Your Main Purpose As a Wedding Planner

Ever wonder what a wedding planner REALLY does?

Most people rely on movies like “The Wedding Planner” to form their definition of a typical wedding planner. For the most part, J.Lo as a headset wearing ”star of the show” is fantasy when it comes to being a wedding planner. Unlike Matthew and Bridget’s unlimited budget, you will be hired for your budgeting skills. But your bride will be stressed and this is where you DO shine. You will be called upon and hired or not hired based on your abilities to perform under pressure, like there is no pressure. Learning your role in brides’ and grooms’ weddings is the first piece of the wedding planning puzzle. Below is a list of the 3 most recognized service selections your clients have to choose from. We refer to these as ”packages.” However, I am here to tell you, if you want to excel past the cookie cutter wedding planner, then it is up to YOU to define these packages by adding your own pizazz to your unique services.

Wedding Planner – def (n)

A person who creates magic, pulls answers out of hat, and performs a flawless wedding (without sweating).

There are many services a wedding planner can provide to a bride. Depending on the bride’s needs and personality, it is up to the wedding planner to service her client’s needs. Not only is it important to meet the client’s expectations, but exceeding their expectations will enhance your referrals to help you find your next client.

Full Service Planner

A full service planner is able to really help the bride from literally the beginning to the end of her planning. From the moment the groom pops the question the bride comes into the planner’s office to begin the journey. This bride is often new to the area, gets overwhelmed easily, doesn’t like to make decisions, or is very busy in her career or education. A planner’s main responsibility is to be the representative for the family and keep communication lines open amongst all parties involved. Becoming the mediator is often a crucial role in this phase of the planning process.

Main Responsibilities of a Full Service Planner:

oSet budget (stay on budget throughout the planning process)

oFind reception/ceremony location

oBook vendors (photographer, videographer, florist, entertainment)

oNegotiate pricing for all vendors involved

oCreate personal décor style for bride/groom

oCreate vendor timeline/bridal party timeline

oAttend all meetings

oOrchestrate the rehearsal and wedding day

oPersonal assistant to family

oFollow up with miscellaneous tasks post-wedding

Partial Planner

This is the most popular program wedding planners can offer to their clients. Brides will come into the appointment with some of the choices already made, but would like professional guidance in the midst of the planning process. Brides think they can do it all themselves only to find frustration and an endless list of things to do hence, why they turn it over to a planner. This type of bride likes to have the final say in the decision making process, but wants a professional opinion each step of the way.

Main Responsibilities of a Partial Planner:

oCollect all information/contracts from client

oEvaluate the budget

oMeet all family members involved in the planning process

oCreate road map/set goals for each month with client

oBook remainder vendors

oNegotiate pricing when available

oPersonal Décor (upgrade program)

oCreate vendor timeline/bridal party timeline

oAttend final catering meeting

oOrchestrate the rehearsal and wedding day

oPersonal assistant to family

oFollow up with miscellaneous tasks post-wedding

Day of Planner

A Day Of Planner is someone who comes in and picks up all the pieces (often referred to as the personal assistant to the family or the manager of the overall wedding). The main responsibility of a day of planner is to ensure the plan the bride and her family has created runs smoothly according to their expectations. Reception décor and ceremony timing is crucial the day of the wedding. The most important piece of the puzzle is to make sure the vendors are directed in the right place at the right time along with the bridal party. The timeline is the heart of the event. Without a solid timeline, people will not know where to go and when they are to report. A day of planner is only as good as her timeline. 5 minutes off the time of the wedding day, means tough filet mignon in the hotbox. This is often referred to as “Game Day.”

Main responsibilities of a Day of Planner:

oCreate timeline

oCall all vendors to check arrival time and location

oPunch out meeting with bride and groom (collect personal items)

oGet help

oAssign staff with bride (assist in getting dressed)

oAssign staff for reception décor (implement plan)

oOverall manager for family

oOrchestrate rehearsal and wedding day

oFollow up with miscellaneous tasks post-wedding

There are three main services a wedding planner can provide: full service, partial, or day of planner. Knowing which type of service the client is seeking will help define the type of program to sell her. Each client is unique and some programs might have to be customized to fit her needs. Remember, the bride is the client you are the director. It is up to the director to guide the client into the right program to suit her needs.

