What’s a topic that’s rarely covered by bridal magazines and blogs, but that has significant bearing on how much you enjoy a fun and stress-free celebration on your wedding day? That one’s easy: Whether to hire a wedding planner. Probably because the answer’s so easy: Yes.

Of course we’re not talking about Franck. Nor are we talking about someone who after planning just one–usually their own–wedding, thought, “I can do this!” Indeed, we’re talking about someone who devotes their professional lives to ensuring everything runs smoothly, saving their clients money, and taking care of all the little things that crop up (and yes, they will crop up) so their clients can fully enjoy their day.

One of our couples, Karen & Michael, put it best: “A wedding planner is the wedding gift you give yourselves.” We couldn’t agree more.

You’re spending a year or so working on your wedding. Yes, it’s hopefully fun and a great, new experience for you, but you’ve likely noticed that it can oftentimes feel like a second full-time job and on your wedding day, the last thing you want to be doing is work. That day should be used to reflect on your relationship and the commitment you’re making to each other, and then of course to paaaaaar-tay! What better way to do that than by making sure someone you trust has your back?

Sure, you could ask your mom to help with a few things, and maybe even a bridesmaid to run interference with the transportation company. But remember you invited these people to your wedding primarily because you wanted them to be able to celebrate with you and have fun. So why not delegate that work to someone experienced in such matters, leaving your loved ones available to shower you with love and support throughout your weekend’s festivities?

We asked Jamie Sears of Simply Chic Events, on why her clients hire a planner. “You’ll have that peace of mind, secure in the knowledge that everything’s being taken care of, allowing yourselves to be guests at your own wedding.” Additionally, she confirmed the significant cost savings to couples who now, thanks to that expert personalized advice, know where to invest and where to save. And for those who find themselves short on time because of work or other commitments, full planning services can save considerable time and eliminate stress. Instead of couples spending hours sorting through directories and looking at web sites by themselves, a planner already knows several people who would be a good match for each couple and can narrow that list down, creating, in effect, an “A Team” dedicated to executing every bride’s vision. Not only will expert planners help you create a realistic schedule for the day and keep to that schedule, many talented ones can also help you design how you want your day to look.

Planning doesn’t always have to be the start from scratch event design, find-all-of-your-other-wedding-pros-for-you variety, known as full planning. Simply having someone help out the month prior (sometimes known as day-of, but more accurately, month-of) to reach out in advance to your various other wedding professionals to make sure everyone’s on the same page, identify spots in your schedule where there may be issues that need to be resolved, and figuring out the best possible way to keep everything going smoothly on the day. On the wedding day, they’re present to help guide you down the aisle and let you know when it’s time to cut the cake, etc., but just as importantly their help extends to all the fixes that you didn’t even know about–the bus running 15 minutes late picking up your guests, the wrong cake being delivered, ensuring your guests’ champagne is poured before your best man begins his speech, etc. We’ve seen all those issues and more occur at the 300+ weddings we’ve photographed.

Why, you’re probably asking, is my photographer encouraging me to hire a wedding planner? The answer is simple: We’re documentarians, capturing all the emotions shared between you both and your families and close friends, photographing those real, unstaged moments. When a couple is stressed because they’re working their event, it shows on their face, and if it shows on their face, it’ll show in the photos. Not surprising, right? Your photographer will want you to have the best possible experience on your wedding day and by extension the very best photos for you.

Some venues will offer an on-site coordinator, and some catering companies also offer this service. While they can be helpful, it’s important to know exactly what they’ll do and not do on your wedding day, so you can fill in the gaps. Where possible, we still advocate for an independent coordinator–someone dedicated solely to you and your needs–to help run interference on your behalf with all of the other wedding pros. On-site coordinators and catering managers can be great, but are still liaisons between you and their respective teams, which is why we recommend having someone independent you know and love and trust there to help. Their first responsibility is to their employer, not to you and rightly so. Hire people that are experts within their field and then trust them to do their job.

You’re spending a lot of time and in many cases a lot of money creating a celebration that’s highly personalized and unique to you and your beloved’s. Why not maximize your enjoyment and minimize your stress on a day you’ve planned for so long by hiring a planner? We chose photos for this post, illustrating just that–couples getting lost in their day, celebrating with their family and friends, enjoying all the big (and small) moments sprinkled throughout their wedding day, all completely free of any stress or worry. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect wedding gift to yourself?

Have fun, and good luck!