5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Certified Wedding Planner
Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences. In addition to running her own business, Amira is also one of QC’s leading tutors for the Destination Wedding Planning course.
If you’re newly engaged and ready to walk down the aisle, you’ve probably already discovered from friends that planning a wedding is a full-time job. We’ll be honest: it’s not for the faint of heart – even for the most textbook Type A personality!
Wedding planning involves a lot of organization, sacrifice, and challenges. If you don’t have any prior experience executing events, it can be especially overwhelming. Not to mention, the current global crisis only adds to the high level of stress that engaged couples are undoubtedly facing, if trying to plan their weddings unassisted.
This is why so many people choose to hire a certified wedding planner. After all, your professional wedding planner’s job is to be there to navigate this uncertain time and figure out the complicated details. This way, you don’t have to!
This is a big reason why professional wedding services are not only needed, but also in such high demand. Many couples need the extra support on this wedding journey. Wedding planning is already stressful as it is… Add in a pandemic, and you’ll need that certified wedding planner more than you know!
As a certified wedding planner, it’s their mission to make your dream wedding a reality. But in order for them to do that, they must have a very clear understanding of what your dream wedding looks like to you. Today, we will discuss how to get the most out of your experience working with your certified wedding planner.
The best way to do this? By knowing how to properly prepare yourself for the initial consultation.
Here are 5 tips to help make your first consultation with your wedding planner go as smoothly and successfully as possible…
1 – Do the Necessary Prep work
Speak with your fiancé (as well as all of your family) on dates and/or seasons that you may be considering for your wedding. You want to ensure that the most important people can attend. If you’re thinking next winter, or a prime wedding season, it’s important that family is aware.
If anyone needs to travel, they’ll also need to know. The more notice you can provide, the better the attendance will be for your big day!
2 – Determine Your Budget
When meeting your certified wedding planner for the first consultation, go in with a budget in mind. Consider the following questions:
- What are you comfortable spending on your big day?
- What will your budget include (i.e. venue, florals, catering, transportation, etc.)?
- How many guests will you have in attendance?
An experienced wedding planner can let you know if your budget is realistic, based on your vision. Alternately, they can offer suggestions for what you can do with the budget you can afford. Crunch the numbers early on, so you don’t have surprises later.
3 – Bring Ideas to the Table
If you’ve found any photo inspiration to describe your vision/ideas to your certified wedding planner, bring it with you to the consultation! For example, if you have a Pinterest board or photos off of Instagram, provide them as reference.
Visuals are helpful! They give your wedding planner insight into how you want your wedding to both look and feel. In addition, verbal descriptions are also useful. That being said, try to elaborate as much as you can. You aren’t doing yourself, or your planner, any favors by being vague.
For instance, a “simple but elegant” wedding is something wedding planners are all too familiar with hearing. But we all have a different perception of what that can mean! “Simple” to one person could be something extremely different to the next. So, try to paint the most detailed picture possible in your planner’s mind!
4 – Involve the Most Important People
This should only be 2-5 people (you and your partner included). This refers to anyone who may be paying for the wedding, or are directly involved in the wedding planning process.
Keeping this number relatively low allows for everyone ‘important’ to be involved from the get-go, if applicable. This way, all those contributing to the wedding budget and/or planning process can pitch their two cents and be on the same page.
5 – Prepare Your Questions
Come prepared with questions for your certified wedding planner. Some examples of questions you can ask include:
- How does this planner work with couples?
- What experience do they have?
- Do they have any formal training, education, and/or certification(s)?
- What types of services do they offer (i.e. full packaged services, day-of services, a la carte services, etc.)?
- Have they ever worked with any of the vendors, suppliers, and/or venues that you’re considering?
- What are their rates?
- How do payments work?
If you’re not sure what kind of questions to ask, there are plenty of suggested inquiries you can find online. Simply print them off and bring the questions to your consultation.
Note: Before your wedding planner begins doing any work, first ensure that they’ve drawn up a contract, you’ve properly reviewed it (and understand it), and it’s been signed by ALL parties!
No matter what, it’s important that you spend the necessary time doing the pre-work, research, and preparation. By doing this, you’ll be better equipped at your initial consultation with your certified wedding planner. As with anything, you always need to come prepared in order to get your time and money’s worth.
I’m sure we’re all aware of the crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s affecting everything, including weddings and events. That doesn’t mean the planning needs to stop, though! In fact, wedding planning can still begin, even now. A lot of vendors – including wedding planners, like myself – are currently working electronically. We’re using many different tools (such as Zoom or Skype) to meet and work with our clients in a safe, virtual environment.
Just because you may not be able to meet the planner in-person, doesn’t mean you still can’t work with them virtually in the meantime! Should you wish to read more about the option of live-streaming your wedding, for example, you can do so here.
Above all else, we hope you continue to stay safe and healthy. Happy planning!