How to Pick a Wedding Planner
There’s more at stake than simply giving yourself a break. Here is what to look for in a wedding planner.
Let’s go down your wedding checklist: you have to pick a site for the wedding, choose a theme, select a caterer, book a venue for the after-party, find the perfect wedding dress, decide on flowers, choose bridesmaids, get their sizes, pick the bridesmaid’s dresses, make sure the groomsmen’s attire matches those dresses, select an entrance song, locate a baker, select your wedding cake flavors, and find a band or D.J. Did we miss anything? Oh, just hundreds of other tasks and decisions.
When you step back and look at all of the items that must be accomplished before your big day, one thought probably popped into your head, “I need a wedding planner!”
Whether you’re just beginning your wedding preparations or in the middle of the fray, you know that planning a wedding is a complex process. It doesn’t matter if you intend to have a small, intimate service or a huge, all-encompassing blow-out, unforeseen complications and bumps in the road are inevitable.
Finding a wedding planner helps make the planning process more manageable and lowers your stress level. But how do you know what to look for in a wedding planner, and isn’t that just one more thing to stress over? No, because we’re here to help. Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect planning partner.
Know the type of help you need.
There are two styles of wedding strategists: wedding planners and wedding coordinators.
A wedding planner is ready to get to work once the marriage proposal is out of the way (possibly, some could even coordinate an elaborate proposal). Wedding planners help find venues, book vendors, arrange contracts, manage budgets, maintain checklists, and more. Essentially, a wedding planner handles the logistics of your event from start to finish. However, no two planners are the same, and some offer different services than others. So, keep reading to discover how to choose a planner that’s right for you.
A wedding coordinator is like the foreman for your big day. Unlike a wedding planner who typically works with you several months before your marriage, a wedding coordinator usually jumps in about a month before the event. Wedding coordinators ensure that your vendors are on the same page and that the day runs smoothly to take that stress off your plate.
How to find a wedding planner.
Put on your lab coat hat because you will need to do some research.
You may want to start by reaching out to friends and family to see if they had a positive experience with a wedding planner, are aware of anyone who did, or personally knows someone in the business. Word-of-mouth recommendations often yield the best results. Also, if you’re already looking at venues, ask your site contact if they can recommend anyone (they will). The venue coordinators at DFW celebrations are happy to help!
Next, hit the internet. Enter “find a wedding planner in (your location)” or “wedding planners near me” in a search engine, and you should receive a ton of results. Then, whittle those down by checking out Yelp, Facebook, and other review sites. Also, peruse wedding-dedicated websites. Frequently, these sites have searchable databases of wedding planners divided by region.
How to choose a wedding planner.
Once you have a list of potential wedding planners, it’s time to reach out. Email or call each planner to schedule an interview. Be sure to check if they’re available on your specific wedding date—that may help you eliminate some candidates immediately. Next, ask about the types of planning services they provide and their average price range. If their answers fit your vision and budget, set up an in-person appointment.
Ultimately, you should schedule between three and five face-to-face consultations. The purpose of the wedding planner interview is to enter with a clear description of your expectations and leave knowing whether that planner can meet them or not.
Remember: every wedding planner is different. Some provide design and styling services; others do not. Some dive right into the creative aspects of your wedding day, while others lack the expertise to do so. Be sure to bring a list of prepared questions and tick them off as you progress through the interview to avoid missing an essential topic.
Also, don’t be bashful about talking money. In fact, be frank and to the point about it. Not only do you need to hire a wedding planner you can afford, but also one that can find venues and vendors while remaining within your budget. Establish the limit of what you’re willing to spend early because both parties need to understand that the amount is set in stone.
Here’s an extensive list of potential interview questions—mix, match, edit, and elaborate to fit your needs.
- How long have you been a wedding planner? How many weddings have you done?
- Can you work within our budget? What is the average price range of the weddings you plan?
- How many people do you have on staff, and how many will be at our wedding?
- Will you be responsible for any other events on the day of our wedding? Throughout the process of planning our wedding, do you work on other events? How many?
- Do you use software to track budgeting? Who is responsible for entering information into this system?
- Now that we’ve told you about our dream wedding, do you have ideas for achieving our vision?
- Do you think our vision is achievable within our budget? Why or why not?
- What do you need from me to ensure that we communicate effectively?
- How do you keep us informed and involved?
- Will we have regular check-in meetings? How often and how many? How do you handle phone calls and emails from your clients?
- Do you offer packages? Are they customizable?
- What is the scope of your work? Do you handle:
- RSVPs and guest list coordination?
- Floorplan creation?
- Rehearsal dinner planning?
- Wedding styling (wedding dress, hair and makeup, etc.)?
- Do you create a comprehensive timeline, so everyone (vendors, the wedding party, family members, etc.) knows what to do and when to do it? How do you ensure that everything goes according to the schedule?
- Do you handle rentals?
- Will you coordinate delivery, arrival, and set up times with the following vendors:
- What are our responsibilities in the planning process?
- What is the payment schedule? Do you require a deposit? Should we anticipate additional expenses, such as travel, parking, food, etc.?
- What are your cancellation and rescheduling policies?
- Do you have personal liability and/or professional indemnity insurance?
- How do you deal with issues that arise on the day of the wedding? Will you tell us about a time you averted a wedding day disaster?
- If you’re sick or otherwise unable to attend our wedding, do you have a contingency plan?
- Are you willing to advocate for us with vendors? Can you provide an example of when you had to step up and support a client?
- Can you help us find a venue?
- What is your vendor selection process, and how are we involved?
- Do you handle vendor contract negotiations and payment processing?
- Do you have a list of preferred vendors? Do you take a commission from them?
- Will you be present at all vendor meetings?
- If a vendor issue occurs, will you take care of it? Will you give us an example of how you managed a vendor issue?
- How do you handle inclement weather?
- What time do you arrive and depart on the wedding day?
- After the guests leave, do you or a team member stay and make sure everything is broken down and cleaned according to venue guidelines?
Find a personality match.
You put a lot of trust in your wedding planner. The person you hire is responsible for creating and executing one of the biggest days in your life. They need to be on your side when it comes to negotiating with vendors and dealing with contracts. Plus, you are about to spend a significant amount of time with this person.
Make sure you don’t hate them.
As you go through the interview process, you’ll get an idea of the wedding planner’s personality. It’s essential that you and your partner can coexist with (i.e., stand to be around) your planner. Your personalities don’t need to be an exact match. For example, if you are a relaxed, go-with-the-flow type, it can be helpful to have a pit bull on your side. Just make sure that you are comfortable around this person who will be in your life for several months to come.
Check their references.
After the wedding planner interview, you may have a preference for one planner over the others. However, don’t make your decision on feelings alone.
Ask the planners to supply references or testimonials from both professionals and recent couples. Find out if the planner worked within their budget and created the wedding of their dreams. Also, ask about the performance of vendors and other recommendations from the planner.
See if these references can send you photos from their weddings. Because professional pictures of their best work fill a planner’s portfolio, images provided by the couple create a clearer vision of the planner’s skills and consistency.
Need more recommendations on how to pick a wedding planner or want to discover how our event planners in Dallas can help you achieve your dream wedding? Reach out to DFW Celebrations to discover the dazzling design possibilities of our Dallas wedding venues; please, contact us here.