A wedding planner can be the best thing that ever happened to you, if you both share the same expectations.
Before making a final decision on who to hire as your Wedding Planner, a face to face or over the phone interview is vital in guiding you in your selection process. Its best to have a list of questions that you need to ask before the meeting. This will actually be beneficial in the planning processes and give you ideas on whether the potential candidate knows what they are talking about and doing plus gives you a better gauge on whether they can understand your mental concept.
In my experience as a Wedding Planner I have come across brides that have asked me the most vague and least informational questions. These are a Wedding Planners nightmare and might definitely ward off a good planner that could have done wonders for you because they might have felt you are just wasting their time and are not serious. I know I have walked away from such situations.
Due to that your Wedding Planner will be your main point of communication every step of the way, you need to find someone who is not only organized and professional, but who will also make you feel at ease and who you trust to have your best interest at heart.
The initial interview should really be a conversation. A good Planner will have a few questions for you too, to figure out your wedding concept, style needs, level of maintenance, budget and scope of imagination. Whomever you choose to go with, don’t hire a Planner who doesn’t want to listen, critiques your ideas, has no references, or won’t sign a written agreement.
With that said, here a few questions that you may add to your list:
1. Are you available on my wedding date?
This should be the 1st question as it is the most important. It doesn’t help to go through a mountain of ideas and plans with someone who is not available on your wedding date. When planning a wedding, time is of the essence so you cannot afford to waste time. Should your wedding date be flexible, and you’d be willing to wait in order to work with someone you really love, then ask for a few date options so you can take them into consideration when you’re finalizing your wedding date.
2. What’s the cost of the average wedding you plan?
This is my absolute worst when there is no context to the question. “Malini?” (How much?). The problem with this question is that if you give absolutely no specification at all and just ask “how much is a wedding” there really is no answer. Examples of information that is required for a Wedding Planner to be able to answer this would be things like “How many guests would be attending?” The number of guests will determine the budget. A wedding for 50 people with the same spec will not be the same cost as a wedding for 200 guests. Then the look and feel will determine more costs implications. Will you be needing Tiffany chairs, Phoenix chairs or ghost chairs? Note that these are more costly as compared to plastic chairs with covers. So as much as the wedding guests numbers may be the same, the spec will largely determine the final cost.
3. How many weddings have they planned?
Wedding specific experience is a must, so ideally you’d want someone who’s planned at least a few. It’s great if they’ve also planned parties and corporate events, but it’s not the same because weddings have an emotional and personal element that other parties don’t. If they’ve worked as an assistant under another planner, ask which weddings they specifically worked on and what their role was.
4. How many weddings will they be working on, on your wedding day?
On the day of your wedding, you want to be sure that you have their full attention and they’re not juggling multiple weddings at once. But it’s okay, and realistic, that during the planning process, they’ll be working with other couples at the same time. How many they can handle really depends on the size of their team and whether the weddings are being planned locally or afar, so take note of details like that too. My strong recommendation would that your wedding planner needs to be on site on your wedding day so that should (God forbid) anything go wrong, they can be there to mediate the issue.
5. Do they handle invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?
“Full service” can mean different things depending on whom you ask, so find out if managing the guest list and invitations is part of their standard services or an additional fee. Plus also check on whether they organize other wedding stationery that you may need like the place cards, seating plants etc.
6. Do they do destination weddings (if applicable)?
Not just if they’ll travel to plan your wedding (because most will be for a fee), but that they’ve planned an entire wedding weekend from afar, which requires an extra layer of coordination. Trust me being in another city / country and planning a wedding in another is no child play. It requires loads of dedication, patience and skill.
It’s great if they have experience with things like coordinating travel, planning a welcome party and farewell brunch, and putting together welcome bags. But the crux of the matter is
7. Do they coordinate delivery, arrival and set up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians and the caterer/banquet manager?
Again, you want to find out exactly what’s included to make sure you’re on the same page about what they will and will not take care of. If their role is more to consult with you on ideas and help you find and book your pros, then you may need to find a separate coordinator to help you take care of these day-of details.
8. What happens if they’re sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of our wedding?
Back-up plans aren’t just for outdoor weddings. You want to make sure they have someone capable on hand to takeover if they get sick or can’t make it that day, like another planner at their company or a seasoned assistant. They should also have a plan in place = for what will happen if they have to hand over your wedding to someone else in case of an emergency.
9. How do payments work (a percentage of our budget, a flat fee)?
Will there be additional expenses on top of your base fee (travel, parking, food)?
Exactly what is and isn’t included in the fee they’ve quoted you and how they calculate it, so you can budget for any extra items. You may also be able to negotiate these types of fees and the payment schedule before you sign the contract.
10. How will you help me stay within my budget?
Even without knowing your budget, a great planner should have suggestions on things like venues that are budget-friendly, creative ways to save and alternatives to more expensive options to help you stay on track throughout the process.
However in order to maintain a clean process, do not always hold your cards too close to your chest. Your selected planner needs to be closer then your best friend in order to be able to incorporate your personality in the wedding planning.
Till next week, Happy BLAQUE FRIDAY!!