Important Things to Ask Your Wedding Planner Before Hiring
Are you considering hiring a wedding planner? Make sure you know what you’re looking for in a professional and the criteria they need to meet. You’ll want to make sure you find the right wedding planner for your unique wedding. We’re here to help you choose the perfect wedding planner by asking all the right questions.
What Does A Wedding Planner Do? Top Questions & Answers
A wedding planner can help with everything including: choosing a venue, developing a budget, reading vendor contracts, planning your decor, managing wedding-day logistics, and coordinating with your vendors. Planning an event as big as a wedding can be difficult. Hiring a professional helps save time and frustration.
1) Do You Need A Wedding Planner?
Not everyone hires a wedding planner. In fact, most people don’t. Hiring a planner is a great idea if you are short on time, have a busy work schedule, are planning a destination wedding, or simply want to save yourself some stress. While it may seem like a luxury to hire a planner, consider the fact that they often have local connections and may be able to save you some money along the way. You’ve probably not planned very many weddings in your life so a professional can bring experience and knowledge to your planning process.
2) Wedding Planner vs Wedding Coordinator
A wedding planner is different from a wedding coordinator. A wedding planner is more involved in arranging the details of the wedding. A wedding coordinator is a smaller role, mostly focusing on making sure your wedding day goes smoothly.
You can hire a range of each type of professionals including a:
- Day-of coordinator who focuses just on the wedding day
- Month-of planner who helps you finalize your wedding details in the last month before your wedding
- Full service planner who is involved in your entire wedding planning process
- Destination wedding coordinator who works where you intend to have your wedding and helps you arrange from afar.
3) Wedding Planner Cost: What to Expect to Pay
According to The Knot’s Real Wedding Study, the national average cost for a wedding planner in 2022 was $1900. If you separate weddings by type: the average planner for a destination wedding was $2400 while the average cost for a local wedding planner was only $1700. These are national averages but at least they give you some idea of the cost. The cost may vary greatly based on where you live, the details of your wedding, and whether the planner charges hourly, a percentage of the wedding cost, or a flat rate.
Questions to Ask Your Wedding Planner
Handing over the reins of wedding planning can be scary. To make it a smooth transition, make sure you hire the right planner for you. Listed below are all the most important questions to ask a wedding planner before you decide to hire them.
1) Will you be available on my wedding date?
It seems obvious, but this is the most important question to ask a wedding planner. The wedding planner should be present the day of the wedding to help fix minor glitches and make last minute changes. If they won’t be there, make sure they plan to arrange a substitute.
2) How long have you been planning weddings?
Find out more about the experience of your wedding planner. Someone who is more experienced may have more connections and be more efficient but they are also likely to have higher fees. Don't discount someone new to the profession - the quality of their work is more important than the quantity.
3) What is your price range? Do you offer different package levels?
You need to know how much your planner will cost so you can factor that into your budget. Look for someone with a balance of experience and value.
4) How many meetings will we have?
You’ll want to know exactly how much your wedding planner will be collaborating with you. Think about how hands-on you want to be and try to find a planner who will suit your style. If you want someone who will meet with you a lot and take you to every appointment, you’ll need to be clear about that. If you want someone who will do most of the work on their own and only consult you on big choices, that’s an option too.
5) How many weddings do you typically plan a year?
It is important to know about your wedding planner's schedule. If you know how many weddings they organize in a year, you will have an idea about how efficient your wedding planner is. Too many weddings, and they might not have enough time for you. Not enough weddings might indicate their level of expertise.
6) How many other weddings will you be handling at the same time as mine?
Have an idea of how many other events your planner has going on at once so you can get an idea of how much time they have for you.
7) Have you ever worked with my chosen venue?
If your planner has worked with your venue they will be familiar with the logistics of the space and know the staff. It will be easier for them to create a vision for your wedding in a space that they’ve worked in before.
8) What are your package options?
Many wedding planners offer a variety of package deals. Did you find a planner you like but their fee is out of your budget? They may have a package that still offers their main services at a lower cost. Make sure to ask about price and service differences between each package.
9) What would be your backup plan if there’s bad weather?
The forecast for your big day says clear skies and sunshine - fantastic! Even so, it is wise to have a plan for rain or wind. Your wedding planner should have a complete backup plan for making alternate arrangements.
10) Are there any vendors that we would have to book if we hire you?
Some wedding planners have contracts with vendors (florists, decorators, or even caterers). If they do, you may be required to book those vendors, too. If you have specific vendors in mind already, you may need a different wedding planner.
