I LOVE IT when brides and grooms-to-be come to interview me and they actually ask questions. You wouldn’t believe how many come through my door and have not put any thought into what they want to ask. While I completely understand they’ve never done this before, I’m always blown away that they are hiring a planner, but don’t have some way to qualify the person they are willing to pay thousands of dollars to for their help. I encourage couples to scrutinize the planners they interview. Remember, it is exactly that, an interview for a person you are going to hire. Think of this person as a potential employee for your company (yes, I know, a wedding is not a company) and you want the best you can get! If I were to hire a planner, here are some questions I would ask.
Q. Are you certified and how do you continue your education as a planner?
A. They should absolutely be certified as this is completely easy to do considering the amount of online courses available as well as those local to the Dallas area. I believe everyone continues to learn, or they grow stagnant. If they can’t tell you how they continue to learn, they aren’t learning.
Q. How many full service weddings have you planned and coordinated? What specifically did you do for these weddings that qualifies them as full service?
A. Many who start out focus on “day of” weddings. While there is nothing wrong with this, if you are their first full service wedding, you may not get the help you are looking for due to inexperience. The second part of this question helps you both to realize what they’ve done for previous clients.
Q. Can you give me referrals, not only from brides, but from vendors as well?
A. Their relationships with vendors are vital to helping you get possible discounts or “freebies”.
Q. What is the average budget you work with?
A. If you have a $20,000 budget, you want a wedding planner that can operate within that limit. Someone who consistently works with $80,000 and above may not have relationships with vendors within your budget range.
Q. Do you take kickbacks or commissions? If not, what do you do when offered this by vendors and venues?
A. Wedding planners SHOULD NOT take kickbacks or commissions. They should turn this around and get it as a discount from the vendor for you.
Q. Will you be the planner I work with, from planning to the day of the wedding? Will I be the only wedding you have that week?
A. Many companies have more than one planner on staff. Make sure it is clear who you will be working with and that you are comfortable with them before signing.
Q. Is planning weddings your full time job?
A. I offer this only because if you want full access to your planner, they may not be able to accommodate if they are working a full time job elsewhere.
Now of course this is by no means the entire list of questions I would ask, but it would at least get the conversation started. And you can bet I will absolutely call their references, and probably a venue or two that they said they worked at. This will give me lots of info as to if they work well with others, have great relationships, or if they just made up half of what they told me. Not to be negative, but there are definitely those out there that are not professional and you deserve the best! Want more? Sign up for my next “How To Hire a Planner” info session. The next class date is TBD, but we will hopefully set this soon! In the meantime, please feel free to call me with any questions and best of luck in your search!