From the start, Johnny and I knew we wanted a wedding planner. Both of us are so busy at our jobs and taking care of our parents, we wanted to have someone on our side we could trust. Hiring a talented wedding planner takes a huge load of stress off our shoulders. They come with recommendations, will give you their honest opinion and make the entire process so much more enjoyable. Now that our wedding is over, I can say I would have paid our planner more than what she charged. She truly made the day so spectacular for us and despite everything going on we could enjoy the day! Many of you have asked us about the process and it all comes down to having the right planner for your wedding, which is why I wanted to put together a list of questions to ask a wedding planner so you have the perfect one and have the best time!
Questions to Ask a Wedding Planner
Are you available on my wedding date?
This is, for obvious reasons, incredibly important! If you don’t have your date picked out yet, ask them what their availability is. That way if you want a summer wedding but they’re not available until the fall, you know prior to signing any contracts!
Can you work with my budget?
Another obvious one! Nothing can be done before a budget is set, and if you find you can’t afford all the services you want, you can find out what is attainable. From personal experience, some of the best planners now go off how much you’re spending per guest instead of an overall budget.
When will we meet and how will we work together?
Everyone has a different idea of what collaboration is, and you should have a full understanding of what to expect so no miscommunications occur. During the last six weeks leading up to the wedding, we had 1-hour weekly calls with our planning to go over every detail.
How do payments work and are there any additional expenses to be aware of?
You should always know where your money is going, as well as why and how. It would be terrible to be surprised with a bigger bill than you planned for! Don’t forget to tip your planner at the end.
Do you have any references?
They should be ready and enthusiastic to share these with you. If not, that’s a red flag.
What specifically are you responsible for, and what are we responsible for?
You never want anything to fall through the cracks. Get ahead of this by making sure you know exactly who’s doing what. Our planner was extremely organized and had google sheets and google docs with every detail listed out for us.
What is the vendor and rentals process like, from selection to contracts to payment to coordination?
Again, you never want anything to fall through the cracks! Also, typically planners have their own preferred vendors and rental companies they trust, but if you have time you should still do your own research on their reputation. Of course, if you have someone you’d like to use you’re welcome to bring that information as well.
What’s been one of your favorite weddings you’ve planned and why?
We asked this question to get an idea of what our planner loves and prioritizes, and how similar or different it is from us. It’s so helpful when you align on this!
What’s something that went wrong at a wedding and how was it handled?
Ideally, nothing goes wrong at your wedding, but it’s likely something will. The problem, however, isn’t nearly as important as the solution. You should have no doubt going into the wedding everything will be handled.
For my budget, what are things you recommend dropping or adding?
You may have a specific vision, but planners are incredibly skilled at making the most of your money. They will likely have some strategic suggestions for you to do so.
Will you be making a timeline for everyone involved the day of?
It can be very difficult to keep track of all the family and friends who have an active role in your wedding. They should have a foolproof system in place. Our planner certainly did. I will note, my planner came with a team and it felt so good knowing all details were handled and everyone knew where they needed to be.
From My Planner
As a bonus, I asked my planner, Sarah Kee of Keestone Events, two of the most popular questions she get asked about wedding planning!
How should I budget?
I say this all the time, but you get what you pay for in this industry and the cost of vendors and venues can vary significantly. When planning for a wedding, prioritize! What is important to you? Every couple is different, and most people have a number in mind they don’t want to cross. If you are in love with an aspect of a wedding you know can easily increase your budget, you’d have to be willing to compromise. Pinterest and social media can be a double-edged sword. It’s easy to swoon over the stunning images shown online, but those beautiful displays can easily push a budget over. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember your guests are there to celebrate your union and you get to marry your best friend.
Do I need a planner?
Not necessarily. It is always possible to plan for a wedding without a planner, but it is inevitably more work. A good planner will have great relationships with vendors. They will know who would be the best fit for a particular client, from personality to budget, saving one from going down a rabbit hole in hours of researching. We know the vendors who care deeply, who will always deliver and are professional. As planners, we also receive discounts from certain vendors which we pass onto our clients.
At the very least, I believe everyone should have a month-of coordinator. Speaking firsthand, things don’t always go according to plan and it’s nice to know you have someone on the backend batting you for and resolving issues as they arrive. Our Keestone team coordinated the day for my own wedding day, which alleviated a lot of potential headaches for me. They moved to Plan B, switched layouts around, checked in with vendors, and made the day flow so smoothly otherwise. I was able to fully enjoy the day, knowing that any situation that showed up would be handled.
Photos by Allen Tsai Photography