wedding planner

How to Hire a Wedding Planner

Are you thinking about hiring a wedding planner? Or are you a DIY bride looking for advice from the pros? We sat down with Colette Macari at Ron Wendt Design for insider tips on how to hire the right wedding planner for you.

The basics

If you were choosing your own wedding planner, what would you look for?

It’s really important that you vibe with your wedding planner on a personal level. This person is going to be in your life for up to or over a year. Make sure you feel like you can be honest with whoever you end up hiring. You’ll also want to make sure that your design styles match. Some planners are really good at adapting their styles to their clients’. Others have a stronger style sense, and you can see that in their work. Ask yourself whether your planner’s style matches what you’re going for.

What makes a great wedding planner?

A good wedding planner is attentive to you, and prompt responses are really important. If your planner isn’t responding within 24 hours, that should be a red flag. When you compile all of your Pinterest ideas, it’s important that your wedding planner has a good eye. She will need to be selective and honest about what will or will not work, so that you pick the right idea out of 100 options for your wedding day. Not every Pinterest idea is a good idea.

What’s something that a lot of clients overlook?

Couples often forget that you should have a personal relationship with your wedding planner. No, you shouldn’t be texting them random things throughout your day, but they should be someone who is almost like a friend. Your wedding day is the most important day in your life, and this person is helping you with that.

Insider tips

How can couples figure out what packages they need (e.g., day-of, full service, partial planning)?

Day-of coordination is the most important thing to have. Having one allows you to enjoy your wedding day most effectively. For the other services, know yourself, know what you’re good at, and know what will stress you out. Evaluate your own needs first, consider your budget, and make your decisions from there. If you’re not a decisive person, then it’s helpful to have a guiding person there. I’m an advocate for full planning, but it’s what I do. So many people pick their own vendors, so you don’t necessarily need a wedding planner to make vendor recommendations for you. If you’re someone who has a good eye, you don’t need a designer. Even if you’re not design oriented and you’re desperate for help, you can hire a designer and seek out wedding vendors yourself. Some event planning companies actually outsource their design to designers as well. To hire a designer, reach out to your local design school and look for graphic designers and fashion students. Architect and landscape design students are also helpful because they can see space well.

How do you go about finding good wedding vendors?

Google caterers in your city, pick up the phone, and call them.  You’re basically conducting an interview.  Ask questions you’d ask in an interview, look at their portfolio, and review their contracts.  With any vendor, promptness with responses is key.  If they’re difficult to get a hold of now, it will be difficult to get things done later.  I will look for someone who says they have good attention to detail, because you want weddings to be perfect.  You’ll also learn a lot about a vendor by asking for their recommendation.  Finally, you want to work with someone who wants to work with you.  Some vendors will play hard to get.  We don’t like working with those vendors.

Check out What to Look for in Your Wedding Vendor Contract!

What are important things that couples should do leading up to their wedding day?

It’s important to have a detailed day of schedule with time markers for yourself. If your bridal party is getting makeup done, knowing what time it’s supposed to be done helps the day go smoothly. Leading up to your wedding day, it’s so important to confirm vendors. Confirm what they’re doing, and confirm what time they’re arriving. For example, I’ll call each vendor and say, “hi Bob, just to review, we have an 8-hour contract and you’ll arrive at 10 AM at this place.” Then, go through your contract and the day of timeline with each vendor. You’ll want to go over the minutia before your wedding day. For example, do you want to be announced as “Mr. and Mrs. Bob Smith”? Don’t forget to distribute your day of timeline to your vendors so they know in advance about the things that apply to them.

Anything else?

It’s okay to ask questions of your vendors and wedding planner. In fact, you should ask questions. Oftentimes, clients don’t want to seem dumb, so they don’t ask. It’s your day and it’s your planning process — you should know what’s going on. No question is a bad question.

Want to learn more about wedding planners? Just ask!

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