It’s the time of year for romance and weddings. Cooler temperatures bring brides and grooms outdoors to get married on the beach, in gardens or even on the water.

Deciding to spend the rest of your days with someone could easily be designated as one of the biggest life decisions. Following this life-changing choice, expect the decisions to keep on coming, as wedding photographers, venues, color choices and cakes are in your imminent future.

One important wedding question is whether to use a wedding planner or go it alone. With pros and cons for each route, couples must decide what works best for them.

Wedding planner

There is a large selection of planners on island, and for some couples, employing their services may help to make the wedding process smooth and simple. This is especially true for large weddings, or those with many components. Organizing hundreds of invitations, timing music cues and arranging car services may be easier with an expert at the helm, and a seasoned planner can focus on these issues.

Destination weddings also lend themselves to a planner’s expertise, whether Cayman residents are celebrating their nuptials overseas, or betrothed tourists are arriving on our sandy shores. If you do not live where you will be wed, finding someone who does is a game changer as they will know the lay of the land and have local contacts.

For any wedding, destination or not, it is these contacts, as well as skills and experience, which make planners worth their while. They may be expensive, but a good one will help you make the most of your budget by using tried-and-tested contacts throughout the industry in areas such as wedding suppliers, service providers and entertainment. They’ll also take things into consideration that you may not have thought of, saving any last-minute panic over napkin rings and speaker cables, for instance.

However, wedding planners may not work for every couple. Theknot.com estimates planners cost up to 10 percent to 20 percent of the budget, and could cost upward of this in Cayman – a cost that you may wish to avoid, particularly if you are planning an intimate affair with few moving parts.

As well as being expensive, good planners will be in high demand, so unless you book well in advance, they may already be busy on the day of your nuptials, leaving you with a choice of lesser rated ones, which may cause more problems than solutions.

Some couples may enjoy the planning process, negotiating prices and even crafting table centerpieces, and so would not want to relinquish the fun – and control – to a planner. There is also a risk that the bride and groom will not get on with a hired planner, leading to either months of stress, or last-minute DIY going into overdrive if you decide to part ways.

Plan it yourself

The alternative to hiring a planner is to go it alone, or at least with the help of your family and friends. This can work out well for many couples.

The benefit of planning sans planner is the fun to be had and unique bonding experiences that come when groups of loved ones gather to craft, plan seating arrangements and stuff envelopes, especially if food or wine is involved.

You’ll also be safe in the knowledge that every part of your wedding is personalized – chosen, created or booked by you – and there will be no risk of feeling detached from the experience.

The cost saving of going without a planner is probably the biggest benefit, allowing you spend this saved money on other things – a band, excursions on your honeymoon, or simply putting it into savings.

However, as great and as easy as Instagram or Pinterest make it look, planning your wedding may be more difficult that you think.

Planning every detail takes a lot of time, and if you do not have it, this could cause undue stress between a usually loving couple and lead to rushed decisions which will be regretted later.

If you get overwhelmed by decisions, or hate negotiating, it might not be wise to take on planning yourself, and you will also not be able to take advantage of any discounts that a planner could get from their regular suppliers.

The bonding experience of enlisting friends and family to help must also be weighed against possible friction this could cause. What if they take longer than you would like to complete tasks? Or if they make their different opinions known about your color choices, etc.? The saying “never mix business with pleasure” may come to mind. If something goes wrong during the wedding, it will also be up to them, or you, to rectify the situation, causing headaches on an otherwise happy day.

Whether you decide to plan it yourself or hire a professional, Cayman’s venues and suppliers will have you covered either way and will no doubt try to make your experience as smooth as possible. Consider your options and decide which is best for you as a couple.

For more wedding ideas and advice, along with information about local vendors, pick up your copy of February’s magazine, on newsstands now.

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