Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Planner's Guide: Choosing, Hiring & Working With Your Planner


Hayley, Lucas & Me
Devlin Photos
As a planner and consultant this is a subject I'm often asked about and it's part of my job to answer in a way that potential clients can understand it. The notion of hiring a wedding planner is still an idea that's taking a bit of time to catch on in the UK. In the US, it's more unusual not to have a planner and it's considered the norm, a necessary lifestyle choice.

Having spoken to many brides during my career so far those that didn't hire a planner said they thought that:

• by hiring a planner they would lose all control of their wedding and couldn't make their own choices.

• they would be forced into using suppliers they didn't want.

• it was a luxury they couldn't afford.

Dispelling The Myths
Every now and then a film will come out involving a grossly over-played wedding planner who either steals the groom, double books the bride's date or freely helps himself to the father of the bride's bank account...

IT'S NOT TRUE!!!

1. I promise you, nothing would upset me more than being left to my own devices to plan a wedding without 100% input from the bride and groom-it's your day, not mine. 

2. I'm happily married already thank you.

3. Your budget is not my money to spend, all I can do is advise the best areas in which to allocate it. If your budget doesn't match your ideas for the big day then I'll be honest with you and find ways of getting around it.

4. Yes, hiring a planner is without doubt an investment, but given the number of hours spent on your plans, perfecting the details, liaising with suppliers, negotiating and of course coordinating, the right planner is worth her (or his) weight in gold. I can't tell you how many brides I've met have since wished they'd hired someone, at the very least to oversee the day itself to eleviate some of the stress to allow them to enjoy themselves fully.

Ok, I'm listening. How Do I Find The Right Planner For Me?

Research
The internet is a great resource. Search for planners in your area, look over their websites. 

• What does the site say about them? 
• Do you like their style? 
• Do they have an extensive portfolio you can view? 
• Can you learn something about their personality-is there a common ground there?
• What about their training and experience?
• Do they have a blog they update regularly?

Fees
As in my previous post in The Planner's Guide, every planner has their own structure of fees. Work out what you'd be willing to spend and contact those within your budget. 

Connect
The first step would be to get in touch via email or pick up the phone if you would prefer. Ask if your date is available (if known) and spend a few minutes talking to the planner. They'll ask you about your requirements-venue, number of guests, style etc. and suggest meeting for a consultation. This is normally around an hour long and generally the planner will come to you unless they have a preferred venue of choice for this. Bring any information you have already, be it a folder of inspiration or a list of suppliers you've already booked. This is as much about you getting to know the planner as much as it is them finding out about you, so please feel free to ask as much as you like about their services and how they like to work. Don't be afraid to ask about their fees, whether or not they will send you a proposal of services and find out how much you'll need to pay upfront and throughout the process of planning. 

"How much?!"
Emma Case Photography

Choose Carefully
Unfortunately, there's no real way of regulating planners in the industry in the way that there is with the gas man or a plumber meaning that there are those out there without enough experience or knowledge of the industry. Ask for references, find out if the planner is connected to any venues. Have they trained in the field (I'm not just talking about a weekend planning course)? Do they have Public Liability Insurance? Have they been featured on any wedding blogs or had press in bridal magazines?

If, after you've covered all bases, go ahead and book with your planner. They'll have their own procedure for this but I take a booking fee (dependent on the service) and need a contract signed and returned along with the terms and conditions before I book any client in.

Working Together
I take my lead from my clients. If they are very hands on we can be in touch regularly by email almost daily sometimes, on the other hand if they prefer for me to get on with it then we'll be in touch once a week or fortnight. 
I'm there to support my clients every step of the way, no question is too silly, as is no task (within reason!) It's about providing guidance throughout the journey, being an impartial voice during the occasional difficult time and of course, creating the most incredible day they'll remember for the rest of their lives. 

So, before jumping to conclusions and believing those stereotypes, look one of us up and have a chat. If you're short of time or inspiration we really do come in handy. We love our jobs very much and the biggest reward is to see you both over the moon on your wedding day.

What are your thoughts on hiring a planner? Do you have any preconceptions before you read this article and have they changed since? Get in touch! 

2 comments:

  1. Love this post Tiff, I would imagine it's super helpful to all considering working with a Planner. I admit I didn't have a clue with you lot did before I got married. Oh how I have learned so much in the past 2 years! I would have invested without any second hesitate in a planner if I had the chance to do it again!! LESS STRESS! ;))

    Really useful blog post xXx

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  2. I was just wondering this morning how the whole 'planner' thing worked, so thank you x

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