Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I’m the owner of Serendipity Events, an event planning & design company based in San Diego. I’ve been in the wedding industry over 13 years and I seriously LOVE what I do. I have had the pleasure of planning birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, retirements, galas, corporate parties, and of course lots of weddings!! I seriously pinch myself daily in disbelief that my job is to help people celebrate their most precious moments in life. I am so grateful to have met Emily and Ryan from Emry Photography throughout this journey and get to collaborate with other passionate creatives in the wedding industry. When they asked me to share some thoughts on their wedding photography blog I was so excited! There are so many things I can geek out over and write for pages about what we do and why we do it. But one thing we’ve chatted about time and time again is how important it is to have a wedding planner throughout the wedding planning process and that many couples are still not taking advantage of this resource! So, here’s the plan. I’m about to walk you through why it is so important to hire a wedding planner and how you can choose the perfect wedding planning collection for you and your fiancé!

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Laura, you’re a wedding planner, of course you would say that everyone needs a planner!” And while, yes, I might be biased in this category, I have been a bride, and I have talked with a lot of couples over the years who have planned weddings with and without a planner. I will tell you 100% of our couples have been happy with their decision to hire our services, and I have never had a couple tell me they had regret hiring a wedding planner. However, I have had people express that if there was anything they would do differently on their wedding day it would be hiring a planner.

Friends, we hear it all the time. “We don’t have it in the wedding budget”, “Our venue offers a day of coordinator”, “We decided to do it all ourselves”, “My sisters cousins best friends dog likes to plan parties”! Okay, maybe the last one was a little extreme but these are all reasons we hear why couples choose NOT to hire a wedding planner. Let me be a myth buster – you likely do have it in your budget, chances are your wedding venue coordinator does not cover the full scope of what wedding planners do, you shouldn’t have to do it all yourself, and while your sisters cousins best friends dog is probably a great stress relief for you, he’s probably a better ring bearer than wedding planner!

Let’s take a minute and break this down. Wedding planners are experts in this field. We live, breathe, and love all things weddings and events. While likely this is your first time planning an event of this scale and caliber, we’ve done it. We know the rules, the expectations of vendors, the lingo, the boring legal stuff, and the tricks of the trade. We know how to get you from “Yes, I will!” to “Yes, I do!” while still having fun and not being a total stress case! Seriously, it’s possible to LOVE planning your wedding!

The most important thing to understand is the why. Why hire a wedding planner? Why trust someone with what is supposed to be the best day of your life? Why spend that money on wedding planning when you can spend it on something more “fun” and tangible?

Here’s why…

We have the tools to make it easy.

We’ve got templates, worksheets, workbooks, contacts, information, and answers at the tips of our fingers. Consider us your one stop shop for Google, Pinterest, and Instagram searching. We’re here to keep you organized, on track, and inspired! You might hire a travel agent when going to a new country because you have never been, you don’t speak the language, and you just want to experience all the amazing things in the short amount of time you have. Well guess what? We’re the travel agents of the wedding industry. We know all the things – and what we don’t know, we will find out for you! We want you to enjoy every possible moment of this journey and it’s our goal to guide you through the process and love every sight along the way.

You’re busy!

You’ve got a job, friends, family, hobbies, a social life, and probably a side hustle! Planning a wedding can truly be a full-time job. Hiring a planner for your wedding day means hiring someone to do the WORK so you can do the fun stuff. We never ask our couples to step out of any piece of the process they don’t want to step out of, but we are here to take it all on if need be. After all, this is your day and your planning journey and we’re here to help you how you need it. While you’re out there trying on the  wedding dress of your dreams and tasting countless cocktails and wedding cake, let us answer the emails, negotiate the contracts, request proposals, and solve the problems.

It’s supposed to be the best day of your life!

Seriously you guys, I’m right there with you! I want this to not only be the best day of your life but the best months of your life. I want you to enjoy the engagement and planning just as much as the wedding day itself. Think of the planning process like the most magical firework show you’ve ever seen and the wedding is the grand finale! It should all be beautiful and perfectly orchestrated.

We can save you money!

Yes, we charge for our services. Yes, it can seem like a scary number. But let me be honest with you – It’s because we work damn hard for you! We dream big with you, we laugh with you, we cry with you, we take care of the MIL for you! 😉 We put in the hours, we’ve vetted the people, we’ve taken classes and educated ourselves for you and your most important day. We don’t take our jobs lightly and we will be with you to walk with you every step of the way. Planners are there to look at the big picture. We look at your priorities, look at the budget, and help you navigate how to make as many of your dreams come true as possible without breaking the bank. We know vendors in your budget, we know ways to cut and places that you shouldn’t.

It’s your day, you should enjoy it!

