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How Long Does It Take To Plan A Wedding?

Planning a wedding! How difficult can it be? Just fill your day with the people you love in a place you love and add details that everyone will love! Sounds easy right? Well in reality it’s not so simple! Weddings are exhilarating, emotional and exhausting and it takes approximately 300-500 hours to plan a wedding in a period of 9-18 months! Do you really have the time to plan your own wedding? 

Why Hire A Wedding Planner?

Being a wedding planner is not all cake & confetti, however it is a privilege to work with couples on one of the most important days in their life.  I love being part of a day that celebrates love and happiness, family and unity! Hiring a wedding planner may seem like a big investment, but imagine the relief you will feel knowing you have an expert to manage the planning process, help you make informed decisions, keep track of the hundreds of details, attend vendor consultations with you, or in your place and then pull everything together into a perfectly coordinated wedding day. Between finding the perfect venue, coordinating the caterers, choosing the right photographer, organizing the flowers and styling, and keeping costs within your budget, they will keep on top of all those tasks.

You don’t want to spend your entire engagement trying to navigate all the moving parts of wedding planning, fussing over details and sending countless emails to vendors when you could be enjoying this precious time with your fiancé(e)! You can have peace of mind knowing that you have somebody not just to keep things moving and flowing on the day but also to handle any emergencies that may arise! Put your trust in a wedding planner and they will bring your vision to life!

Wedding planner in Budapest with bouquet

Wedding Planning Packages

Different wedding planners will provide different degrees of wedding planning services and handle the process in their own unique ways. Many planners offer a choice of packages ranging from full or partial planning to wedding design or month of coordination. You may not realise the extent of wedding planner duties, so I have listed them below. I provide most of these services and you will find that other wedding planners will offer variations and combinations of them, depending on the wedding package you choose. 

Before Contacting A Wedding Planner

It’s important to know your estimated budget, approximate date, guest count and your desired venue or at least the style of venue you wish before contacting a wedding planner. They won’t be able to give you an accurate quote for any wedding planning packages without knowing these details. For a more detailed list of questions that a wedding planner will probably ask check 30 Wedding Planning Questions For Engaged Couples.

Get To Know Your Wedding Planner

I like to have an initial get-to-know-you personal meeting or video chat so that I can learn more about the couple and to discuss all aspects of your wedding. It’s important that we are on the same page before signing any contract. There will be so much communication involved between you and your wedding planner throughout the planning process, it’s imperative that you get each other!

What Does A Wedding Planner Do For You?

Wedding Timeline Discussion

Budget Projection

You may discover that your wedding expectations are misaligned with your budget, however your wedding planner can set you straight. Once you’ve discussed all the details, your wedding planner can breakdown the wedding costs and create a detailed wedding projection for you. They will set you straight on all the hidden costs and do their best to get you the best value for your financial resources. 

Help With Wedding Venue Selection

Wedding planners spend hours researching, coordinating, list-making, and visiting all the best venues so that you don’t have to. They will provide a shortlist of venue recommendations that fit your style, budget and location. The amount depends on your agreement. They will accompany you on the tours of these venues or provide virtual tours by the way of live video call or prerecorded video. During the planning process they work with your venue to coordinate logistics and all details related to the venue.  

Wedding stationery flat lay by Margo and Bees
Wedding Stationery by Margo and Bees

Design & Distribute Wedding Invitations

Some wedding planners will assist with printing your invitation suite, send out your Save The Dates and invites and deal with RSVP’s. As I deal with couples from abroad, logistically it is better if they do this themselves or hire a professional living close to them for this part of the wedding planning process!

Create A Wedding Timeline

They will assist you in the development of the wedding day itinerary and create a detailed wedding timeline and floor plan for the the contracted vendors. They are the point of contact for your team of wedding professionals. They will communicate all your requests to them, provide them with the schedule and answer any questions they may have.

A wedding planner will assist you and guide you with your timeline of events for the day. Once you are happy with it they will create a timeline for the vendors, coordinate with your venue and make sure everyone arrives in plenty of time, ensuring everything gets completed in time. 

