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20 questions to ask a wedding planner.

Article by John Rzasa

Hiring a wedding planner is not an easy decision. A good wedding planner can make your wedding flow smoothly. It can also be an additional strain on your budget. You may want to take the time to meet with one or two wedding planners before you make your final decision. Here are some questions to help you.

1. What is your experience in planning weddings?
Ask for specific examples complete with photos and testimonials.
2. How long have you been in business & how many weddings have you done?
Look for a wedding planner who has experience and knows the ins and outs of wedding planning.
3. What will you offer me for your services?
Ask the planner to spell out what his or her services are in specific detail. A sample written proposal should be available at the initial meeting. A written proposal specific to your wedding should follow the initial meeting.
4. Do you provide a contract?
A professional wedding planner will provide you with a contract outlining his or her terms of service. It should include a clause about cancellations.
5. How much of my time do you expect planning my wedding will take?
Ask for a schedule and ballpark figures on how much time you will spend on making decisions for your wedding.
6. Can you work within my budget?
A good wedding planner will be honest with you on the subject of what it will cost to make the wedding you want. He or she will figure in his or her fee and not surprise you when it comes time to settle up.
7. Is this your full-time or part-time job? Do you foresee any conflicts in this situation?
A part-time planner is often less expensive than a full-time wedding planner. Just be sure you are comfortable with his or her arrangement.
8. Do you double book weddings? Will there be any conflicts on the day or weekend of my wedding?
Some wedding planners manage this quite well. Ask the planner his or her plans to make sure your wedding is first priority.
9. Who backs you up? Do you have extra staff and is there an extra charge?
Ask the wedding planner to be specific. You don't want any surprises on your wedding day.
10. Do we pay you one fee and then you pay the vendors, or do we pay the vendors individually?
Many vendors require deposits or final payments before your event. Knowing the payment structure is very important and avoids confusion.
11. Are you available for all meetings with the caterer, location and other vendors?
The answer to this question gives you insight into how much your wedding planner cares about even the smallest of details. Ask if the planner will be there to walk you through these important steps.
12. Will you personally attend my wedding?
A professional wedding planner will always say yes. If not, ask why and be cautious of anyone who says they will not attend. *See #14
13. If you cannot attend my wedding? Who is your backup? Will I meet him or her beforehand?
Some planners have an assistant or staff that may attend. There shouldn't be any extra fees for this.
14. What's in your wedding emergency kit?
A professional wedding planner will show it to you or give you a list of its contents. It should include items from a sewing needle and thread to aspirin.
15. Do you charge for travel or is it included in your fee?
Ask to have this spelled out in his or proposal.
16. Give me some problem scenarios and how you fixed them.
A good wedding planner will give you examples of weddings similar to your situation.
17. Do you require a deposit to get started? When is the final payment due?
This should be spelled out in his or her proposal at your initial meeting.
18. Do you charge for the initial meeting?
There should never be a charge for the first meeting. Both parties come to the table to discuss how they will work together. Think of it as an interview.
19. Do you have any formal event planning education?
Formal education from a finishing school, culinary, design or hospitality school is a plus, especially when the wedding planner has other essential qualifications. Membership in a professional organization shows that a wedding planner cares about his or her reputation and is committed to their profession.
20. What will you not do?
This is probably the second most important question. Ask your wedding planner to spell this out in his or her proposal and/or agreement.

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