32 Questions to Ask a Wedding Planner, According to the Pros

The experts dish on what you need to know.
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
by
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Mar 19, 2024

How do you decide on the best wedding planner for your celebration? Well, first of all you find a few potential candidates on The Knot Vendor Marketplace. Then, there are a few questions to ask a wedding planner that you should know about before you commit to a pro. Wedding planners are a little bit like glue and a little bit like a composer. They hold the wedding together while also orchestrating every moving piece. In short, they're a key part of a strong vendor team. And finding the right pro to address your priorities and plan a wedding that's authentic to you is paramount.

We've gathered a comprehensive list of 32 questions every to-be-wed should ask while interviewing potential wedding planners to help ensure a smooth planning process. Plus, wedding experts weigh in on why these queries are so important for you to keep in mind.

Questions to Ask a Wedding Planner:

About the Basics | Regarding Background, Experience and Business Ethos | About Prewedding Logistics | About Day-of Logistics | Regarding Budget | About Inspiration and Personalization

    Printable Wedding Planner Questions Checklist

    We're all about making things easy, so we went ahead and made a list you can pull out whenever you need it. Take this printable checklist of questions with you when you're meeting with wedding planners and you'll get the tea.

    Free printable wedding planner questions checklist
    Design: Natalie Romine

    Meet the Experts

    We connected with nine expert wedding planners (who were also the first honorees of The Knot Ones to Watch, BTW). They all had a few thoughts to share regarding questions to ask a wedding planner. Read on for the knowledgeable insights from these expert pros.

    • Alex Moreau of XO Moreau: Alex is the owner and lead planner of XO Moreau, a Texas-based wedding planning company founded in 2016.
    • Amy Shack Egan of Modern Rebel: Amy Shack Egan is the owner and lead planner of New York-based event planning company Modern Rebel. Egan founded the company in 2015.
    • Angelica Laws of Angelica & Co. Weddings: Wedding expert Angelica is the owner and lead planner of her eponymous company Angelica & Co. Weddings. The company is based in the Washington, DC, area and was founded in 2017.
    • Caitlin Fulton Kuchemba of Fulton Events: Caitlin Fulton Kuchemba is a knowledgeable wedding planner based in Pennsylvania. The Fulton Events owner founded her company in 2015.
    • Dani Blasena of HauteFêtes Fine Weddings & Events: Dani Blasena is a wedding planning expert and owner of HauteFêtes Fine Weddings & Events. The pro is based in California and founded her company in 2016.
    • Elizabeth Gopal of East Made Co.: Elizabeth Gopal is an expert professional wedding planner based in Maryland. The knowledgeable pro founded her company in 2015.
    • Julian Leaver of Julian Leaver Events: Julian Leaver is the creative genius behind Texas-based wedding planning company Julian Leaver Events. The pro founded his eponymous company in 2016.
    • Samantha Leenheer of House of Joy: Samantha Leenheer is the creative force at the helm of House of Joy, an Ohio-based wedding planning company. The expert founded her company in 2016.
    • Xin Huang of Le Petite Privé: Xin Huang is the New York City-based expert wedding planner and owner of Le Petite Privé. The renowned expert founded the company in 2016.

    Wedding Planner Questions About the Basics

    Start off with the basics, namely the wedding planner's availability. If you're interested in a popular wedding date then it's important to start connecting with potential wedding coordinators and planner as early as possible.

    1. Are you available on my wedding date?

    When it comes to questions to ask a wedding planner, this should be your first.You don't want to waste your time (or theirs) if they're not free on the chosen date. If your wedding date is still flexible and you'd be willing to wait to work with someone you really love, ask for a few options so you can take them into consideration when you're finalizing your timeline.

    2. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)? Do you offer planning services for any additional weekend events such as rehearsal dinner or welcome gathering?

    "Sounds like a no brainer to ask, but when it comes to planning a wedding, no stone can be left unturned," says Moreau. "Defining the roles of the couple and the wedding planner will ensure everyone knows their responsibilities for a seamless planning process."

    Leenheer encourages to-be-weds to ask this question so you understand the breadth of ways you can partner with the pro. It's not always clear from their website what their services are, so it's good to ask for a thorough explanation of the types of ways they can help you with your wedding planning. This information will make it easier to decide what type of planner would be best for you. For example, if you're super-organized and have time to follow up with pros yourself, then you may only need someone for a coordination role. But if you're planning a destination wedding, it may be best to work with a full-time planner who can manage the logistics for you. It's also good to ask about design versus planning and any auxiliary events the expert can assist with.

