By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s almost wedding season.  Are you going to be walking down the aisle in the near future?  In this week’s Angie’s List report, Jim Donovan looks at some things you should keep in mind while planning your nuptials.

Loren and Morgan Snyder didn’t have a big budget for their wedding so they did most of the planning themselves.  But they did hire a pro to be on site for the big day.

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“The day of the event, she had to be assertive and she executed wonderfully. There were times when people were like ‘oh, she’s being pushy.’  In reality, she’s making sure things are happening when it needs to happen, to make sure she’s happy,” said Loren.

“Hiring a wedding planner will really reduce your stress around your special day, but be sure to get your contract in writing and understand exactly what’s going to be done and how much it’s going to cost,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

A good wedding planner will cost you anywhere from five hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on their involvement.  Your planner should provide some insights and maybe even discounts on things like florists or photographers, maybe even the venue.  And if you have your heart set on a special location for your wedding make sure you lock that in.

“Choose your venue first, not your date because the venue you love might not have the date available and that’s what we dealt with,” said Loren.

The couple also recommends making a list of special people you may want photographed, in addition to the standard wedding party and family photos.

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And if you’re investing thousands of dollars consider wedding insurance.

Venues can go out of business or photographers get sick.  But make sure you fully understand what is and isn’t covered.

More from Angie:

Here are four reasons why engaging a pro might be a good idea:

  1. Experience. There are many details to iron out before you walk down the aisle, from picking a venue to getting a marriage license. A wedding planner has been through the process and can guide you, step by step, so your big day is the one you’ve always imagined.
  2. Staying on budget. After an initial consultation with your wedding planner, he or she will map out a plan to keep the event at the price you set. The planner will find vendors to meet your price point and help with negotiating.
  3. Vendor relationships. Good wedding planners typically have a lineup of quality, reliable vendors they use regularly. Considering these vendors, along with checking reviews on Angie’s List, will give you peace of mind.
  4. Stress reduction. Taking the leap into matrimony is a life-changing event in itself. A good wedding planner will confirm that all vendors are ready for the day, and will handle any surprises, so you can focus on the big day.

 

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But before you hire a planner: Don’t just check references and Angie’s List reports. Be sure the person you hire is a good communicator and has a personality and style that match with yours. Be honest about what you can spend, and set realistic goals. Also, have a contract that covers all details so there’s no room for misunderstandings.