Advantages of Planning Your Own Wedding With a Wedding Planner Book

Which is worse, spending thousands of dollars on a wedding planner who doesn’t pull through in the end or getting to your big day and realizing that you forgot something important? You don’t want anything to go wrong on your wedding day. Hopefully, this will be the biggest day of your life and the only wedding you will ever get to experience firsthand. If you want everything to be just perfect then the big decisions start before you even begin planning the finer details of the big day.

Before you can plan your wedding you have to determine who will be in charge of the planning process. If you can afford a wedding planner and know someone who is reliable and reputable, then that may be the best option. Unfortunately, most women cannot afford to hire a planner or do not trust the planners willing to work within their price range. This leaves planning the wedding for yourself.

One option is to enlist the help of your friends and perhaps your mother and start putting together all of the plans yourself. While this is a great way to save money, the chances of you forgetting something important are very high. Planning a wedding of any size is extremely stressful since there are so many different things to be considered. Leave out the smallest detail and you could have confusion or worse on your big day.

That’s why many women are now using wedding planner books. These planning books ensure that everything is taken care of well before the wedding day. You can still plan everything yourself and you can still take the help of those who love you, but you are more likely to have a flawless wedding day that goes off without a hitch.

A well designed wedding planner book will do many of the same things a personal wedding planner would do. It will inform you of everything that needs to be taken care of prior to the wedding and will give information regarding timelines of when to have different arrangements completed. It may also give some ideas that could help you create the best possible wedding without straying from your budget.

Just having the ability to write things down, check things off of a list, and go through a step-by-step process of planning the wedding will help reduce the stress level. You won’t have to continually rack your brain to think of things you know are missing. Everything is right in front of you and you always know where you are at, what has been done, and what still needs to be done.

You will also save a lot of money by using a wedding planner book. Instead of paying someone to coordinate, make arrangements, send out invitations, and plan your seating arrangement you can take care of these things yourself. You then have more money to spend on the food, the music, the reception décor and of course your honeymoon.

You never know, you could turn out to be the best wedding planner around! You could enjoy it so much you want to do it professionally. There is a lot of stress whether you plan your own wedding or pay someone to do it for you. With a wedding planner book you can save tons of money and still have the wedding of your dreams.

Want To Know More About Wedding Planners?

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel and Bookpleasures is pleased to have as a guest Judy Allen. Judy is the author of Your Stress Free Wedding Planner (Sourcebooks, Inc.), as well as five professional books on event planning (John Wiley and Sons).

Judy has created-produced-orchestrated special events in over 30 countries for up to
2,000 guests.

Good day Judy and thank you for agreeing to our interview.

Norm:

Judy, could you tell us something about yourself and how you became involved in wedding planning?

Judy:

I started out in travel and managing one of the highest producing offices for a national chain. As part of my office’s growth, I developed corporate business, which evolved into handling all of their corporate events such as incentives, conferences, conventions, product launches and social corporate branding events.
Subsequently, I joined one of the leading incentive houses to design custom one- of- a kind events around the world for corporate clients.

Over ten years ago, I opened my own special events company. As a result, I have created-produced-orchestrated corporate and social special events around the world for over fifteen years, including the gala theatrical opening for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and the co-ordination of Oscar winning director Norman Jewison’s 25th Anniversary Celebration of Fiddler on the Roof.

In addition, I am also the author of five best-selling professional books on event planning that are being used around the world by industry and business professionals, and as teaching tools by Universities and Colleges.

The foreign rights for my second book, The Business of Event Planning, have been sold to China and Russia, and Harvard has deemed my third book, Event Planning Ethics and Etiquette, a “must read” for event planning and small business professionals.

The event planning series of books came about as a result of my being called “to run and rescue” non-profit gala events days before an event was scheduled to take place.

I noticed that many charitable organisations were clueless as to what to be aware of and wary of when planning events. I found this most disturbing.

The same situation occurred with wedding planning. Clients or their friends began to consult with me regarding their personal wedding plan needs. I kept hearing from them as to how stressful they found the process to be- the hidden costs and surprises they kept encountering along the way. Because of the direction I am taking my company, I do limit the number of weddings that I personally become involved in.

I wrote Your Stress Free Wedding Planner as a means to provide couples with what they need to know from a design, budget, implementation (logistics) and orchestration perspective – not etiquette – when they go to plan their wedding. I wanted to give them a wedding planning tool that would held them enjoy the process, lessen the stress and show them how to create a wedding day that is meaningful, memorable and magical.

