Finding Your Perfect Wedding Planner
'The first step, of course, is to ask your friends and family for referrals and check through some wedding blogs. The next step to reach out and schedule some face-to-face time to see if you connect with each other on your wedding vision.
But before that first meeting, it’s important to organize your thoughts and questions, so nothing is forgotten. And while there are a plethora of downloadable lists with sample questions, these lists could be better. I know, because as a wedding planner, I have been asked these questions repeatedly.
I can tell, for example, when someone went on a wedding website and followed a list of questions during our conversation. It’s simple, really - you need to know why you are asking the questions to understand the answers.
If you’ve done your research and are ready to meet with potential planners, you need to know the right questions to ask. What follows is a list of some of the top questions tossed at me during meetings, and also what they should have asked.
- “Can you get me discounts?” should be “What is a specific example of one of your discounts?” One of any wedding planner’s core competencies is the subtle art of negotiation. Sometimes a potential client doesn’t know their budget when they are shopping for a wedding planner, but they always have a general idea.Perhaps they are using numbers from a friend's recent wedding, did some googling, or tossed out some questions on Twitter or Facebook.Unfortunately, the internet is packed with misinformation, and the best deals are rarely published online. Your best option is to meet with potential planners who can tell you the real deals.
- “What’s your rate?” should be “What packages best fit my dream?” There may be packages for core vendors like bands, DJs, and photographers, but as often as not they will also offer “ala carte” options. That being said, a wedding has a million moving pieces and effective planning takes a massive amount of work - so in the end, start by sharing your budget with your potential planner.You should also have a general idea of your desired services as well as what you don’t need or want. Any experienced planner will invariably ask you what you want your planner to do, so don’t hold back anything.
- “Have you hosted events at my venue before” should be “Have you ever worked in a similar venue?” This question is meaningless because prior venue experience doesn’t matter for an experienced wedding planner.Depending on your chosen area, there likely hundreds of potential venues for your wedding. Effective planners know they can only take on a certain number of clients a year so as to ensure each wedding is given the time and attention it needs to be extraordinary for both the couple and their guests.
- “Are you certified?” should be “How much experience do you bring to the table?” Certifications are great, but they are no replacement for experience, grit, and connections. Real experience, not certifications, is what you want when your centerpiece catches on fire or your dress snags on a chair leg.Remember to consider your wedding theme and style before talking to your potential wedding planner. Don’t be afraid to ask about his or her real-world experience and if they have worked with similar themes and styles in the past.
- “Your price is too high” should be “Are there less expensive packages available?" Negotiating with your wedding planner can be a daunting task and put both of you on edge. Social media constantly buzzing with people looking for “cheap” and “affordable” wedding planners - and their are countless articles written by well-intentioned yet misinformed people who believe there is an “average” cost of weddings.Your best strategy is to start with your budget and work from there. During your initial discussion with your planner, be upfront and honest with your numbers - an experienced and well-connected wedding planner can work with almost any budget.
In the end, make sure you do your research and that you and your wedding planner click in your initial meeting - click here to schedule a consultation with me!