    Blasena goes on to add that it's important that you understand clearly what isn't covered by a wedding planner's services. "Full services design and planning cover a lot of ground and planning services can vary greatly from one wedding planner to another. For example, some planners include design and styling while others focus on logistics and coordination. It's important to know exactly what your planner will do—and what they won't. Will they come along to dress fittings, help with RSVP management, or make your hotel reservations?"

    Wedding Planner Questions Background, Experience and Business Ethos

    You're hiring a wedding planner because of their expertise, so now is the time to get a sense of exactly how much experience and knowledge they bring with them. Additionally, you want to understand their mission and vision as a business owner to see how they align with your goals.

    3. What sets you apart from your peers and differentiates your company?

    Huang shares that this is her favorite interview question she's ever been asked by a prospective couple. "This was a huge question and really allowed me to think about who I am and what I embodied as a business owner. Not in a competitive nature. But just very innate and unequivocal truth," says the wedding expert. "It's not how fast we answer emails or many times we have worked a venue. Those things are quantitative and service level. It's a deeper appreciation for subtle differences a connection with our clients and their families. An appreciation of the finer things but curated for each client. While still staying connected and present to support our clients to present the most incredible event for their celebration."

    4. What are your company's values and why? How do they translate into the work you do?

    Egan encourages to-be-weds to ask this question so they can ensure they're aligned with the ethos and mission of the business they're considering partnering with. You want to curate a diverse wedding vendor team that cares about your love story and is excited to come alongside you during this exciting time. Asking this question is a great way to lay a solid foundation. .

    5. How many weddings have you planned?

    Wedding-specific experience is a must when it comes to hiring a wedding planner. It's great if they've also planned parties and corporate events, but it's important to remember that those celebrations aren't the same as nuptials. Weddings have an emotional and personal element that other events don't. If they've worked as an assistant at a wedding under another planner, ask which weddings they specifically worked on and what their role was.

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    While asking about experience, Leaver encourages to-be-weds to ask "Have you always been a wedding planner? If not, please expand upon your previous experience and how you feel it will benefit our wedding planning and design."

    6. How many weddings will you be working on at the same time (day-of and throughout the entire process)?

    On the day of your wedding, you want the pro's full attention, so make sure they're not juggling multiple weddings at once. But it's realistic that your planner will be working with other couples at the same time throughout the process. How many they can handle depends on the size of their team and whether the weddings are local or destination, so take note of details like that too.

    7. Can you tell me more about the structure of your team and business?

    Kuchembda encourages couples to ask "your planner about their years of experience in the industry and more about their team structure. Is this a full-time career for them or a side hobby and how many years have they worked in the industry? I have over 12 years of experience, which has allowed me to build long standing relationships with top quality vendors. We also have a full-time team of planners and designers and an executive assistant who help ensure our couples are getting the attention they deserve throughout the planning process."

    8. What are your primary areas of expertise?

    A planner may be able to do what you're asking them, but if it's outside their primary wheelhouse they may not be the very best fit for you. Moreau encourages couples to "ensure your planner excels in areas that mean the most to you and specializes in your type of event. A great example would be an event on a private estate or ranch. Essentially building a venue from scratch is incredibly difficult and a strategic partner to guide you through successfully planning a wedding on your property is a must."

    Along those same lines, Blasena encourages couples to ask a potential pro about their general approach to weddings. "From looking at a potential wedding planner's website, you should get a good idea of their design aesthetic and the type of planning that they specialize in (ie. day of, partial, full service, multiday)," says Blasena. "Ask them whether they have areas of expertise, what they are passionate about, and what makes their approach and or weddings different in the market."

    9. Have you planned any other weddings at our site?

    It's a major bonus if they've planned a wedding at your venue before. They're likely familiar with the event staff, layout and logistics, which can help the wedding day run more smoothly. They may also have specific suggestions or design ideas from working in the space before. If they've worked with your venue before, ask to see photos so you can start envisioning what your wedding might look like there too.

    10. Do you do destination weddings (if applicable)?

    Ask if they'll not only travel to plan your wedding (most will for a fee), but if they've planned an entire wedding weekend from afar. This kind of planning requires an extra layer of coordination, so it's good to make sure they have some experience under their belts.

    11. What's your secret for staying calm under pressure, and how do you deal with day-of disasters? When things inevitably go slightly awry on my wedding day, what does your process look like to get them back on track?