Provide Wedding Dress Shopping Assistance

On the wedding day, everything will be coordinated and set-up without the need for your presence. Each vendor from the florist to the furniture rental agency will know where and when they should set-up. 

Your wedding planner will do her best to ensure that the set up will be seamless and out of view of your guests ( venue permitting ). My biggest pet peeve is when I am a guest at a wedding and I witness the setup, it’s like sitting in your seat at the theatre and being able to see a performer standing in the wings side stage before it’s their time to enter. I always try to ensure that the guests only experience the finished product, not the process!

The wedding planner will oversee all the main events of the day to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that the couple and their guests are having the best experience possible!

Recommend Vendors & Wedding Creatives

Wedding planners offer recommendations for every possible wedding professional you should need, from catering companies to photographers to makeup artists and florists and everything in between.

They liaise between the couple and the wedding vendors/creatives before you book them and after, answer any questions you may have about their process and vice versa by answering their questions about your desires and timeline. They negotiate the fees and ensure they are getting the best deal. Your wedding planner will work with your selected vendors to obtain the contracts, they will review them and check that all details are correct before forwarding to you for signage. 

During the planning process they will continue to work with your selected vendors to answer any questions and coordinate all necessary logistics and details.

Florist giving wedding bouquet to wedding planner

Wedding Styling & Design

When couples hear “wedding planner” they immediately think of coordination and logistics. However, even more than that, a lot of wedding planners offer design services to accompany their full-service wedding planning duties, advising and assisting in the styling of the wedding, if the couple requests it. 

Wedding planners will create floor plans, mood boards, colour palettes and choose all the visuals such as flowers, furniture, draping and lighting. They will design your table decor, style your ceremony aisle and any backgrounds that need to be visually enhanced. They ensure the overall aesthetic carries throughout the event.

Coordinate A Design Mock-up

A wedding planner will schedule, coordinate and attend a mock-up of your table decor and/or any other elements. It’s advisable to do a mock-up if you are not sure about any details, from colours to floral combinations. What is a wedding mock-up you might ask? Well instead of just seeing images of the table wear, vases, swatches of fabric, colour samples or individual flowers , your wedding florist and design team creating your table decor will come together to crete an almost accurate creation of what your table will look like. They will create a guest table and set it as it will look on your wedding day, using all the elements that are required from the cutlery and glass wear to the floral centrepiece and the furniture. You can sit at the table an get a real feel for the atmosphere that the design will create. After you can make any edits you wish to ensure it is just perfect! Your florist or stylist may have a fabulous Instagram feed or have been featured in top wedding publications, however there is no harm in asking them to create a mock-up design for you. Seeing is believing after all!

Wedding Design Mock-up

Help Create The Wedding Playlist

Wedding planners have the experience to know what can fill a dance floor and what music can have guests lulling back into their seats. You can probably think of 3-5 songs that you often hear at weddings and perhaps another 5-10 of your favourite songs, however that won’t even fill up an hour. Your wedding planner can help curate and complete your wedding playlist.

They Will Vet The Performers

Your wedding planner will recommend the perfect type of entertainment taking into consideration your venue, the atmosphere you wish to create and your guests. They will ensure there is no ‘stop’ in the mood and flow of the day. They will vet the performers, make sure all their professional requirements are met, from staging and sound to dressing rooms and vendor meals.

Wedding car with bouquet at Várkert Bazár, Budpest by Dream Weddings Budapest
Arrive at your wedding venue in style!

Book Transportation To & From Venues

They will recommend transportation companies to suit your style and guest count.  If need be, they assist with the coordination of your guests transport to and from wedding venues. They will coordinate with the chauffeurs on the day to ensure they are in the right place at the right time and keep on top of guest arrivals and departures to ensure the wedding day schedule is adhered to.

They Keep You On Top Of Plans

In addition to the wedding services listed above a wedding planner will help you stay on top of things such as reminders of fees due, any obligations such as required documentation due for the marriage license, appointments, and budget constraints and styling decisions that need to be made. 

