I am a wedding planner, wedding designer, wedding coordinator. I’ve designed, planned and coordinated imaginary fashion shows, weddings and events since I was a wee tot. I’ve worked in fashion, designed stationery, planned and coordinated corporate and social events... Yet ... when it came to planning my own wedding I knew how extraordinarily crucial it was to have a professional on my side. If you don’t feel the stress of planning a wedding quite yet ... just wait till you start meeting all the different vendors claiming that THEY are the best, the cheapest and the most reliable. Creating a $30,000-plus wedding affair for 150 plus people is a production that you will not get a chance to do over. You will need someone who has done it numerous times as your producer, designer and sometimes a confidant.
A little known fact about working with a wedding professional is that they actually save you money. Gone are the days, when the old-time wedding planners would get kick backs for bringing in the clients. Nowadays, generally, it is the couple that sees the savings passed on to them.
Since working with many vendors, wedding professionals get to see first hand how reliable, professional and qualified they are under the most stressful of the situations. Based on that, they get to pick the best of the best, create business relations and establish special pricing for their clients.
You will also receive a better service and ton of perks when working with vendors and venues recommended by the wedding professional. You are a one time client-while the wedding professional will keep on coming back if satisfied with the services.
Wedding planners are also no longer just for rich and famous. Almost every wedding professional will offer different price point packages, from the most comprehensive-that spans years or months before the wedding day-to the most basic one that only covers the day of your wedding.
Here are some important questions to ask your potential wedding professionals before hiring them:
1. Do you belong to any bridal associations?
There are a few reputable bridal and events associations, top ones being Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) and International Special Events Society (ISES). Being a member doesn’t guarantee that the wedding professional will be the best match for you, but it gives you piece of mind that they are certified by a national organization and that they are obviously serious about their profession and keep continuing their education on the subject.
2. What is your bridal industry background and how long have you been doing this?
You want to find someone that has broad weddings/events planning experience (e.i. being a wedding singer in the past doesn’t constitute comprehensive background or experience. Planning social and business events, designing, having floral design degree, etc. All of these are desirable things to look for in a wedding planner’s background.)
Their price point will usually be an indicator of their experience as well. Somebody that sells their services way below the standard regional price will be typically a less seasoned coordinator that is trying to build their clientele.
3. Are you a wedding coordinator, planner and/or designer?
Wedding coordinator typically is your day of- or month of- coordinator. They will overlook your big day and make sure everything goes according to your plan.
Wedding planner is a more advanced wedding coordinator, someone with more experience and a large roster of reputable vendors. They will work with you through out your engagement process and will recommend the best and most reliable vendors, will point out areas in your overall budget that can get trimmed without affecting your whole wedding and will plan out the whole wedding day so it goes smoothly.
Wedding designers are wedding planners with that extra artistic flair. They will listen to your ideas, likes and dislikes and will come up with a custom wedding vision that will have YOU written all over it. Look at their portfolios and websites to see their style and creativity.
4. What’s included in the package? Will you bill for overtime? Do you work with an assistant? Will you be at my wedding from the start to the end?
All of these are extremely important questions that will help you choose the best wedding professional for your money. Choosing anything based on its price alone is never a good idea. Find your comfortable price range, set up free consultations and compare based on what these professionals offer in their packages. A lot of times, you get what you pay for....
5. Ask to see their portfolio, check out their website, look up their reviews. Ask if they were published in any bridal magazines.
Someone that is serious about their business will have a professional looking and informative website and positive reviews on some popular wedding websites such as www.theknot.com and www.weddingwire.com.
And in regards to the wedding planner’s image that we see so often on the reality shows and in movies, most of the time, they are portrayed as flamboyant, rude, pushy, condescending to their clients behind their backs and full of drama. Some of the wedding professionals are like that, but honestly, what you see on TV is a well orchestrated and edited drama to keep you glued to your TV set. In a “real” reality, creating a wedding along with you and your soulmate is our dream come true. Seeing the tears of joy and smiles on your faces on your wedding day constitutes our success and most of the accomplished wedding professionals do it because they love it. There’s a latin phrase "age quod agis" that means "whatever you do, do it well" – whatever you do, do it with all of yourself. When you meet with your wedding professional, you will know on some level if they truly are devoted to what they do.
In my next blog, let’s talk about documenting your wedding for years to come-photography and videography. In the meantime -- happy wedding planning!