    According to Leaver, this is a super important question to ask your any potential wedding coordinator. Things like a foolproof backup plan, how they stay organized to prevent problems, and the steps they take to fix unexpected issues all demonstrate whether or not they'll be able to take care of any situation on your wedding day.

    12. Do you have references? (Testimonials from both professionals and recent couples.)

    Get the names and contact info for any recent couples and pros they've worked with, so you can do your research. They way your potential wedding planners responds to this question will tell you a lot— they should provide these willingly and encourage you to reach out to their references.

    Wedding Planner Questions About Prewedding Logistics

    Planning a wedding involves, well, a lot of planning ahead of the big day. This expert pro is going to be with you along the way, helping you tick off items on your wedding checklist. These questions will ensure the prewedding preparation goes smoothly.

    13. What will the planning process look like? How many meetings will we have, and how will we be involved?

    This is when you should get an outline of what the wedding planning process would look like. Some planners will email you sketches and follow up over the phone, while others may create online inspiration boards and will verbally walk you through swatches and sample designs in person. Certain planners will ask you about each and every detail while others wait and fill you in on everything all at once. There's no right workflow—it's all about what you like best.

    Huang shares that this query is "really important for many many reasons. We always discuss our process with the client as a way to set expectation and goals. No two clients have the same exact process for their wedding but we have a suggestions based in each case scenario. What remains the same is the touch points and thoughtfulness. We strive to make sure every event feels uniquely aligned with the way our client wants to entertain. Our gentle guidance is meant to educate and offer options never to over rule the wants and needs of our clients.

    Moreau concurs that asking for clarity around the planning process is critical. "A planner should be organized and have a defined process to create an easy client experience. If they are unable to explain a step by step process, they may just end up adding more chaos."

    14. What are some things that I can do to be sure our working relationship runs smoothly?

    Beyond the nuts and bolts of the process, Leenheer encourages to-be-weds to inquire about best practices and tips to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness with your partnership. Your wedding planner has likely picked up small things along the way with other clients that impact the working relationship and now is a great time to ask about those details.

    15. How do you prefer to communicate?

    Kuchemba shares that her team often has "couples ask us about the frequency of our communication with them—how often we will meet with them, how often can they email and do they have access to our cell phone numbers to call or text. This is important to clarify with your planner in advance so you are ensuring you are staying within their boundaries, but also have open communication. We are very available to our clients, but some planner set boundaries on when and how you can communication with them and it's important that you know that in advance."

    Blasena adds that, "personally, I think this is a two-way street. Every client is different—some prefer to communicate via text, some via email, and some prefer phone or zoom calls. But, it's important that how you like to communicate works with your planner's style, too. I find some clients like to be hands-on, while others are totally hands-off. Sharing how you like to work and how much you want to be involved in the process is important. Flexibility is also key. For example, even though we're in California, we work with a lot of east coast couples. Accordingly, we have evening time slots available after work (8 or 9 pm EST) so that we can work with their schedule to discuss planning details."

    16. Do you handle professional services, contracts and payment processing?

    The answer to this question should help you get a sense of how other vendors will be handled throughout the planning process. It's a good idea to figure out how they prefer to work ahead of time.Some planners request a lump sum and then will hire and pay pros for you. Others will request that you cut the checks for other pros yourselves. Our advice? It's generally best to pay your vendors directly instead of through your planner. This way, you'll have more control over the contract and your budget.

    17. Can you walk us through the process of selecting other vendors and how we would be involved?

    ]You want to make sure you have the best team with you on your wedding day, so it's important to understand your planner's selection process. Professional wedding planners often spend time cultivating relationships with other wedding pros, so you'll be exposed to their already-built network You'll also want to make sure they're sending the best people for the job your way. During the meeting, jot down some names of professionals they prefer to work with so you can do your own research.

    18. Are you willing to step in as our advocate, conveying our visions and desires to pros when we can't?

    If your planner is speaking to other vendors directly, you want to ensure that they're assertive and will ask for what you want.

    19. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?

    "Full-service" can mean different things depending on whom you ask, so find out if managing the guest list and invitations is part of their standard services or if it requires an additional fee.

    20. Do you handle rentals? Will you coordinate delivery, arrival and set up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians and the caterer/banquet manager?

    Why you want to know: Again, you want to find out exactly what's included to make sure you're on the same page about what they will and will not take care of. If their role is more to consult with you on ideas and help you find and book your pros, then you may need to find a separate coordinator to help you take care of these day-of details.

