Ready to hire one of the core members of your wedding’s crack team? There are some important questions to ask a wedding planner. This lady or gent will be the one helping you juggle all your vendors and tasks, making them your right-hand man for all wedding-related matters. Whether you’re planning something small and intimate or a massive, extravagant affair, the right wedding planner can help you get it done right. Before you even start considering makeup artists and caterers, you’ll want to fill this position. However, if you’re planning most of the wedding yourself, you may just want to hire a wedding planner for month-of or day-of coordination so that you can enjoy your wedding day (and the days leading up to it) without distraction.
Your wedding day is an extremely personal event. After all, it’s about celebrating you and your partner’s love. So it makes sense that you’d want to hire a professional wedding planner you really like. To make the process easier, we’ve compiled the most important questions to ask your wedding planner before hiring them.
With everything from basic questions (are they available on your wedding date, for example) to pre- and post-wedding logistics, we’ve got you covered. Before you decide to hire a planning pro, it’s important to thoroughly vet them to ensure that they’re the right fit for you and your partner.
Hiring an amazing wedding planner will do more than just give you a spectacular wedding day. The right pro will bring peace of mind, creativity, and some much-needed budget know-how to your planning process, making those months so much easier. There are so many questions to ask a wedding planner as you browse portfolios and chat about their services, all to help you find the wedding planner who is right for you.
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Here are the key questions to ask a wedding planner.
How many weddings have you planned?
This is one of the first questions to ask a wedding planner. More specifically, “how many weddings of my size and budget have you planned”. You’ll also want to find out how long the wedding planner has been in the business, what types of weddings they’ve planned before and if they’ve gotten any certifications or degrees related to wedding planning. Ask to see their portfolio and get a few references for good measure.
Wedding-specific experience is a must when it comes to hiring a wedding planner. It’s great if they’ve also planned parties and corporate events, but it’s important to remember that those celebrations aren’t the same as nuptials. Weddings have an emotional and personal element that other events don’t. If they’ve worked as an assistant at a wedding under another planner, ask which weddings they specifically worked on and what their role was.
What is an example of a discount I would receive through you?
Many times, clients expect us to be miracle workers. They may not know their budget or not want to tell a planner what it is, but in their mind, they already have the numbers figured out. Those numbers are frequently planted there by their best friend that just got married, or the articles that they’ve read about what a “real wedding” costs according to The Gospel of Pinterest. Unfortunately, friends lie, and so does the internet. It’s best not to imagine what things cost until you meet with a planner who can tell you the real deal.
Of course, it’s always tempting to believe something you want to believe like how if you choose in-season flowers, the cost of your floral bill will be 10 cents. Another popular tidbit found in wedding blogs is that the number one benefit of hiring a wedding planner is how much money you will save by using their vendors. While this is true and frequently you are saving enough money to make the planner fee worth it, too many people are already working with unrealistic numbers in their head that there is no way a planner could make those prices (or less) happen.
For instance, if you are interviewing planners and already have all of your details in mind including what you think they will cost, odds are you will think that number will go even lower when you bring a planner onto the team. But, when the numbers in your mind are so unrealistic, then no planner is ever going to help out here. The solution is to be as upfront as possible and communicate to these potential planners exactly what you’re looking for and what numbers you’re already thinking of. Remember, it’s not your job to know what anything costs. It is, however, your planner’s job to give you real information based on their real-world experience. If it turns out that the wedding gown you want is truly out of your budget, let your wedding planner help you find another one that you will not only be happy with but be able to afford.
How many clients do you take on per year and month?
This question will help you get a feel for how busy your potential planner will be in the months leading up to your wedding. Some choose to only work with one client at a time while others are more than happy to juggle several. If you’re planning something huge, you may want to find someone who will devote most of their time to your big day.
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Who are your preferred vendors?
Pretty much every wedding planner is equipped with a list of preferred vendors – ones that they trust and have worked successfully alongside before. If they’ve got long-standing relationships with sure bakers, caterers and venue owners they may even be able to get you a sweet deal.
What is your fee?
You’ll definitely want to talk dollars and cents before looking at any contracts, so get this question out of the way at the beginning of your meeting. Some planners charge a flat rate while others will bill you hourly. Review their packages to see if their rate fits into your budget before getting into the nitty-gritty details of your big day.
Do you work alone or with a team?
Depending on how big and extravagant you want your wedding to be, the planner may need to get some helping hands on board. If they are using assistants, you’ll want to ask if you should be contacting them and how to reach them.
Will you attend wedding-related events?
Unless you ask, your wedding planner (or a member of his or her team) will probably be a no-show at your wedding shower, rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch. Make sure you let them know which events you’d like them to attend at the get-go.
When it comes to questions to ask a wedding planner, this should be your first. You don’t want to waste your time (or theirs) if they’re not free on the chosen date. If your wedding date is still flexible and you’d be willing to wait to work with someone you really love, ask for a few options so you can consider them when you’re finalizing your timeline.
