Let’s see, you can run yourself ragged, obsessively fuss over every detail you may be missing, and pull your hair out (the stress has caused some of them to die and turn a mournful gray color anyway) with the stress of planning your wedding ooorrrr you can sit on the plane sipping cocktails on the way to your bachelor/bachelorette weekend at some awesome location, having hardly a single care in the world. You have very wisely and eloquently said “hell-to-the-nah” to the first choice and choose the second option—you’ll have someone plan your wedding for you thank you very much.
But with any type of relationship, you need to feel comfortable, feel that spark, or feel the click with the person—wouldn’t you want the same with the person who is going to be an integral part of one of the biggest, if not THE biggest day of your life? So how do you go about finding the wedding planner that is just right for working with you and your intended? Let us help you take the stress out of this decision, too while we talk about what you should look for when choosing a wedding planner.
There are plenty of ways to find any old wedding planner, but what you need is the recommendation of someone you can trust. Has anyone you know (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.) gotten married and used a wedding planner in the past few years? Would they recommend or even not recommend (weed out those baddies and narrow down your choices) the planner they used?
If possible, use people you know as your first resource. If you can find a trusted person to talk about their experience with their wedding planner, don’t just ask about the end result (even epic disasters can turn out nice without anyone else being the wiser), but ask about how the entire process went. How did they feel about their wedding planner as an individual (‘superhero, saved my wedding and my life’ or ‘eh, I could have just as easily had my 10 year-old niece plan the wedding with better style, less drama, and less money’)? How did they feel about the end result/style (‘celebrities pin my wedding on their dream wedding Pinterest board’ or ‘blind incontinent apes would have made this look like less of a crapfest’)? The people you know are the most likely to feel loyalty to tell you the honest truth—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Bonus tip: If you don’t know of anyone in your everyday life who a give you a recommendation. Throw it out there on social media. You might not have seen your sister’s middle school best friend in decades, but they could be the one to answer the call.
What are people saying online?
You know who else loves to tell you the honest truth? People who leave reviews on the internet. Ok, we can’t really keep a straight face knowing how many trolls live and work under the proverbial internet bridge, but what people say online can still have some value. Check out reviews on a planner’s website (will they be 100% unbiased with none of the bad reviews removed to make them look like angels sent from heaven? Maybe, maybe not but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look anyway).
Whether you’re looking at reviews on the planner’s own website, other wedding related sites, or social media pages, try to get a feel for the “average” of what people are saying. Take bad reviews with a huge old grain of salt (was the planner honestly terrible or was the bridezilla who wrote it the terrible one?). Are there only a few bad or mediocre reviews compared to many great ones? Does everyone think this planner is the best thing that happened since cupcake tiers?
Clients aren’t the only ones who might leave reviews for wedding planners. You might consider getting a more professional take on a planner through looking at vendor reviews as well. Check out reputable sites like WeddingWire and The Knot for reviews as well as their list of the top planners in your area.
Without a personal reference, reviews can be the next best way to get real (and in some cases real-ish?) information about a wedding planner. But it’s not the only way.
Bonus bonus tip: If you really want to dive in deep, use Instagram hashtags to search for city specific wedding planners and see what comments people are leaving.
What is the wedding planner’s online presence telling you?
You may or may not get the most unbiased opinions from online reviews, but you can also let a wedding planner’s work speak for itself. Check out their website and body of work (including anything they posted on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Instagram). Do they seem to work with only one style, or do you see all different styles represented, showing that they are flexible and adept? Is there any video that can give a broader picture of weddings they’ve done (with less risk of creative editing or filters)?
Besides simply looking at their pictures or videos, take the time to check out what they have to say on their page and social media. Some things you might be looking for:
- Do their values seem to line up with yours?
- Do they seem like a person you would want to hand your money and the reins of your big day over to?
- What do you think of their communication style?
- Do you like their brand message?
- Has any of their work been displayed or published in wedding magazines or on wedding websites (you might possibly see the all-important and highly coveted “As seen in” badge on their website to let you know)?
- Do you like their aesthetics in general?
You might not get the answers (or in-depth answers) to all these questions just from looking around on their website and social medial. We mean you haven’t even gotten to the first date; this is just light internet/social media stalking before the face-to-face meet up. That’s when things will really heat up.
The in-person meeting
Just like on that dating app you were on before you committed to the love of your life, someone may look good on paper (or computer screen), making their pictures look Ah-mazing and telling you everything you want to hear. You might get a good idea of who is a good match for you this way, but it’s when you finally meet in real life that you can get the true picture of who you’ve been talking to.
As much research as you do for a wedding planner online, you still won’t know if it’s just a fantasy or if you have real magic until you meet. Meeting or getting information on a wedding planner online is a great place to start and give you a good idea if you want to continue getting to know this planner, but in person you can get a better sense of who they are, whether your personalities mesh, and whether they might be the right person to work with you in planning your wedding.
Of course, just getting a sense of who they are in person is not enough to know whether a certain planner is right for you. There are so many more important things you need to know.
Asking the right questions
You can think of it as a sort of job interview (and it sort of is since you are trying to decide whether you want to hire them) where you are trying to get the best and most detailed information you can to help you make a decision. If you didn’t prepare, you might end up asking annoying and completely useless questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “If you were an office supply, what would you be”? So why haven’t you prepared the questions for interviewing your wedding planner?
You’ll want to find out about:
- their professional career, qualifications, and background (how long have they been planning, education, etc.)
- whether they’ve ever worked at the venue you’ve chosen
- their experience with and how they work with other vendors (maybe most importantly, can they score you some discounts?)
- what are they including with their services and the scope of their work?
- contracts and deposits
And dramatic drumroll for the big one—
- can they work within your budget?
This is just an idea of the types of questions you should be asking. For a more detailed and comprehensive list of questions, check out the link we posted for you right above.
Did you feel heard?
There may have been a lot of talking, especially from the wedding planner as they answered your questions and did their best to sell themselves, but were they listening? How else will they know what you want and if they are able to provide it for you? How will you know?
During the meet up with your potential wedding planner, did you feel like they heard you—that they were truly listening to what you wanted? Were they promoting their dream for your wedding or yours? Even if they are up on the most fab celeb wedding trends and can give you a wedding that would make the Duchess of Cambridge jealous, if it’s not your style, it doesn’t really matter how trend-tastic they are.
This may have been the most important part of the “interview” and the most telling in terms of whether they are the right wedding planner for you. If you don’t feel like they can deliver your dreams to you (within reason, let’s not be one of those), don’t be afraid to walk away and look for someone who can listen closely and deliver.
In the end, you want your wedding day to be super fun and enjoyable, not just for your guests, but for you as well! The right planner can help you throw the wedding you dream about or the wedding that everyone will be talking about for weeks. Yes, we know, a wedding planner is an extra cost (especially daunting if you already have a tight budget) but the right planner may help you save money in the long run, or the very least save your sanity (can you really put a price tag on that?). Happy planning and we hope that you are able to find “the one” (we mean wedding planner, obviously).