Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful tasks anyone can undertake. Many couples buckle down and do it together but an increasing number are deciding to take the professional skills of a wedding planner to secure the smooth running of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Hiring a wedding planner is undoubtedly an additional cost but they can actually save you money in the long run. And if your real budget is lack of time and peace of mind, they are truly invaluable! But hiring the right wedding planner is the critical task so here are some tips to get the one to fit your wedding.
BE AWARE OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEDDING PLANNER AND CHECK YOUR BUDGET
There is the full service planner who will arrange every detail from you getting engaged through to you getting back off honeymoon.They will take 10-20% of your overall budget which is expensive but having someone shoulder the logistics and details of the organization of your day is a major weight off. Then there is a ‘Day of’ coordinator. They are just there for everything you need on the actual day of the wedding and ideal for simple weddings. An ‘In House Coordinator’ is employed by the house of worship where you have the wedding ceremony and they ensure the place is respected and help you with small necessities.
SHORTLIST YOUR WEDDING PLANNERS AND HOLD INTERVIEWS
Once you have selected the right kind of wedding planner and several who may be suitable, make sure you interview them face-to-face with the same questions. These should include asking them about how they deal with challenges, their proven problem-solving skills, communication skills, are they a certified wedding planner (as opposed to an event planner), ask about their education and if they are a member of any wedding associations, how long they have been in business, how many weddings they have planned? Most crucially, ask how many wedding clients they get per year and during the month of your wedding, if they have worked at your chosen venue and, if yours is an outdoors wedding, could they come up with a contingency plan for bad weather?
MAKE NOTES DURING THE INTERVIEW
As a couple, ask yourselves afterwards if you felt heard, if you felt that you connected or had chemistry with the planner and that they understood your vision and could work realistically within your budget.
GO WITH YOUR GUT!
Your chosen wedding planner will be the vendor you will be spending the most time with and will be the person interpreting your vision, knowing intimacies even your nearest are unfamiliar with so it is critical you are compatible. If the choice is between two, go with your final gut instinct - who you trusted or felt most comfortable with.
YOUR WEDDING PLANNER SHOULD BE A PROFESSIONAL WITH CLASS AND CONNECTIONS
However tempting, do not go with a ‘part time’ wedding planner - it is an oxymoron! Planning someone’s wedding day is undoubtedly a full time job and no one can really plan a wedding in their spare time! Also, a professional will be able to get the highest caliber of vendors at discounts you could never get. These vendors will not let you down as the real customer is the planner who brings business regularly to them. The last thing they want is to ruin that relationship! On the other hand, the planner should never have their own deals with any vendors. This is strictly unethical.
YOUR WEDDING PLANNER SHOULD RESPECT YOUR BUDGET
Not only should they be able to get more for your money but they should have the capacity to be creative and to help move or reallocate funds where necessary. They should have class in that they know what taste level you are operating at and the tone or theme you are aiming for.
MAKE SURE THERE IS A WEDDING PLANNER BUDGET FOR BOTH YOU AND THE VENDORS
Not only should you have a contract with your wedding planner but you should also have one for both you and each of the separate vendors. The initiator, communicator and arbitrator will always be the wedding planner and they should be a true advocate for the bride and groom.
YOUR WEDDING PLANNER’S CONTRACT SHOULD BE THOROUGH
Their mission, if they choose to accept, is to: create a timeline from engagement through to getting home after the honeymoon, selecting invitations and the right wording, working with the pastor or your wedding officiant, selecting and reserving a ceremony and reception site, selecting, hiring and managing suppliers and vendors, being a family referee if called for and dealing with administrative details…(not an inclusive list by any means!)
REMEMBER THEY STILL GET A TIP!
Like any other vendors, so budget that in too.
CHOOSE A LOCAL WEDDING PLANNER IF YOU ARE HAVING A DESTINATION WEDDING
That way, you have a knowledgeable man-on-the-ground to deal with all the logistics and appropriate vendors.