This time of year we're so excited to start meeting with newly engaged couples who are in the early stages of planning their weddings. Hiring a wedding planner early in the process can help to stream line the planning process, save you money, help you connect with your dream team of professional vendors and give you access to a professional for all your planning, etiquette and logistical questions.
As important as having a wedding consultant is to planning a fabulous event, it's more important to have the RIGHT wedding planner for you. Most planners (ourselves included!) offer a complimentary consultation as a "get to know each other" meeting. We want to know, as much as you want to know that this is a good fit for our company and our planners. We want to know that we'll enjoy working with you as a client over the next year and that you're a good candidate for our services.
When it comes to our consultation, please ask questions!! We love clients who are informed and prepared for the process and as professionals, we know our stuff, and we're not intimidated by clients who are looking for that in a planner.
This weekend, while sharpening my creative tool (a.k.a. surfing the wedding blogs, just like you were doing…) we found this awesome article from Olivia Karegeannes at MODwedding that we just had to share! We love her advice for how to prepare for a consultation with a wedding planner and some of the "must-knows" she recommends that you ask. Read the original article here on MODwedding:
You’ve shown everyone your ring, gushed about the engagement, and told all of your family and friends. Now it’s time to get down to business and start planning the wedding, but you’re overwhelmed by all of the choices and timelines that await you. Planning a wedding can be daunting, so it might be helpful to think about your options for a professional wedding planner. The type of planner you want can be completely based on your budget and needs. Your options include:
A full-service planner for your every need (the national average cost is $3,262, around 10-15% of your total wedding budget).
A guide to picking the perfect wedding location and vendors (hourly fee).
A “day-of coordinator,” someone who will help you out in the last month before your wedding with a timeline, confirmation of vendors, and wedding day logistics (typical cost is $1,500+).
Note: Your venue may have an in-house venue coordinator, but they may not be what you are looking for. Learn the difference between venue coordinators and wedding planners (here). Hiring a wedding planner may cost you extra money, but the time and stress that you save may be a higher pay off.
Before you interview potential wedding planners, make a plan. Have a rough idea of:
How much money you are willing to spend on the wedding.
How many people you are planning to invite.
What month/day you would like to get married.
What you want the wedding to look like overall. (If you don’t know, don’t worry! That is part of the wedding planner’s job!)
Ask the following questions to learn the basics about your wedding planner and get the most out of your package.
Getting Basic Information from a Planner:
Why did you decide to become a wedding planner?
What was the most difficult wedding that you have planned and how did you handle the problems associated with it?
What is your educational background? Are you a certified wedding planner? ` If yes, where did you earn this certification?
How long have you been planning weddings? Are you part of a licensed business?
How many weddings have you planned in their entirety? When was the last wedding you planned?
In the past, how many clients have you had in a year? How many do you expect to have the month of our wedding?
Is wedding planning your full-time profession? If not, what else do you do?
Are you available the day of our wedding to attend the event? Are there any issues that you can see thus far with our date such as weather, travel for guests, or difficulty booking a venue?
What is your usual dress attire for the day of the wedding?
Questions about the Venue:
What is your experience with the venues on our list?
We want to be prepared for all weather situations. What backup plan would you have if our wedding is outdoors and there is inclement weather?
On Working with Vendors:
What is your policy on working with vendors outside of the ones that you recommend or have worked with before?
Do you get paid a commission from any of your recommended vendors?
Will you attend all of the vendor meetings with us and help us review the contracts to make sure they are accurate?
Can you be responsible for giving final check payments that I provide you with to vendors that are on site the day of the wedding?
If there are problems with the vendors before, during, or after the wedding, can we expect you to handle them?
Are your wedding planning services purely logistical, such as handling timelines and floor plans, or do they also include design aspects, such as bringing our vision of the wedding alive?
Are there any parts of the planning for which we would be responsible?
What does your package include? How many meetings and phone calls with you are allotted?
How many hours a week will you be able to work with us?
How often can we expect to be updated on your progress with planning?
Will it be you or another planner on site the day of our wedding? Will you have any assistants on site with you?
If you are not able to be at the wedding, who will be our back-up planner? What are their qualifications?
How long before and after the wedding can we expect you to stay and handle logistics?
Would you be able to help us plan our rehearsal dinner and/or post-wedding brunch? If this is not included in your packages, what would the extra cost be to have your help with these events?
Will you be able to work within our budget?
After you see our budget, will you be able to provide us with a breakdown of where the money will be allocated?
We understand that changes to your wedding plan will constantly be made throughout this process. As these changes are made, will you update us with an estimate and contract?
How do you charge clients? Do you charge an hourly rate, a flat rate, or a percentage of the wedding cost?
Will you provide an intricate breakdown of your fee?
How would you like your fee–on a weekly basis or at specified times? Do you accept credit cards?
Are there any additional fees for your services that will not be included in your proposal?
What is your policy on refunds or cancellations? How long before the wedding would we need to cancel?
We would love to talk to some of the people that you have worked with. Can you provide us with a list of references?
Similarly, we would like to see your past work. Do you have a portfolio or video of past weddings you have planned?
After meeting with each planner, take note of your feelings towards her (or him) and ask yourself:
Was the wedding planner listening to and answering our questions?
Does the wedding planner seem to have a set idea in mind for the wedding or does she/he seem open to suggestions?
Has the planner’s past weddings been unique, innovative, and beautiful?
Does the planner seem willing to work within our budget?
Will you enjoy his/her company?
If you aren’t 100% comfortable with a wedding planner, don’t sign with him or her. You will spend a lot of time, effort, and money on their services, so make sure that you have the perfect fit. This is your wedding– have fun!