How to Select the Right Wedding Planner

When it comes to your wedding day, the right planner can make all the difference in pulling off a seamless and beautiful event. But with so many options out there, how do you know which one is the best fit? Fortunately, we’ve gathered some expert advice from three industry professionals—Fetefully founder GiGi McDowell, Shauna Karver of J29 Events, and Lara Mahler of The Privilege is Mine—to help you select the planner who’s truly your perfect match.

While it may be tempting to hire a planner who is recommended by your venue, it’s important to do your own research as well. Check out their website, social media and portfolio to get an idea of what their style is like. Look at pictures from past weddings to see if they capture the feel you’re going for. Also, consider whether or not their personality fits with yours, as a good working relationship will be essential for this big role in the planning process.

During your first consultation, ask the the right wedding planner about their experience and how they got into the business. It’s also a great opportunity to find out what makes them tick and why they love this job so much. You want a planner who shares your passion and enthusiasm for the day, as they will be your voice in the midst of the chaos.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, be sure to book a face-to-face meeting with each planner. This is the person you will be spending a lot of time with for months to come, so you want to ensure that you hit it off and that they have your best interests in mind.

During the meeting, don’t be afraid to tell the planner that you have some specific ideas in mind for how you want your special day to look. If their ideas are all off—for example, if you’re dreaming of a rustic outdoor wedding and they suggest a ballroom venue—that could be a red flag that they don’t really understand your vision.

If you’re comfortable, you can also ask the planner about their pricing and fees at this stage. This will help you determine if they charge a flat package price or if they take commission and back-end deals from vendors, which can end up costing you extra in the long run. It’s also important to ask about any additional costs they might incur for tasks like site inspections and walk-throughs, ceremony rehearsals and onsite set-up/tear down.

Finally, be sure to read the contract thoroughly before signing anything. This will be the most important document of your whole wedding, so you want to be sure that you’re clear on what services are included and which aren’t.

You should also be aware of any potential hidden costs, such as travel and accommodation for site inspections, if they are outside your planner’s local area. This will allow you to factor this into your overall budget and ensure that all decisions are made with transparency.