Norm:

Could you tell us something about your book Your Stress Free Wedding Planner?

Judy:

I have shared with readers the ten key planning steps, that when followed in sequential order, will allow the bride and groom-to-be to create and co-ordinate a wedding that will exceed their expectations and stay within their wedding budget guidelines. It does not matter if a couple has six weeks to plan their wedding or a year or more, the event planning principles I have designed and the order of the steps which be followed for optimum results, remain the same.

Your Stress Free Wedding Planner simplifies the wedding planning process and allows everyone involved to relax, and enjoy the festivities that lead up to this very special day, secure in the knowledge that everything has been attended to.

What is unique about Your Stress Free Wedding Planner is the wedding design questionnaire that will show the bride and the groom how to combine their individual wedding visions and take them their personal idea of a dream wedding to one that will become “our” dream wedding. I also show couples contract red flag areas – that can cost them thousands of dollars more than they expected – that they need to be aware of before they sign on the dotted line as well as areas of negotiation and terms and conditions that they need to have amended on their contracts.

Norm:

If you had to choose 5 of the most romantic wedding destinations in the world, which ones would you choose and why?

Judy:

For me 5 of the most romantic wedding destinations in the world would be

· Greece/Greek Islands for their beauty, ambience and history – you can relax, sightsee, and have fun exploring as a couple:

· South Pacific (Bora Bora) – getting married on the beach and honeymooning in an over the water thatched bungalow with glass bottom floors – perfect setting in a romantic paradise

· Bali – staying at the Four Seasons that come with private plunge pools and secluded outdoor showers – a romantic hideaway from the world:

· Egypt (getting married with Pyramids as the backdrop) then on to the Valley of the Kings/cruising the Nile (honeymoon) exotic and a trip of a lifetime:

· Italy – Rome, Venice, Tuscany, Capri, Florence – so many romantic choices to choose from. You can hold your wedding reception in a castle, rent a private villa in Tuscany, hold the wedding and reception there (and honeymoon for the rest of your stay), take-over a medieval hamlet or be married or hold your wedding reception in a winery. Italy just has the air of romance.

Norm:

You have indicated that you have sailed on all types of yachts/ships. Which yacht or ship did you find to be the most romantic?

Judy:

Failing to afford chartering your own private yacht and set your own course, I personally found Windstar Cruises to be more romantic than larger cruiselines. I liked the more intimate feeling aboard ship.

Their guest count ranges in the low hundreds (148 to 308) as opposed to the in the thousands and they are not geared to having children onboard. I also like that you have the luxury of eating meals at your leisure and not at set times, summoned by a bell.

There are no formal seating table assignments – you can dine or your own or with couples you have met, there are no jacket and tie requirements and should you chose dinner can be served to your cabin. I also like the tucked away ports of calls available to you – due to being on a smaller sailing vessel — and the easy on and off of the ship. And sitting out on deck, under the stars when the sails are unfurled is extremely romantic.

Norm:

What is a wedding planner and how do you separate the good ones from the incompetent?

Judy:

What is a wedding planner and how do you separate the good ones from the incompetent?

In the planning industry there are two types of planners: Event Planners and Wedding Planners.

Generally, event planners handle designing and producing corporate, social and non-profit events. The types of events they are involved in can be quite diverse — from complex one-day entertaining events strategically planned to meet business objectives to corporate learning, performance, motivational events and elaborate arrangements of incentive or product launch theme productions that take place over the course of a week around the world. Some event planners handle not only event design, but also education and entertaining components (transportation, accommodation, food, beverage, decor, entertainment, themes) but also multimedia stage production. This is the type of event planning that I have been primarily involved in.

Wedding planners work with newly engaged couples to help them create the wedding of their dreams. They take over all the wedding planning and operation requirements, consulting closely with their clients along the way. They are compassionate, caring and adept at handling the emotional elements that are tied to planning a wedding when nerves are frayed, couples get jittery and help find areas of compromise between couples and their families when there are opposing ideas on how the wedding day should unfold. Wedding planners co-ordinate the weddings from beginning to end and are on hand on the wedding day to oversee that all goes as planned. Some wedding planners also handle social events as the two event planning styles are closely aligned whereas event planners who mainly work with corporate and business related social events generally do not cross over into wedding planning as juggling the needs of these two very different clients does not tend to mesh.

