Hiring a wedding planner is a game changing decision in the journey towards “I do.” They’re so many things rolled into one: a designer, an advocate, an honorary bridesmaid, and a fountain of information. They’ll bring you ideas, understanding, peace of mind – even safety pins, if you need them! So it’s vital that you find a wedding planner who is the right fit for you and your partner. It’s partly about feeling that you ‘click’ – after all, they’re the person you’ll be working with most closely. But hiring a wedding planner is also about knowing that they understand your vision and have the experience and contacts to bring it to life. Here are some of the key questions to bring along to your consultation.
How long have you been in business? Of course, everyone has to start somewhere, but it’s important to get a sense of your potential planner’s background and experience. How did they get started in the industry? Did they work with an established planner to begin with? The longer someone has been in business, the stronger their network is likely to be, and the more resources they’ll be able to draw on in case things go wrong.
How do you work? Before hiring a wedding planner, it’s a good idea to get a sense of how they work. For example, what is their approach to design? Do they prefer email, telephone, or face-to-face communication? What are their first steps after you sign on the dotted line?
What is the scope of your services? Every planner is different, so it’s vital to understand exactly what they will and will not be responsible for in the run-up to your wedding. For example, will they come with you to dress fittings? Will they attend meetings with vendors and handle any issues that come up? Will they be willing to take on planning any pre- or post-wedding events like the rehearsal dinner? Asking this question also starts a discussion that will give your potential planner a good idea of what YOU need.
Do you have a minimum budget? Will you charge a flat fee, an hourly amount, or a percentage of the total budget? Before you get too far along in the process, it’s a good idea to determine whether they can work within your budget, as well as how their fee will be determined.
How many wedding clients do you take on in a year? Of course, your planner will be working on multiple weddings in any given year. However, you’ll want reassurance that they have the capacity to give yours the attention it needs.
Do you work with a team, and how many of your staff will be on-site? Sometimes the person you have your initial consultation with isn’t the same person who will be handling your wedding planning or will be on-site on the day. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to know who your contacts are. It’s also important to know what will happen if your planner has to hand over your wedding in case of an emergency.
What was one of your most memorable weddings from this past year? Asking this question gives your planner an opportunity to show where their creative passions lie, and to get a sense of whether you’re a good match. You’ll get an insight into their personality and what makes them excited, as well as the kind of creative ideas they bring to the table.
Have you ever worked at a similar venue? Couples are often told to ask whether a planner has worked at their venue, but what you really need to know is whether your planner has worked on a wedding of the same style and scale or in a similar destination location.
How does payment work? Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to money. For example, what deposit do they require? Will you pay vendors directly or will they make the payments on your behalf? When is the final balance due? Be sure to ask about additional fees as well.
Can you provide a list of references for us to contact? Always, always ask for references. A good planner will be more than happy to provide you with the names and contact info of recent clients.
Finally, know that hiring a wedding planner is about answering questions as well as asking them. A good planner approaches each wedding individually, so in order to give you the information you need, they’ll need to know as much as you can tell them about your budget, wedding style, venue, guest count, etc. Be transparent, and you’ll have the best results!
Image by Valorie Darling.