How to: Finding the Perfect Wedding Planner
So.. you are getting married and in need of a wedding planner, where do you begin? A quick google search of the highest rated local wedding planners? Or are you planning on having a Florida destination wedding? There are many things to consider when picking someone to handle the utmost important arrangements for your big day, between venue searching and the many ceremony and reception packages out there, having a wedding planner by your side makes a huge difference.
Finding someone professional, experienced, affordable, and who meshes well with your personality will no doubt feel like you’ve got your work cut out for you. Fortunately for you, this blog will serve as your mentor for all things wedding planning. Whether you are looking to go all out on an extravagant Miami beach wedding or if you are more interested in keeping it traditional, it’s very helpful to have someone who is well versed in the many wonderful South Florida beach wedding locations.
1. Evaluate what you need
Before doing any research you must first make clear what exactly you are expecting from your wedding planner in Florida. A common misconception is that wedding planners handle everything regarding your wedding, when that is simply not true. A wedding planner’s role consists of creating the guest list and organizing invitations, delegating your wedding budget, and hiring a venue and vendors for your big day. They do not handle the day of coordination. Your wedding planner will consult you about the schedule for your wedding day and they will figure out what you will need to make the day run smoothly, but hiring a wedding planner does not equal hiring a day-of coordinator as the roles are very different. Every single wedding planner has their own unique skill set so you must voice exactly what you are looking for to potential planners so there are no last minute surprises.
2. Set up an in person meeting
While there is no issue in communicating online via email or over the phone, there should be a point in which you schedule a face to face meeting before making any final decisions. Like any job interview, face to face interactions give you the best sense of who you are dealing with and the confidence they possess in their ability to do their job. Granted, confidence doesn’t necessarily mean experience– though you will feel more comfortable handing off the important task of managing your wedding to someone you feel a personal spark with. Always trust your gut! You and your potential wedding planner will be communicating a lot before your wedding day so it’s imperative you team up with someone you feel you can work well with. There must be an element of trust and shared ideas and feedback between you and your wedding planner to eliminate a stressful experience all around.
3. Ask important questions
When meeting your wedding planner it’s important to allow them to learn about you and your wishes for your wedding, but you should also take time to learn about your wedding planner’s ability to execute your vision. Some highly essential questions to ask would be in regards to any additional charges not listed in the initial correspondence, what type of budgets your potential wedding planner has experience working with, if they will provide styling assistance or if that is a separate fee, and one question I find to be the most significant is how many clients do they typically take on yearly/how many they expect to have while managing your wedding. The key to knowing if this is a right fit is to feel them out with questions that realistically could happen to you. For instance, asking your potential wedding planner how they would manage last minute emergencies on your wedding day is a great flash question that allows you to see how they go about dealing with problem solving.
4. Check References
Nine times out of ten you will be searching the internet for your wedding planner in Florida. Regardless of reviews and how impressive their site looks it is so critical that you ask for references from past weddings that they have managed. Getting the inside scoop from other couples on their experience with your potential wedding planner could be the difference between your dream wedding and a total nightmare. Understandably there may be a couple of unsatisfied clients so it would be a disservice to yourself to only hear one side of the story. My suggestion would be to approach your potential wedding planner on past situations with other clients and ask how they dealt with those situations, and if they would have done things differently. This can allow you to see the growth your potential wedding planner has made throughout their career and can be a turning point in your relationship which helps develop trust.
5. Read the contract carefully
No one likes to get bad news, especially when it pertains to your wedding day so it is crucial that you read your contract not once, not twice, but three times over to confirm you know exactly what you are paying for…and what you are not. As I mentioned early on there are specific roles that your wedding planner will intend to do and you must be aware of what tasks will be left up to you. Carefully review the rules and policies on the contract, especially refund and cancellation policies. You should be aware of what charges you are expected to pay upfront, and what charges are not listed but are expected to be paid when the job is over. Regardless how much you trust your wedding planner or how well you get along, always remember your relationship is a business relationship and you should treat it as such. Get everything in writing and once you have your deal in writing, respect what has been agreed upon.