If couples are considering hiring a wedding planner, I suggest they first read Your Stress Free Wedding Planner.
With this in mind, they will immediately be able to spot the level of competency of a wedding planner, and they will be able to discern if the wedding planner is experienced or not.

Experienced wedding planners are able to fully answer questions pertaining to the budget, contract and logistical problems.

Check references- not only other wedding couples that have hired them. Also check the venues in which they have held their events.

Find out their level of ability e.g. if the wedding planner has only done events for 50 guests or less and your wedding is for 500 or more, there will be a learning curve for the wedding planner – don’t let it be at your expense.

Norm:

Have you ever planned weddings for any celebrities?

Judy:

No, not weddings, but social events with Oscar winning guests and celebrities in attendance, such as the theatrical gala premiere of Beauty and the Beast and the co-ordination of Oscar winning director’s Norman Jewison’s 25th Anniversary Celebration for Fiddler on the Roof.

Norm:

Could you tell us which wedding celebration you had planned that was the most memorable and why?

Judy:

They are all memorable – each is different and unique.
However, the one that was most memorable was one where I was a guest but got involved when there was a slight glitch.

It was an outdoor reception and the staff carrying the wedding cake out to garden for the cake cutting ceremony, tripped over one of the small children that was attending the event.

The child was okay as was the wait staff but the wedding cake landed upside down. Luckily a cloth had been placed over the cake for the reveal and guests were not aware of exactly what had taken place.

The cake was carefully righted and I went into the kitchen to meet with the chef to see what the damage had done. The top of the cake was totally smashed. I quickly gathered the bridesmaids’ bouquets that matched the flowers the bride was carrying and with the chef’s help, some plastic wrap (to protect the cake from flowers as flowers were not edible etc.) and icing.

The flowers were artfully arranged on top and fresh icing was skilfully applied to mask the dents and damage. The cake was made picture perfect without guests being any the wiser and raves were given to the floral topping on the cake. The bride and groom had been advised of what happened and were trilled with the results.

Norm:

What is your idea of a unique romantic destination?

Judy:

The amount of time it takes to get to the Seychelles can be quite daunting with airline connections and layovers (depending where you are travelling) but after arrival, there was never one moment that I regretted the travel time. What is a wonderful romantic combination is doing an African safari first and then flying to the Seychelles for the rest of your stay.

Norm:

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about wedding planning, romantic getaways or wedding destinations?

Judy:

Should you decide to combine your wedding with your honeymoon, there are now bridal registries that handle weddings and honeymoons at upscale hotel properties around the world.

Instead of giving a toaster as a wedding gift, family and friends celebrating your nuptials can contribute to your destination wedding. As an example: the activities on your honeymoon stay, or a couples’ massage or a private romantic dinner for two after the wedding.

These individuals work with wedding specialists at the location to pre-arrange all the wedding and personalized honeymoon details.

They also advise couples on the legal issues that being married in a specific location will entail.
If couples are planning a destination wedding they need to make sure that all is in order for them to get married and to file their marriage papers after their wedding.

One couple that flew to the Caribbean for their wedding did not check into residency requirements for weddings. They did not allow sufficient time and were unable to extend their time on the island, as they had to return to work. Unfortunately, they ended up posing for wedding photographs on the beach and then getting married at home.

Wedding Planner – Hiring a Planner Vs Doing it Yourself

Planning a wedding can be a very large undertaking, and even the smallest of weddings can require some considerable advance planning. This is why many brides and grooms now go the way of a professional wedding planner to assist them in putting together all the details for their big day. In the past only the wealthy could afford to hire a wedding planner, but these days many people of every income level hire wedding planners, often because a wedding planner can help you save money and pay for themselves in their ability to negotiate better rates with vendors.

So what should you consider when you’re weighing the pros and cons of hiring a wedding planner as opposed to planning the whole show yourself? Here are a few questions you should consider before you make any decision or start shopping for a planner.

Do you have the time?

Big weddings with hundreds of guests can often take 250 hours or more to plan, and even small weddings can require 100 or more hours to put together all the details. If you’re an active person already and have a full-time job and a busy calendar, hiring a wedding planner might save you and your spouse-to-be lots of aggravation and hassle. Even if you hire a planner for day-of activities, this might take enough off your plate that you can stay sane in the months leading up to your big day.

Do you have the additional funds?

