Note, the word ‘professional’. That doesn’t mean your mother or sister or good friend, no matter how skilled they may be. Individuals – variously called Bridal Consultants or Wedding Planners, or other terms – do this for a living. Many get awards for doing it well. They know what needs to be done, whom to contact and how to organize all the elements of a wedding while keeping their (and your) sanity.
They’ll discuss their services and fees in a calm, professional way and try to give you a realistic picture of what to expect. At the same time, they can help you maintain enthusiasm for a project that is both highly personal and emotional, as well as being full of possible practical pitfalls.
They know what can go wrong when you’ve set a specific date and the wedding or reception venue or caterer suddenly becomes unavailable. They know how to react in order to keep things on track.
Wedding planners have many contacts throughout the business community. Those long-term relationships help you get good deals, while helping ensure that commitments are kept. When they book a caterer, for example, the caterer will often be more inclined to keep a promise than they otherwise might. After all, you are only one client. But their livelihood depends in part on keeping the wedding planner happy in the future.
The same is true for vendors responsible for the wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses, as well as clothing for the groom’s side. It’s true of printers who take care of invitations. It’s true of all the other things that lead up to your big day. Wedding planners know whom to contact and how to deal with them. Then they contact and deal with them, not you.
A wedding planner may take on the whole effort, or only a part. They may subcontract some aspects. They may rely on you and your friends or family to take on certain things. The arrangements differ from wedding to wedding. So, do the fees, naturally.
Since their role can be so critical to the success of your special event, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask. Don’t be shy or nervous. Like any professional, they expect to have to demonstrate their experience and ability. At the same time, as with any business arrangement, courtesy is expected on both sides. You’re interviewing a prospective guide, not a servant.
You’ll want to know:
- How long have you been in business?
- What size of weddings do you typically plan?
- Do you work on more than one at a time? How many right now?
- Can you provide some references I could contact?
- What are your fees? What do they cover?
- What should I expect over the next month/six months/year leading up to the big day?
- When I need to get in touch, how long is it normal to wait for a reply? How quickly am I expected to return emails or phone calls?
- What happens the day before the wedding and on the big day? What about the day after when there are clean up or post-wedding tasks to do?
Many more questions may occur to you to ask. So long as you are respectful and patient any wedding planner should be happy to entertain them. Keep in mind, though, that they have other clients (hopefully, since it’s better for you). Even hiring a wedding planner takes some planning and investigation. Be patient and respectful with yourself as well.