Choosing your wedding planner is almost as important as choosing your Maid of Honour. Honestly! Your MOH will have fewer important responsibilities than a stranger you've perhaps never met before. Your wedding planner is the person who, if you decide to work with one, will be the person helping you shape the very vision of your wedding day. But that's only the beginning.
Your wedding planner will also help you stay on budget, will liaise with your vendors (after helping you select them!), come up with a timeline for the day of, set up decorations, and most importantly, be the point of contact for every single moving part on the day of your wedding. They will be the person that worries about everything, precisely so you don't have to.
As you can imagine, it is extremely important that you and your wedding planner are on the same page. These are five questions to help you determine if you've found The One [wedding planner].
How many weddings have you planned so far?
This question is both an obvious one, and a little sneaky. Of course, you want to know what kind of experience your planner has (ask to see their portfolio of past work, too!). If they've only planned four weddings, and they've all been the nuptials of friends, this could be a concern.
The second layer to this question prods at whether your planner has found their niche, and if they know their own working and creative style. Ultimately, this is part of what will ensure you two are a good fit—because your planner should offer expertise on the sort of wedding you're after. This is the sort of talent that is refined only through experience.
Do you work with a team?
Just like when booking your photographer, inquire about the structure of your planner's business. Just because you meet with your dream planner for a consultation does not guarantee that they will be the person tending to your wedding or with you on the day.
If they do work with a collective, this doesn't need to be an immediate dealbreaker. If it's important to work with that one planner specifically, simply communicate that requirement.
If this isn't possible, hear them out. They work with a collective because they trust the quality of other planners in that association. They may genuinely find that another planner with whom they work might meet your needs better. There's no one correct answer, but this is an important detail that should be spoken about.
Do you have a list of preferred vendors? Will you work with other vendors?
If your planner has spent years in the industry, it's likely that they will have a shortlist of favourite vendors to work with. Perhaps this is an interpersonal preference, or an adoration of a rare skill offering, but generally, it's a huge help and a vote of confidence to have vendors recommended to you by someone you trust.
However, you should always meet with those vendors on your own independently of your planner to ensure you're getting the best deal, and that you are actually seeking what they have to offer. It's worth mentioning to your planner that it's important to you that you receive the best deal and the best service, and that you're not comfortable with them awarding contracts to vendors just because they are friends!
Alternatively, you might have done your research ahead of time and chosen your favourite vendors. Be sure that your planner is okay working with new vendors and that there won't be any hard feelings if you elect to not use one of their contacts.
What happens in case of emergency?
Picture it: it's the morning of your wedding and you are so excited for your elaborate, choreographed parade, to be executed by your wedding planner, like the best stage manager there is. Then, your first phone call of the day, your wedding planner: she has thrown out both of her shoulders while attempting a poorly formed aerial cartwheel. She can't come to the wedding—she is phoning you from the hospital and you're on speaker, because both arms are still dislocated. Or another more feasible crisis strikes. What happens?
This should be highlighted in your contract and closely discussed. If your planner cannot attend the wedding, can she send someone in her place? Will you be refunded all, or a portion of, your investment? The worst case scenario is the morning of your wedding day is spent frantically trying to appoint a new point person for vendors to meet with (or to stage manage your parade). The best case scenario is your planner can send someone in her stead who has already been briefed on your entire day.
The important thing, however, is ensuring that you'll be protected and will retain some of your investment if your planner cannot deliver what she promises.
Photos from 12th Tribe and Melissa Ergo.
What are your favourite sorts of weddings to plan?
If, by the end of your conversation spurred on by this question, you're not both emphatically describing beautiful archways or laughing and gushing about your favourite floral arrangements, you might not be right for each other. Your planner will have taste preferences, just like you do, and it's best to work with someone whose tastes align with yours. This should be an exciting discussion where you dive into some hypothetical blue sky planning, and should leave both of you excited to collaborate.
If you find your planner is pushing back against your ideas, or that you're feeling less than enthused about their suggestions, it may be that you two are not the right fit.
The most important part of choosing a wedding planner is ensuring that you will have a respectful, fun, and memorable experience collaborating to create your perfect day. Our rule of thumb is that your planner should feel like your best Type A friend—someone you get along with, but that you trust to execute the logistics of a very complicated day. And similarly, your planner should also like you! So approach these questions with respect, curiosity, and honesty, and you'll know for sure if you're staring down a dream partnership or a mismatch.