To hire or not to hire? That is the question. Want help? Want control? Want creativity? Want organization? You can have all of that with a wedding planner, of course. The key is to find a planner that works with your personality. There are many wedding planners (I've met them) who are full of great ideas and will plan you one of their visions. If you don't have any strong feelings about your wedding plans, you'd be fine with this type of planner.
However, there are lots of planners out there who are more interested in hearing your ideas, no matter how few or how many, and creating several options from which you pick and choose your perfect wedding.
Also, planners can be there only on your wedding day. If you think this is more what you will need because you have the planning and budgeting all taken care of, ask the planners you are considering what they charge for that service. It can be helpful (and even necessary) to have someone who isn't a relative or a guest telling Aunt Sally when you have to be excused to cut the cake. This can help the events of the day flow smoothly, and you have someone else to do the legwork and communication for you.
It is never a faux pas to tell a planner what your budget is for a planner (and, of course, for your whole wedding), and ask what they can offer. There isn't really a going rate for planning, and high end or celebrity planners and coordinators charge more, but may not have experience creating a budget wedding. Seek and ye shall find, my fair bride-to-be.
Be honest with yourself and your wedding planner, and you'll get off to the right start.
And, if you absolutely don't want or can't afford to hire a planner, check out this blog, our Facebook page (become a Fan!), our Twitter, and our favorite favor website for tips and products!