When it comes to finding a wedding planner, the options are overwhelming, especially in San Diego. The choices include planners with different budgets, styles, and experiences.
You may also be torn between choosing a friend who is just starting out as a planner and wants to “practice” with your wedding for a good deal- or between choosing a professional planner who has proven experience.
Here are five questions that you must ask every planner before booking with them. This will increase your confidence in the planner, as well as remove some stress as you gain knowledge of what to expect for your big day!
1.How involved will you be during our planning process?
The first thing you and your partner need to decide on is how involved you want a wedding planner. Are you comfortable taking on the bulk of planning, design and details and strictly want a planner as a sounding board, to be there for the rehearsal, and day-of to execute? Do you want someone involved in the entire process, holding your hand as your pick your venue and all the vendors, to design and implement every aspect? Or maybe you’re looking for something in between all of that. Knowing what you want before reaching out to potential planners is important.
Many planners offer different packages that range from day-of coordination to full planning. The involvement of the planner is totally up to the couple. One of my couple’s favorite packages that I offer is the Partial Planning package. This allows the couple to be the lead in planning with help from a professional along the way with budget, vendor recommendations
and help with design. They get to be heavily involved without the stress of doing it alone.
2. Do you have experience and examples of prior planned weddings?
It is totally okay to ask any professional planner how long they have been planning and for examples of their work. Some may have this information on their website already, and if they do not, this may be cause for question. Some planners have not gone beyond throwing family and friends’ parties, and are looking for their first wedding “gig”. You must decide if you are willing to be their test run.
Any new wedding planner can easily create a social media account displaying photos of other’s planned work. If you are unsure if a photo is a previous planned wedding of theirs, you can direct message them asking. You can also take a look at their website & The Knot reviews.
This may sound like something you can spot from a mile away, but in reality, planners are popping up everywhere and it can be hard to determine who are the actual professionals from the amateurs. The true test is to ask if they have worked your wedding venue before, and with which vendors. This will be very helpful for you, as they will know the positives of your wedding venue and how to stay away from the negatives.
It comes down to this - you want your wedding in the hands of a professional. After being in the industry for almost 10 years now, I have watched many planners come and go. Some get really excited to learn the trade, but don’t survive as it is a lot harder than it looks. You want someone who knows the ins and outs of weddings, has relationships built with the venues and vendors in the area, can manage every single detail of a day and who is calm under pressure and most importantly, can skillfully handle and address mistakes with ease when they happen.
3. When do your services start?
This is a very important question to ask your planner and is usually dependent on the package you book with them. Make sure it is clear from the start when you should expect to have them on board. If it is coordination only services, you can expect them to start 2-4 weeks prior to the wedding and if it’s the month of, then of course 4 weeks prior. If it’s a partial planning package, services will vary depending on the specific planner, but full planning should get you complete access from the moment you sign the contract. Every planner has unique services to their business, so communicate your needs from the beginning and ask what package would best fit. Then ask when the package will start.
4. Do you have a team?
Having a wedding planner who has a team to support them on your big day is a game changer! You want to make sure you know who the lead planner is (so you know for certain they are the ones handling the whole planning process) and confirm they have a minimum of one assistant, if not two, with them the day of your wedding. This ensures everything is set up the way you envisioned, that vendors are taken care of and the bridal party and family have the help they need. You don’t want one person running around like a chicken with their head cut off - that just makes everything stressful!
5. What will you be doing on the day of our wedding?
On the day-of, the role of the planner is simply this: to ensure the bride and groom, along with the family and bridal party, do not have to worry about anything! And I mean ANYTHING. As soon as the bride, her attendants and family arrive at the “getting ready location”, a bridal assistant will be there to help with the process, making sure they are on schedule and getting them to the ceremony site on time. While this is taking place, the lead planner and their team are bringing everything to life at the venue! They will be setting up all the decor, greeting all the vendors, making sure every minute detail is in place. At the time of the ceremony, they are the ones lining up the bridal party and cueing the music. Afterwards, they help facilitate the family photos, so no one one is missed and ultimately, manage the tear down and clean up.
All in all, the wedding planner and team are the ones behind the scenes, executing the timeline the way it was originally planned, handling any and all complications when they arise, so the bride, groom and family can simply enjoy and take in every moment of this special celebration.
Don’t just take my word of how important a planner is the day-of- see what one of my grooms said about the importance of how hiring me as their planner turned out to be a great experience:
“Evelyn and her team brought a calm on the wedding day and immediately took charge and made everything organized. I am forever in her debt because she allowed me to focus on every moment and remember every detail because I knew she was ensuring all went smoothly. From where I stand Evelyn and her professional crew were the main reason that the day we had turned out to be the best day of my life.”
-Ron, 2018 Groom Wedding
Make sure to ask your planner if they offer design services. Some planners can include a design package within their planning package and can service all of your needs within one package. Even better, ask if there is a package for all wedding event needs, including showers and a wedding brunch. These are a headache to plan, design and execute for many couples and asking your wedding planner can save you this headache, as they will already know your style and family dynamics!
Ready to find out how you can work with Evelyn Francesca Events And Design for your wedding day?
My team and I would love to plan your wedding and any other event needs that you may have, please reach us here.