Not So Obvious Questions to Ask A Wedding Planner
Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Photo By Candid Memories Studio
Finding the right wedding planner that best suits your needs is essential to the success of your wedding, but how do you choose the right one? There's many things to consider when searching for a wedding planner other than loving their portfolio or Instagram page. In the wedding world, we always plan for the best case scenario's, but we must also plan for the worst, or the "what ifs?"
Always have a consultation with a potential planner. Ask the obvious questions; availability, the cost of their service, the cost of additional team members, travel fees, involvement, and day-of coordination services. Most importantly, make sure you connect with that person. You will be in communication with your planner often throughout the process and you want to feel comfortable with them! While this all may be obvious, you should also consider asking some not so obvious questions.
Do they attend tastings and dress fittings? Depending on your location, this may require additional travel fees or costs for professional opinions. Your wedding planner is also an unbiased opinion. They may be a neutral voice in a crowd of opinionated family while you're searching for your dream dress. You can benefit from their professional opinion as well. They'll know if you're overpaying for an entrée or dessert, or even a dress alteration.
Do they keep track of your budget? Not all planners will budget for you and this may require another additional cost. You'll find that some planners simply ask you for a credit card or blank checks and expect you to keep track of the spending. If that's something you're ok with, then great, but make sure to ask and clarify that budgeting is a service your planner offers! You don't want to run into a situation where you've spent thousands of dollars more than planned because you planner didn't keep track of your budget.
Are they an ordained minister? Thanks to the modern world, almost anyone can get licensed to wed, but what if your officiant doesn't show up to the wedding? Is your planner able to step in and save the day? What is the cost of this service in the unlikely event it happens? The worst thing you can do is expect or rely on a random guest to be able to perform this service. Your planner has likely gotten to know you over the course of several months or years and they are directly on site at your event, which makes it easier for them to step in and quickly create a ceremony personalized to you.
Do they own a professional camera? Imagine waking up on your wedding day to a text from your photographer that they have Covid or a serious family emergency. You're in full blown panic mode wondering WTF you're going to do! If your planner owns a professional camera, you can ease those nerves a bit knowing your big day will still be photographed. Your planner can take over and they can then coordinate with your photographer how to get those photos to them for editing. This is an unlikely situation, but it has happened! Likely this is a question your planner has never been asked, but be sure to chat with them about potential additional costs if this does happen. You can never be too prepared for your special day!
Do they have vendor contact information on hand? If you hired a band for your reception and an unlikely event happens such as the lead singer having strep or the drummer has a family emergency, or maybe you're in a remote location and the band gets lost putting them hours behind schedule, is your planner able to quickly search their contacts for a miracle? It's of course unfair to expect that your planner can pull off the impossible in that situation, but if they only keep a folder of business cards in their office, you have no hope of finding a back up. This leads to an additional question; does your planner have experience setting up a sound system? It's more likely that your planner may be able to quickly rent a sound system and throw together a bomb playlist for your reception.
What happens if it rains or storms on my wedding day? I don't care if you're getting married in Greece where it only rains a handful of days out of the year, you NEED a back up plan! As a Vermont native, the weather here changes at the drop of a dime, so I always have a rain location ready to go even if there is a 0% chance of rain with no clouds in the sky. Ask your planner how they handle these situations and how they coordinate with your venue to have a rain location.
Do they handle and overlook all set up? You might think the obvious answer here is yes, but that is not always the case. Though I work as a personal planner, I've also worked through a resort as a day-of coordinator and I have more often than not worked with personal wedding planners who do not handle any set up. This is such an important question to ask your planner because if they don't offer that service, or your venue doesn't have an onsite day-of coordinator assigned to you, you're f*****! Now you have to rely on a family member or yourself to set up the entire event, or dish out more money to your planner to have them handle your set up.
Starting to think I'm crazy with all these unlikely scenarios? I hate to break it to you, but ALL of these situations have happened! Photographers will get sick, officiants will double book, or vendors will go to the wrong location with no time to spare. I personally had to put together an entire sound system, with NO experience! I've had to move a 200 person wedding inside with 15 minutes to spare until the ceremony start time. Starting out in the wedding industry as a day-of coordinator, I often had planners dump an entire set up on me. Don't do that to your venue coordinator, trust me, they don't get paid enough! These situations truly only happen once in a blue moon, but you should know how your planner plans for a "worse case scenario."
Now, it's likely your planner may have never been asked these questions, and that's okay. Don't turn down a planner because they don't have an answer for you right away. They may need time to think about these questions and follow up with you! These questions are to help you feel confident that you're putting your wedding in the right hands. The connection you make with your planner should be natural and easy! Your planner should be the right fit for you, just as much as you should be the right fit for them. After all, you'll be spending a lot of time together planning one of the best days of your life!