Follow These 5 Steps to Hiring a Wedding Planner

When you're looking for your wedding planner, these simple steps will keep you on track.
by The Knot
Hawaiian reception dinner
photo by Wendy Laurel

Finding the perfect wedding planner usually takes a little effort, but seeing the wedding of your dreams come together makes all the research worthwhile. Following our guide will cut down on any stress that comes with looking, and will help you find a planner you absolutely love.

1. Do Your Homework

Check out prospective planners' websites for photos of recent weddings they've done to help narrow down your list. Notice whether elements (like colors, décor and lighting) seem to have a cohesive look and if there's an overarching style that the weddings share. This is probably what the planner is most experienced with, so decide if you like it. If all the weddings they've planned look over the top and glamorous and you're looking for a small, intimate gathering, it may not be the right planner for you. Also, look for information about the types of planning services they offer, clients they've worked with, awards and membership in professional associations (such as the Association of Bridal Consultants).

2. Follow Up With Your Favorites

Call your top three or four picks to confirm the following: types of planning services offered, wedding date availability, and price range and/or cost of the average wedding they plan. If their answers fit your budget and your vision, set up appointments to meet with each of them.

3. Prepare for Your First Meeting

Bring magazine tear-outs, photos, Pinterest picks and inspiration boards with you when you meet with potential planners. At your meeting, you obviously want to get a sense of the quality of their weddings by asking them about events they've done and perusing their portfolios, but you're also looking at their personalities: Is this someone you can work with intimately for months at a time? Voice your ideas about your style and colors and see how the planner responds—they should meet your thoughts with enthusiasm. Then ask how they'd pull off your vision to get a better idea of how they work. A good planner should be able to listen to your ideas and hone them to make your wedding something truly unique and memorable.

4. Call Their References

Don't feel pressured to hire a planner you like on the spot. Take the time to call their references and ask the following of the planner and their team:

  • How closely did they stick to your budget?

  • Can you email me photos from your wedding? (This is a good way to confirm the overall consistency and professionalism of the wedding. Planners' portfolios are filled with their best work, and, of course, they'll offer couples they know were happy with their work for references, so search online for other real weddings they've done as well.)

  • How well did they interpret your ideas?

  • Was the wedding's style exactly what you wanted?

  • What did they take care of for you (guest list, vendor meetings, setup and so on)?

  • Did they have good vendor recommendations and coordinate with other pros?

  • Did they respond quickly to your calls or emails, and were they nice to work with?

  • Did the wedding go smoothly, according to your guests?

  • Did anything go wrong, and how did they handle it?

5. Seal the Deal

Take some time to compare and contrast prices, impressions, notes and, if provided, formal proposals (some planners may draft their overall vision for your wedding and their intended services in the form of a proposal, which would then work as the basis for your contract). Once you've found your planner, call them immediately to express your desire to move forward and receive a contract. As soon as you've signed the contract and paid your deposit, you'll have your right-hand helper secured.

Dying to know juicy confessions from real wedding planners? Find out right here.

Read 30 wedding planning tips and tricks you definitely should know about here.

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