How to Hire the Right Planner

Published by Richmond Weddings Magazine

So you’re engaged! Now comes the task of hiring a staff of professionals that can make all your dreams come true and stay on budget! This can be difficult and picking the right vendors can make or break your big day.  A professional planner can help you maneuver the wonderful world of wedding vendors and ensure that you are getting a staff of professionals that are licensed, insured and experienced. When a wedding planner/coordinator is hired, they work for your best interest and are able to weed out the hobbyist, and the professionals that have given up on perfection and lead you to the top vendors within your budget. They should also be able to provide you with a list of questions specifically tailored for each vendor to ensure you are getting what’s most important to you. 

But how do you pick the right Planner/Coordinator? Ask questions!

  • What services do you offer? Day-Of Coordination, Full Planning, Partial Planning, a la carte Planning, Theme and Style Assistance, Design Assistance, Decorating? This can be confusing and most brides already have an idea of how they want their day to go.  Day-Of Coordination is the most common and can assist those brides that just need help cultivating their vision on the day of. Ask what specific services are offered for day of? Full planning can be helpful to those that have no idea where to start and need a helping hand every step of the way. Ask if budget assistance, vendor meetings, contract review are included. Ask what other services are offered such as favor assembly, guest bags for out of town guest assembly, Save-The-Date and Invitation addressing, managing RSVP’s and website management to name a few. 
  • How many weddings have you planned? 
  • How many years in business? 
  • Are you a preferred vendor at any venue or with any other vendors? Some vendors offer discounts to their preferred vendors. However, you will still want to interview these vendors to make sure they are a nice fit for you!
  • What are your fees? Are there any additional fees on top of your package price? Package pricing varies widely among planners. It is suggested that planners should represent about 15% of your budget, but that does not mean a less expensive planner is sub-par or that a higher priced planner wont let you down.  Find out what is covered in the fee, how it is calculated and if there are any additional fees for things such as traveling, impromptu meetings/phone calls, etc. Is set up and break down of ceremony and venue included?
  • Are you licensed? Insured? Certified? Ask for a copy of the vendor’s license and have their insurance policy holder send you a copy of their insurance. Also, ask if they have any certifications and are apart of any industry organizations. 
  • Ask for references! Ask for references from both recent brides and vendors.Be sure to contact these references and ask questions!
  • How many people are on your staff? Ask how many people will be assisting on the day of and if you will be dealing with more than one person throughout the planning process. Will there be other weddings or events on your day? What happens if you are sick on our wedding date? Is there a back up plan in case of an emergency?
  • How do you handle pressure? How do you handle day of mishaps? How will you handle any unfriendly or unprofessional guest/vendor/family conflicts? 
  • Will you create our Day Of Timeline? How do you ensure the other vendors and our VIP’s stay on the same page throughout the day? Managing vendors and the wedding party should be a part of any Day Of package and communication is key. Ask about the communication process! 

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