Hiring a wedding planner doesn’t necessarily have to cost a mint, and in many cases a planner may save you money because they know how to find and negotiate the best deals. Wedding planners charge for their services in a few ways. Some charge by the percentage of the cost of the wedding, which can fall anywhere from 10% to 20% of your total budget. Some charge by flat fee and offer a fixed number of services and time they will spend on your wedding (with any overtime charged above and beyond). Still others charge by the hour (and expect to pay north of $50/hour for most planners). If you decided you can afford a wedding planner, make sure you get all the costs and what they include in writing before you forge ahead.

Are you a do-it-yourself type of person?

Do you do things like make your own soap or stitch your own clothes? Do you get your kicks by creating things from scratch? Do you spend hours at craft stores sifting through piles of felt and bins of buttons? When it comes down to it, would you rather make something than buy something?

If you answered yes to at least one of the questions above, then you like to do at least some things on your own. For many brides, creating the favors, invitations, save-the-dates, centerpieces and dozens of other wedding-related items is truly a dream and what they would enjoy most about their wedding (aside from getting hitched to their one-and-only). So if you’re the crafter or independent sort who relishes doing things yourself, then hiring a wedding planner may not fit your style. Instead, you can use a planning binder or online wedding software to help you manage all your details. If you are a DIY-type person and decide to go ahead and hire a planner, just make sure you have a clearly defined division of labor so you don’t step on each other’s toes.

Do you like details?

Some people are detail freaks and love managing all the little things in life. Others can’t be bothered with pesky little tasks and details and would prefer the big picture perspective. How do you know which you are? Well, if you must balance your checkbook, empty the dishwasher, lay out tomorrow’s outfit, answer all your emails and before you can to to sleep at night, then you’re a details person and would probably not only feel at home planning your own wedding but planning weddings for a living. If you can sleep like a baby and it doesn’t even occur to you to think of these things, then you’re probably not a details person and may want to find someone else to help you plan your wedding. This isn’t saying that a details person shouldn’t consider hiring a planner or that a non-details person couldn’t do it themselves; just remember that if you choose a path outside of your comfort zone, you may find yourself second-guessing yourself at one point or another.

Do you like negotiating and haggling for deals?

Think of buying wedding services and items like shopping for a car. In many cases, the service or product in question doesn’t really have a fixed cost and is definitely negotiable (even if it doesn’t seem like it). So you should ask yourself this: do I like haggling and negotiating, or would I rather leave this to somebody else? If you enjoy or even relish the back-and-forth, dodge-and-parry of haggling over a price and negotiating terms and services, then you may revel in doing it for your own wedding. If you’d equate haggling with visits to the dentist or doing your taxes or picking up friends at the airport, then you might want to hire a wedding planner to do it for you. A key advantage in the latter is that wedding planners are accustomed to haggling with wedding vendors, know what things should cost and can tell you if you’re getting a good deal or not.

Do you like planning parties?

This is really the deciding question, because although a wedding in many cases has a religious component to it, in the end what you are really planning is a party. Some people love planning parties and everything that it entails, including developing guest lists, creating invitations, planning food offerings and entrees, scouting out/arranging for venues, coming up with head counts, serving as greeter/host/girl Friday and the like. If you love parties and everything that they entail, then planning a wedding is right up your alley. But if you much prefer attending parties but dread planning them, then a wedding planner may be in your future.

What Qualities Should I Look For In A Wedding Planner?

The task of choosing a wedding planner is not one that should be taken lightly. The person you hire will be a part of your life for quite some time (a year or more in some cases), so it’s important that you take your time in making this very important decision. As you consider a planner, what qualities should you look for?

Passion

When a person loves what he or she does, it shows! Your wedding planner should show enthusiasm about working with you and planning your special day. Don’t get me wrong, wedding planners have bad days just like everyone else, but their overall mood should be one of heartfelt excitement about what they are doing!

Knowledge

What is passion without knowledge? Your wedding planner must know what know what he or she is doing, and must be able to articulate that knowledge to you. If you have a question, your planner should be able to answer it or get an answer for you. Beware of those who don’t take the time to answer your questions or are condescending when they do answer! Also, a wedding planner should use his or her knowledge and experience to plan for certain risks. For example, if a bride wants an outdoor wedding, a wedding planner should immediately suggest having a ‘Plan B’ in case of inclement weather.

Open-Mindedness and Flexibility

This is your wedding day, not the planner’s! Your wedding planner should be open to your ideas and help you make them come to fruition. If the planner sees that a particular idea may not work for a particular situation, or can suggest another way to do it, he or she will do so. But the planner should never impose his or her own will on yours!