On average, our weddings see 8-10+ vendors participate in the wedding day. This doesn’t include the countless staff it takes to build the dance floor, fill your water goblets, pick up your trash, light all your candles, cut the cake, and fluff the pillows on the perfect Instagram-worthy lounge you rented. All of these vendors have questions, they need guidance, they need an extra hand, or an unexpected problem solved. Without a planner, those vendors call you, or the family member you have designated to be “the contact” for the day. Without wedding knowledge, experience, or an understanding that one last minute decision can be a snowball effect on changing 12 other points on the timeline – the day can take a scary turn quickly. We are with our clients from start to finish on the wedding day. When your wedding venue opens, we’re there – when vendors arrive, we’re there – when you’re ready to walk down the aisle, we’re there fluffing your train and perfectly placing your veil. When it’s time to blow out the candles, clean up smashed cake, and pack up the decor, we’re there! Our goal is to make sure you have the time of your life and that your family and friends are right there with you enjoying every step of the way!

Okay, so we’ve got you hooked and convinced that you need a planner, right?! Now what? There’s too many to choose from and way too many package options! How do you choose? Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:

What is our budget?

The short of it is, a planning package should typically be around 10-12% of your total event budget. If you’re not sure, or the numbers don’t feel right to you, ask the planners you’re talking to. Know your total wedding budget and ask them to help you navigate the best package. Often times with clients we figure out exactly what they need and want out of a planner, figure out their planning sweet spot in the budget, and create something special just for them to get the most bang for their buck!

How do we choose?

There are a ton of wedding planners out there and I can only imagine how overwhelming it can be to look at all the choices. If hiring a planner is your first wedding task, ask family and friends and use wedding specific search engines to start (think The Knot and WeddingWire).  If you already have your venue, or a few vendors picked out don’t be afraid to ask them! Most vendors and venues have their favorites list and can give you guidance on who would be a great fit for you. Narrow down a few top contenders and interview! Grab a cup of coffee, FaceTime, schedule a call, whatever it takes. You will work closely with your wedding planner so it’s important you like them and feel good when talking all things weddings. Find out the details of the company – Who is the planner? Do they have a team? How many weddings have they produced? Do they have a certification and/ or any professional training? Have they worked at your venue before? Is it their full-time job?  What is their planning process? Why do they do what they do? All important questions for you to ask!

What package is best for us?

Serendipity Events sends out a very detailed questionnaire to determine a couples best package so there truly isn’t a black and white answer to this. Some of our couples come to us knowing exactly what they are looking for and others know they need help but not sure where to start. If you’re unsure of the level of service you need your planner should be able to guide you. But in general, here’s some things you should ask yourself… What is our budget? I know, the dreaded money talk again, but friends it’s important to know your number! Do you need support throughout the whole planning process, or primarily just on the day of the wedding? Do you want to negotiate and handle all the back and forth emails with vendors or do you want someone else to handle that? Do you want someone to design the space? While Serendipity primarily customizes our packages, we do have 3 pre-designed planning packages that are a good starting point for couples to decide what services they may need. We have our Final Details Packages, Partial Planning Package, and Full Design and Event Management Package. You can see a detailed list of all services included here!  Take a peek, use it for reference, and think about what would be ideal for YOU. And never hesitate to ask a planner to customize!

Okay, you made it! You read all the way through my thoughts on the who, what, and why of hiring a wedding planner. I could go on for longer, but I’ll spare you the continuous passionate rant and leave you with this. If you’re engaged, have a friend that’s engaged, or thinking about getting engaged – please remember the importance of a planner! We are here for you and will cherish the importance of your day like it’s our own! If you’re just starting the wedding planning process, or a month away get yourself a planner! If you don’t know where to start – email me!! Let’s talk about the who, what, and why for YOU!

I am beyond excited for all of you and your engagement journey! I truly wish for you the best wedding planning process and the most magical wedding day!


Laura Schwandt

About the Author

Laura has been planning and executing special events for over 10 years. In 2009 she earned her BA in Communication and a certificate in Meeting and Event Planning, and later completed a MA in Communication and Leadership with a certificate in Intercultural Communication and International Media.

She has experience in planning a wide range of special events including weddings, non-profit galas, and social events – both public and private. She currently sits on the board for the San Diego chapter of the International Special Event Society and enjoys giving back to the local and global community through various elements of community service.

Her educational background and industry experience allows her to seamlessly execute every detail throughout the planning process. Her exceptional communication skills allows her to interact with both the client and creative team effortlessly, providing a stress free environment for everyone involved.

With over a decade of experience in the industry – and a true passion for planning, organizing, and designing, Laura puts forth a calmness through the planning process of any event providing a truly memorable experience for her clients.

Did you guys like having a guest post on our blog? Should we do spotlight features on more amazing San Diego Wedding creatives? We would love to know what you guys thought. Leave a comment or go tell us your thoughts on Facebook or Instagram.


Ryan + Emily Burhop

of emry

We are wedding photographers for those who believe in love, because Emry originated out of love. Love for each other, for imagery and for creating things that were made to last. We serve southern California & beyond. Outside of photography, our life revolves around our son, Jude and our families.

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