Please be sure to speak to your wedding planner before hiring him/her...it’s essential that you get along with your planner because you both will essentially be talking on a daily basis and the last thing you want is a planner you don’t get along with...or one that doesn’t respond to phone calls/emails. In this wedding industry, it’s so important to always look through reviews of each and every vendor, especially the wedding planner. Just because a friend loved him/her doesn’t mean you will too. Reviews are everything and if the vendor has less than five reviews then definitely do more research. I had a past client say that they had luck finding vendors also on social media group forums so definitely check into that!
I made this ebook as an educational tool to assist with the wedding planning process, not to take the place of a wedding planner.
So if you’re interested in hiring a wedding planner and you don’t know where to start, what should you do?
Or a very popular question is, do you need a wedding planner?
That all depends on how much time you have on your hands and how much frustrations and last minute hiccups are you able to mentally handle.
Let’s start with the different wedding planner packages.
As I’m sure you can imagine, there are different types of wedding planners with different types of wedding planning packages. The two main packages are full service wedding planning package and partial wedding planning package. The full service wedding planning package takes care of the whole wedding planning process and typically the partial planning package takes care of everything but finding the venue (in most circumstances, some planners include/exclude certain items that we address later in this chapter). And the last package most (but not all) planners offer is the “day of” or “month of” planning package. And repeat after me: you will always need a “day of” wedding planner for your wedding.
What is a “day of” wedding planner?
I am not sure how the industry started the whole phrase of “day of” planning but a “day of” wedding planning package SHOULD NOT just start the day of the wedding -that’s just the industry phrase. Every planner has a different start date for their “day of” package like some planners start four weeks before the wedding and some start six weeks before the wedding, my package starts six weeks before the wedding.
If the planner only starts on the day of the wedding, I personally suggest looking further into how this planner goes about their process... I am not saying they’re not great planners but I start my package six weeks before the wedding because I am very detailed and I need those six weeks to connect with vendors as well as clients to create my comprehensive five page timeline for the wedding day (definitely needing more than just one day).
Don’t be alarmed if the planner doesn’t start 6 weeks beforehand but definitely be alarmed if they are just showing up on your wedding day. I am not sure how they do it but I can certainly share that it definitely takes us at least four to six weeks to complete a day of package timeline. And the reason everyone should hire a “day of” planner is because you have put so much time and money into the wedding day, it is worth spending just a little more to ensure everything goes “according to plan” or as close to plan as possible or else how can you really enjoy it?
The Difference Between “wedding planners” and “wedding designers”
There are full service wedding planners that take care of the client experience by focusing on the planning of the logistics and there are event designers who focus more on the whole design and aesthetics of the wedding. The wedding planner will focus on your wedding design and aesthetics as well but they will most likely hire another vendor (typically a wedding florist/event production company) to put together the wedding vision.
Yes, technically the best wedding planners are both, but if you really want a planner to focus on your decor/ aesthetics versus fine detail logistics then consider the event designer over the wedding planner. Make sure to differentiate your planner by asking them if they consider themselves more of a wedding planner or a wedding/event designer? They’ll be honest on where they stand with the differentiation. I am personally more of a wedding planner than an event designer because I focus more on the small timing details of a wedding and assist with some design of the florals but depend more on the florist for putting together the whole vision.
Wedding planners are so helpful in the process and I of course am biased since I am a wedding planner but if you have a very full life (between work, family, social, weekends) it might be worth looking into hiring and maybe keeping the planner separate from your wedding budget. Sometimes it can be considered a gift from a family member (wink, wink) or allocation for mental health.
To be honest, there are a lot of fake “planners” out there claiming they can plan anyones wedding because they planned their own or planned their friend’s wedding, but unfortunately that’s not how the industry works. It’s a completely different world when you first meet someone and you have to deliver the wedding of their dreams, not only based on their taste (of which you are still learning), but also based on their budget and personalities. Our role as a wedding planner is pretty important to a wedding. We take on a lot of responsibilities for a lot of factors, some of which we can’t even control like the weather! So it’s so important to do your research not only on your wedding planner but also for all of your vendors.
