Congratulations!!! You're engaged! No sooner do you pop open the bubbly that the questions begin. When is the big day? Where are you getting married? Who all are you inviting? etc...etc...etc... So you do what every newly engaged bride does and you register for every bridal web-site, purchase every wedding magazine, and then become COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED. lol All the "expert" information is just making you more confused. What's a bride and groom to do???
HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!
Trust us, this is by far the best wedding gift you could give yourself (and your family). A wedding planner plays a key role in the success of your wedding. Planners can do things like help you pick out a venue, hire vendors, negotiate contracts, coordinate the logistics so you'll be able to relax and enjoy not only your big day, but the planning process, too. They are an integral part of the process, so you want to be sure you hire someone who will both, get the job done, and make it fun along the way. Here are some important items to go over at your initial consultation:
1. How Do You Communicate with Clients? By phone? Email? Text message? All of the above? Will we meet in person? It's important to know how much or how little you will be in contact with your coordinator so you know when to expect updates, where you should be on your timeline, how things are being executed on the planner's end, etc. Some brides like daily, or weekly check-ins, some brides like as little communication as possible. The important factor here is to find out how are we going to best effectively communicate with one another.
2. What Services Do You Offer? Some within the industry will interchange the words planner, consultant, and coordinator. Some will call themselves venue coordinators, facility coordinators, day of planners, etc...and they all mean something different to each individual. Most wedding planners have a variety of wedding packages to choose from based on your specific planning needs. Packages can consist of everything from comprehensive all out planning needs to just day-of coordination. Don't be afraid to ask questions about each package, and what all it entails to ensure it fits all of your needs.
3. How Many Clients Do You Have in a Year? This will give you an idea of how accessible the planner will be to you based on how busy they are with other weddings. Planning a wedding is very time consuming and requires a lot of attention to detail. If a planner has a lot of weddings booked around the same time of yours this can affect the success of your wedding. You want to be sure your event will be given the proper time and attention to. High-end planners typically book one to two weddings per month with their comprehensive packages while, day-of coordinators can typically coordinate more.
4. Who Are Your Preferred Vendors? A professional planner should have a group of vendors that they often work; however, you should also have the option to choose other vendors to work with if you choose to. Working with their preferred group of vendors can often be of benefit to you. You will reap the benefit of possibly lower prices, extra "perks," and the assurance of knowing they have worked together many times to ensure a smooth wedding day.
5. Do You Work Alone or on a Team? Consider the size of your guest list. Whether you have 75 people invited or 300, you need to know that all the logistics of your wedding are going to go off without a hitch and that there are people in place to carry out these tasks. Make sure you feel confident that your planner will have enough support to be able to handle all the details, guests, and vendors at your wedding.
6. Can You Help Us Stay On Budget? Your wedding planner plays a major role in keeping your budget in check. In fact, a good planner may even secure enough vendor discounts to offset the cost of his or her services. Find planners who bring steady business to vendors you like; these are the ones who will be able to save you money. Talk to planners about your budget, and make sure they're willing to work within these financial parameters. Ask about their experience negotiating vendor contracts, and have them describe any great deals they've secured for previous clients. While you shouldn't expect enough deals and freebies to substantially slash the bottom line, the right planner will be able to help you stretch your wedding budget further.
7. What Happens In Case of an Emergency? Let’s face it—no matter how much planning work you do together, things can happen. So definitely ask your planner about their Plan B is if they are not able to make it to your wedding. A good planner will have a back-up plan for every scenario that comes up, including their own illness or emergency.
8. What's The Cost for Your Services? Peace of mind on your wedding day? That's priceless. While you may not be able to put a price tag on that feeling, it will cost you. That cost is the amount your wedding planner charges for his or her services. Inquire about a deposit and when that, as well as balances and final payment are due. Most importantly, get a list of all included services in writing so there's no confusion or disagreement after the contract is signed. Request that the contract include a list of any potential extra charges, along with an explanation of each. Finally, ask your wedding planner how he or she handles refunds if your wedding has to be postponed or canceled. Some planners will return a portion of your deposit if this type of situation occurs, while others have a strict no-refund policy.
9. Will We Work Well Together? Okay this is actually a question for you to ask yourself. Remember, you'll be spending a lot of time with this person, and he or she is sharing in one of the best days of your life. Personality counts just as much as experience and reputation. Many wedding planners offer a free consultation to allow both parties to test the waters before the contract is signed. Even if the planner charges a small fee for this meeting, it's often worth paying it to know exactly what you're getting into -- and with whom. When meeting a wedding planner, rate the candidate on organizational skills, promptness and friendliness. If the relationship doesn't feel like a good fit, find another one that does. Try to meet with at least two planners to get an idea of what works best before making a selection.
10. Lastly, Do You Have Any Questions for Me? Keep in mind that your potential planner should be asking you lots of questions as well. You’re both trying to get to know each other and see how well you’ll work together—since you’ll be spending the next 9-12 months together planning one of the best days of your life! Your planner should be just as concerned as you are about the success of your wedding. And if she’s not? Don’t hire her.
Now that you’ve got some idea of what you’re looking for, try to interview two to three wedding planners before making a decision. You want to be confident that your planner is a good fit—so you and your fiancé can have the best day of your lives. Happy hunting!!!