Are you thinking of hiring a wedding planner? Whether you want to hand over a whole year’s worth of table planning or just need someone there to ensure things run smoothly on the big day itself, wedding planners can be a real God-send.
But, how do you find a wedding planner that works for you?
Armed with our list of six need-to-know questions to ask your wedding planner, you’re sure to find one that’s just perfect for you.
What’s included in the price of a wedding planner?
Some wedding planners require a minimum budget to work with, so you need to make sure your planner is in your budget range. Ask how their fees are structured – find out if they charge a fixed fee or a percentage of the budget.
We advise using 10%-15% of your budget as a guide for choosing a planner, while a on-the-day service usually costs £250-£1000.
Ask if there are any additional charges for travel, accommodation or administrative work. Get their full proposal in writing, including details of liability insurance, and read it thoroughly before signing.
What services do wedding planners offer?
Some couples need help arranging everything, from finding a venue and caterers to organising invitations and seating plans. Others just need a wedding planner on hand on the day to liaise with the caterers, organise the DJ and generally ensure things go smoothly. Kelly Chandler of the Bespoke Wedding Company says it’s wise to arrange an initial consultation to chat about your needs. “Discuss your dates early – it’s amazing how many people forget to ask whether we’re even available on their preferred date,” she says. “Planners will often only work in particular regions or specialise in certain countries, so you need to make sure they actually work in your area.”
If you’re marrying abroad, make sure your wedding planner has experience in that country because the culture, legal requirements, language and supplier contacts vary from country to country.
Do you understand my vision?
A good wedding planner should listen to your plans and build on them, adding their own ideas where necessary. You need to be sure that you can work with your planner and trust their judgement and input.
Make sure you have a good rapport with them and you’re comfortable requesting changes to their suggestions or asking for more details about their proposals. Kelly recommends asking your planner what style of wedding they specialise in to ensure it’s in line with your personal style. “Be clear about what you do and don’t like,” she says. “No two weddings are the same, but you’ll find most planners have their own style.”
Do you have preferred suppliers?
If you have your heart set on a particular florist or caterer, ask your planner in advance if they have any problems using them. Some planners have a set supplier list, which could cause problems if your preferred florist or caterer isn’t on it.
“Ultimately it should be the client’s choice,” says wedding planner, Nafisa Mark, “but a planner knows who’s good, who’s reliable and who will fit the bride’s needs. A good planner will have contacts to suit all tastes and budgets.”
Can I see some referrals?
“Always ask for a reference and pictures of previous weddings they’ve organised,” Kathryn says. “Providing a reference is proof of a wedding planner’s professionalism and credibility. I’ve heard some clients being told that due to confidentiality they’re unable to show previous clients’ weddings – this is a good indication that they have something to hide.” A professional wedding planner will be able to show you a portfolio displaying their previous work.
Also find out how long they’ve been in the bridal business and how many other weddings they’ll be organising at the same time as yours – be sure they can guarantee you the level of service you are paying for. An experienced planner rarely juggles more than 10 weddings at any one time.
How much time do wedding planners need?
This is key not just for you but also for your planner – you need to be sure your wedding is properly prioritised and gets the attention it deserves. Kelly says that some planners will only take bookings a year ahead, while others are happy to work at short notice. You just need to make sure your planner is being honest about what they can and can’t deliver on time. “Give yourself more options by booking your planner as soon as possible after setting your date,” says Kathryn. The longer you’ve got, the better your chances of a stress-free planning period.