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Admit it, you and your fiance have high expectations for your wedding day. The ceremony must be beautiful from start to finish, the venue clean and comfortable, the food ultra-delicious and the music your favourite tunes. It goes without saying that your first priority in choosing a wedding planner is contracting with someone with whom you work on a basis of mutual trust – someone with whom you communicate well and easily.
You wouldn’t want a wedding planner who criticises your choices and makes you feel like you’re not in charge of your own wedding, would you? (See 12 wedding planning mistakes to avoid)
It is crucial that you speak with various potential wedding planners before choosing the right one for your big day. In that first interview, both you and the wedding planner should have questions for each other. Here are six of the most important ones that you should be asking to determine which of your prospective planners is the right fit for you and your partner.
1. “Are you available on my wedding date?”
Avoid wasting everyone’s time from the very start by asking if the wedding planner is available on the day of your wedding. If your wedding date is still flexible, ask about the planner’s availability so that you and your groom can also consider their schedule as you finalise your date.
Ask how many other weddings the planner thinks they will be managing concurrently to yours. Although they should be completely focused on your event on your wedding day, you must expect that they will be working with other couples during the planning stages. Ask if they can still work for you without compromising the quality of any of their wedding clients – you or others.
2. “What is the scope of your services?”
Websites and advertisements may not always be crystal clear in describing the specific scope of services of a wedding planner, so it is important to clarify this early on. Will a planner take care of both design and coordination? Will a planner deliver full-service event design or “à la carte” planning by contracting with various vendors? Even the term “full service” can mean different things from one wedding planner to the next, so find out exactly which services are included in their standard package.
3. “How many weddings have you planned in the past?”
Your aim should be to find a planner who has had experience planning and organising quite a few weddings in the past. Ask how many events they have planned before and what their roles were for each of them.
Do not hesitate to ask for names and contact information of one of the couples for whom they’re planned a wedding. A good wedding planner should be happy to pass these on to you and even encourage you to talk to past clients. If there are a lot of satisfied clients, a planner will be proud to share those references with you. (See tips for an easier planning process)
4. “What is the cost of the typical wedding that you plan?”
Asking about the average cost of the type of wedding that they usually plan can help you gauge whether or not your own wedding is within the planner’s price range. Ask to see photos of three types of weddings a planner has organised: an average one, a very grand one and the one that was executed on the lowest budget. If the cost of the typical wedding that they plan is way above the budget you’ve established for yours, you may want to consider other wedding planners. (See how much it’ll cost to have your wedding in a luxurious hotel in Singapore, tips on how to recoup your losses with hongbaos, and ways to save money for your wedding in less than a year).
5. “How will services you contract be charged?”
Will each line item be a percentage of your budget, or will you be charged a flat rate or even on an hourly basis? If a planner has already given you a quote, go over it together and find out exactly what is (and is not!) included in the estimate. It is important to know how the calculation was made so that you can still allocate funds for items that have not yet been considered, as well as for extra items you may think of adding in future.
Are the planner’s food, travel and parking expenses covered in the base fee? Ask now about any additional fees that could be added later on top of the base so that you avoid any surprises when it’s time to pay the bill.
6. “What are some ideas that you have to help us pull off our dream wedding?”
A planner’s answer to this question can give you an idea about whether or not you all “click”. Do not expect a planner to detail specific plans for every part of your wedding during your first or even second meeting, but do take note if their ideas jive with yours. (See also the ABCs of wedding planning)
If you tell a wedding planner that you and your groom dream of getting married surrounded by nature, and she then suggests indoor hotel venues, beware. This may be a sign that she is not as attentive as she should be to your requests.
This story was first featured on The New Savvy. The New Savvy is an online platform that focuses on financial and career issues for women. We transform women’s relationship with money through meaningful content that are relevant and practical. Advance your net worth today. Visit our website and sign up for our mailing list today!