Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life, and you want to ensure that it goes off without a hitch. But planning a wedding can be stressful and somewhat overwhelming.
With so many details to consider when choosing your:
- wedding look and style
- wedding ceremony venue or space
- reception venue
- suppliers and vendors that will be part of the build for the day
These important considerations is why many couples turn to professional wedding planners to help them plan their big day.
Choosing the right wedding planner can make a huge difference in your wedding experience.
A great wedding planner will make the planning process smooth, stress-free, and enjoyable, while ensuring that your wedding day is perfect.
Big days do not just happen – it takes hours of creative development, logistics and risk analysis in the build stages and it is a team delivery process on the day so it should not be an “ad hoc” approach through the planning phases and delivery staging in any way.
As a full service event/wedding planning, styling, on the day coordination, celebrant and event specialist provider, “before and after the rings,” I am often surprised that key business and operational questions are not asked by potential clients at our initial and complimentary consult which would inform them of this service providers knowledge of the industry’s:
- current pipeline and capacity streams
- cost structures in general and specific to key elements
- service agreements T&Cs and what the “authority to act” actually means
- third party contracts and how they work in reality
- the primary service provider’s service agreements
- the service provider’s professional commitment to the legal and ethical trade practises and legislative regulations of the industry plus their own best practice principles
It is always a good idea to consider how a service provider operates as well as what they can deliver when undertaking an engagement with a service provider or venue as the terms and conditions stipulated in the contract of agreement may very well impact significantly on:
- the planning process
- what you are permitted to have activated in a venue or public space which will be informed by the Bumpin and out t&cs as well as what activations are permitted and more importantly what are not ie: some venues have a no live candles or pyrotechnics plus other element policy
and these terms and conditions will inform,
- the on the day delivery
But with so many wedding planners out there, how do you choose the best one for you?
In this post, I will guide you through some essential things to consider when choosing a wedding planner.
Start with Research:
The first step in finding the best wedding planner for you is to do some research.
- Start by asking friends and family members for recommendations, or use online resources like wedding websites, social media, or wedding directories to find local wedding planners.
- Look for planners who specialise in your wedding style, budget, and possibly location.
- Consider what are their core services and any add on services they may be able to deliver which may just be a game changer as it relates to time, communications and cost saving ie: if a planner is also an authorised celebrant and you have chosen to have a civil marriage ceremony then this add on service will be of significant benefit across engagement, communications, and costs.
- Read reviews, check their social media accounts, and visit their websites to learn more about their services, experience, and style.
Consider Your Budget:
Wedding planners come in a range of price points, expertise, experience and industry connections so it’s essential to consider your budget and what you actually require for the planning and delivery of your day when choosing a planner.
Some wedding planners charge a percentage of the “total wedding” budget, while others charge a flat fee.
At LUXE – Unforgettable Events the wedding planning, styling, celebrant and on the day coordination service charges are factored in stages and by actual hours that are required not by a percentage of your overall budget and actual spend across external suppliers, vendors and venues…… our service costs are transparent and accountable with all invoices being on the supplier or venue letter head which clearly confirms there are no “mark ups” by our service for project management other than those factored in the service delivery hours in our agreed service agreement.
Consider how much you are willing to spend on a wedding planner, and make sure to communicate your budget upfront with potential planners.
A great wedding planner will work with your budget and help you get the most out of your available budget but be realistic, a wedding planning service is a business and not a charity so expect to factor professional service fees into your wedding budget just like any other professional service ie: accountant, lawyer or medical specialist.
Before you fall in love with a particular wedding planner, it’s essential to make sure they’re available for the build of the wedding across the creative and logistics and on your wedding date.
Many wedding planners book wedding development months or even years in advance, so make sure to contact them as early as possible as wedding planning should be a holistic approach to the wedding build and delivery and can be up to 150 – 200 hours of dedicated work on your behalf depending on:
- the level of detail and number of suppliers, vendors and venues from the evaluation, contract, manifest build
- lock in stages ( contracts)
- the on the day delivery hours
- the master time line and run-sheet including:
- transport connectivity and logistics
- bumpin of all elements to both the ceremony and reception spaces
- floor and seating plans check and set
- external resources coordination
- setup that is layered and time factored to avoid congestion at loading docks and access points
- sound checks
- decor set ready for pre event photography and videography
All of the above and so much more needs to be planned and delivered into the venues of choice before your guests and the wedding party step into your dream wedding spaces.
If you’re planning a wedding during peak wedding season, it’s even more critical to book a wedding planner very early in the wedding planning process.
Yes, we can plan and deliver wedding activations across all of the layered elements in a very short time but this is always subject to availability of suppliers, vendors and venues of choice.
Note: most premium public space wedding spaces, suppliers, vendors and venues are booked well in advance of any wedding date ie: 12 months plus is common but that does not mean a unique wedding experience cannot be planned and delivered within a shorter time frame, it just means it’s trickier and will come down to your flexibility in requirements and the experience of your wedding planner of choice.
Schedule a Consultation:
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential wedding planners, it’s time to schedule a consultation.
Most wedding planners offer a free consultation, which is a great opportunity to get to know them, ask questions, and see if they are a good fit for your vision and budget.
During the consultation, discuss your wedding vision, budget, and any concerns you have or special requests specific to you and your partner.
Ask about the project managment, the prices points and how external suppliers, vendors and vendors are recommended, evaluated and contracted as third party activations.
Pay attention to how they respond, their communication style, and their enthusiasm for your wedding.
A great wedding planner will listen to your needs and ideas, offer suggestions, and make you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities.
Ask for References:
A reputable wedding planner should be happy to provide references from previous clients.
1/Ask for a list of references and follow up with them about their experience with the wedding planner
2/Ask if they were satisfied with the planner’s services and if they were responsive to their needs
3/Ask if they would recommend them to others
If a wedding planner is hesitant to provide references, it may be a red flag.
Consider Their Expertise in Context:
Not all wedding planners are created equal, and some may have more expertise in specific areas than others – always ask how long the planner has been a wedding planner and what are the key engagement points relevant to your day.
For example, some wedding planners may specialise in outdoor weddings, while others may be more experienced in cultural or destination weddings.
Consider your wedding style and location, then choose a wedding planner who has experience and expertise in those areas.
Of course professional event/wedding planners should be able to curate and deliver your vision no matter your look or style and where ever your preferred location may be.
Look for Creativity:
A great wedding planner should be creative and able to offer unique and personalised ideas to make your wedding day special.
Look for a planner who can think outside the box and offer creative solutions to make your wedding day stand out.
Ask if the wedding planner can deliver a “mood/vision board” to confirm that this planner totally gets your vision and this wedding tool is a visual connection to the next steps including onboarding of wedding stationery development plus supplier, vendor and venue briefing activations so the look of the day is confirmed early in the planning stages.
Note: if a wedding look and style plus supplier elements are confirmed and proceeds to a supplier and venue engagement for costing then any changes to colour palettes, styling, elements of choice etc will be subject to a variation of concept and costs applied so spend considerable time in the development stages before taking the next steps to the tender process.
An experienced wedding planner should be able to work with you to create a wedding vision and deliver a an unforgettable day that reflects your personalities, style, and preferences your way.
Remember its your day and the wedding planner is your guide through the labyrinth of the wedding planning and delivery journey.
In conclusion, any partnership should have a connection and commitment to you both which includes total knowledge of budget, creativity, logistics and risk analysis, style and delivery imperatives.
Happy wedding planning, cheers xo