For my second installment of this series, I thought it appropriate to cover 10 questions to ask a potential wedding planner. As I mentioned in my first post about wedding photographers (which you can check out here), wedding planners can really help an event run more smoothly, and will decrease the stress level for everyone involved. Most brides have never done this before, so having someone there to guide you through the process can be a life saver. I generally suggest to brides that if they are considering a planner, that this should be your very first step in the planning process!
Because I’m not a planner, I have asked for some assistance from the amazing Emily Love Events! Emily, born-and-raised in Kansas City, is an amazing wedding planner, coordinator, and designer who I have had the honor of working with. She just oozes joy and positivity, which makes her the perfect person to help guide you through your event planning, and any day of hiccups. I asked her to list out the 10 questions she thought couples should ask a potential wedding planner, and why those questions are important!
10 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Planner or Coordinator Before Booking
1 | Values/Personality: What is your vision for wedding planning?
Your wedding planner is one of the vendors you will spend the most time with during your planning process. S/he will help communicate and represent the heart behind your event throughout the planning and implementation of your big day. Your planner will have a front row seat to many of the intimate moments you experience during your engagement and wedding day.
The most important thing I can recommend is to choose a planner with whom you feel relationally connected and aligned with their values. Do you enjoy their personality and communication style? Is this a person you feel excited to build a relationship with and feel comfortable having present for special moments on your big day? Do their values match your own for your engagement season? Do you trust them with details and decisions?
While most planners desire to create an event that is reflective of their client, not every planner’s style and personality is a fit for every couple — and that’s ok! It is important for both the planner and the couple to sense compatibility in order to create the best experience for both parties!
2 | Experience: What is the duration and depth of your wedding planning experience?
Wedding planners lay the foundation and set the tone for key players in the planning process — the couple, vendor team, family and friends. It is helpful to review a planner’s website, social media outlets and online reviews to learn more about their industry work. It is also important to ask your planner about their prior experience.
Thoughtful, seasoned wedding planners can create a planning map with experienced foresight and dependable direction for each area of your event. This prior experience is paramount for a smooth planning process. However, you may find an excellent planner still in the building stages of their portfolio, which could be a cost-effective option if you feel like their values align with your own.
Whether they have done one event or 200, asking detailed questions about their experiences will help you know if this is a person you can trust to take charge of your wedding. I have not walked away from one wedding without gleaning new wisdom, and I imagine it is the same for my colleagues.
3 | Service Offerings: What type of planning services do you offer?
As you consider wedding planning services, it is important to determine your needs. I often describe the process through the metaphor of a road trip. Are you looking for someone to be the driver for the whole ride? Someone to research/procure vendors, to coordinate vendor meetings, to provide design consultation, to direct your budget, and to offer event management? If you are planning remotely, anticipate a busy professional season ahead, or would like extensive direction, full-service planning may be a great option for you.
Do you prefer to be in the driver’s seat the majority of the trip and to hand-off the “driver role” of your planning to a trusted professional in the final stages of your journey? Would you like something in between? Or would a few hours of consultation to create a “road map” be the most helpful?
Many planners offer a range of services — hourly design consultation, final stages coordination, partial planning, or full service event preparation. Some planning companies even offer services to include other event aspects, like floral design, graphic design or rentals.
4| Style/Design: What is your style and preferred aesthetic?
At Emily Love Events, we believe that your event should reflect your personality and your relationship story. Event design and style are key elements for uniquely reflecting the heart of your event!
Be sure to inquire with prospective planners to learn if they provide event design to bring your vision to life, or if they primarily excel at event production. Does this planner seem to understand your vision and aesthetic to carry it out in creative ways throughout your event?
If you feel confident taking the helm of your design, be sure to describe this to potential planners and get feedback on compatibility in this area. Your chosen planner will implement, assist, and make decisions that support these important details. An excellent planner wants your day to uniquely reflect you!
5 | Pricing: What is your pricing system?
We truly believe that top-notch vendor work is of great value (and of course we may be a bit biased about this in the planning category). At the same time, you want to choose outstanding vendors while staying within your price point. Be honest about your budget and choose a pricing system that matches it. Remember that a good planner is an investment and can often save you money in the long run because of their experience and industry knowledge.
Ask potential planners if they have a flat-rate, percentage-based pricing, hourly consultation fees, or a combination. Does this planner allow you to add-on services throughout the process? Communicate expectations up front and then choose a comfortable scenario valuing both your planner’s work and your budget.
6 | Budget Management: What is your process for budget management assistance?
If you want your planner to help with budget management, ask about your planner’s standard system and payment processing. Will you pay your planner a sum to procure and then pay the other professionals? Will your planner propose vendors and have you personally pay these professionals? Your planner’s goal is to match you with vendors well-suited to your price point and vision to get the most mileage out of your investment.
7 | Process/Communication: What will our planning process and communication look like over the course of our engagement?
It is important to feel open lines of communication as you enter a planning relationship. How many meetings will be planned and at what frequency? What is the outline for each meeting? What is your planner’s preferred method and frequency of communication? You and your planner both want to feel like questions can be asked and brainstorming can happen to make your day just right!
8 | Vendor Selection: What is your method of selecting vendors?
Planners have the corner on the market in vendor selection. We work hard at our relationships with our creative partners to produce events that run smoothly for all parties. It is important to learn your planner’s role in selecting vendors. Will your planner create a proposal of vendor referrals within your style and price point? Does your planner work with the same team frequently? What experience has s/he had with the vendors you are considering? Consider your desired amount of involvement in vendor selection and learn about your planner’s standard and preferred process. Planners typically love composing a dream team to execute your vision and to encourage relationships between clients and fellow professionals!
9 | Day-Of Staff: How many team members will be on site for the event day?
No two events are alike and each requires customized staffing based on logistics like guest count, transportation details, wedding party size, location, etc. Find out your planner’s typical team for a wedding day like your own. Will extra personnel be an additional cost or is it included in the planning package? Your planner’s goal will be to staff according to your needs to optimize the flow of your event for everyone involved!
10 | Creating a Plan B: What are ways you can help us plan for event back-up?
Although we do not anticipate trouble for any event, it is imperative your planner can foresee possibilities and provide “Plan B” options you will love in any scenario. What is the plan for photos or outdoor portions of your event in the case of inclement weather? Who will your planner provide should an emergency arise for him/her? You and your planner want excellence in your day regardless of external circumstances!
Your engagement journey is an exciting and memorable time! We are confident that choosing a team of professionals you trust with the heavy-lifting in your planning process will allow you to savor each moment and be present with the people you cherish. We are excited for you! XO, Emily Love
For those out there who are engaged or married and have hired a wedding planner…what questions did you ask? I’d love to hear other questions that you found to be helpful in your wedding planner search!
10 Questions to Ask:
Each month there will be a new post from a new vendor!