    Wedding Planner Questions About Day-of Logistics

    After months of the planning you want the big day to go off without a hitch. Every wedding involves a lot of moving pieces so it's paramount that you inquire about how day-of logistics will be handled.

    21. How many people on your staff will be at the wedding?

    Find out how many assistants, coordinators and event stylists your planner will bring on the day of, so you can rest assured that everything will be handled. The final size of the day-of team depends on your wedding's specific logistics, but they should tell you the number of staff members needed for the typical wedding they work on.

    22. Can you create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process (other pros, members of the wedding party, to-be-weds and families) what to do and when to do it? How will you make sure everyone sticks to the schedule?

    A wedding planner's role isn't just to manage the pros, but also your friends and family, which isn't as easy as you might think. They should tell you what their system is to make sure everything runs smoothly and on time.

    23. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of our wedding?

    Back-up plans aren't just for outdoor weddings. You want to make sure they have someone capable on hand to take over if they get sick or can't make it that day, like another planner at their company or a seasoned assistant. They should also have a plan in place for what'll happen if they have to hand over your wedding to someone else in case of an emergency.

    Wedding Planner Questions About Budget

    The money talk: It's no one's favorite discussion, but it's critical that you discuss the wedding budget in depth. You want to walk away with an understand of how much the wedding planner costs and how they can fit into your overall budget plans.

    24. What is the average wedding budget for the couples you serve?

    Kuchemba encourages couples to ask this because this question will "let you know if they are a good fit for what you are looking into investing in your wedding. Certainly some planners have minimums of budgets they will service, but if you are at the low end of their minimum that could lead to future tention or tough conversations around budgets, if you are right in line with their average cliente, they will ensure that the vendors they are recommending you partner with are in line with what you are comfortable investing."

    25. Can you work within our budget?

    Discussing your specific wedding budget is a must. This question is great because it also opens up the discussion about potential services they provide you in your budget. For example, if you really love the planner but can't afford their full-time services, ask if they'd be willing to do part-time planning or month-of coordinating for a smaller fee instead.

    26. Will you help me build and prioritize my budget?

    You may have a lump sum in mind for the entire celebration, but chances are you're not quite sure how to portion out parts of your budget toward each vendor. Ask your planner if they can play a role in creating your wedding budget breakdown.

    27. How do payments work (a percentage of our budget, a flat fee)? Will there be additional expenses on top of your base fee (travel, parking, food)?

    You want to make sure you understand exactly what you're on the hook for before you sign the contract. Have them walk you through the payment system and any extra fees. That way, there won't be any surprises down the road.

    28. Do you carry personal liability and professional indemnity insurance?

    It's important they've taken every step possible to protect you in case something goes wrong . You also need to find out if they have insurance and what types of scenarios it covers. For example, if the equipment used to lay the dance floor damages the venue, their insurance should cover those damages.

    Wedding Planner Questions About Inspiration and Personalization

    Now for the fun stuff: aesthetics and design! These questions will illuminate the pro's creative approach and give you clarity around how their design process would blend with your vision.

    29. Can we see some of your past work from real weddings?

    Beyond just asking about a planner's portfolio, it's important that you ask to see galleries from real weddings, as opposed to styled shoots. You want to see a sampling of their work for real couples.

    30. Can you tell me about a past wedding that was a particular favorite for you? Why were they memorable to you?

    There's a difference between being able to do something and thriving while doing it. Leenheer encourages couples to ask this so you can get a sense of the types of weddings a pro that are the most exciting and life-giving to the expert. You want a pro that you're really going to gel with and if their favorite weddings are drastically different than your dream wedding then they might not be the best fit.

    Egan goes on to share that "this not only helps you get to know the person behind the profession a little bit more, but it also gives you insight into their style and vibe. If you're looking to plan a super unconventional event full of bright, bold colors, a planning and design team whose favorite event was more subdued might not be the right fit."

    31. What was the most unique wedding you ever planned?

    This question goes hand-in-hand with asknig about their favorite wedding. Specific details and photos of the standout weddings they've planned can help you get a sense of their style.

    32. What are some ideas you have for pulling off our vision?

    It's okay if they don't cover every detail of what you want (you'll work together later on to hash out the specifics). But if all of their ideas are way off—like if you say you've always imagined a rustic wedding under the stars and they only suggest ballroom venues—that's a red flag. It could mean they're not really listening to what you want or you may just have differing opinions. If that's the case, they may not be the right fit for your wedding.

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