How Do I Hire A Wedding Planner? When, How and Why You Might Want to Work With One
So what’s the deal with wedding planners? Do I need to hire one?
No, you don’t have to. You can totally do it on your own (and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise) if you have the time, resources and willingness to do so. You just have to figure out what your priorities are:
- Time: Given the size and scope of your wedding, do you have the time to handle all the aspects of planning, coordination and logistics? Are you willing and able to be involved in all the little details? Or maybe someone else is willing to step in to help you out – your Mom (she was mine!), a bridesmaid, hey – maybe even the fiance – saving you the need for a planner.
- Money: Can you afford a planner? A good planner should be able to save you money in the end (and make sure you stick to your budget!) via referrals, connections and crafty suggestions, but if you are keeping things simple and small, maybe you can go without.
- Organization: Some people just aren’t very organized. Things fall through the cracks easily. If you are one of those people, you might require some professional help to make sure that all of the dozens of details come together come showtime. They’ll deal with the disasters, the details and everything in between.
- Aesthetic: The good planners know how to make things look pretty. They know what details count, how things should tie together visually and they’ll make recommendations that you would never have thought of. This also helps if you have zero artistic or DIY skills whatsover.
The good news is you have options.
- On site coordinator, who are typically included with your wedding location (depending on where you get married).
- Consultants who can assist you in creating an aesthetic, vision and can refer you to vendors and venues.
- Full service planners, who arrange every detail from top to bottom.
- Day of coordinator, who makes sure everything runs smoothly so that you can focus on having fun on your big day.
Don’t let all the pretty pictures and grand ideas suck you into signing a contract without doing your homework. This means checking references and getting a feel for how you will work together (because you will be spending a lot of time together!). Remember, a good wedding planner should be organized, accountable and enjoyable to work with who, in the end, saves you time, money and headaches. That person needs to understand your vision and make you feel heard.
Questions to ask:
- How many weddings have you planned? How many in my style/size/timeframe?
- How many have you taken on this year?
- Is this your full time job?
- Do you work alone or do you enlist staff to help?
- Will you be there on the actual day and in what capacity?
- What kind of planning services do you offer? What is included and what will you not do?
- Location scouts
- Vendor referrals
- Contract negotiations
- Invitation wording
- Rehearsal dinner locations
- Do you receive commission or referrals from other vendors?
- How aggressive are you in terms of negotiation, dealing with difficult vendors and situations?
- Can you tell me about a time when you saved a bride money?
- How do you stay organized?
- What ideas do you have in order to maximize my budget? You want to make sure that your planner keeps you within your budget and does not push you towards things that you cannot afford.
- Are you able to use your connections to secure discounts and other perks/extras for me?
- What role will each of us play in the planning and collaboration process?
- How often will we meet prior to the wedding? In person and over the phone?
- How do you best like to communicate?
- Tell me about 2-3 of your biggest problem scenarios and how you fixed them.
Additional Contract Tips
- Detailed scope of work including approximate number of planning/working hours
- Frequency of meetings
Want a list of questions on the go? Download and print out our free wedding planning cheat-sheet for a comprehensive list of questions to ask your wedding vendors.