There are so many details that go into a wedding day, it’s easy to overlook some and realise when it’s too late. Wedding planners through much practise and experience have checklists for each event of the day and will be able spot any missing elements from your wedding in good time! 

wedding vendor payment reminders, part of wedding planning services
Wedding Planners will remind you of any fees due!

Help Run The Wedding Rehearsal

A wedding planner is usually present at the main wedding rehearsal, advising the couple on wedding ceremony protocol and etiquette. They will oversee the run through of the processional and recessional, ensuring that everyone in your wedding party knows where and when to enter, where to place themselves and when to exit!

Prepare A Backup Plan!

Your wedding planner will create a backup plan, a must if you are planning an outdoor event! What will you do and who will you turn to if your catering company or your photographer doesn’t show up or the generator in your marquee looses power? A wedding planner will solve the problem and ensure you and your guests day is not ruined.


Some of these may be included in your Full Wedding Planning package, however they are usually offered as A La Carte options in addition to your main wedding package.

Offer Wedding Dress Shopping Assistance

Some wedding planners will assist you with choosing your bridal gown or recommend a wedding stylist for you. You may also be able to consult with them on bridesmaids dresses and other wedding party attire you may need.

We are fortunate in Budapest to have the atelier and showroom of the  world renowned bridal designer Daalarna. It’s a must visit for both local and international modern brides seeking unique gowns.

Photo credit: Daalarna Couture –

Recommend Accommodation Options & Make Reservations

Wedding planners, especially those planning destination weddings will offer a selection of accommodations for you and your guests near your venue to suit different styles and budgets.

Plan Post & Pre Wedding Events

Wedding planners plan and coordinate other wedding related events such as the rehearsal dinner, a welcome party and day-after brunches.

Offer Extra Concierge Assistance

Destination wedding planners will also assist in creating personalised programs for you and your guests before and after the wedding day, anything from excursions to making dinner reservations. They often provide a list of ‘Things To Do’ and the top tourist attractions in the area as well as insider tips for getting around.  

Non Official Duties

You won’t find it among the list of services, but wedding planners can often be a should to cry on, working as part therapist to brides, easing their worries and stresses. As there is an enormous amount of work for wedding planners, some planning companies will offer you a Maid In Waiting to be there for you especially for you during those stressful moments. It’s always best to lay out your expectations to your wedding planner before signing with them.

How Much Does A Wedding Planner Cost?

This varies between wedding planners and depends a lot on where the wedding planner is based. It will also cost more if you have to fly your wedding planner to a destination. Prices are influenced by the amount of wedding guests, the type of service you choose and other logistics such as the amount of work involved. There is no one price fits all! On average, be prepared to allocate 10-15% of your budget to the fee of the wedding planner.

Wedding website on laptop of wedding planners desk

The Main Benefit Of Hiring A Wedding Planner!

It’s beneficial to have a wedding planner in some capacity. It will save you precious hours and a lot of stress. There is a reason why Wedding Planners write books on wedding planning, there is so much detail that goes into planning one. I hope I have left you with a comprehensive look into all the tasks and obligations that a wedding planner has, they will do the hard work for you! You just have to dream up your ultimate celebration, then do your research to find a wedding planner that will make your wedding dreams come true!

signature of Catherine Sakka-Gallagher, wedding blogger Budapest

If you are just new to my website you can read my brief introduction here! To learn more about my approach to wedding planning check out My Services page . If you would like me to help plan your wedding in Hungary, please drop me an email here and let’s create a one-of-kind experience together!

Wedding planning in Hungary
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Shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. Can you picture how your wedding dress will look? Have you imagined it since you were a little girl? Maybe you’ve watched every episode of ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ or even started looking for your wedding dress before you got engaged? Or perhaps, like me, you thought you would never get married, so you never had wedding dress dreams.

While dreaming about your dress is a great starting point, the reality is that wedding dress shopping can be rather overwhelming. However this guide will help you prepare and stay calm on your quest to find the perfect dress.


