Photos by Kendra Elise Photography, Event Planning and Design by Fuse Weddings and Events

Now that you’ve said “yes” to the wedding, it’s time to pick your planner!

Planning a wedding means you have so many decisions to make. The first one, of course, is the planner!

How do you choose the person that’s sure to create your perfect day? While your nearest and dearest will certainly provide tons of support during these exciting times, you need a professional to make your fairy-tale dreams come true. You need a wedding planner that is willing and able to turn your vision into reality.

The first thing to know: there is a difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator.

A wedding coordinator may be hired only for the wedding day to ensure a smooth flow of events or hired for a list of specific duties, like finding and arranging a wedding venue or caterers. They’re typically more short-term; so, think day-of to month-of. 

A wedding planner is typically hired from start to finish and participate and oversee all details–big and small. 

Picking your planner or coordinator is a huge decision, so we suggest interviewing around five professionals before you make your choice. 

STEP ONE: Search online and get referrals. 

STEP TWO: Meet your top picks face-to-face. Typically, this meeting is a free consultation and will enable you to get a good understanding of how you and your potential planner will work together. Pay close attention to the conversation to see whether or not your potential planner shares your vision.

PRO-TIP: Before your meeting, make a list of ideas you have for your big day. Bring inspiration in any form you see fit and see how your potential planner responds. And remember, key to a perfect planner is being a good listener. 

WHAT TO BRING TO THE INITIAL MEETING?

  1. Your budget.
  2. Your ideas (think venue, color scheme, catering, vibe, etc.)
  3. The number of guests you anticipate having. 
  4. Your ideal date. 
  5. An idea of what services you will want from your planner. 

WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR INITIAL MEETING?

  1. Check out the planner’s work online. Have they done any events that really stand out to you? Mention them!
  2. Decide how involved you want to be in the planning process? Are you interested in running the show or would you prefer to take a backseat approach? Some planners/coordinators offer all-inclusive wedding packages while others have a menu of a la carte services.

WHAT TO ASK AT YOUR INITIAL MEETING? 

  1. How does your potential planner prefer to communicate? Over the phone? In person? Email? Text?
  2. How quickly can you expect a reply to any question? Remember, your planner is probably juggling multiple clients. However, an experienced planner will be able to juggle them all efficiently. 
  3. “Are my expectations realistic?” Remember, a good wedding planner is not a “yes” person. They should be able to tell you the viability of your proposed ideas. 
  4. “What is your pricing?”
  5. “Do you have commercial liability insurance?” This is often not at the top of an engaged couple’s mind, but things happen. You want a person who is responsible enough to be proactive.
  6. “Do you have references?”
  7. “What is included in each service you are providing?” For example, wedding catering doesn’t necessarily include tables and chairs. Be sure to figure out what your planner can offer in advance. This information should be available to you in the overall package. 

FINAL TIPS:

  1. Remember to carefully read your contract. Don’t skim it; read it from beginning to end. We know it’s boring to weed through pages of paperwork but it’s so important to understand what services you’re actually getting that way you can avoid surprises along the way. Things to look for: How your planner handles things like pricing additional fees, day-off set-up and take down and backup plans for inclement weather.
  2. Make sure your personalities mesh. Ask yourself if this is this someone you want holding your hand during one of the biggest days of your life. Yes? Then you have officially found the wedding planner who’s right for you.