Anna Paschal Photography | Sidney + Shawn’s Wedding at Hodgin Valley Farm, Pleasant Garden, North Carolina
You may decide that hiring a wedding planner or wedding coordinator is not for you (and that’s totally ok, even though I think you deserve one!). But y’all, if you decide to hire a wedding planner, make sure they are the real deal.
So, in the age where everyone you meet is a ‘wedding planner’, how do you tell who is legit? Here’s 5 easy ways to tell who’s who:
1. Experience: Experience is everything. Hire a wedding planner that has actually planned weddings for paying clients from beginning to end. They will know how to roll with the punches, make last minute decisions, and what vendors are great to work with. When interviewing planners, ask about their experience (even outside of weddings), how many weddings they have planned to date, and how many they are currently planning.
2. Education: Experience is the best educator, but for a wedding planner, a formal education is important too. The most popular ‘schooling’ that wedding planners have is from a certification course. Planners can take a course online or at a local college within a few months. These are a great starter for those who haven’t ever been involved with event planning. Another option (and my personal preference!) is a college degree in a related field. For example, I have my Bachelor’s in Hospitality and Tourism Management. I took classes in catering, event planning, and business communication (to name a few) and was required to participate in a semester long internship. For me, taking Hospitality, Tourism, and Business courses gave me a full scope of the event planning industry. Business, public relations, and design are also great majors for those interested in wedding planning.
3. Day to Day Operations: Is wedding planning this person’s full time job? Everyone has to pay the bills, but if they have another full time job, how can they adequately focus on you and your needs? Your planner needs to be able to make phone calls and contact vendors during the work day when businesses are open. Do they have systems in place that work well and make your life easier? Do they respond to emails and phone calls within 24-48 hours?
4. Research: Do your due diligence as a consumer and research! Think of it like buying a car: you need to research online several different options, read the reviews, and then go for a test drive. Most planners have testimonials and referrals so you can see past client experiences. Read the reviews on their website and on an outside resource like Wedding Wire. Also, follow anyone you are interested in working with on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and their blog. Do they use these sites consistently to connect with their audience or do they just hop on the social media band wagon when they feel like it? You can see how they interact with others, peruse their portfolios, and get some planning advice. Consistency and credibility matters.
5. Personality: Great wedding planners should have certain personality traits. They should have a sense of humor, be able to think on their feet, know that the event is not all about them, be able to command people’s attention when necessary but also blend into the background, and be a people person… just to name a few. If you get the feeling that someone is a control freak or bossy, they probably won’t mesh well with you. Planners should work with you not against you.
There are a few exceptions to these rules (aren’t there always?), but I encourage you to use these 5 tips when interviewing planners. There are even some nifty lists floating around online that you can print out to ask the next time you meet with one. I know I always love a bride that comes prepared!!