Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Planner

Your wedding day is the most important day in your life! In order for your wedding to be a great success it all boils down to wedding planning and to find the best wedding planner you need to ask the right questions.

If you should ask a dozen different wedding planners what you get for their services, you may find all the planners you interview, each one operates their wedding planning service in their own way which may be differently. Some wedding planners interviews you for what you want and designs the whole wedding for you, others work with and you both meet with wedding vendors and you decide which one to contract with, others are wedding coordinators who provide you with a wedding checklist to follow and gives you a list of contacts of wedding vendors they recommend, some are day of wedding coordinators and just handle your special day for you, and the final option is the do it yourself wedding planner, in which you plan your own wedding using wedding directories, yellow pages, Google searches, and recommendations from family and friends in planning your own wedding.

If you should decide to use a wedding planner for your wedding, there are the attributes you must look for in your questioning. First of all you want to find a wedding planner that nearly becomes a best friend to you, someone you communicate well with and understands your vision for the wedding. The best wedding vendors for a bride tends to be one with a similar personality type. You also want a wedding planner that can work within your budget and can find the best vendors available with which you can afford, the best florists, wedding photographers, caterers, musicians, djs, wedding cake bakers, calligraphers, etc. A person that knows which vendors are reputable and reads over the vendor contracts along with you and helps you avoid traps that occur with vendors.

A good wedding vendor also manages the wedding timeline, make sure wedding guests are informed and wedding party members stick to the wedding schedule and closely manages the day of wedding schedule closely coordinating the delivery arrival and setup times of all the wedding vendors and oversees the entire wedding event process, troubleshoots emergencies, smooths nerves, making sure everything comes off without a hitch and leave no worries with the wedding couple. Lastly, the wedding planner is your eyes, ears and nose for your wedding, they should know a lot about the wedding business, represents you, dresses well, has some personality, has confidence, shows warmth to your guests, and is always in control.

Before you meet with a wedding vendor you will want to do and bring these things with you. You will want to look over the wedding planner's website, you will want to bring someone involved with the wedding along with you, your fiance, your mother, your maid of honor, a bridesmaid, best friend, sister, or brother. You only want to bring along one guest to your meeting, as when questions do come up you may get differences of opinion. You also need a targeted wedding date, a ballpark wedding guest count, and an approximate idea of your wedding budget. Now to the questions.

Interview questions for your Wedding Planner

1-Ask for a business card, and what is the name of the business, address and phone number of the wedding planner's company?
2-What is the wedding planner's name, phone number, and how does he/she like to communicate and get those communication addresses, (e.g. email, cell phone, text, or something other).
3-Confirm if the wedding planner is available for your wedding date?
4-How long has the wedding company been in operation?
5-How many weddings has the wedding planner worked in total?, in the past year? in the past month? any idea the day of our wedding?
6-What credentials does the wedding planner have?, any training?, any certificates? any diplomas?
7-Can the wedding planner provide an overview of how they operate?
8-Does the wedding planner have a brochure or portfolio to share?
9-What services does the wedding planner provide?
10-What services does the wedding planner not provide?
11-How are meeting with wedding vendors handled? who is in attendance?
12-Can the wedding planner name some wedding vendors that they were happy with and what were their strongpoints?
13-Can the wedding planner describe problem situations that had arisen at weddings and how did they handle the situation?
14-Does the wedding planner have arrangements with any vendors and do they score discounts with vendors? (Consultants bring volume to favored vendors; often they will reciprocate by slashing prices or throwing in extras.)
15-Can or does the wedding planner read over the contract and review it with you? What are common traps to look for?
16-How many other clients does the wedding planner have currently?
17-How often will we meet? how long do meetings tend to last? how often do we talk? how accessible are you when things come up? how quickly do you tend to get back to your clients?
18-Does the wedding planner's services include day of wedding coordinating?
19-Does the wedding planner provide a wedding plan timeline and a seating plan for the wedding ceremony and reception?
20-Does the wedding planner handle the wedding invitation process?
21-How would the wedding planner rate their problem-solving skills?
22-How would the wedding planner rate their communication skills?
23-If the wedding were to be held outdoors, what contingency plans would the wedding planner set up in the event of bad weather?
24-What made the wedding planner to decide to become a wedding planner?
25-Does the wedding planner provide a honeymoon planning as part of their service?
26-Can the wedding planner work with our wedding theme or color scheme and what are the latest trends for weddings?
27-Can the wedding planner provide etiquette matters to the bridal party?
28-Will the wedding planner be in attendance at the wedding ceremony? reception? rehearsal dinner?
29-What sets the wedding planner apart from other wedding planners?
30-How will you and any other staff be dresses for out wedding ceremony and reception?
31-If the officiant can't make the rehearsal, can the wedding planner direct the rehearsal?
32-What is the wedding planner's backup plan should an emergency develop? (e.g., illness, death in the family, conflict of another wedding, etc.)
33-Does the wedding planner use a computer or any other state of the art equipment.
34-Our budget is X amount of dollars and we plan on having X amount of wedding guests, can the wedding planner work within our budget?
35-What are the fee arrangements for the wedding planners services? (percentage of total costs, flat fee, hourly).
36-Does the wedding planner work with only certain wedding vendors or can we choose any vendor, even ones you have never worked with the wedding planner before?
37-Does the wedding planner offer different wedding planning packages?
38-Does the wedding planner get commissions or discounts from any wedding vendors?
39-Are there charges for phone calls, email or other correspondence, or charges for meetings with wedding vendors?
40-Might there be hidden costs that we might need to know about?
41-Is it okay to have my fiance, mother, maid of honor, bridesmaid, best friend, sister or brother at our meetings?
42-Is the wedding planner open to my inspiration and visions of my wedding?
43-Can the wedding planner let us know which wedding vendors you have worked with before and ones they have not?
44-Does the wedding planner coordinate payments to vendors or do we?
45-What would be the arrangement for booking contracts?
46-How do deposits work and when are final payments due?
47-Can the wedding planner provide us with 3 different references?
48-Can we see an example contract and can we take the contract along with us before deciding to book with them?

