Tuesday, January 12, 2016

5 Things to Look for in a Wedding Planner

Let me tell you a story about a sad wedding.

I watched a news story about women in the local Dallas area who had hired a local wedding planner.

The planner was supposed to help them with their day of wedding planning and coordinating.

But on the day of the wedding - the wedding coordinator never showed.

What Does A Wedding Planner Do

A day of wedding planner or coordinator provides a variety of tasks:
  • ranging from helping to scheduling
  • hiring the photographer
  • hiring other staff
  • running the wedding

Why You Need Day of Wedding Coordinator

If your only concept of a wedding planner is from the movies - you might think it's an unnecessary extravagance.

But I can tell you from experience - you need someone in this role.

The most memorable experience I had was when our friend E got married. She was going to do it herself at her wedding. 

My wife ended up taking over because clearly E was overwhelmed. 

You need someone on the day of the wedding who is not in the party at the alter.

For example:
  • Make sure people get lined up
  • The photographer is setup
  • If necessary - have an alternate officiator on speed dial 

How To Avoid A Dishonest Wedding Planner

The brides to be in this story were on a tight budget and wanted to save money.

So they hired a local woman to do the job - but then the person they hired didn't do the job.

And this led to the new story.

And as part of the news story - they gave the address to the planner's website.

I looked up the website.

And within 30 seconds - I could tell that I would never ever consider doing business with this person.

The reason is -there was nothing to indicate a real business here.

My wife, who is not technical, felt she could have created a better site.  

But that's not the problem - a local business service like a wedding planner doesn't need anything fancy.

In fact I would advise against it.

But I would expect to see photos from weddings, testimonials and listings with relevant organizations like the BBB.

So here are 5 tips that I would use to look for in a reputable day of wedding coordinator.

Photos Of Actual Weddings They PerformedIt's the age of cameras in our pockets, selfies and social media.

At the very least they should have links to their social media accounts with photos from the weddings.

They should have at least a handful of photos on their website. 

Testimonials On Their Website

If the planner doesn't have any testimonials on their website I would put them at the bottom of the list.

If they don't have testimonials on their site but you still are interested in hiring the planner - ask to talk to previous customers. 

I would also want them to be members of organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants and the BBB.

This is because if you are looking for a professional planner - then you should expect them to be be members of the professional organizations.

Bonus points if they are members of your local Chambers of Commerce - the more they are involved in your community the better.

You should also search on Yelp, Google and Twitter to see what anyone else might have said about the planner. 

Talk to References

If you find a planner you like - make sure you talk to their references.

And focus your questions on how they handled any difficult situations.

Anyone can handle a perfect wedding but how did they react when something went wrong.

Get A Contract

I'm not a lawyer so you should consult one if you have questions on this.

But the way I look at it is that this is a business relationship.

Make sure you have a contract in place - to protect both sides.

Don't Pay All Up Front

Never pay the entire fee up front.

I wouldn't even go over 50%.

If you pay everything up front - then there is not much incentive for them to do their job.

And any reputable service professional is going to expect this type of arrangement.

This article originally appeared at weddingintro.com.

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