11) Would we get a discount with any of the vendors that you recommend?
It's always a smart idea to ask about any discounts you can get. It might feel a little awkward, but it is important to ask. There may be a package deal if you book a planner and specific vendors together.
12) Do you send an invoice of all the vendor fees or do we have to pay each one of them individually?
It is easier to deal with one receipt than to take care of separate invoices for all vendors. For stress free invoicing, have your planner send you one bill. They will take care of paying the vendors.
13) Are you willing to distribute checks to the vendors that will be on-site?
There will be a lot of vendors present on the day of the wedding and you will have to pay them on that day itself. You can write the checks ahead of time but someone needs to distribute them. Ask your wedding planner if they are willing to take that responsibility so you can stay focused on enjoying your wedding.
14) What type of planning services do you offer?
There are many different styles of planning, so this is one of the top questions to ask a wedding planner. Wedding planners organize different kinds of services. Some wedding planners only deal with logistics, such as preparing a floor plan. Others offer design services, where they decorate the venue and customize designs. There are also other wedding planners who offer a combination of the two styles.
15) What tasks are we responsible for after we hire you?
"I thought you were booking a musician!" is not the conversation you want to have with your wedding planner at your rehearsal. Make sure you are aware of exactly what services your planner provides and which you’ll need to arrange yourself. Some planners will truly do it all - hire your officiant, book your musicians, order the flowers and so much more.
16) Will you be the only planner on-site on the day of the wedding?
This is a top question to ask a wedding planner if you're having a large wedding. A wedding planner may have a team of people working for them, or at least have a partner. It is necessary for you to get to know the team, have contact information for each team member, and know who exactly will be present on the day of the wedding.
17) If you aren’t able to attend our wedding, who will be the backup planner?
If your wedding planner is not able to stay during the wedding, then he or she should arrange for a backup planner who will be able to take care of everything. Just know there may be an additional fee for another planner to be present.
18) Will you stay on-site after our wedding and make sure everything is cleaned up, put away, and gifts are delivered to the correct location?
It's a small detail to think about, but someone needs to do something with the gifts after the reception. If you created your own decorations, someone needs to gather those too. You'll be tired from your busy day, so ask your wedding planner if they will be involved until the very end.
19) Will you be there during our wedding rehearsal?
The wedding rehearsal is important, because every wedding ceremony is different! Even with the most experienced bridal crew, it's necessary that everyone is on the same page about the details. That includes your planner!
20) How much would the deposit be?
You will have to make an initial deposit to your planner before they start working. Ask how much the deposit is so that you are able to calculate your overall expenses beforehand.
21) How do you charge for your services? Hourly? Flat fee?
Different wedding planners have different types of fees. Know how your wedding planner is charging you, and decide if it's in the budget for you.
22) Do you have a complete list of what’s included in your fee?
Your wedding planner should have this. If they don't, you shouldn't hire them. You need to know all of the services you are paying for - especially if each service has a different fee. It is much easier to organize your expenses once you know what your wedding planner is offering.
23) When is the final payment due?
The final payment is usually made after the wedding. Some wedding planners require you to pay after they have finished with the organizing. Decide which is a better option and hire your wedding planner accordingly.
24) What is your refund and cancellation policy?
This is one of the top questions to ask a wedding planner. You may decide you want to change planners after you've signed the contract - that's okay! If you do that, you need to know the process for terminating the contract.
25) Do you have a list of references that we can contact?
Do not hesitate to ask this question! It will help you understand the quality of work that your wedding planner does. Have questions prepared for each reference.
26) Do you have a portfolio of weddings you’ve done?
A portfolio will allow you to see the level of work your wedding planner does. It may also give you some inspiration for your wedding!
27) Can we make changes to the contract throughout the wedding planning process?
You may realize you have enough time or assistance to take care of responsibilities originally given to your planner. If that's the case, you may want to alter the contract for the services they are providing. If they do have a flexible contract, you'll want to know the process for how to change the contract.
28) What is the most unique wedding you have planned?
This is a fun question to ask but it’s also practical. Seeing the most unique wedding your planner has done will show you what they’re capable of and how flexible they are. This is an especially important question if you have a particular sense of style or a really non-traditional idea for your wedding.
Start the Search for Your “Perfect Match” Wedding Planner
Talk to your wedding planner and get all the information you need before you make a decision. Hire a planner once you are completely satisfied with the answers to all these questions. Your wedding is important, and it needs to be planned with care. You may have to talk to a few planners before you find the right one, so start your search today!
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