How to Choose (A Series): Part Five
How to Choose Your Wedding Planner
The idea of getting married, getting all dressed up, and having a big celebration sounds like a lot fun for most couples. However, once they get into the planning process there's usually one or two moments that we'll call "less-than-fun." As most of our couples know, wedding planning can get very stressful at times, and making tough choices and big decisions about your dream day is not always easy.
If you're looking for ways to cut down on the stress of planning, one of the most obvious ways to help yourself is by hiring a wedding planner. Planners are your outsource of help to do the heavy lifting for you (sometimes literally). They offer different services that take a lot of the responsibilities that come with throwing a wedding off of you and guide you through the hard parts of planning a big event.
So, how do you choose the best one for your big day? We've listed a few things to keep in mind when you start your search, and how to narrow it down to your favorite!
First and foremost, we always look at your budget. Planners have lots of different ranges of services, and thus lots of varied prices. You can also cut down on costs by changing the services you receive and how long a planner works with you (but more on that later). While they may not be the biggest expense of your budget, they're definitely something to look at hiring first before finalizing any smaller detail items.
Go With The Flow
Your planner will need to work around your lifestyle in order for this to be a cohesive partnership. (And that's exactly what it is: a partnership!) Most planners will work within your schedule limitations and plan meetings or calls in the time frames that work for you. We understand that you have a full time job, so we offer evening and weekend meetings to plan with you. If your planner is constantly unavailable, it may be time to reconsider.
This one is a big one! We've all heard that communication is key; well, planners would probably consider this their mantra. As they work with you, your venue, your hired vendors, and your families and friends, they have to be great communicators. Whether they think email is best, or like to hop on a phone call with you frequently, make sure you understand their communication preferences before working with them. Additionally, if it seems that you're not on the same page about things from the start, that could be a red flag for hiring that planner.
It's no secret that the wedding industry is a flooded market. There are a thousand and one options for every vendor you wish to hire, and they all range from amateur to expert (and probably cheapest to most expensive). While going with someone newer to the industry may cut down on costs, it could also end up creating more work for you. A lot of times wedding planners with more experience also have more relationships with other vendors they've worked with. They're more likely to have more recommendations on vendors, more sage advice to give, and more wisdom under their belt. It's important to find one that knows all the ins and outs of weddings so that planning your personal wedding day comes easily to them.
Level of involvement in your wedding day
Now's the tricky task for you: deciding on what package to pick. Many planners offer different options for their services that breakdown into three categories: full service planning, partial planning, and day-of coordination.
Full-service is just what it sounds like: your planner will be there from the beginning of the planning process all the way to the end of your wedding night, starting from scratch with you. They'll tour venues with you (and even for you), help hire vendors, create a timeline with you, and be there on the wedding day to guide you and everyone else working. This is usually your highest priced option since you're getting the highest level of involvement.
Partial planning is usually a little less than the above. Planners may step into help once you have your venue and caterer hired. They'll contact other vendors for their information and contracts and provide them to you to choose from! Some planners may even create a timeline for you, or perhaps install decor on your wedding day... but you won't get it all. This is a cheaper option than full service (and for many planners is determined based on your actual needs for your specific wedding).
Day-of coordination is kind of a myth. (There's actually no such thing!) It varies from planner to planner, but here's what we do: We start working with you as soon as you book, and provide three planning meetings leading up to your wedding day. We help make suggestions on vendors to work with, but you'll need to contact and hire them on your own.
If you think you may just need someone to help guide you along the planning process but you definitely have it mostly under control, then this option is probably for you. It's usually your cheapest option and the most hands-off approach planners provide.
Another little thing that makes us different from the rest? We offer a team of planners (versus the traditional lead planner and possible assistant that most wedding planning businesses offer) which means there are lots of people who know all the details of your day working with you!
Don't forget to look at planners who offer more than one service. For example, we offer planning, floral design, and decor rentals through our company, so that's even less work for you to do! Do your research and see if this helps your overall budget, too, when you start looking for the perfect planner.
Still not sure what services or packages are right for you? Or maybe you know what you want but aren't sure who to choose? That's where we come in! Contact us today to learn more about our options for your big day and to see if we're the perfect match!
PS - Did we mention we're hiring? If wedding planning sounds like a dream to you, then click here to apply!