What to Consider When Hiring a Wedding Planner

Submitted by Jeanne Colquette of Events Your Way

Some brides love all the details and decisions that go into their wedding planning. Some just can’t handle it or don’t have time to deal with it. Peace of mind on your wedding day-That’s priceless! Consider hiring a wedding planner to help with the preparations so you can relax and enjoy your big day.

Every bride, whether you feel like you are organized or not, should hire a Wedding Day Only Planner for their one and only wedding day. This way, you can enjoy the process of wedding planning but leave last-minute tasks to someone else, which can alleviate a lot of stress. You need a professional to act as the contact person, instead of doing it yourself. You can do a lot of things yourself in the planning process, but DO NOT act as the contact person on the day of your wedding.

Some brides may want someone to take over all the details, from the rehearsal dinner to the flower preservation and everything in between. The right Full-Service Planner not only keeps things organized and on schedule, but also advises you on where to find the perfect venue and vendors, helps you save money along the way and allows you to enjoy the planning instead of stressing about it.

Every wedding planner is different. Before you select a planner, make sure you select the one that fits your personality. Here are some questions to ask them:

1. How does the planner communicate with the bride and groom? Do they prefer email, phone calls or face-to-face meetings? Most wedding planners can adjust either way, but make sure you don’t select the planner who only texts and isn’t so great about calling you back if that is what you prefer.

2. Will they help you with creative aspects of the wedding (like creating a unique theme), or will the planner just handle vendors, setup and scheduling? Will they be able to come up with out of the box ideas instead of providing a cookie cutter wedding? Don’t be shy about asking these questions, because this can help you decide which planner is best for you.

3. Please ask them how much experience they have. Do they work for themselves or with a larger company? How many planners will handle your event? Do they have help if they need it? Before depending on a total stranger to help plan the most important day of your life, make sure he or she has experience. Find out how long the planner has been in business and whether he or she works alone or with a larger company.

4. Ask them what type of vendors they recommend and why? Ask “Why do you like that DJ?” Avoid planners who try to discourage you from using specific vendors without a good reason. They may be trying to get you to hire vendors that offer kickbacks for new or repeated business.

5. Do they accept commissions/tips from the vendors that they recommend? Be careful of this. The wedding planner may steer you in the wrong direction for monetary reasons.

6. Do they have referrals or testimonials from previous clients? Some planners will have some of their bride’s cell phone numbers in their phone from previous weddings. Of course they have to ask the bride before they give out their phone number.

7. How often do they plan on getting in touch with you? Are they available to meet on your days off? Some brides may prefer weekly updates, while others want the planner to handle as much as possible without consulting them. You may want to email your planner every day if need be. Is that included in the wedding package? Will they charge extra because they went over the estimated hours worked?

8. What exactly is included in the wedding planning package? Your venue may come with a coordinator, but this person probably won’t be able to provide all the services you’d like. The venue coordinator may have two or more weddings on the same day. Plus the venue coordinator works for the venue, and does not have your best interest in mind if something were to go wrong. A wedding planner will cover the rest of the details that the venue coordinator may not do. Will the wedding planner that you meet with actually be the one working your wedding? Or will they have an assistant/co-worker work on your special day?

9. Ask how the planner charges for your wedding. Is it a flat fee, an hourly rate or calculated as a percentage of your total wedding costs? How much is the deposit? When is the final balance due? Request that the contract include a list of any potential extra fees that may come up and what those are. Finally, ask your wedding planner how they handle refunds if something were to happen.

10. After you meet with them, think about how they made you feel. Did you feel a connection? It is important that you do because you will be spending a lot of time together. Don’t hire the least expensive coordinator if you think she will get on your nerves. It is not worth it! Going with the cheapest vendor is not usually the best thing to do.

11. Are you hiring a wedding planner because you need help or because of the status a wedding planner may hold? Are you ready to give up some control in the planning process? If you are a control freak, you must hire a planner that is not a control freak themselves. There may be a battle along the way. Some planners will let you keep the control, but PLEASE let them handle the day of the wedding so you can finally relax!

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