How many of you have visited sites like “The Knot” or “Wedding Wire” looking for vendors? How many have typed “wedding vendors” into “Google”? I’m guessing most of you. I know I did all of these when I was planning my wedding.
Since I was the first of my friends to get married I had no one to turn to for great referrals and I had to find great vendors on my own. I can say that despite everything I know now that I did wrong in planning my wedding, I certainly did find some great vendors.
The first important tip I can give you about picking a planner is very simple. Just because a planner shows up as a top result on Google, The Knot, Wedding Wire, or any other big site does not mean they are the best! It just means that they are spending more on advertising.
The second tip is to ask any of your friends or relatives that have recently married or attended a wedding, probably within the last 5 years or so, if they know of any great planners. Listen to what they have to say. Word of mouth referral is the best tool at your disposal.
Once you have a couple of names, whether you’ve found them online or been referred to them, look at their website before you call or email them. Their website says a lot about them. They should have pictures of other events that they have done. What do you think of them? They should have testimonials somewhere on their website. What are past brides saying about them? This should give you a great feel for the quality of work that they will provide for your big day.
At this point, you should have narrowed down your choices at least a little bit. The next thing I would recommend is to Google the remaining planners. Are there any negative reviews? A great place to find reviews is actually on Wedding Wire. Unlike The Knot, it is free for vendors to advertise here so many vendors will probably have an ad and past clients can leave reviews directly on the vendors page. Wedding Wire will give you an overall score, out of 5 stars, for each vendor, allow you to read all of the reviews, good or bad, and see the score that each bride gave that vendor. If you take this route and a vendor has all good reviews, please know that vendors cannot remove a bad review. Only Wedding Wire can remove them and that is only done if it is proven that the review was not accurate.
By now you should have a very manageable list, or maybe you’ve even narrowed it down to only one or two planners. This is the time to contact them and the earlier in the wedding planning process the better. Even if you’re only planning to hire a coordinator, they give great advice and often will include vendor referrals in their coordinating package, at least we do.
I suggest emailing each planner, it saves you some time and it’s a simple way to provide the potential planners with the important information about your wedding. You’ll want to include in the email which package you are interested in. This information should be listed on their website. If not, try to be specific about what you are looking for in a planner or coordinator.
When you email, or call, them be prepared to provide them with the following:
Your fiancé’s name
Your contact information – phone, email, etc
Your wedding date, time, & location (if known)
The style & theme of your wedding
Some planners may have an information sheet for you to fill out and others may require a meeting with you, but this should provide them with most of the information they will need to get started. And again, don’t forget to tell them what package you are interested in.
Once your emails are sent, you’ll be well on your way to receiving quotes from these planners and/or coordinators. When you start receiving quotes, you will need to compare their prices, services, and even their personalities. Which one fits your budget? Which one offers you the most for the money? Which one can you picture yourself working with?
The most important piece of advice that I can give you is this, do not choose a planner or coordinator based solely on price. If there is a planner that you absolutely want to work with but their prices are too high, you may be able to remove a few services to bring the price down. At this point, be honest with the planner. If you really want to hire them but really can’t swing the price, talk to them. A good planner can probably help you remedy the problem. They may even be able to create a custom package for you.
So whether you decide to hire Any Way You Want It Weddings & Events or another planner, choose the one that feels like the right fit and will make your wedding day dreams come true!
Check back next week for Planners & Coordinators…What’s the Big Difference?