Alessandra Rinaudo wedding dress on bride in Budapest bridal salon
Photo courtesy of Diora Salon Budapest



As the saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail!

– Do your research by checking out bridal magazines.
– Sift through real brides on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
– Create a Pinterest board with all your favourite looks.
– Watch bridal fashion shows online.
– Take screenshots of styles you would like to try.

Make notes of elements you like or don’t like. Go directly to the boutiques websites to look through their galleries, then call to check if they stock your favourite styles or designer gowns.


Wedding dress shopping notes on Ipad



Wedding dress shopping will be fun a experience but it can be very exhausting. It’s on another level to your usual high street shopping or mall visit. Imagine trying on 10 dresses per salon and multiplying that by each salon you visit? You are sure to get confused and forget how you really felt in your favourites. Limit yourself to one bridal store per day and make notes as soon as you can after your appointment, jotting down names or codes of your favourites. You may forget these things in the midst of trying on loads of dresses, so it’s always good to have a list of the wedding dress pros and cons to refer to as well as price and how it made you feel! Give yourself time to go home and really think about the choices you saw.


runaway bride RB230 wedding jumpsuit
Photo courtesy of Runaway Bride Ireland



Sometimes it is the unexpected one that will end up surprising you. If you are not sure about a certain silhouette, fabric or embellishment, try it on anyhow! This is necessary until you find the one that will create your desired statement. Even if you don’t have an idea of style, trial and error is all part of the process to discovering what dress will make you feel like a goddess. Whether it be a strapless sheath, a ball gown or a mermaid fit to show off your curves, be it dramatic or understated, you won’t know it’s the one until you try it.

‘How many wedding dresses should I try?’ you may ask! The answer to that is really up to you, but I believe as many as it takes to find the perfect one. Follow your gut instincts!


hayley paige wedding gowns on rail in wedding salon
Photo Ashlee Mintz courtesy of Jennifer’s Bridal



I’ve had brides ask me in the past ‘What do I wear to a wedding dress appointment?’ Firstly well fitting underwear is very important to make you feel good about yourself. To get the full effect of the dress, wear a good multiway bra or at least a strapless one and seamless, form fitting undies preferably skin toned. The correct undergarments can make the difference between a wedding dress fitting well and one fitting perfectly. It will also  let you focus on the details of the dress instead of your underwear showing through!

Try to wear comfortable, hassle-free clothing that’s free from awkward zips or buttons and easy to remove! 


RB1620 Runaway bride wedding dress with pearl beading
Photo courtesy of Runaway Bride Ireland



Try to have your wedding shoes purchased in advance, if not, bring a shoe with your preferred heel height. This is important for the seamstress so she can accurately pin the hem of the dress and show you how it will look once it will be altered to your desired length.


arabella blossom wedding shoes by harriet wilde
Photo courtesy of Harriet Wilde Shoes London



Another question I get asked by brides is ‘ Who to bring to a wedding dress appointment?’ If you are a confident shopper who always makes good decisions and you know your style, then by all means go alone. There is no harm or shame in it! You will end up saving time and possibly money by  not making decisions you regret later. Listening to the opinion of others can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to figure out what you want yourself!

You can always take your Mum and bridesmaids along to the first fitting or bring them back for a second try on before making the final decision. However if you are more comfortable having a second opinion then only bring somebody along that you trust, who knows your personal style and who’s opinion you value.


wedding dress with 3d lace flower cape mwlcarla
Photo courtesy of Ivy Road Photography



This may be one of the first major down payments you make for your wedding. Don’t shock your groom with the news that you have blown the majority of the budget on your gown. Have a budget and stick to it. If you try on dresses that you can’t afford you are just setting yourself up for failure. It’s possible you will end up loving the dress you can’t have!

In addition to the price of the gown you should also calculate the cost of alterations. These are considerably more than your average day dress due the delicacy and detail of wedding dresses. Enquire with the seamstress once you know what alterations are required and ask for an estimate for alteration costs.




