bride laughing with wedding planner during dress fitting

How to Pick a Wedding Planner in 5 Steps

Oct 22, 2020
By Wedding Spot

Congratulations — you’re engaged! This is such a special time, so soak up every minute of this bliss before you start the wedding planning process. Once you’re ready to begin, one of the first questions to ask yourself is if you want to have a designated wedding planner. If you do, you need to know how to pick a wedding planner that’s right for you and your partner. But where do you even begin? The process can feel complicated and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to! We’re here to help.

Learn how to pick a wedding planner with this step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Do your research.

  • Head to Google. A simple Google search of “wedding planners in (insert your location)” or “wedding planners near me” will bring you to tons of various vendor websites for you to browse and potentially contact to set up an interview.

  • Seek recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals make up a huge part of this business, and with good reason. Ask your friends and family if they know of any amazing wedding planners you can reach out to. Perhaps they had a planner who they absolutely loved or they know someone who did. Using a planner that already has rave reviews from your loved ones is an excellent way to ensure a fantastic experience, and it can help break the ice during the interview process. If you’re already touring venues (if not, use Wedding Spot to find the best options at the best price!), ask the location manager for wedding planners that they’ve worked with and recommend. Usually, venues already have a list of preferred vendors that they recommend to couples.

  • Check out Facebook Groups. If you’re on Facebook, search for local bridal groups in your area. These groups are filled with brides of past and present who are wonderful resources for finding wedding planners — among many other wedding-related things. The ability to post a question and get answers from real brides is super helpful, so definitely utilize these groups.

  • Browse online wedding publications. Websites such as Junebug Weddings and The Knot compile wedding vendors in an easy-to-search directory format divided by region. When you’re browsing through wedding planner websites, Instagram, reviews, etc., take note of things you like. You want to be sure that your individual styles vibe, they have the experience level you’re looking for, their pricing is in line with your budget, etc.

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Step 2: Start reaching out.

Once you’ve done your research and narrowed it down to a few planners you’re really interested in, it’s time to reach out and set up a call or meeting. These consultations are usually free and are your opportunity to interview potential planners and ask them questions that are important to you. Take note of how quickly they respond to your request. Did they get back to you in a reasonable amount of time? Was their communication up to your particular standards? Did you click right away?

Step 3: Prepare for the interviews.

Next, it’s time to start preparing for each interview. At the end of the day, it’s crucial that you state the most important things to you and your partner on your wedding day. Make each planner you interview aware of these factors and ask them how they would facilitate and prioritize these. You’ll also want to make a list of questions to ask each potential planner during the interviews. You may already know a lot about the planner based on your pre-interview research, but to help you brainstorm, here is a long list of questions you should consider asking.

  • Are you available on our wedding date?

  • Do you have liability insurance?

  • How long have you been a wedding planner? How many weddings have you done?

  • Do you have a team or is it just you?

  • Do you help with sourcing the venue and all other vendors?

  • Have you worked with our venue before?

  • How has COVID-19 impacted your weddings?

  • What safety protocols would you put in place to keep guests and vendors safe during our wedding?

  • What is your typical contingency plan if inclement weather arises on our wedding day?

  • Do you take a commission from vendors that you refer to us?

  • Will you be present at all vendor meetings?

  • Do you handle all contract negotiations with vendors?

  • If issues arise with vendors at any time during the wedding planning process up through the actual wedding, will you handle that or is that something we will need to do?

  • What is the scope of your work? Do you handle design? Logistics? Floor plan? Day-of?

  • What style, colors, design, etc. do you have in mind for our wedding?

  • How can you help us make sure that the most important aspects of our day are covered?

  • Can you send us materials (videos, photos, etc.) from weddings you’ve planned previously?

  • Do you create the timeline and floor plan?

  • What part of the planning process will we be responsible for?

  • Who will be on-site for the wedding day?

  • In case you have an emergency on the day of, who is your backup planner? 

  • What time will you arrive and depart on the wedding day?

  • Will you stay after the wedding to make sure everything has been broken down according to the venue guidelines?

  • Do you offer different packages? Can we customize what you assist us in?

  • How many in-person meetings, phone calls, emails, etc. are included in your services?

  • Do any of your packages include rehearsal dinner planning? How much would that cost?

  • Do any of your packages include wedding styling (i.e. wedding dress, hair and makeup, etc.(?

  • What software do you use to track budgeting?

  • Do you input payments into the budget tracking system or do we?

  • Do you send out our invitations?

  • How do you collect payment? 

  • What is your payment plan schedule? When is a deposit due? When is the remaining due?

  • What is your cancellation/reschedule policy?

Step 4: Gather your thoughts.

After your interview, take a moment to gather your thoughts. The biggest question to ask yourself: Did the personalities of both you and your partner align with the planner? Do you think you could be teammates with the planner? Does the planner seem like someone who both knows what she/he is doing while also offering good moral support (after all, planning a wedding can be one of the more stressful events of your life)? Then, make sure you do a little bit more research on the planner/their company, review the answers to the questions you asked them, and compare them to other planners you’ve interviewed.

Step 5: Make your decision.

When finally making the decision of who’s going to help put together the day of your dreams, there are of course tons of factors to consider. But while every couple/planner is different, we suggest picking the one that fits best with your budget and your personality. The planning process should be a fun way for you and your partner to be creative and work together to make your wedding dreams become a reality, and the planner plays a huge role in that. So once you’ve done the research, conducted your interviews, and compared your options, it’s time to start this wonderful planning journey together as a team. Then you’ll be able to move onto some of the more exciting things like shopping for your wedding dress and picking out your bridal shoes!

Now you know how to pick a wedding planner in just a few simple steps!

Up next, learn all about what your maid of honor is supposed to be in charge of with our maid of honor duties checklist.

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Wedding Spot

Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.