Here's How to Find a Wedding Planner, According to Experts
If you've started thinking about your wedding vision, you're probably wondering how to find a wedding planner since there's a lot of work involved to achieve it. Wedding planners are knowledgable experts who can help to-be-weds before and during the big day throw a beautiful wedding. Don't know exactly what planners do? Kelsey Rae Angelotti, founder and creative director of Kelsey Rae Designs, who has planned over 400 weddings and events, explains. "We are the ones that are working closely with our couples to make sure their ideas are heard, their budgets are mapped out realistically, their vendor team is perfectly curated, logistics are carefully thought through and our clients aren't overwhelmed."
But unfortunately, hiring a wedding planner can feel like its own job. With all the research you have to do, the questions you need to ask and the contracts you have to sign, it may seem like a daunting task. To counteract such concerns, we've gathered everything you need to know about the search and hiring wedding planner process. Read below to learn how to find a planning pro you'll love.
In this article:
When to Hire a Wedding Planner
If you're wondering how soon you should hire a wedding planner, it's actually a really simple answer––as soon as possible. You need to decide early on in your wedding planning journey if you want a wedding planner, either after you get engaged or book your wedding venue. We recommend you find a planner at least 12 months before the big day so you have plenty of time to work together to create your dream wedding.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Wedding Planner?
According to The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding planner is $1,900, which is a national average that depends on numerous factors. For example, if you're planning a destination wedding, your planner will most likely cost more than someone hosting a hometown wedding because of more logistics involved. Having a day-of-coordinator versus a full-time planner is also a contributing factor to the final cost. Based on this average, we suggest to-be-weds save 6% of their wedding budget to pay for their desired planner.
How to Choose a Wedding Planner
The Knot 2022 Real Wedding Study surveyed nearly 12,000 married couples and found that there were several ways they went about finding a wedding planner. 41% of couples found their wedding planner based on their venue's recommendation or required vendor list, 21% discovered their planner through a loved one, 19% used wedding planning sites like The Knot to find their pro and 12% used social media like Facebook and Instagram for their search. Based on these results, we've organized how to choose your wedding planner in the order real couples have below.
Ask your wedding venue for suggestions.
Booking your venue is one of the first things you should complete on your wedding checklist because you can start planning other aspects of your celebration. Ask the venue's personnel if they know of or have worked with any wedding planners they love. Some venues have a helpful approved vendor list they can give you, to find your planner and your other pros––this is perfect for couples who want vendors who are familiar with the venue.
Ask your loved ones for referrals.
Bisola Esiemokhai, a wedding planning expert and owner and designer of Event Design By BE, says a great way to get quality recommendations is by asking friends, family or coworkers who've recently married. "There is an added benefit if you attended the wedding as well and considered the execution of the day to be to your liking. Ask the individual giving the referral if they highly recommend the planner and set aside some time to ask follow-up questions before reaching out to the planner for a consultation," Esiemokhai advises.
Search The Knot Marketplace.
Another place to consider hiring a wedding planner is The Knot Marketplace, a helpful tool for finding the best-rated vendors across the US. "Resources like The Knot are great because they can narrow down a large pool and provide a starting point for vetting vendors, making it a little less daunting," Angelotti says.
Look at social media.
Social media is your best friend when it comes to finding inspiration and choosing a wedding planner. "Many planners interact on social media like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. These platforms allow you to sit back and get a sense of the planner's personality, work and how helpful or insightful they are. From there, you can see if your personalities match and continue to research them, their work, client testimonials and any other aspect that matters to you," Esiemokhai says.
Inquire about the planner's communication style.
One question Angelotti and Esiemokhai suggest you ask your potential wedding planner is: What is your communication style? "It's important for couples to know this so they have their expectations set and don't feel like they are being ignored throughout the process. For example, I only take on 12 weddings a year, and I have clear office hours and upcoming out-of-office dates always listed in my [email] signature. I also try not to text my clients so as to keep that work/life boundary. My clients quickly learn that if they [send an] email, they [will] get a quick response. When that trust is built, it's a wonderful experience for everyone," Angelotti explains.
Esiemokhai says you and your desired planner must talk about each of your preferred methods of communication so there's no confusion or conflict during the planning process. "Since you will communicate and work with your planner the most out of all vendors you hire, it's important that your communication styles match or that you are comfortable with their preferred method of communication."
Ensure the planner matches your wedding vision.
"A wedding planner should be a great listener and have excellent verbal and written communication skills to ensure that they can understand your vision and convey your needs to vendors and other parties involved in the wedding planning process," Esiemokhai says. The best chance you have of finding a wedding planner that can achieve your wedding vision is knowing your priorities and having a budget. "I've always tried to be a straight shooter with my couples and tell them what things typically cost upfront. It does not do anyone any good to have unattainable inspiration without knowing that from the jump. As planners, we have to set expectations and couples should be ready to hear the truth––the good, bad and the ugly," Angelotti says.
How to Hire a Wedding Planner
The most important thing is that you and your planner connect personally and professionally so the planning process is enjoyable. "Don't give up your search for a planner until you find someone that shares all your same values for the big day and will make the experience unforgettable (and not stressful!) for you," Angelotti advises.
Now that you've learned how to find a wedding planner, it's time to start the hiring process. As we've stated previously, use every resource you can, family, your venue, The Knot Marketplace, to choose a few planners. Make sure to schedule at least one in-person or virtual consultation and call the references of each planner on your list so you know you're making the right decision for you. Then, all you have to do is call your desired wedding planner to tell them you would like to work together to throw a memorable special day.
How to Coordinate With Your Wedding Planner After Booking
From how you want your reception seating to what you want served at the cocktail hour, wedding planners help guide you through it all. Make sure you do these two things below immediately after booking your planner so you get off on the right foot.
Ask your planner what they need from you.
You'll be communicating with your wedding planner constantly, so it's important you're both on the same page. If your planner wants you to bring or send them examples of how you want your wedding, give them plenty of material to look at so they can successfully achieve it. Bring wedding magazines to your meetings, and send Instagram posts and Pinterest/vision boards so there's no confusion or lack of inspiration.
Also, don't take a back seat during the planning process. This isn't the time to procrastinate or leave things off of your to-do list. Remember, your wedding planner can only help you as you help them.
Trust your wedding planner's insight.
Let your planner do their job. You chose your wedding planner because you thought they were the best person to aid in making your special day happen, so don't micromanage every aspect of the planning process. Instead, take advantage of your planner's extensive knowledge of the wedding industry and appreciate their expertise because it'll result in you and your partner having a less stressful experience.