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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?

  • Do they have public liability insurance?

  • Have they ever worked at the venue you’re considering?

Services & Duties –

Well, this is where we could go on all day, purely because of the individuality of every wedding and every couples’ needs. Whatever service you require you will need a consultation prior to booking. This is just as much for the planner as it is for you. Wedding plans aside this is where you will decide if you like each other and if the planner shares in your wedding day excitement. A wedding planner should never be pushy or judgemental of your ideas. Your wedding day is special and unique, no matter how you want to spend it or what theme you want to use. They should understand fully your vision, be professional, thorough and flexible throughout the entire planning process.

You can expect them to have a high standard when it comes to attention to detail and to take pride in the work the produce. It may be that you need guidance with creative inspiration or that you know exactly what you want but want advice on where to get it. There are many reasons why a couple hire a wedding planner but they’re all as important as each other. After all a wedding planners’ primary job is to ensure you get the day that you want without stress or worry.

The quite frequently forgotten day co-ordination – The day coordination service is often forgotten about but is definitely one to consider. Especially if you’re tying the knot in a venue that does not offer in house support. You have spent months getting your plans together and in your mind, you have run through the day over and over. Now you want to sit back, relax and watch it all unfold. The trouble is, without releasing the reins and letting someone else take control you’ll often miss large portions of it. You should be the centre of attention, making the most of everyone being there for you and to celebrate your marriage and love for each other.

You can expect a wedding planner to be available all day from before the wedding begins generally until the end or whenever you agree with them that their service is no longer required. You may wish for them to oversee the set up on the day before or potentially oversee the clear up after but first and foremost a wedding planner should be the continuity between vendors and events throughout your wedding day. They will do the running about behind the scenes to ensure you are not bothered by the venue or vendors.

Go the whole hog with a full planning package or find something in-between – So this is typically what everyone thinks a wedding planner does. Yes, plan weddings. There are a multitude of responsibilities a wedding planner can do for you to take the pressure off. From negotiating differences between friends and family members to visiting venues and suppliers on your behalf. Planning a wedding should be a fun experience so if at any point it starts to become stressful or hard work then the time has come to let someone help and relieve you of those sleepless nights. Many couples underestimate the strain they’re put under when planning a wedding.

So really the only questions you need to ask right now is can you handle the pressures of planning a wedding, do you need a wedding planner or not?

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