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What to expect from a wedding planner and how to pick one!

Heirloom ring attached to the underskirt of a wedding dress by blue ribbon

I bet if you’re planning a wedding right now you’ll have considered most or all of these things, you start with one question which begins to spiral out of control

Do we have a religious or civil ceremony? How do we approach the legalities of a marriage? What venue can do civil ceremonies and which can accommodate our numbers? We’ve found the ideal place but it’s just too far from home. We have so many friends how do we pick who can come? But we really want everyone there so how do we find a venue big enough? If everything is done in one place we won’t need a car so will save money but is there going to be enough parking for all our guests? Will some want to stay overnight? Will we want to stay overnight? Can we set up the day before? If not who is going to set up how we want on the morning? I won’t relax without seeing that it’s how I want. What theme shall we pick? Should we even have a theme? Will our guests like what we’ve done? What should we provide for them? We don’t want to look tight but at the same time we can’t afford for them to have a free night out. What food shall we offer? Shall we have a traditional wedding breakfast or something more informal? Will people be disappointed if they don’t get a meal? What about those who are fussy or have allergies? Should we offer a choice? We’ve got so many guests how will we arrange so many different food options? Do we invite children? We’ll have to add a children’s food option but what about entertainment? Are there enough children coming to warrant spending money on them? How do we tell people that we don’t want children to attend? How do we ask for gifts? We don’t want 5 toasters or kettles we want money, is it rude to ask for money? What entertainment do we provide for the evening? Is a band out of our price range? We want more than just a disco so how can we make the evening unique? How do we make sure the whole day is captured how we want? Do we have a photographer and or a videographer? How do we pick one that’s going to get the shots we want? What happens if they’re sick or can’t attend on the day? What time of year is best? Will the weather be good? What if I plan an outdoor activity and the weather is bad?????

I could be here all day noting question after question, this is just scratching the surface. It doesn’t end here but it just goes to prove how easy it is to be overwhelmed or lost amongst a jungle of ideas. This is why if you haven’t considered a wedding planner before it may be worth considering one now!

Most people you ask ‘what does a wedding planner do?’ will reply, plan weddings. Although this technically isn’t untrue there is far more to it. Every wedding is unique and requires a different approach. Not only that, but every couple is different and will want assistance at various stages of the planning process. You may want to know where to start, you may want to know how to finish or you may want company while planning the whole event.

First and foremost, you will need to bond with a wedding planner. This person will be in control of one of the biggest days of your life so there has to be a large element of trust. If you’re working with a planner from start to finish you’ll potentially be in their company for 12-18 months. The likelihood is you’ll grow close to them as planning a wedding generally takes up to 300 hours, hopefully you’ll form a strong relationship as they get to know your interests, likes and dislikes. If you require a planner for on the day coordination then you won’t have long to decide who is the best for you. Don’t panic this is when a bit of gut instinct comes to play, when we meet people in our day to day lives we generally know if we like them or not based usually on our first experience with them. Do your homework. Make sure you find someone reputable and when you meet them you’ll know if you want them to be part of your day or not.

Before you get into the finer points of what is included in their terms and conditions you should ask yourself a few questions. These questions will come naturally so if you’re meeting with more than one planner these will play a big part in your decision whether to hire them or not.

On first impression

  • Do they inspire you with style and creativity?

  • Are they organised and professional?

  • Do you have an instant bond with them?

  • Does their previous work match the style you are aiming for?

  • Are they flexible and able to work around your needs?

  • Have they got a good reputation or had good reviews?

  • Have they listened and taken on board everything you’ve told them?

Once you’ve established that you like them and want to work with them then it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and approach more practical questions.

Terms and conditions of service

  • Are they within your budget?

  • What is the payment schedule? IE – how much is the deposit? When will the balance be required?

  • Do they offer a service relevant to your needs?

  • What is included in the price for the service you require?

  • What are their cancellation policies/or what happens in case of sickness?