Wedding planners, wedding consultants, wedding coordinators and bridal consultants are all terms that describe a professional that can help you organize, plan and guide you through a successful wedding and reception. You may need to hire a professional if you do not have the time or the inclination to plan the wedding yourself. If your wedding is to take place out of town and you find that you are not at all familiar with the community, local traditions or popular suppliers, you may want to hire a local consultant to handle all the arrangements. If you consider yourself to be disorganized, you would benefit from hiring a wedding planner.
A wedding consultant with experience can lessen your stress a great deal by checking on each and every detail. He or she will negotiate with suppliers, make decisions, plan, supervise and coordinate the entire event. He or she will not only ease the pressure on you but even save you money. Wedding consultants know how to work within a budget. They also know which suppliers offer discounts and who are reliable. Most suppliers enjoy the luxury of being a favorite of certain consultants.
Word-of-mouth referrals are the best way to find a reliable wedding planner. When interviewing a potential wedding consultant, ask the following questions:
- What is your fee and how is it determined? Some charge by the hour ($25 and up), some charge a percentage of the budget (10%-20%) and some charge a flat fee.
- What experience have you had? Find out the number of weddings he or she has planned, the size of the wedding, the length of time he or she had been working and get referrals from the past clients.
- What suppliers do you work with? Ask for a list of bakers, caterers, florists, musicians, party suppliers and stationers he or she usually deals with. Let him or her know you are not willing to pay any commissions.
- What input will I have? This is totally up to you and should be agreed upon by you and your consultant up front. Are you comfortable him or her sign contracts for you or do you prefer to sign them yourself?
When you work with a wedding planner, begin by discussing your budget, where you want the ceremony and reception and what you expect from the planner. Discuss your interests and hobbies and the style you want your wedding, the colors and the size of the bridal party. Keep in touch with your planner on a regular basis.
Be realistic about what you can accomplish on your own. If your "to do" list is overwhelming by just thinking about it, then by all means hire a professional.