Choose a venue, and design invitations. Hire a wedding photographer and look at flowers. Purchase dresses and taste test cakes. The list of things to get done before your wedding is getting longer and showing no signs of stopping. You have the final say in the decisions that are made, but perhaps you don’t feel confident in your ability to organize and administrate. That is where a wedding planner comes in and fills the gap.
Step back and take a good look at the big picture. Determine when and where you need help and for how long. The title “Wedding Planner” can refer to many different jobs so know exactly what you need before beginning the search. Planners can provide contacts for vendors and venues, offer assistance during the final few weeks, or advise you every step of the way. The level of responsibility given to a planner depends on how involved the bride and groom want to be outside of making decisions. On the weekend or day of the wedding, coordinators ensure the schedule runs smoothly. A coordinator is the best option for a DIY wedding, meaning the bride will be very involved, or a destination wedding which will require expertise in managing travel arrangements. Designers and stylists handle the visual elements of the ceremony and reception. They are a source of creativity for couples who don’t have a clear vision of what they want.
Do your research. Now that you are ready to begin the search, start online and use keywords such as your place of residence. Professional wedding websites such as The Knot will be the most trustworthy sources. When you find planners in your area, look at reviews and read what past customers have to say. Check their websites to find out what services they offer. Visit their social media sites to learn as much as you can about their style. Once you feel like you have gathered a solid amount of information, write down your top three choices. Time to make some phone calls!
The face-to-face interviews will help you make your final decision. First and foremost, you need to find out if the planner is available for your wedding date. It would be convenient to know before the meeting, but that information is typically not provided. Just to be safe, check the website or ask over the phone before scheduling the interview. Once you have established that the planner is available, ask a lot of questions. When you think you have everything you need, ask more questions. I would recommend making a list beforehand so you’re not set up to think on the spot and forget something important. These are the basics that should be covered:
Do you have another wedding or a second job that will require your attention? It is important to know early on if the planner will be unavailable at certain times. You don’t want to find out at an unconvenient moment when you need help.
Why did you choose this career? Ask a mixture of business and personal questions to bring out the planner’s personality. Pay close attention to your interactions because compatibility is crucial.
Did you receive an education and earn a certificiate for wedding planning? If so, where did you go? Planners with a certificate aren’t necessarily better, but education is a good detail to consider, especially if you feel more comfortable with someone who has that kind of training.
How long have you been in this business? Ask for stories about the best and worst moments to get an idea of how the planner handles both the good and the bad.
What is your typical process for handling assignments? This question establishes how the planner organizes tasks and communicates with vendors and clients.
Request photo and video examples of previous weddings. Even if you already saw some on their website, it is beneficial to hear the planner’s commentary. You will learn more about their style and how they achieved the goals for each wedding.
Present your current wedding ideas and ask for suggestions. You will not only see the planner’s creative process in person, but also find out about any vendor and venue contacts.
Before the interview ends, get a list of references that you can contact. The most helpful information you can receive will come from previous clients. They know firsthand what it’s like to work with the planner in question.
A third party is being hired to help behind the scenes of your special day. Responsibility and trust are involved so choose someone who leaves absolutely no room for doubt. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a wedding planner nightmare on the day of the ceremony, a moment of regret that will be too late. Be thorough in the online research that you conduct and the interview questions that you ask. You will find the right person for the job.