If you’re a bride who barely has time to take care of day to day responsibilities, let alone to add on the many duties required to plan a wedding, it’s possible that you need a professional who can be trusted to take on some of that responsibility, while still allowing you to make the final decisions for your big day.
A benefit of hiring a wedding planner is that if you are working on a tight budget and your planner is well-connected she can help you get high quality vendors or supplies for a lower cost. Also, If you don’t want to ask your family or friends to set up for the ceremony and reception, a planner will take on that responsibility so that everyone dear to you can relax and enjoy the day.
So what kinds of prices can you expect with hiring a planner?
Planners have different pricing styles:
• Flat rates
• Hourly rates
• Packaged rates
Decide what works best for you. Do your research, compare services and prices.
Some planners charge a consulting fee, but most don’t. Unless you’re absolutely certain that you want to use a specific planner who charges for their consultations, I would opt for a planner who doesn’t charge. You just need to do your research and call around, there are many to choose from. Be sure to make a list, set up meetings or try and shortlist a few after some phone calls.
Here are a few questions to ask your planners when you meet them:
• How many weddings do you plan in a year? How many clients do you plan to take on while working with us?
• Do you work as a wedding planner full-time or part-time? What hours are you typically available?
• Can you tell me about a wedding you have planned in the past with a budget similar to my budget? How did you go about making sure that budget was not blown?
• Are you certified? Are you licensed? Are you associated with any wedding planning associations?
• Are there are any wedding related duties that you are unwilling or unable to take on for your clients?
• Do you foresee any potential problems with our set wedding date? Please include potential weather related issues, personal matters, and other issues.
• What vendors do you have close working relationships with? Have you ever used the venue we have chosen for our wedding?
• Will you be personally present for all stages of planning and coordinating my wedding? How long do you typically stay on-site after the wedding ceremony to make sure things go smoothly?
• Most importantly find out what their past brides have to say. Ask to see testimonials & reviews.
Things your planner needs to know:
“The initial consultation is your opportunity to determine if there is a “fit” between the couple and the planner because let’s face it, this person is going to become your very significant other during the months leading up to your wedding.” — says Black Swan Certified Special Events Professional, Kathleen Maynard
According to Kathleen “before you engage the services of a planner, you ought to have given some thought to these elements of your wedding. You need to be reasonably clear about your needs, wants, desires and expectations.”
Here is a list of things your planner needs to know to prepare a proposal for your wedding:
• Time of year or date ( tentative or confirmed) that you are considering.
• Type of wedding you desire eg ultra formal, semi formal or casual; traditional, contemporary, ethnic.
• Preferred location of the ceremony and reception: outdoor garden wedding, beach wedding, historic place, yacht, hotel or resort.
• Will your ceremony be a lavish, over the top, big budget production a la “Premium Weddings” or a more modest event?
• Theme, colours or the vision you have for your special day. It’s ok for you to have two or three ideas you are playing around with. Better yet, bring your concept or vision board to the consultation. A picture is worth a thousand words and then some!
• Number of guests you would like to invite. Is this a “Big Fat Greek Wedding” or a more intimate family and close friends only affair?
• Your wish list. Everything you ever dreamt about for making that day special. Price is usually a reality check, but hey, it does not hurt to dream big, so go ahead and request the quote before you say yes or no
• Your must haves. These are the wedding elements that are non-negotiable, for instance, you may opt to have fresh flowers only; no artificials. Or you may want a live band versus a disc jockey.
• Your ‘must not haves’. For example you may be allergic to a certain food or do not like a particular genre of music, so let the planner know up front what’s on your taboo list
Mala Webber is the founder of IsleDo a wedding planning resource for couples planning a Caribbean wedding.
Kathleen Maynard is an International Special Event Society (ISES) certified special events professional, with 25 years experience in event planning and weddings and is one of IsleDo’s wedding experts. If you’d like to ask Kathleen any specific questions regarding wedding planning please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://IsleDo.com.
Mala Webber is the founder of www.IsleDo.com a wedding planning resource for couples planning a Caribbean wedding.