Trustworthiness

Trust is built over time, and should be displayed in the fact that your wedding planner is a person of his or her word. He or she follows up as promised, and should let you know if there will be a delay in responding or answering your questions. He or she should return calls and emails in a timely manner (don’t forget that planners have lives too, so please be reasonable in your expectations). The responsiveness continues well beyond after you signed the contract and throughout the life of your working relationship.

Detail-Oriented

Having many years of project management experience, I can tell you that a wedding is a project, with lots of details that must all come together to make a beautiful occasion. Your wedding planner must be a detail-oriented person to ensure nothing is missed.

Kindness

I’ve listed this quality last, but it is certainly not least! Your wedding planner should be a kind person who cares about you. As I stated earlier, this person is in your life for a period of time, so they should genuinely want to ensure you have a beautiful wedding day. You should be treated like an individual, not just another paying client. When a planner stops caring about the couples he or she is working with, it’s time to close up shop!

10 Tips to Find the RIGHT Wedding Planner

1. Consider your needs. What type of service will you require? There are as many planners as there are choices, so it’s important for you to narrow down your selection based on what you need. Here are examples of the most standard types of services that wedding planners provide:

a. Day-of coordination (present only on the day of your wedding to ensure everything is handled professionally)

b. A referral service (the planner recommends different vendors based on your preferences and you do the hiring and liaising on your own)

c. Comprehensive service (the planner oversees everything from choosing the venue booking the church helping with providers etc.)

… or perhaps you are going to have such a small celebration that you’ll just need the planner to oversee a few minor details while you handle the rest. The choice is yours!

2. Consider their background and education. For example, if you are looking for lots of creative input, for example, you may want to hire a wedding planner that has a background in a creative field – such as art or graphic design. Perhaps you are looking for somebody who will do all the legwork and will work with you as a partner, but will allow you room for your own personal creativity to shine through. Or better yet, you may be looking for someone that has a good balance of both creativity and organization.

3. Consider their experience. How many years are they in business? A reputable planner will be open to prove their reliability and experience. For example, they will be able to give you references from past clients so that you can speak with them directly. They should be open to providing you with examples of weddings that they have planned in the past. They should be able to show you an extensive portfolio of wedding images and videos. And, of course, references from the providers that they were closest with. Feel free to ask your potential wedding planner for this work history and be wary if they are unwilling to share this information with you.

4. Consider their training. What training does he/she have prior to becoming a wedding planner? For example, does he/she come from a related field, such as event planning? This will give you more insight into the type of planner they are and what drove them to do this professionally in the first place. Many planners are not only great wedding planners – they are also passionate about weddings and this comes across in their knowledge of the latest trends and wedding styles.

5. Consider their communication, organizational skills and professionalism. From the time that you’ve started communicating with them, has he/she proven to be professional and reliable? A professional wedding planner and one with whom you will be communicating on a daily basis, should answer emails promptly. The answers should be thorough – it can get very frustrating to have to send three or four emails just to get one complete response. And if you have a wedding planning emergency, you want to have the peace of mind that they will be quick in responding!

6. Consider his/her personality. Your wedding planner should be courteous and accommodating to your busy schedules; they should be flexible and adaptable; honest and realistic about your wedding vision and if they can make it happen on your budget, to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on. This should come across quite clearly from the moment that you start communicating with them.

7. Consider the fee structure. Your wedding planner should be upfront about how they calculate their fees and should make you aware of any additional costs that may come up later on. For example, if they charge a flat fee, ask if this is all-inclusive and if they will manage everything related to your destination wedding (not just the ceremony and reception, for example). If, on the contrary, your wedding planner works based on a percentage or an hourly rate, ask how many hours are included. Will they provide unlimited consultations and phone calls? Will you be required to handle a portion of the wedding planning yourself if your wedding budget changes and the percentage-based fee decreases? Having this information before committing to a wedding planner is crucial so that you know exactly what you are committing to.

8. Consider the work philosophy. Does he/she work alone or as a team? There is no right or wrong answer – this is very personal and each couple knows what they prefer! But if the wedding planner works alone, ensure that they have a back-up plan in case of an emergency – you don’t want to end up overseeing the wedding day yourself because the wedding planner has fallen sick. If, on the contrary, they work as a team, you have the advantage of having different people at your disposal, but also ensure that you know who your main contact will be. This person should be your go-to person and should be present on your wedding day, together with the rest of the team.

