Tom Merton / Getty Images

Hiring a wedding planner is a lot like hiring an insanely organized friend for the next year – a friend that comes with a price tag and written agreement saying you can call at insane hours to discuss the latest guest list drama, that is. These professional friends can be true sanity lifesavers, but only if you do your homework before signing on the dotted line. Whether you’re opting for a day-of coordinator or signing onto a year-long sidekick, all brides should “date around” to find a planner that fits.

WATCH: Wedding Etiquette with Gayden & Charlotte

Wedding planner speed dating is the perfect time to ask about everything from level of experience and price to the scope of work provided during the process. But, looking back, I wish I had discussed what I could have reasonably handled on my own with potential planners before I hired one. From picking out wedding colors to finding the perfect invitation suite, I often found myself waiting for my team to give me the green light or unnecessarily holding my hand through the process before moving onto the next item on my checklist. In reality, I didn’t need a planner there during a paper appointment, and I probably could have scheduled it more conveniently on my own terms without trying to coordinate with the group.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d kiss the ground my planner walks on for helping pull off a picture perfect day. There were more times than not that I was glad to have a wedding planner’s expertise, and I know every bride will have different needs when it comes to a planner’s level of involvement. Through my experience, though, I learned that there are times in the planning process that incorporating a planner into the equation may unnecessarily complicate things. There are other times that planner is unmistakably worth her weight in gold. I’d encourage every bride to do a little digging on what tasks she feels capable of taking on personally before signing a scope of work. Just because you’re new to this wedding game doesn’t mean you can’t make things happen on your own.