I think that with all the talk about the bad economy it is important to mention that being a Wedding Planner hasn't taken much of a hit. The reasoning behind this is very simple. Clients are now taking on MORE responsibility with their weddings. They are learning to make their own favors, design their own centerpieces, hire less experienced vendors at a cheaper rate. All of this leads to the need for someone to oversee everyone and everything.
It isn't much fun to make your own centerpieces and then spend your entire wedding day setting them up and I can assure you that no Mother of the Bride wants to spend her day doing that either. That's where I come in handy. You can save all the money you want being creative and trying new things but in the end all of that is a pretty scary venture if you don't at least pay someone to oversee it.
Client's have hired "friends" or "relatives" to do their music, cake, etc...while you can absolutely save money doing this, these are the people that need the most assistance in their services. Again, that's how I can help my clients SAVE money by SPENDING money on me! I think this post seems to be more of a commercial for my services, but really I just think the idea is important to understand. Taking the less expensive route is only safe when you have someone to make sure it turns out like you have planned. Of course, you can always have a relative/friend do that but the 2 things to consider are this-
1- Do you want to lose that special time with your mom, sister, aunt on your wedding day because they are running around like crazy trying to setup your wedding in time?
2- Anyone that you trust enough to handle your wedding will be someone will probably be someone that you want involved in your day, not involved in WORKING on your day.
Good things to think about when you are debating the cost of a coordinator. Don't make Aunt Jane miss out on your wedding over a few hundred dollars. Hire someone to work and let all you guests relax.