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8 Simple Rules To Finding A Wedding Planner

During a recent bridal fair, I got a ton of questions about what to look for when going after a wedding planner.  You know you need one, but you want to make sure you get the right one.  You don’t want a “CCP” or a little old blue haired lady that has no idea what the current trends and styles are, so you need to know what to look for yes!?!  Oh, “CCP” is a phrase I coined that means “Clipboard Clutching Planner”, this planner resembles a deer in the headlights, but with a clipboard!  So below are my 8 Simple Rules To Finding A Wedding Planner.

Finding the right wedding planner is essential for a smooth wedding planning process

Finding the right wedding planner is essential for a smooth wedding planning process

1. Can They Provide “The Hook Up”?
Does the Wedding Planner have good relationships with vendors and venues?  Can they pull you the discounts?  Do vendors and venues want to work with them?  We pass on all the discounts that we get from vendors DIRECTLY to our clients, and we get those discounts because we bring those vendors a lot of business and they love working with us.  Having your planner be able to “hook you up” is one of the reasons you hire a planner in the first place.  Your planner should be fighting for you to get you the best deals they can.

2. Are They Insured?
Pretty simple question no???  A lot of planners are not insured, they rely on venue insurance which doesn’t always cover them.  You MUST make sure that in the event of any kind of accident, both you and your planner are covered.  Wearing a lampshade on your head at a party (when it’s your choice) can be hilarious, having a lampshade fall from the ceiling and bonk one of your guests on the noggin….not so funny.  It’s your ass, so cover it guys!!!

3. You Got A Real Purdy Website
What is their web presence like?  Do they have a great site out there?  People seem to love this internet thing and do tons of research before they even contact a planner.  So take a look at the planner’s website.  And this is always a red flag for me…do they have a real email address.  Is it or is it  Have they taken the time to set up a real email?  This may be the web snob in me, but I feel that real email addresses are REALLY important!

4. And Speaking Of Websites…
Really look at the portfolio section.  Does the planner have a varied portfolio or do all the weddings kinda look the same?  You want your wedding to be as unique as you, so you need to know that the planner can pull off a unique wedding.  You don’t want to become just another wedding in the eyes of your guests.  Also look to see if the venues in the back ground are different.  If the planner works mostly with the same venue I find that they become “lazy” in their design strategies and reproduce old weddings, and you don’t want that either.


Good wedding planners exist so grooms & brides don’t have to remember all of this stuff.

5. Full Time, Part Time Or Just Time To Time
Does the planner you’re looking at work as a planner full time?  You want to be able to contact your planner when you need to.  If they are at their day job from 9-5 do you really think you’ll get their best when they get home and THEN start planning your wedding?  When I’m done at work, all I want to do is watch TV and veg the hell out.  So are they planning weddings full time or is this a hobby business for them?  I don’t want to knock newer planners or part time planners, but if I were building a house, I’d hire a guy who builds homes for a living, not a guy who builds them in his spare time.  Hire a professional.  I’m just sayin’…

6. “Preferred” Isn’t Always A Good Thing
In the wedding industry there are things called preferred vendor lists.  When you meet with a venue they may recommend people to you.  This seems great, the venue says they’re cool…so they must be, right?  Well not always.  Preferred vendor lists can be bought.  A vendor can give the venue a chunk of money to be on that list.  The venue may not have EVER even worked with them, but they pay, so they play.  Ask the venue if their list is based on reputation and talent or if companies can simply buy a spot on the list.

7.  Is Your Planner An “Expert”?
Does your planner travel?  Do they attend conferences?  Hell, do they speak at those conferences?  Is your planner an Expert in their field?  I feel planners should travel and always be learning more stuff, because let’s face it…you can’t be trekking all over hells half acre looking for new wedding trends.  It’s the planner’s job to do the learning for you and bring that to the table when planning and designing your wedding.  Ask them if they belong to any Associations, if they speak at conferences and if they travel to track down the latest and greatest in wedding stuff.

8. And Finally, Do They Know You Exist?

Yes, believe it or not, grooms do exist.

Yes, believe it or not, grooms do exist.

When I was getting married, I had to insert myself into any meeting I wanted to attend, because most planners only focus on the Bride.  It’s not their fault, they don’t know any better.  They focus on the Bride because history tells them the groom wasn’t interested.  Well that was THEN, this is NOW and we’re re-writing history here fellas.  Make sure your planner knows you, the Groom exists and that you want your opinion heard.  When you meet with your planner for the first time, make sure you attend that meeting.  You can get a lot from a first impression, if the planner doesn’t ask you your opinion when they first meet you, it’s a good bet they won’t…ever!

Simon’s Gutsy Groom Advice

I know some of the above points may seem a little harsh, but after some of the questions I got last weekend I had to write this.  I hate having the Groom overlooked in the planning process.  Now I can’t do anything for you if you take yourself out of the process, but you won’t do that will you???

The thing is, the odds are very good that you will not figure out you hired the wrong planner until your big day comes and it all goes pear shaped.  So if you follow these 8 simple rules, you’ll have a better chance of getting it right the first time.  And don’t be afraid to ask the planner for references, ask them to hook you up with their past clients, the parents of past clients, hell…ask them for vendor references from photographers or DJ’s etc they have worked with in the past.  See what the other pros in the industry have to say about them.

It never gets any better than a first impression, you’ll be spending a lot of time with the planner you choose so make sure it’s a good fit.

Simon Daykin is an award winning event designer, planner and groom stylist with Fire Fly Occasions. Simon strives to get grooms involved in the wedding planning process and have their opinions heard. He understands that grooms can get left out or pushed out of the planning process so he’s here to help. You can connect with him further on Google+.

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2 Responses to “8 Simple Rules To Finding A Wedding Planner”

  1. Darlene Says:

    Great information for couples AND planners to take to heart.

  2. Justin Says:

    Always take along pictures of things you both like and don’t like. Giullia Macchia’s – The W Book is chalked full of useful and realistic information. I recommend using books to communicate the style you want to your planner.

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