After your meeting with the wedding planner, tell her/him our family is insistent that we interview at least 3 wedding planners before making a decision on who to book with and we will be in contact regardless on who we decide. Be forewarned, many wedding planners may offer extra discounts to sign a contract right then and there. You want the best wedding planner, so get your interviews in before making a decision on who to book with.

The questions listed above are just a guideline, you may add some more questions or take some away and some things may be explained by their website or brochures, but it doesn't hurt to ask questions to be sure there is no misunderstanding.

The contract with the wedding planner should include the following

1.What are the fee arrangements? (percentage of total costs, flat fee, hourly, or other)
2.How many meetings there will be?
3.Who arranges the appointments with the wedding vendors?
4.A list of wedding vendors the wedding planner is responsible for finding.
5.A description of services being offered.
6.What services are not being offered.
7.All contact information.
8.The targeted date of the wedding.
9.The couple's and wedding planner's signature.
10. The initial deposit and when final payment is due.
11.Cancellation policy and "no show" policies for wedding planners and/or wedding vendors.

Typical Day of Wedding Planners Responsibilities

1.Orchestrates who arrives when and where things go.
2.Who sets up the chairs and tables.
3.Who sets up the linens, table centerpieces, flowers, and decorations.
4.Who sets up the china, flatware, glasses, the wedding favors, the wedding cake table, the gift table, the wedding guest registry table, the bar, the beverage table, the seating chart, etc.
5.Who will run the buffet tables and keep it stocked.
6.Who is responsible for cleanup after the wedding ceremony, reception, kitchen, and rehearsal dinner.
7.Who will clean and package the bridal keepsakes at the end of the night.
8.Who will cut and serve the wedding cake and champagne.
9.Who will triple confirm arrival times and services with the wedding vendors.
10.Who will take care of an emergency situation? (a broken down truck, a late limousine, a sick florist, a wedding guest that needs to find medication from the nearest pharmacy, etc.)
11.Who will handle the arrival of an unexpected guest or for a no show.
12.Who will handle a problem with a wedding guests meal selection.
13.Who will be the eyes, ears, and smells to take care of the bride's and groom's needs in the event they need to get a message to someone.

Be headstrong and don't let a sales push or a sales upsell influence your decision, make sure you have somebody you are really comfortable to work with to plan your wedding. If you offered a deal for the interview only, don't be afraid to come back to the wedding planner and ask for the deal that was offered, the wedding planner will more than likely accept the deal. Always be friendly even if there are disagreements, handle a problem behind the scenes, always tip your wedding vendors if they give you up to D service. Be sure to arrive at your meetings on time and also pay your bills on time also.

If you are deciding amongst mutiple wedding planners or wedding vendors you might score a wedding planner to help in making your decision, how to score a vendor is in the prior post.

See you on the other side!

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