I came across these suggestions on the TLC website and thought some of you might be looking for a little help. Planning your wedding can give you that overwhelmed feeling, so many details, so little time!
You should consider hiring a professional wedding planner to help so you can have a stress fee wedding day. Your planner can give you a full service plan (every detail leading up to the big day and even the honeymoon). You can also have a day – of coordinator who will see that everything goes smoothly for your ceremony and reception.
Good planners get booked early so get that contract signed a year ahead, if possible.
1: HOW DO YOU KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CLIENTS?
1.) Do you rely on email, phone calls or meetings? Keep in mind what YOU want and let the planner know.
2.) Ask how often she’ll get in touch with you. Do you prefer weekly updates? Do you want the planner to do as much as possible without consulting you?
3.) Look for a planner who offers unlimited communication with clients if you’re the type who needs answers to questions the moment you think of them.
4.) Check the contract for any limits on the number of daily or weekly calls, and find out about extra charges if you need to contact the planner more frequently.
5.) Make sure your planner will be available at times that fit your schedule.
6.) A good plan is to set up a separate email account strictly for wedding correspondence. You can sort messages into folders for flowers, cake, dress, music, etc.
2: WHAT SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?
Many venues come with a coordinator but don’t expect him to provide all the services you’d like. A wedding planner will cover the rest of the details. Some planners offer comprehensive wedding packages, while others oversee specific tasks. You can hire a planner to just help out during the week of the wedding. This will take a lot of stress off of YOU.
1.) What does the comprehensive package include?
2.) Does the contract only cover the wedding, or will the planner help with preparations for the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or honeymoon?
3.) Will she help with creative aspects of the wedding, such as developing a theme?
4.) Will she handle vendors, setup and scheduling?
5.) You CAN ask for services that may not be part of the normal wedding package, such as arranging for lunch on the day of your wedding. Planners are in the business of making brides happy and will go out of their way to do this.
3: WHAT TYPE OF EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?
1.) How long has the planner been in business?
2.) Does he work alone or with a larger company?
3.) Ask the planner to describe some of his previous weddings, especially those that are similar to yours in size, location and theme.
4.) Ask for referrals or testimonials from previous clients. I’d be wary of one who can’t give you any names.
5.) Ask for vendors the planner has worked with. They can give you good insight on how she compares to other planners in the area.
6.) Does the planner have any certificates or degrees that relate to wedding and event planning?
4: WHO ARE YOUR PREFERRED VENDORS?
If the planner has worked with the florist, caterer, band and other vendors you’re considering, she should be able to offer feedback about their services. Avoid planners who try to discourage you from using specific vendors without a solid reason. They may be trying to steer you toward other companies that offer them kickbacks for new business.
5: CAN YOU HELP US STAY ON BUDGET?
Your wedding planner plays a major role in keeping your budget in check. Ask them about discounts from caterers and linen rentals. They may be able to negotiate a lower price. In any case, a good planner will have ways to help you stretch your budget.
6: WHAT’S THE AVERAGE SIZE OF THE WEDDINGS YOU PLAN?
It’s important to find a planner who’s experienced with weddings that are similar to yours in size, total cost and theme. If you’re planning a grand affair with hundreds of guests, a local planner who’s accustomed to working on small, informal gatherings probably won’t have the skill to pull off your big day. Those used to planning weddings with big budgets may not be the best choice for stretching your small wedding budget. Most wedding planners rely extensively on their vendor connections and contacts and may not have the clout to score discounts or locate vendors beyond this network. If you have unique considerations for your event, make sure your planner can handle the challenge. For instance, flying 50 guests to your destination wedding in the Caribbean requires a lot of coordination. Look for a candidate who has experience with destination wedding planning.
7: WILL YOU BE WITH US ON OUR WEDDING DAY?
You’d think when you hire a wedding planner that she’d be there to coordinate and handle emergencies so you can relax and have fun. I’ve learned that some of them do not plan to be at the venue on the day of your wedding. Those that are may not plan to attend your rehearsal dinner or other big wedding events.
1.) Before you sign the contract, ask the planner how long she intends to stay through the ceremony and reception.
2.) Ask what time they plan to arrive before the wedding and what time they’ll leave.
3.) If the planner won’t be there for the ceremony, find out exactly what tasks he will handle that day in terms of setup, scheduling or running out for more wine, if needed.
4.) Get the name of your point person for any other incidentals.
5.) When the wedding’s over, the planner’s work isn’t done. Inquire if the planner will stay after the ceremony to oversee cleanup and to collect and deliver wedding gifts to your home.
6.) Ask if she will handle post-wedding tasks, such as collecting your deposits from vendors and returning rented items.
8: DO YOU WORK ALONE OR WITH A TEAM?
There are benefits and drawbacks to hiring a planner who works alone, versus one who works with a larger team.
1.) If your planner works alone, determine whether he will be able to handle all the wedding details, especially on your big day.
2.) What happens if there’s an emergency that keeps him from making it to the wedding? Is there someone qualified to fill in?
3.) If the planner works as part of a team, ask whether you’ll work directly with her or with a group of assistants.
4.) Make sure you understand exactly which tasks the planner is going to handle and what tasks are delegated to others (less experienced interns).
5.) Know who the point person is for each task.
9: 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 services.
1.) How does the planner calculate service costs? Some charge a flat fee or hourly rate, while others calculate a percentage of your total wedding costs. Ask about a deposit and when that, as well as balances are due.
2.) Get a list of all included services in writing so there’s no confusion or disagreement after the contract is signed.
3.) Request that the contract include a list of any potential extra charges, along with an explanation of each.
4.) Finally, ask you planner how she handles refunds if your wedding has to be postponed or canceled.
10: WILL WE WORK WELL TOGETHER?
This one’s for you! Wedding planning is time-consuming and can be incredibly stressful. You’ll be spending a lot of time meeting and talking to your planner. She’ll be sharing one of the best days of your life. Personality is BIG and just as important as experience and reputation.
Most planners offer a free consultation to see if both parties like each other. It’s a way to test the waters before the contract is signed. At your initial meeting, rate the planner on organizational skills, promptness and friendliness. You should feel very comfortable with this person. I recommend meeting three planners before making a decision.
Good luck with your wedding planning.