What You Should Be Looking for in a Wedding Planner

Gia Canali Photography

Every bride needs someone reliable to lean on when it comes to planning a kickass wedding. Often that means going beyond your family and friends and hiring a professional. So, how can you find a good wedding planner match: someone with the same priorities and overall vision? Here's what to consider when interviewing potential wedding planners.

1. A Free Consultation

A face-to-face meeting is imperative when it comes to hiring a wedding planner. Seeing someone's work online or having a good phone conversation is one thing, but meeting them in person and really getting to know them can confirm or challenge what you might have already thought. "Professional wedding planners will offer a free consultation so they can get to know you and your wedding vision and determine if they're a good fit for you," says Kinsey Roberts of Vista View Events.

2. The Planner's Personality

It's super important that you find someone whose personality clicks with yours, says Viva Max Kaley of Viva Max Weddings. Just think about how much you'll be communicating with and seeing this person throughout a potentially stressful wedding planning process. "They're going to be a part of your life in a very saturated way for a short amount of time," Kaley says. So you'll want to be sure you're very comfortable with your planner and how they listen to you and speak to you. There should be a solid rapport and an element of trust there.

3. The Planner's Individual Background or Experience

Each planner has their own unique skillset and some may be better suited to the type of wedding you're hoping to plan. "If you're very focused on design, colors, and floral—and you know you want help from someone who's also very visual—it would make sense to choose someone whose background aligns with your needs," Kaley advises. Or if food is your first priority, then a planner who knows the ins and outs of the catering business or used to be a chef might be a good choice. Of course, many planners have a diverse body of experience to draw from, but you should try to work with one who also emphasizes the aspects that you think are the most important.

4. What Services Are Included

Spend a little time thinking about what services you'll need for your wedding, then find a planner who can fulfill those needs. Some planners offer all-encompassing packages whereas some are more a la carte. You may only need a day-of coordinator to help everything run smoothly, or you may prefer an expert to help walk you through every step of the way while planning your big day.

Kaley recommends being honest about what you're capable of doing and what your strengths and weaknesses may be. "For example, if you don't have time to email all of the vendors because of your work commitments, perhaps you should shop for someone who can handle the communication for you," she adds. What's more, some planners tack on an extra charge for design services, so make sure you know what you're getting from the start, says Sarah Chancey of Chancey Charm. And some coordinators won't set up any décor unless it's explicitly stated in the contract.

5. The Average Response Time

Since communication is key, Chancey says it's also important to know what kind of response time you can expect from your planner. This will help reduce or eliminate the stress of wondering about any issues—big or small—as you're planning. So, be sure to ask potential planners whether you'll be communicating via phone calls, texts, or emails and how long you should expect to wait for a reply.

6. Simple Honesty

Your bridesmaids can be your "yes" men, but your planner shouldn't. Find someone who will give it to you straight when it comes to everything from your creative ideas to your budget. "You want to work with someone who will keep your expectations realistic while ensuring your vision, not someone who will say or do anything to get your business," warns Breen Halley Miller of TOCA Social.

7. Insurance

Although it's the least romantic aspect of wedding planning, insurance is a must. Make sure your planner has liability insurance. In fact, most high-end resorts require a planner to have it, says Victoria Canada of Victoria Canada Weddings & Events. This maintains the professional aspect of everything and protects everyone involved.

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