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The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Wedding Planner

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to hiring a wedding planner! There is something so exciting and also a little nerve-wracking about taking this first step in your wedding planning journey. Our guide is here to help you navigate the labyrinth of wedding planners, understand what to expect (and setting expectations), educate you on the right questions to ask, get you thinking about your budget, and ensuring you feel confident in finding your personal wedding guru. Let's get into it!




Step 1:  Research, Research, Research.

Pull together a list of potential planners that you feel suit your style, expectations, and budget.  We recommend scheduling about 2 hrs to complete this research. Research may include asking friends and family for recommendations, posting in Facebook groups, and Google searching.


Tap below to download and organize the Wedding planners you find in our PDF comparison chart. It includes who they are, where they are located, their prices, and keynotes to consider.


Wedding Planner Comparison Chart
.pdf
Download PDF • 45KB


Step 2: Meet and Greets and Exploration calls:


Before committing to a wedding planner, be sure to have an exploration call. We recommend reaching out to the top 3-5 planners that caught your eye in the researching phase. Before the meet and greet be sure to prepare a set of questions (such as some of the ones we provide below) to ensure you know what to expect and ensure the planner aligns with what you want. You will be working collaboratively with your planner or their team leading up to AND likely on the day so it is crucial that you vibe!


The goal is to ensure that the planner is a good fit for you but also that you are a good fit for the planner!


Before diving into questions start by telling the planner about you and your partner and your wedding day vision.


Follow this up with questions to clarify expectations.


Sample questions you may want to ask your potential planner:


Style Insights:

  • How would you describe your wedding planning style? (collaborative, hands-on, all-inclusive, other?)

  • Are you able to share examples of weddings you've planned that align with our vision or theme?

Vendor Conjuring:

  • How do you go about selecting and collaborating with vendors?

    • Note: some planners and some planning packages may include the wedding planner selecting the vendors, other planners may provide you with a selection of vendors in various categories for you to choose from, and others will help coordinate vendors but the nitty gritty vendor research is up you and your partner to complete. There is no right or wrong but you must be aware of what your planner can provide and what is included in your package. 

  • Do you have preferred vendors, or are you open to exploring new alliances?

Logistics: 

  • How do you handle the coordination of logistics on the wedding day?

  • What's your strategy for managing the timeline and ensuring everything runs smoothly?

Budget:

  • Can you provide a breakdown of your fees and any additional costs we should be aware of?

  • How do you help couples stay within their budget?

Communication:

  • What is your preferred method of communication, and how often can we expect updates?

    • Text, email, other platforms?

    • Monthly, weekly, or as-needed updates?

  • How do you handle conflicts or differing opinions during the planning process?

    • This may be between family, the couple, other vendors 

Problem-Solving:

  • Can you share an example of a wedding where things didn't go as planned, and how you handled it?

  • What contingency plans do you have in place for unexpected challenges?

Flexibility and Adaptability:

  • How, or do you accommodate last-minute changes or additions to the wedding plans?

    • Are there Extra fees associated with last-minute changes? (ex, if the additional setup is involved, farther travel, etc)

  • Are you open to incorporating unique and unconventional elements into weddings?

  • Crisis Control: How do you typically handle unexpected challenges or potential thunderstorms on the big day? Do you have a secondary planner who can step in if needed to coordinate if the planner is not available? If so, who?


Guest Experience:

  • How do you help ensure a great experience for our guests?

  • Do you have creative ideas for personalizing the wedding and making it memorable for everyone?

 Resources:

  • Are you connected with other wedding professionals who can add to our day?

  • Can you recommend unique or off-beat ideas that could make our wedding stand out?

Toolkit:

  • What tools, software, or resources do you use for planning and organization?


Feel free to add personalized questions that align with your unique vision. The exploration call is your chance to discover if your potential planner truly understands your vision.


Step 3: Charting the Course - Setting Expectations

Now that you've found a planner who resonates with you and your partner's dreams, it's time to lay out clear expectations:

  • Code: Review the planner's contract to ensure you are very clear on the planner's roles and responsibilities and what yours are. If you are not sure, clarify. 

  • Communication: Establish how and how often you'll communicate. Will it be via text, zoom meetings, email, and/or calls?

    • For Example-

      • 4 -Zoom calls throughout the planning process at 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, and 1 month.

      • Email updates as needed OR 1 email update per month.

  • Timeline: Discuss your preferred timeline for updates and major decisions. Ensuring everyone is on the same page will prevent the chaos of misaligned calendars.

    • For example, if the planner has in the timeline to book hair and makeup at 6 months out but you are more comfortable with booking 8-10 months out, be sure to communicate this, early on so the planner can arrange her workload, schedule, and calendar prompts accordingly. Additionally, if you are not clear on this and the 8-month mark comes and goes without booking a hair stylist you may be left feeling stressed and unsure.

  • Lay out these expectations and a timeline for vendor booking for everyone involved!

  • Language: Establish a communication style that resonates with you. Are you a fan of directness and major decisions to be made via email, or do you prefer softness and major decisions to be talked through at your Zoom meetings?


Step 3: Tools and Downloadable Templates

To enhance your journey, we've conjured up some downloadable templates for you:

  • Budgeting: Keep track of where all your coins are going with our budgeting template.


Simple Wedding Budget Planner Document A4
.pdf
Download PDF • 84KB

  • Planning Timeline: Plot every moment with our timeline template.


Month by Month Wedding Planning with Lynea D'Aprix
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.23MB

  • Gratitude tracker: Ensure no one is overlooked with our tracker.


Gratitude tracker
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.06MB

Armed with a list of questions, clear expectations, and a bag full of templates, you're now ready to hire the wedding wizard oops I mean the wedding planner of your dreams. May your wedding planning adventure be filled with joy, laughter, and the perfect touch of magic! 


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Hey, thanks for being here.

I'm Lynea, founder of The Wedding Talk. Our mission is to inspire, education, and simplify the wedding industry for those of you getting married and wedding vendors in the industry. Pop over to my socials to get all the tips and tricks you'll need.

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