Hi, friends! Today, I want to talk about hiring a wedding planner. This is the absolute best thing we did for easing our wedding planning stress. To all the people out there who plan their wedding without one, I have so much respect for you. I don’t think Tyler and I (mainly me) would have survived the last year trying to plan all of the details on our own with our families so far away.
We hired a full-service planner who coordinates every detail with you, so my post is mainly discussing this type of planning service. You can also hire a planner to be a day-of coordinator. Side note, this is in no way sponsored by my planner. She doesn’t even know I’m writing this post yet, but I found that having a planner was so helpful, I wanted to share everything about it with you all!
It didn’t take many visits to wedding venues to convince Tyler that we needed a planner, but if your significant other isn’t on board, explain how much money you can save by hiring one. I think you can make up for the cost of a planner in the savings they’ll help you get. They’re able to negotiate discounts for you with some vendors and some planners might even have automatic discounts with vendors and not need to negotiate for one. If a vendor knows a planner gets featured frequently, it makes sense they would want to work with them and would consider giving a discount. If they’ve established relationships and have worked with the planner before, they know your day-of won’t be crazy so they’ll be more excited to be on your wedding team.
Once you’re able to convince yourself or your SO that you need a planner, the fun of searching for one begins. This process took Tyler and I a really long time. We interviewed about 5 planners and I spent HOURS scanning through different websites like Style Me Pretty and Green Wedding Shoes, looking at weddings in Southern California and checking out the planners of the ones I liked. It was about 2 am on a Saturday night, and I finally found my planner, Amorology. After looking at two weddings in their portfolio, I knew we would want to work with Heather and her team. Before we could secure them, we had to schedule a meeting so we could get to know each other and make sure our design styles would match.
Here are some things to know before you meet with your planner:
- General budget – this is so important! You need to make sure you have enough in your budget to afford the planner and they need to make sure they can meet your expectations.
- Potential wedding dates – If you have your heart set on a certain date, make sure you communicate this so the planner can check their availability. Southern California venues book so far in advance, so we didn’t have a date in mind because we were at the mercy of the venue’s availability. We gave our planner a range of months like September to October.
- Guest Count – If you have a general idea, this will help the planner with budget.
- General design style – You want to make sure your planner has a design style you love. We knew we didn’t like formal, ballroom weddings so we didn’t want a planner who specialized in this look. If you checked out Amorology’s website, you saw that their work is so creative and unexpected, but still beautiful, which is exactly what we were going for.
Here are some great questions to ask during your initial meeting with a wedding planner:
- Is our wedding date available? – Only if you have a set one in mind like I mentioned above.
- Do you work with clients in our budget? – I think this is a really important one!
- Have you ever worked at the venues we’re interested in? – If they haven’t, this isn’t a deal-breaker for me. My planner hasn’t worked at our venue, and I think it will be amazing to see a new take on it. However, I see how someone could gain comfort from their planner having experience at the venue.
- Will you join all vendor meetings and make sure everything is in order when it comes to contracts and invoicing? – I think this should be a given, but make sure to confirm so you there aren’t any surprises.
- Will you handle every aspect of the wedding planning or will we be responsible for some parts? – Again, avoid surprises.
- Who will be our main contact during the planning process and who will be on site at our wedding? – Before interviewing planners, I didn’t realize you might not be working with the head planner you fell in love with who always has their work featured. If it’s a larger company, there could be a team of people, and you could pay a different price based on who you want to work with. I did not love this idea, and Amorology doesn’t do this, so it’s another reason we went with them.
- What packages do you offer? – I found the pricing for some planners to be VERY confusing. There were base packages and separate add-ons. Some didn’t share individual pricing for add-ons because they wanted you to tell them what you wanted and they would customize a quote. Some planners limit the number of meetings you can have as well. I was nervous I would end up wanting everything and need countless meetings as I went through the planning process, so when I saw some planners used a flat fee or percentage of wedding cost and include all aspects of planning, I preferred this.
- Do any of your packages include honeymoon planning? – I never thought about this until our planner mentioned they work with a company that offers honeymoon planning services to all of their clients who are going to spend a certain amount on their honeymoon, but it has been so helpful! With all of the wedding decisions, we did not want to spend time planning our honeymoon too so that has been a huge stress relief!
- Do any of your packages include assistance picking out wedding party attire? – Again, I didn’t think this would be something I cared about, but we decided to do mismatched bridesmaid dresses, and I’ve seen it go wrong a few too many times to have trusted myself with this. Our planner also sent over suggestions for flower girls, ring bearers, and tux rental companies. Seriously, they are life savers!
- Are there any fees that aren’t included in the proposal that we should know about? – Never hurts to double check!
There are so many more questions you can (and should) ask, but I wanted to provide a summary of some of the ones that I found to be most helpful. The most important piece of advice I can give about hiring a planner, is to hire one before you book the venue!! So many people make the mistake of booking the venue first, and not understanding all of the costs which causes disappointment when you can’t have the expensive flowers or upgraded rental chairs you wanted. If you hire a planner before booking the venue, you will know what costs to expect for your design vision.
If you had a wedding planner, I’d love to hear what you thought about it. If you’re engaged and looking for one, let me know if you have any other questions! Thanks for stopping by! xoxo!