9. Consider how your vision has been interpreted. You and your fiancé are unique, and so is your wedding vision! A professional wedding planner should be able to understand your vision and input and use it to create an even better version of your dream wedding.

10. Lastly, and most importantly, consider the rapport you have with the wedding planner. The connection that you create in the early stages of communication is going to set the tone for how smooth planning your wedding will be, and you want to ensure that your wedding planner is going to be working in your best interests at all times. This person is going to be a major part of your wedding day and you will feel more comfortable working with someone that you trust and can confide in.

These are just 10 key elements to bear in mind when hiring a wedding planner – I’m certain there are many, many more. But I really believe that these are the most important when deciding on a wedding planner, because they will make the decision-making process that much easier… and give you peace of mind that you’ve hired the RIGHT wedding planner for your destination wedding!

What to Look For in a Personal Wedding Planner

If you’re overwhelmed with planning, hiring a personal wedding planner may be a great option for you and could possibly save you a lot of time, headaches and money in the process. Many brides today are employed full time or employed part time while attending college or they’re even self-employed and very busy with running their businesses. They just don’t have the time to start early and get all of their wedding planning done in a fashion that will keep them on a low budget. In these cases, hiring a personal wedding planner is the way to go.

A professional wedding planner should have the experience and all the connections and information right on hand to to plan your event right down to your tiniest wish. In fact, a good wedding consultant will keep you from becoming too stressed in the process of getting your wedding details together. Your planner will take care of the details while you concentrate on your job or business. A personal wedding planner can be an invaluable service in making your special day your fairytale dream. Planning a wedding can definitely be overwhelming when you start thinking about all the decisions and effort it takes to planning a wedding.

Many people decide to use a consultant to help them cover every detail of their wedding, so that everything goes smoothly from getting to the church on time through the last dance at the reception.

What is the difference between a certified wedding planner and a personal wedding planner?
A certified wedding planner or event consultant has had formal education in the field of wedding planning and most times they are their own business owner. Basically they’ve learned more about contracts, etiquette, customs, traditions, and other topics specific to wedding planning. The information they learn in a formal course could be information that a personal wedding planner may have learned through experience. A certified wedding planner has successfully completed a test or series of tests to earn their certifications.

A personal wedding planner can also be certified, but it’s not necessary. Actually, your personal planner could easily be a very close friend or relative who has a lot of connections and experience in helping her friends and relatives plan their event. She may do your planning without a fee just to help out or give you her services as a wedding gift.

A certified wedding planner however knows more about every possible logistic of planning a wedding that most people forget about. They’ve made it their business to know all of the local venues, music avenues, florists, catering, etc. The list can go on and on with the wealth of information that a good wedding planner knows and understands.

Save Time and Money
If you are working on a tight budget it may be smarter for you to hire a wedding planner because as you know, the less time you spend in planning, the more money you ultimately spend by not grabbing the best deals as early as you should. Your consultant can advise you on the best corners to cut, and where you will save the most money without feeling as though you’re skimping.

Less expensive does not necessarily mean “cheap,” especially when planning your wedding. Your personal consultant will help you to have your own fairy tale wedding, without spending a fortune. They know where to refer you to for the music you want on the budget you have. They know where you can get your flowers, and which place to have your wedding.

Help with Emergencies
Not only in the planning process of your wedding, but on your wedding day you me be pulled in all different directions. A consultant can help alleviate any stresses you may be feeling by being prepared for any emergencies that may arise. Most often there is an issue that arises on that special day even if you spent years planning each detail.

Nobody thinks about what to do if the DJ is late, or the flowers are not right for what you ordered, but your personal wedding planner will know how to handle these types of situations. They would know who to call, what to do, how to improvise, and even what your rights are. They know more about how to handle such situations than any other person in the business. Having a consultant during that crisis, you will be so happy you did.

There are so many benefits to hiring a certified wedding planner, or a personal wedding planner, that if you feel you’re not sure about what you should do or you already know you’re not going to be able to devote the necessary time to proper planning without getting over stressed, you should consider shopping around for the right consultant to fit your needs.

And whether you decide to hire a professional consultant, a friend or someone who has simply helped a lot of people save money by planning their weddings, your personal wedding planner will help ease your stress by taking care of your even your smallest tasks so you can concentrate on other things and avoid taking too much time away from work or daily life.