How to Choose a Wedding Planner

A wedding planner meeting a bride and groom.

Your wedding planner is going to be a major new relationship in your life for the next few months (or even years, if you are planning a wedding that far out). When you decide that hiring a wedding planner is the right path for you and your spouse-to-be, take the time to find someone who understands what you want for your wedding. Here are some steps for making sure you find the perfect match.

Consider What You Want and the Overall Structure of the Wedding

Hiring a planner isn’t really a first step in the planning process. Certainly you can do it that way, but a little self-knowledge goes a long way in picking the right person. When you and your fiancè sit down to start hashing this process out, you should each separately write down three things that are important about the wedding: Does it have to be outdoors in the summer? Do you want a live string quartet? Do you want all of your extended family to be there? Start talking about a basic structure of the wedding including potential size, style of venue, and time of year, at least. You don’t have to set anything in stone, but your wedding planner can give you a better idea of whether it’s something they would be willing to execute.

This is also the time to consider the scope of wedding planning that you want. Are you looking for a logistics whiz who can coordinate with vendors? Are you looking for a stylish designer to make every moment of the wedding Instagram-worthy? Or are you really looking for a day-of coordinator—someone who will take your vision and run with it? These are all very different services, so make sure you get a feel for how much input you want from a wedding planner; it will affect the price of the services, as well.

Research Online, Looking for Key Items You Care About

A young woman looking at her phone as she's researching wedding planners online.

As you research wedding planners in your area (or near your destination wedding location), pay attention to the kinds of weddings that they tend to plan. If your wedding is going to be an enormous ballroom wedding, a planner who mostly does church ceremonies with less than 100 guests may not be the right fit. If you are stunned and thrilled by the photos from weddings they’ve coordinated or planned, you may have found a good option. Focus in particular on their website and social media, which will provide you with a glimpse into their personality.

Meet with Multiple Planners to Get an Idea of What’s Available

The personality of your wedding planner matters more so than that of other vendors. If you and your planner don’t mesh in personality or communication style, it can cause problems. Meeting before signing a contract is very important, so consider meeting with multiple planners so you can really see the different personalities at play. This is also a time to fully discuss the cost structure—is everything based on the whole wedding, a per-hour rate, or some other price? What is included when you sign on with this planner? Everyone structures wedding planning a little differently, so getting to know a few different approaches will help you make an informed choice.

Meet With the Planner’s Past Customers

In addition to meeting with the actual planners you’re interested in working with, you should also communicate with couples who have used their services for their own weddings. Get to know how the planner added value to the process and made things smoother, and let them know of any concerns or challenges you anticipate with your particular wedding to see if the couples think they can be met with that particular wedding planner.

Hire Your Wedding Planner and Take Advantage of Their Expertise!

Someone meeting with a wedding planner, looking at a price sheet.

Once you look over the contract carefully and settle any lingering doubts, it’s time to use your planner’s expertise! Take the time to follow whatever process they prefer, giving as much detail as you can so that finding vendors and resources for your wedding will be easy and smooth. Keep in clear communication throughout the process, assuming that any time you have a question or concern, it’s best to voice it rather than be silent and wonder. The perk of letting your wedding planner run the wedding events with their effective experience is that you can spend all of your special time with family and friends, knowing that the details behind the scenes are definitely under control.

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