This industry unfortunately doesn’t have a wedding police. Any vendor can claim anything online, especially on their website. Don’t just believe a vendor because they have a nice website and they seem cool on social media. Do the research. Read the reviews, follow this ebook. Reviews are everything to us in the wedding world. Whenever I come across a new vendor I’ve never heard of, I go through ALL of their reviews....I mean it, even if they have a hundred and fifty, sometimes vendors will “bury” their bad reviews so people won’t see it and have their friends post to hide that review.
So are wedding planners worth the large cost?
There’s no doubt that hiring a planner will alleviate so much work and worry but unfortunately not everyone can afford a planner as part of their budget, so what do you do? As I mentioned earlier,
ALWAYS HIRE A DAY OF COORDINATOR. ALWAYS.
Pros Of A Wedding Planner:
Cons of a Wedding Planner:
What do wedding planners do?
How and Where do I find a wedding planner?
www.theknot.com is my favorite source and typically a wedding planner will ask for a phone call or a meeting to get to know you better and you should definitely make the time for either of those options. This wedding planner is going to be the person you are depending on to make your big day special, you should feel an immediate sense of calm and connection to this person and it’s really hard to feel that connection especially over an email.
What is their typical cost?
This really depends on a lot of logistics (just like all of the other vendors). If you are having a destination wedding, consider that any vendor chosen outside the destination area will charge extra fees for scouting trips and travel/gas and hotel rooms. Sometimes it is included in the price and sometimes it’s not included in the price. There are two methods planners employ when charging a client, either the planner is “percentage based” which depends on your final wedding budget or a planner charges a flat fee. I personally charge a flat fee because budgets truly go up and down throughout the whole wedding planning process and I don’t like to make it complicated.
There is a huge range between the pricing of wedding planners. Unfortunately this is a common theme in the wedding industry. One vendor can charge triple the price of another and offer the same services. Why? Typically because of popularity and high demand. I have talented vendors that have not been discovered yet that charge pennies compared to the well established big name vendors and yet they provide the same type product but with a different name.
Just remember that just like in life “if it’s too good to be true then it probably is.” Truly. I’ve had way too many experiences with “low price” vendors that didn’t even SHOW UP on the wedding day let alone fulfill all of their promises. So if the price is too good then be VERY wary... this is also something planners assist with. Finding dependable and worth vendors for your wedding.
Also confirm if the planner attends all the meetings and if not, which ones does he/she actually attend?
Every planner is different and it’s so important to read your contracts and be completely clear as to what meetings wedding planners will attend. For example, I do not attend wedding dress shopping days but I always confirm details with wedding dress vendors.
Once you have narrowed down your top two to three vendors, have a phone call or in person meeting to negotiate and finalize choosing the planner that best fits your budget, style and understands your vision.
The BEST days to reach a wedding planner and any other vendor for this industry is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday’s are typically in preparation for the weekend and Mondays are typically a rest day after working the weekend.
Questions to ask the Wedding Planner
You might be wondering, what is the process of booking wedding vendors?
Be sure to review our attached vendor contract information before signing any contract.
What should be on the wedding planner contract?
Always review the contract, if there is a term you do not understand, be sure to connect with the planner to discuss it. Always review how the planner goes over hours dedicated to your wedding and see how they work with “overtime,” if they have overtime charges? Make sure the contract states the name of the planner planning the wedding (sometimes the owner is just the Sales and not the actual person you’re working with) and how many assistants will work on the day of? Make sure to know when the planners arrive and when they leave. And if they take commission from vendors because some do take commission and some do not, personally, I do not take commission as a wedding planner.
*Please note if you are wanting to make changes to the contract of the planner or any other vendor, please be mindful of what you want to change. For example, there is a “morality clause” that I usually never touch as a planner because it protects our planners and our clients from any inappropriate behavior and gives us the wrong impression of the potential client when they want that removed.
Once you have narrowed down your top two to three wedding planners, then have a phone call or in person meeting to negotiate and finalize choosing the vendor that best fits your budget, style and understands your vision.
Join our Busy Bee team by checking out our socials!