Hiring a wedding planner can be a very daunting task. It’s the vendor you’ll be working with the most closely throughout the months leading up to your wedding and the person responsible for bringing your vision to life. With all the talented people out there designing gorgeous weddings, how are you supposed to find the person that’s right for YOU? We sat down with Melissa McNeeley of Events by Melissa McNeeley to find out! Here are the ten questions you should ask every wedding planner you interview to get the conversation started and find THE ONE.
2. Do you have a minimum budget? If you’ve never planned a wedding before, you probably don’t know ho much it will actually cost to pull together your wedding. While you know the MAXIMUM you’re willing to spend, it’s just as important to determine if there are any restrictions on the low end of things early on. You want to reconcile your big dreams and small budget before you get too far along so that you and your potential planner are on the same page. It’s better to be transparent and create realistic expectations then to be disappointed and frustrated by the process!
3. Do you have favorite vendors that you prefer to work with? Will you go outside of that list? Preferred vendors are a double-edged sword. If a planner has a list of vendors they like to work with, it usually means that they have established a solid relationship, access to discounts, and an understanding of the other vendors’ quality of work. But it can also restrict your ability to find a florist willing to make the crazy bouquet of your dreams or a baker that will make you up a non-traditional cake. As a follow up, make sure to ask if the planner gets a percentage from their preferred vendors so you know why they like working with those vendors and how they’ll be working for YOU.
4. How do your weddings differ? Wedding planners plan weddings for a living, but you want your day to be unique! This question will help unearth how the planner works to make each wedding special. Does he/she ask you questions about your personality? Your likes and dislikes? Does he/she only do weddings in one particular venue? Once you get a response, you’ll be able to tell what the planner’s range is…and if the planner always falls back on a signature move.
5. How are your weddings the same? After you figure out how the planner will work to bring our your personal style, you’ll want to find out what his/her sweet spot is. Does he/she usually plan weddings for 200 guests in Brooklyn? Edgy brides that want to think completely outside the box? Classic couples that live and breathe for nautical nuptials? It’s important to get a feel for what each planner brings to the table. You’ll quickly see if their ideas can mesh with your vision.
6. What is the biggest wedding you’ve done? Even if you’re only inviting 30 people to your wedding, it’s good to know what the planner is capable of doing. If they’ve pulled off 500 person weddings without a hitch, chances are they’ll easily be able to plan your wedding.
7. What types of venues have you planned weddings in? The answer to this question will help you get a sense of the planner’s range. Do they specialize in rustic farm weddings? Can they turn historic buildings into epic party spaces? If you know you want to get married on the beach, make sure the planner has a sense of how to execute that type of event flawlessly before you sign a contract. Ask the planner weather-related questions, lighting questions, and questions about decor to see the way he/she will go about planning an event in the venue of your dreams.
8. How do you handle difficult family members? This is a somewhat sneaky way to get a glimpse into how the planner works under pressure. Your mom is going to ask one too many questions at some point during the planning process, one of your bridesmaids may have a day-of dress emergency, or the photographer may get lost on the way to the venue. It’s better to learn how creative (and patient!) the planner can be before the big day than to be surprised (in a bad way) when something goes wrong.
9. How long have you been in business? While there’s nothing wrong with a fresh face at the table, it’s important to have a grasp on the level of expertise of your expert. If they’ve been in the industry for a decade or two, they’ve probably made some good industry connections that will translate into a better wedding for you!
10. How do you approach design? If you are starting to get a good vibe from the planner, it’s important to get down to the nitty gritty details before you leave the initial meeting. Every planner has a creative vision and a talent for creating beautiful events, but you need to know how he/she will bring YOUR dream into reality. Share your ideas and see how he/she responds. Is he/she able to come up with some thoughts that excite you right away? Sounds like a good fit! If he/she seems to be bored or confused by your dreams, might be time to move on to the next interview.
At the end of the day, just because someone does great work doesn’t make them a good vendor for YOU. “Listen to your gut, not their resume,” says McNeeley. “You want to make sure the wedding planner is a good fit for you and the wedding of your dreams. There are so many talented vendors out there that know what they’re doing, but you want to make sure you have a connection.”
Now that you know what to ask, find out 7 major perks of hiring a planner you hadn’t even considered!
—By Claire Aven
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