Accessories can change everything! Maybe you need just a little embellished belt to finish the look. If you feel right in the dress but feel there is something missing ask your bridal consultant for a veil to try on. A veil can really seal the deal and it can be quite an emotional moment.

Give your shopping companion the task of keeping an eye out for accessories. They can snap some photos of prospective pieces so you can look back and choose from them once you have found your dress. It will save you time and energy rather than going around the bridal stores again looking specifically for a veil, tiara etc. and leave focused on finding your wedding dress!


made with love bridal rosey veil and v-cut wedding dress
Photo Courtesy of Made With Love Bridal



Move around as much as you can in the dress. Walk around and keep it on for as long as your appointment allows. A dress that may seem light at first may seem rather heavy and awkward after wearing it for a length of time. If there are sleeves, then raise your arms. Try sitting in the dress and if kneeling is a requirement for your ceremony, then go ahead and do it if the shop assistant allows. More than likely you will need to be able to dance freely in it too, so consider moves that will be in your first dance as bride and groom. You want to ease through your first dance especially and not be worried about tripping up or it catching your heel in your dress.

Also consider the season you are getting married in! Will your dress have you break out in a sweat? Or will you end up covering up the most beautiful details of your dress with a coat or cape due to chilling temperatures.

You have to feel stunning not just walking down the aisle and posing for photos but also moving around in it, dancing and wearing it continuously for possibly 12 hours or more.


Bride wearing Scottie dress at Made with love bridal
Photo courtesy of Made With Love Bridal



Don’t let the bridal consultant, sales assistant or any of your entourage pressure you into making a decision. If it’s the tenth salon you have visited then your girlfriends may just be wishing you to finally make a decision. A sales assistant may be trying to persuade you into a dress so that she can make her monthly sales quota. Listen to your gut feelings, not someone else’s opinion. You have to feel completely happy with your decision. Unless you are planning a change of dress at your wedding, you will be in it all day. Maybe it will take trying on a few more dresses to convince that it is the one or not.



Remembering the exact shade of your wedding dress will be difficult as it can be 6 months or more between the time of your first wedding dress appointment and your first fitting. Even if you take a photo it won’t reveal the true shade as the bridal store lighting will affect it. The only true way of remembering it is with a fabric swatch! 

If you are planning on getting accessories like a veil then it’s a good idea to have a sample of your dress fabric to match up the colours. Likewise when shopping for your bridesmaids dresses and your partners attire, a fabric swatch on hand will ensure their clothing colour compliments yours.


Jaton couture wedding gown with decorative lace appliqué bodice
Photo courtesy of Ivy Road Photography



Unless you are on a flying visit abroad to a boutique, there is no need to make a rush decision about your dress. Even if you do, they should be able to accommodate you through the phone, by answering any queries you may have and accepting the deposit with your credit cards details. It’s always best to sleep on it for at least one night. If you are still in love with the dress the next day, call the salon and give them all the details they need.

If you can’t find your dress, don’t panic! Take a break from the search if you aren’t under any major time constraints! You know how they say ”you’ll find ‘the one’ (husband/wife) when you stop looking!’, well the same can be said for your wedding dress! Focus on some other wedding details for a while and you may just find your dress when you least expect it!


Wedding dress shopping, bridal try on, wedding dress store



Finally, try to approach the process in a relaxed manner, avoid being stressed out, hungry or overtired. These issues can really affect your mood and hinder the choice you make. Enjoy this epic, once in a lifetime shopping experience!


Wedding dress shopping list:

  • DO your research in advance
  • DON’T make more than one appointment per day
  • DO try on multiple styles
  • DON’T wear the wrong underwear
  • DO try to bring your wedding shoes
  • DON’T Bring a big entourage
  • DO have a budget in mind
  • DON’T forget about accessories
  • DO test the dress for comfort and flexibility
  • DON’T give into pressure
  • DO get a sample of fabric
  • DON’T rush your decision
  • DO relax and enjoy the process

Now you are all set with your list of wedding dress shopping do’s and don’ts.



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