Can you help us stay on budget?
This is one of the most important questions to ask a wedding planner and should be answered with a firm and reassuring “yes”. Make sure your wedding planner is money-savvy so that they can help you make your budget go the extra mile.
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How do you communicate with your clients?
You will be in constant communication with your wedding planner in the months leading up to your big day – like, and there’s a good chance you’ll be connecting with them more than your BFF – so you’ll want to be clear on the best way to reach them. Ask if they prefer to be called, emailed or texted (or all of the above!).
What happens in case of an emergency?
The person spearheading your wedding should have a backup plan in order in case anything goes awry. If this isn’t their first rodeo, they should be able to tell you about all the precautions they take and how they tackle possible plan B’s.
Who is your ideal client?
I am a firm believer in “clicking” with your wedding vendors, but especially having a solid relationship with your planner. There is no other person that will be there with you and for you and most importantly, without any ulterior motives. Say what you want about your fabulous wedding party and those incredibly supportive parents, but at the end of the day, your planner is the person in your corner and no one else’s. Why? Because there isn’t even the smallest part of them that has to decide if your needs and wants are more important than their own.
Sounds cynical, I’m sure, but let’s be honest here, and all agree that we’ve heard the horror stories of the mom that also wants to wear a white gown, the brother that wants to propose at his sister’s wedding and the best man that gets the groom drunk before the ceremony. The lines get blurred, and many times those closest to you can cause chaos while you are planning and even on your wedding day. However, the person that keeps it all together and the one that you can lean on without any fear is your planner.
But how do you know if this is your planning soulmate? Instead of putting the pressure on your potential planner and asking if they think you’ll be a match (and of course they will say “totes”), ask what their “ideal” client is. The answer could include anything from what budgets they usually work with to best guest count, the priorities of a couple and more. If you are fishing for a particular answer and don’t get it, then come right out and ask the question. Trust me, and we want to answer your questions because we know that if we don’t, there is no chance of booking your wedding. And, if we do book your wedding and you didn’t ask the question, the whole planning relationship is built on a foundation of sand kinda like the one with your “BFF but not really” that is a bridesmaid.
How many meetings will we have, and how will we be involved?
This is when you should get an outline of what the wedding planning process would look like. Some planners will email you sketches and follow up over the phone, while others may create online inspiration boards and will verbally walk you through swatches and sample designs in person. Certain planners will ask you about each and every detail while others wait and fill you in on everything all at once. There’s no right workflow—it’s all about what you like best.
Do you handle professional services, contracts and payment processing?
The answer to this question should help you get a sense of how other vendors will be handled throughout the planning process. It’s a good idea to figure out how they prefer to work ahead of time. Some planners request a lump sum and then will hire and pay pros for you. Others will request that you cut the checks for other pros yourselves. Our advice? It’s generally best to pay your vendors directly instead of through your planner. This way, you’ll have more control over the contract and your budget.
Can you walk us through the process of selecting other vendors and how we would be involved?
You want to make sure you have the best team with you on your wedding day, so it’s important to understand your planner’s selection process. Professional wedding planners often spend time cultivating relationships with other wedding pros, so you’ll be exposed to their already-built network. You’ll also want to make sure they’re sending the best people for the job your way. During the meeting, jot down some names of professionals they prefer to work with so you can do your own research.
Are you willing to step in as our advocate, conveying our visions and desires to pros when we can’t?
If your planner is speaking to other vendors directly, you want to ensure that they’re assertive and will ask for what you want.
Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?
“Full-service” can mean different things depending on whom you ask, so find out if managing the guest list and invitations is part of their standard services or if it requires an additional fee.
Do you handle rentals? Will you coordinate delivery, arrival and set up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians and the caterer/banquet manager?
Again, you want to find out exactly what’s included to make sure you’re on the same page about what they will and will not take care of. If their role is more to consult with you on ideas and help you find and book your pros, then you may need to find a separate coordinator to help you take care of these day-of details.
Can I take a look at your contract?
The final question to ask a wedding planner, before committing to anything, is to see a copy of his or her standard contract. The document should explain all of their pre-wedding day services, wedding day services and other fees which may be added to the balance, like travel fees, parking and other expenses. If everything looks to be in order, get out that pen and sign on the dotted line.
So there you have it: The real questions you should be asking the planners that you interview. Above all, make sure to do your homework and learn as much as you can about these planners before you reach out to set up an appointment. In addition to that, make time to set up that face to face meeting instead of just sending out mass requests for packages and pricing. Yes, it’s time-consuming, and no you won’t be able to hide behind a computer or iPhone text, but an in-person consultation is the only way to find the right wedding planner for you. At least now you have the (real) questions you’ll need answers to instead of the fake checklist provided by all of those blogs you’ve been pinning.
Happy searching, and may you be just as excited about the planner that you choose as you are about the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with.