February 22, 2018
The Inside Scoop About Wedding Planners
Engagement ring? (Check.) Wedding date? (Check.) Next step? Hire your Wedding Planner!
If you’re thinking “why” hire a wedding planner, ask yourself “why not?” There’s probably a lot going on in your wonderful busy life right now. The first vendor you should put in place is your planner—the one wedding pro who will give you guidance on all of your planning details, refer you to wedding venues and vendors, save you time, keep your wedding expenses on track, and most importantly enable you to fully enjoy your wedding day. At least that’s what the right, professional planner will do.
With wedding planners being such a necessity for today’s busy wedding couples, and an important investment in the success of a great wedding, how do you choose? You might be thinking all wedding planners are the same, right? WRONG. Read a little closer because here comes the inside scoop about wedding planners…what you should know, what you should compare, and what you should ask before you hire.
Comparing planners by price is like comparing apples to pumpkins—We’re all different, and pricing is different for each planner. Shopping us by price doesn’t tell you anything more than PRICE. It’s important for you to understand the planner’s background. Look at their level of experience, expertise, industry education, and time in the biz. A great planner will have a specialty that makes them different from everyone else, and give you something unique. Some have professional credentials and designations that show their recognition in the industry. Some have earned awards. Each offers different services. (It’s true, we don’t all offer the same things.) All of these factors will affect the price and, most importantly, will directly affect your planning experience and wedding day results.
Ask the planner: What makes you different from the other planners in the area? Can you tell me a little about your professional background? Do you have a specialty?
The wedding planning business isn’t regulated. That means anyone is allowed to start a wedding planning business. I’ve seen them…the girl who had so much fun planning her own wedding, then start a wedding planning business without any other experience or training….the DJ who was good at making entertainment timelines, so, added that service and called it “wedding planning”…the florist who refers all of their wedding vendors friends and calls that “wedding planning”…the officiant who offers “wedding day coordination” because they know how to direct a ceremony…the examples can go on. Make sure that the planner you’re interviewing really knows how to plan weddings. You should know what training and experience the planner has and how they got into the business. Also, it’s very important that your planner to be licensed and insured.
Ask the planner: Why/how did you become a wedding planner? Are you licensed and insured?
Number of years in business is important, but, it’s not enough. Being in business for a significant number of years is impressive, but if that planner hasn’t changed anything, or strived to learn anything new in that time, they’re a dinosaur. Ongoing education is key to staying on top of industry trends, business practices, technology, and client needs. A planner who continues to learn is an expert because we’re knowledgeable about all facets of weddings such as food, flowers, music, lighting, photography styles, etiquette, entertainment, budgeting, scheduling, logistics, and more. Expert planners continue to attend conferences, classes and seminars to hone their skills, earn professional certifications that show their knowledge, and ultimately deliver a higher-quality wedding experience for you.
Ask the planner: How long have you been in business? How has your business changed over the years? How do you keep up with current wedding and business trends?
There are planners who are professionals, and there are planners who are hobbyists. An example of a professional planner is one who most likely plans weddings/events as their full time job and career. They not only attend conferences and seminars, but they are speakers and teachers at conferences and seminars as well. They are active in professional organizations related to their field. While they are passionate about what they do, they understand that they are also conducting a business. That business approach will ultimately protect you (the client) in all aspects of your wedding.
A hobbyist planner might work another job while planning weddings in their spare time at night and on weekends. They likely rely on what they see in social media, TV and magazines for their wedding planning knowledge, and do not participate in any formal or ongoing training. They are not members of a recognized professional association dedicated to the wedding industry. They just plan weddings for fun and probably don’t conduct wedding planning with reliable business practices. This non-business approach will not protect you (the client) in all aspects of your wedding.
A reputable planner who takes their career (and your wedding) seriously will be an active member of a professional association related to their field. (This is also true for other vendors such as photographers, caterers, etc.) Why is this important? Associations have standards and a code of ethics. Membership shows that the planner is invested and dedicated to their profession, and indicates they’ll strive to deliver their ultimate best. These associations are where planners learn, and where they earn many of the recognized professional credentials such as Certified Special Event Professional, Accredited Wedding Vendor, and Master Wedding Planner. Some prominent associations for wedding planners and event professionals include the ABC (Association of Bridal Consultants), AFWPI (Association for Wedding Professionals International), and ILEA (International Live Events Association).
Ask the planner: What professional associations are you a member of? Do you have any certifications? Do you plan weddings full time?
Size matters. A planning company might be large and busy, producing weddings every weekend and employing a staff of associate planners. They may offer the same planning “packages” to every client instead of customizing what they do. Other companies might be more boutique style, producing a small number of weddings each year and employing assistance dedicated to wedding day. Since they do a smaller number of weddings, they’ll have time to be more accessible to you. The smaller company might customize their services to your needs rather than offer set “packages.” There’s no good or bad here. You just have to decide which one is the better fit of what you want for your planning and wedding day.
Ask the planner: How many weddings do you do each year? What type of staff do you have? Will you be the lead person there on my wedding day?
CONGRATULATIONS on your engagement, and welcome to the start of your wedding planning journey! I hope this info has helped you get a better understanding of the world of wedding planning. If you need help with your wedding plans, I’d love to chat with you more about it. Contact me for a complimentary get-acquainted session to see if we’re the right fit for you and your wedding.
Palm City office: 772-285-9147 West Palm Beach office: 561-207-2388
Facebook: Dreamday Weddings & Events / Dreamday Celebrations
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Christine Terezakis is an award-winning Wedding Planner/Event Designer, and the owner of Dreamday Weddings, specializing in the planning and design of weddings and social events. Based in South Florida, serving all of Florida and beyond since 2005.
Christine’s Certifications & Designations: Professional Wedding Planner, Accredited Wedding Planner, Master Wedding Planner, Certified Event Designer
Awards: Event Design Trendsetter (Wedding Planner Magazine), The Knot Best of Weddings, Wedding Wire Couple’s Choice
Professional Memberships: Association of Bridal Consultants, National Association of Wedding Professionals.
Industry contributions: Christine currently serves as the lead Co-Director of the Treasure Coast ABC Local Networking group. She is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and has created and presented educational seminars and webinars for wedding professionals . Her weddings and articles have been featured in various wedding publications and blogs.
Facebook: Dreamday Weddings & Events / Dreamday Celebrations