helpful in the end.
Experienced wedding planners charge more - typically $3,000 or more in Chicago - and there’s a good reason for it. With our years of experience comes a lot of knowledge. That knowledge can save you money in the long run and, most importantly, be put to good use if anything goes wrong because an experienced wedding planner will know how to handle any situation immediately. They will also know the other vendors - how they work, what to expect of them, and which ones may need more help. If you’re worried that anything will go wrong, get an experienced wedding planner and the peace of mind that goes with it.
2. Wedding planning is a business
When you book a wedding planner, you’re not just booking a person to help you out for the day. You’re hiring a business and that business is covered by insurance like any other business to make sure your wedding is in good hands. A proper wedding planning business, like Anticipation Events, carries insurance, has a back-up plan for every possible scenario, and has a professional reputation to back up its claims. When you hire wedding planners, make sure you hire a planner that has all of these things not only for peace of mind, but also to ensure that if anything goes wrong, you’re covered. (But also be assured that a good wedding planner will move heaven and earth to make sure nothing goes wrong!)
3. Prices depend on wedding planning services offered
The price of a wedding planner can vary greatly based on what’s provided as well. Some wedding planners put a cap on the number of hours they will work before the wedding and how early they will start working with clients before their wedding day (for some it’s a month out, for others it’s more). Bot all wedding planners or all wedding planning are created equal. At Anticipation Events, we offer unlimited availability via phone or email for questions and advice from the minute our client books us. If you book us two years before your wedding, you can ask us questions for two years. That means we’re probably not the cheapest wedding planners out there, but we prioritize quality over quantity and work very closely with a small number of clients each year to make sure we do our best for each one.
do I need a day-of wedding coordinator?
The short answer: YES! You do need a day-of wedding coordinator. The long answer: Absolutely yes! We’re admittedly biased here, but don’t just take our word for it. According to WeddingWire, using a wedding planner or coordinator can actually save you money. (2) And Brides magazine says one of the five reasons you should hire a wedding planner is because they will help you manage your stress leading up to and on your wedding day. (3) If that isn’t a great reason, we don’t know what is! So drop us a line and let us tell you many, many, many more reasons why you need us.