1/ Compatible personality
Image by Patina Photo
You’ll be spending a good deal of time with your planner, working together on potentially challenging and stressful situations. As such, it’s crucial that you get along well, feel at ease, listened to and understood. Meet potential planners in person to best gauge the level of compatibility and rapport!
2/ Reliability and communication
Image by Elyse Hall Photography
You’re also entrusting your planner with a lot of responsibility for the success of the wedding, so they should be trustworthy and reliable. This is something you may be able to judge for yourself when meeting the person – do they respect your budget and other circumstances? Have they demonstrated a good understanding of your dream wedding? Has their communication been clear and prompt so far? Beyond your gut instinct, references are the best indication of these traits (see section 7).
3/ Experience and style
Images by Elyse Hall Photography and Jose Villa Photography
Wedding-specific experience is essential as it demonstrates that the candidate has successfully delivered on wedding planning in the past. Be sure to ask how long the planner has been doing weddings and, if possible, look through a portfolio or check out relevant media coverage. Depending on the context and priorities for your wedding you may also want to follow up about any more specific experience. For example, has the planner worked with your venue before? Have they worked with any of your other vendors? Do they have a particular strength in an area you’ve prioritised, e.g., floral design, menu planning, logistics?
You also want to know that the planner’s style at least broadly aligns with your own. Consult any promotional material or their portfolio to see whether the style shown in previous weddings matches yours in terms of scale, focus and location.
4/ The services you need
Decide what services you’ll need up front and make sure to check each planner you interview can fulfil them, whether that’s big picture design, vendor recommendations, event direction, month-of/day-of coordination or a full-service planning package. Be clear when discussing costs to understand what services are included in fees and what’s excluded.
Image by Siaosi Photography
Obviously, you want a planner who can be there on the wedding day itself, perhaps at the rehearsal too. Ideally, you also want them to be able to offer their full attention that day (or weekend), so it’s helpful to check ahead of time whether they ever book multiple weddings on the same day.
You may also want to have a view on how many weddings will be planned alongside yours throughout the planning process. Having a large number to plan simultaneously isn’t necessarily a negative, but it very much depends on the size of the team involved.
Image by Tamara Gruner Photography
Even if you’ve got a clear picture of a planner’s style from their website, portfolio or any media coverage, you’ll want to be confident that they can listen carefully to what you want and don’t want, share your enthusiasm and offer some complementary ideas to help bring your vision to life.
Image by Amalie Orrange Photography
Once you’ve found and met with a planner that you love, ask if you can contact two or three recent clients (preferably brides) for a reference before making a commitment. Call and ask general questions to verify that everything is as you’d expect, e.g. what was it like to work with the planner? What aspects of planning did the planner take care of? Were there were any issues and, if so, how were they dealt with? Was there anything the client was particularly happy with or unhappy with?