I'm going to tell you about how I designed my wedding. Because usually the first thing people ask me when they find out I'm a planning is - I bet you knew exactly what you wanted for your wedding. The truth is I had a general idea of what I wanted but until you really get into the planning of it - you really don't know what you are doing to have.
I always knew I wanted to be married at my family's resort business is Eagle River, WI. But I had my heart set on having the doors open for the dramatic effect when I walked down the aisle. There fore I designed a barn facade that my dad and fiance (now husband) built. Check it out.
I was really on a tight budget - I was paying for the wedding myself. I had no intention of spending more than I could afford. Therefore, I handled all the decorations myself - a lot of items were things we had at the resort so there was no extra cost incurred.
My sister and I made the centerpieces - luckily we only had 8 tables - so we did 4 lanterns and 4 floral arrangements. We also had our reception at a restaurant where my now husband works - so they were able to give us a discount. Also up in Eagle River WI there are very few wedding venues to choose from - so that narrowed down our search quite a bit. The restaurant was already quite decorated so I didn't need to do much there. I did purchase from CV Linens some burlap runners and yellow napkins for the pop of color. I was able to resell all those linens so I made almost all my money back on that.
If you are going to handle all the decor yourself, make sure you hire someone on the day of to set it all up - you do not want to be doing it yourself - it really detracts from the wedding day experience. I hired someone to come in and handle the decor I knew I wouldn't have time to do. But I was really stubborn about my wedding arch. I ended up decorating it myself that morning which I regret now. But you live and you learn - mistakes that I made in my own wedding helped me be a better wedding/event planner because I can help people not make my same mistakes.
In the end, I think we plan our events just the way you would plan your event. We just have a better understanding of what an event needs and we usually know which vendors we want to work with. So we don't have to do a ton of research.