Updated: Jun 21
A wedding planner is a large expense, especially for a budget bride/groom. Understanding what a wedding planner does and all of the different services they offer is super important to make informed decisions based on how much planning you want to do and what tasks you want to delegate to a planner.
Before booking a wedding planner, you should understand what they offer and how they handle certain situations. There are a plethora of questions that you should ask a planner to get all of the information you need, but below are some BIG ones that you should be asking during your initial consultation.
1. What services do you offer?
Wedding planners can offer a variety of services, and the package you choose depends on how much you want to do the dirty work of planning the wedding yourself. Planners will often offer full planning, wedding management, and/or day of coordination.
When you book a wedding planner for full planning services, they will be by your side from the moment of booking. They will help you create your style, color scheme, and budget, then help you to choose & book vendors based on that style and budget. They will ensure every last detail is accounted for. This is a very brief overview of what a wedding planner does, but, trust me, they do SO much to ensure your day is perfect and that you don't have to worry about a thing...you will not regret choosing this package!
Wedding management is a glorified day of coordination package. The planner will come into the picture a couple of weeks or months before the wedding. They will contact all of your vendors and ensure all last minute details are correct, create a wedding day or wedding weekend timeline, and be there on your wedding day to ensure everyone follows through on their contract & their part in making your day the best it can be.
Day-of coordination is the least involved package. I offered these services for the first two years of operating my business until I upgraded my basic package to wedding management. It is much easier to know what is going on and who the important people are that I need to know about if I can come into the picture earlier. The earlier the better! The day of coordination package is definitely a package a budget bride/groom may want to consider if they want someone to be there on their big day without breaking the bank, but I will always recommend getting your planner involved well before your big day.
Planners may also offer a la carte services where you can choose smaller services or add them on to your existing package. This can include things like wedding website creation, invitation design, RSVP management, hotel welcome bag procurement, etc.
2. How many weddings do you take on in a year/month/weekend?
This question is very important to ask your wedding planner. Your planner should be focused on your wedding and your wedding ONLY on your big day, if not for the entire weekend. Granted, if the business you are inquiring with employs multiple planners, there is no problem with them taking on more than one wedding per day, as long as your specific planner is dedicated to you!
3. Have you worked with any other couples at our venue?
If the answer to this quesiton is no, DO NOT WORRY! This is not a dealbreaker. Wedding planners are trained and experienced, and can work with almost any venue that you choose. If the answer to this question is yes, you are in luck! The planner may have relationships with the venue manager and other vendors who have experience working at the venue that may fit into your style. It will create a better flow throughout the entire planning process.
4. What’s your secret for staying calm under pressure, and how do you deal with day-of disasters?
If you are anything like me, you ALWAYS think that the worst will happen! I always imagine the worst case scenario, and prepare for anything. Knowing how your wedding planner will react to the worst possible situations is not only extremely important, but absolutely necessary. The job of your planner is to make sure that you do not have to worry about a thing on your big day, and they are taking responsibility to solve any issues that may come up.
OPTIONAL: Ask if they have specific experiences and stories that they can elaborate on...it may even give you more peace of mind (or give you nightmares!)
5. What happens if you are sick or unable to be there on the day of our wedding?
This question is very important to ask all of your vendors, especially if they are a one-woman/man-show. You need to know what will happen if the planner has a last minute cancellation. Do they have another planner on their staff that can be at the wedding? Will they find you another planner if they don't have a back-up? How will refunds and outstanding payments be handled?
6. What is your payment amount, plan, & policy? Are there any extra expenses?
Although in your initial consultation with a wedding planner, they may not be able to tell you exactly how much their services will cost, they can give you a ballpark estimate and let you in on their payment policies and cancellation policy. They can also give you an idea of what is included in the package you have your eye on and what a la carte options you can add on for an extra charge.
I always recommend that couples be informed when purchasing wedding services. Sometimes going with the first planner, photographer, or caterer you see may not be the right way to go. Always ask questions and make sure each vendor fits your style, budget, and personality! It is so much easier to work with vendors that you can get along with.
If you have any quesitons that you asked your wedding planner before booking that saved you stress or got you the information you needed to book, comment below! Thanks for reading!