Whilst many of us might see hiring a professional wedding planner as a luxury that we can’t afford, it might surprise you to know that around 25% of couples actually do go down this route, and demand is increasing each year.
Couples will have one of two points of view on a wedding planner. Either, you can hire a wedding planner to take all the stress out of the wedding planning process. Or, you can do it yourself and enjoy the whole planning experience – after all, that’s half the fun, right?
If you do decide that you want to hire a wedding planner for your special day, then there are certain important questions that you will want to ensure that you ask in advance, to ensure that you get the best possible service, some of which you’ll find below.
1. How many weddings have you planned and do you have any references?
Obviously, it stands to reason that the best wedding planners will be those who have the most experience and who have been doing it for a number of years. This is because they will probably have a black book full of contacts within the wedding industry, and knowledge and expertise built on years of operation.
When things go wrong, which they inevitably do, they know what to do. At the same time, the best wedding planners will have some references and testimonials from satisfied couples that they will be happy to share with you in person or, of course, you can do research and look at these on their website or social media, for instance.
2. What services do you offer?
Does your wedding planner offer the complete “start to finish” service, or just on the day? It is crucial to understand how your wedding planner operates, which is something that will form part of your research in the early stages of your wedding planning process.
3. Are you available?
Of course, once you have decided on which wedding planner you want to hire, you need to find out if they are available! At the same time, ask how many clients they take on at the same time, as this will give you an idea of the amount of time they will be able to devote to your particular wedding. If they have a boatload of clients at the same time as you, the quality of their service might not be up to the standard you are expecting!
4. How much do you charge, and how do you charge?
Naturally, you’ll need to know how much your wedding planner costs. There are no hard and fast rules for this – after all, what value do YOU put on someone who will do all the work for you? This is very much down to you as a couple and how much you are prepared to pay for the right person. Also, ask them when payment is due? Is it all due upfront? Or perhaps half before the wedding and half after the event?
5. Have you ever planned a wedding at our particular wedding venue?
Whilst this might seem like a minor point, if your wedding planner knows or, better still, is familiar with your wedding venue, having done a previous job there, then this will count for a lot. Different wedding venues have different requirements, ranging from access times and arrangements to H&S regulations and so on. It’s always better to work with someone who can anticipate problems before they even arise!
6. Can you work within our budget?
Let’s face it, very few of us have unlimited budgets to work to, and so it’s important from the very outset that you make your wedding planner aware of what budget you both have to work with. For some, it might be that your budget is too low – in which case, that particular wedding planner is not the best fit for you as a couple. There are plenty of choices out there when it comes to professional wedding planners, so don’t be afraid to shop around!
7. What do you need from us?
There will be a whole host of information that your wedding planner will need from you, so get the ball rolling early, and provide them with as much information as you can. This might include the guest list, including addresses and emails, theme and color preferences, music playlists, and so on. Don’t forget to include as many personal touches at your wedding as possible – these are often the most affordable finishing touches, such as personalized table favors, table names, and more.
8. Have you got any ideas or suggestions about what we might have forgotten?
The best wedding planners have the ability to anticipate things in advance, and should be able to point out to you things that you might have forgotten. Let’s face it, there is a huge amount to think about and bring together when you are planning a wedding, so always listen to what your wedding planner has to say!
9. Do you only work with preferred suppliers?
We mentioned earlier about your wedding planner having a comprehensive black book of contacts, and the chances are that if they have been a wedding planner for years, they will want to work with their list of preferred suppliers. Whilst this might sound great (and, in many instances, it is), it’s not always the case that this will provide you with the best result.
There might be some very specific elements for your wedding that you want, that their preferred suppliers don’t have, and so always ensure that you have the flexibility to be able to arrange this with other suppliers and contractors if and when required. For example, there might be a particular type of wedding mobile bar hire, wedding chair hire, wedding sofa hire, or other wedding furniture to hire that you want – if this is the case, you should be ‘allowed’ to organize it!
10. What happens in an emergency?
Whilst you and your wedding planner can plan your day right down to the last detail, things rarely go 100% to plan, and so there should always be a plan B. What happens if your wedding planner falls ill the night before your big day? Is there someone else who can step in at the last minute to take over the duties and ensure the smooth running of the day? How will they know how the day is supposed to run? These are questions that you should definitely ask your wedding planner – again, the best ones will always have something up their sleeve in case things go wrong.
Hopefully, asking these questions will help you when the time comes for you to hire a wedding planner, if this is what you decide to do. All that is left for us to say, in advance, is congratulations!