Following up on our what NOT to do after you're engaged let's dive into planning the wedding. I didn't do this next step as my first step but YOU SHOULD. If you're hiring a planner - which I highly recommend - make sure you get the right one. There is nothing worse than planning a wedding and hating the style or the attitude of the person planning it.
Without further ado the 6 steps to picking the RIGHT wedding planner.
1. Meet them in person TWICE is possible. A great wedding planner will accommodate you and meet not only once for a meeting but also grab coffee with you again if you've narrowed it down. After meeting once you can get a vague idea of who they are, but after meeting twice you'll start to feel personality and whether or not they gel with your style. I met initially with 8 planners and then narrowed it down to 4 and met with them again. Then met one more time with the final 2. I adore my wedding planner and she's one of my favorite people to hang out with. We share the same ideas on babies, marriage, she's done a Derby wedding before, and she isn't frightened of horses. Winner winner.
2. They should be willing to negotiate with you. I picked my planner then took her price and asked her to cut $500 off of it. Sometimes this backfires and they walk away or it's not in their power to do so - but other times they bend and agree. We both agreed going in on what my budget was for the whole wedding, then when it came time to discuss her fee which was $3000 for full service I asked her to bump it down $500 to fit my needs. She agreed because she liked my wedding ideas and felt our personalities were the right fit. Her willingness to prove she wanted to work with me made all the difference in picking her.
3. Look at their portfolio - stalk who the photographers were for the weddings you like. Track down said photographer and look through the rest of the photos from the wedding if possible. It's easy to see great photos from multiple weddings showcasing wonderful design. It's better to see multiple photos from ONE wedding showing a consistent design and theme throughout the wedding. This will give you an idea of whether or not it's a one hit wonder show or a professional who can get the job done.
4. They should ALWAYS ALWAYS have an assistant. If your planner doesn't come with one - back away. There is no way on her own she can handle your wedding and all the vendors and mother-in-law tantrums on her own. No Way. My planner has 2/3 assistants for my wedding who will be there throughout the day. I get to meet them all and we'll delegate together who is responsible for what. This way I'm comfortable with the person handling me, the fiance, the flowers, or whatever they're in charge of that day. And they better stay to the dang end or else.
5. Your planner should go to all vendor meetings with you or at least 2/3 of the vendors. I chose my planner over the other woman (who I adored) because she goes with me to all of the meetings. And if she can't she'll ask if I'm ok with it or she'll reschedule if I'm not. So far we've met with 2 photographers and a florist. She offers her suggestions on vendors but respects mine as well. So when I send her a photographer/florist/caterer she gives her honest answer on what she knows of them. Then does the work of negotiating and setting up meetings with them on my behalf. She pretty much rocks.
6. Again - make sure you like this person. I love Bridget - she's funny and has a dry sense of humor. But she's also whip smart and not afraid to tell me no or that a vendor has a bad reputation. As well as your planner should SUPPORT all of your decisions. I told Bridget I wanted a derby theme wedding and I wanted it to be truly well done, her response "let's get it published." This showed me that she's just as serious about this being a well choreographed wedding and she'll make sure that the photographer will be on board with our plan. She may prefer a different vendor or approach but she supports mine once I've made them.
Hopefully these tips help you pick the right person. Don't pick someone you wish you were like, are glad you aren't like, or someone who's voice you hate. Pick the one you would want to grab wine with and take your pup to the dog park with.
Should you be near Atlanta and need a planner check Bridget out at An Elegant Occasion