The question has been popped and you said "Yes!" Now what? With a flurry of decisions to make and a million details to consider, planning a wedding can be pretty overwhelming. If your budget allows, hiring a professional wedding planner will take a huge amount of work and stress off your shoulders so that you can enjoy the rest of the wedding-planning process, anxiety-free. Understanding the right questions to ask your wedding planner can help guide you toward selecting the right one.
Depending on your budget and the scope of your needs, there are several types of wedding planners you can hire:
- A full-service planner, who will essentially arrange every wedding detail.
- A partial-service or à la carte planner, who might help you with specific aspects of wedding planning, such as selecting your wedding venue and vendor team.
- A month-of coordinator, who will help you create a detailed wedding-day schedule and execute the timeline on the wedding day.
Whatever type of wedding planner you decide to hire, it's important to meet potential planners in person and ask all the important questions to make sure they're the right fit. To help, here is a comprehensive list of questions to ask wedding planners before you sign a contract and put down a deposit.
Photo: Kati Rosado
5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Planner
Below are the five questions you need to ask during your initial consultation with a potential wedding planner.
Photo: Shannen Natasha
Is my wedding date available?
What you need to know: If you've already booked a wedding venue and have a wedding date, then you'll need to ask any potential planner if they're available on that day. But if you haven't booked anything yet and are flexible on dates, then ask for a few dates they are available so you can consider their open dates and if they work with your schedule.
What wedding-planning services do you offer?
What you need to know: Most wedding planners offer varying levels of services, so it's good to ask your wedding planner to go over the different options, as well as the price points and pricing structure for each. Here's a rundown of the different options many planners typically offer:
- Full-service planning: This is best for a couple that wants a professional to handle every step of the planning process. Typically, a full-service planner is hired shortly after the engagement and is in charge of making sure wedding decisions are made in a timely fashion. Tasks include suggesting vendors that match the couple's wedding style and budget, working with the couple on the overall event design and style, managing communication between the couple and vendors, vendor negotiations, attending vendor meetings and walk-throughs, managing the wedding budget, and managing the actual wedding day.
- Partial-service planning: If you're detail-oriented, have a defined wedding vision, and are able to stay on top of wedding details and logistics, then you might not need a full-service planner. Rather, a partial-service planner might be a better fit. Hire someone who can provide some guidance and expertise along the way, vendor suggestions, and a limited number of in-person meetings.
- Month-of coordination: This option is ideal for a couple who has already booked their vendors and has a clear vision of how the wedding day will unfold, but needs a pro to execute all the wedding-day details so they can focus on enjoying the day. Sometimes called a "day-of coordinator," this person will typically create the wedding-day schedule, confirm timing with all of the contracted vendors, coordinate the wedding ceremony rehearsal, and manage the wedding day.
Can you work with our budget?
What you need to know: This question should absolutely make your short list of wedding planner interview questions. Before you meet with a potential wedding planner, you should already have a sense of your overall wedding budget. Come prepared with that figure when you meet with a potential planner and when it's time to talk about your wedding budget, share that number with him or her, even though it might feel uncomfortable! It's very important to discuss your wedding budget early on in the process to figure out if the planner is able to work within those numbers. This will open up the conversation about their wedding-planning services and whether or not they are within your budget range. And definitely ask if there's any flexibility in their rates. For example, if you really have your heart set on working with a particular wedding planner but their full-service rate is beyond your budget, ask if they would be able to offer partial-service planning or month-of wedding planning at a lower rate.
In general, wedding planning rates vary widely according to factors such as geographic location, the scope of services included, the size of the event, and the wedding planner's experience.
Photo: LVL Academy
Can you explain how your wedding vendor-selection process works?
What you need to know: The key to a flawless wedding day is to assemble the best team of wedding vendors to create their wedding-day magic behind the scenes. That's why it's important to understand how your wedding planner selects which vendors to work with. Wedding planners have tight relationships with other wedding pros, so hiring a wedding planner for your wedding means you will get to access their industry network. Ask how the planner decides which vendors are the best fit for your wedding and how the selection process works.
Will we have contracts with individual vendors, or will all vendors be booked and paid through you?
What you need to know: It's important to clarify this detail from the start. Some wedding planners will book and pay vendors on your behalf (you would pay your wedding planner for all contracted services). Other planners will connect you with recommended vendors and let you work out the pricing and contract details. Whatever you decide, it's one of the great questions to ask your wedding planner up front so everyone is on the same page.
Photo: Sanaz Photography
Everything Else You Should Ask Your Wedding Planner
In addition to the five must-ask questions above, round out your consultation by asking your potential wedding planner these additional queries below. It's a good idea to go over the list of questions ahead of time and note the ones that are most applicable to your wedding. Some questions may be more relevant than others.
- How long have you been a wedding planner?
- How many weddings have you done?
- How many weddings do you typically do in a year?
- Do you do destination weddings?
- Can I see a portfolio of your work?
- Do you have references that I can contact?
- Have you ever worked at our wedding venue(s) or have you ever worked at any of the venues I'm considering?
- Have you ever worked with our wedding photographer? Florist? Etc.
- Do you have other vendor recommendations?
- How do you typically handle inevitable wedding-day hiccups?
WEDDING PLANNING SERVICES
- What wedding-planning services do you offer?
- How often do you typically meet with a couple during the planning process?
- What is the best way to communicate with you (in person, via email, over the phone)? Is texting OK?
- What are some ideas you have for pulling off our wedding style and vision?
- Can you explain how your wedding vendor-selection process works?
- Do you handle rentals?
- Will you coordinate arrival and set-up times with our contracted vendors?
- Will you mail out our save the dates and wedding invitations?
- Will you track RSVPs and manage our guest list?
- Do you also plan other wedding-weekend events, like the rehearsal dinner?
- If we decide to have our wedding outdoors, will you create a weather contingency plan?
- Will you attend vendor meetings with us?
- What parts, if any, of the planning process are we solely responsible for?
PRICING & PAYMENT
- How do you price your services? Do you charge a flat fee, a percentage of our total wedding budget, or a combination?
- Are there other expenses in addition to your base fee (travel, parking, etc.)?
- Do you receive a commission from any of the vendors you refer us to?
- Will we have contracts with individual vendors, or will all vendors be booked and paid through you?
- Are there any additional fees I should know about?
- How far in advance do I need to secure your services?
- When can I expect to receive my contract from you?
- How much is the deposit and when is it due?
- When is the final payment due?
- Do you carry personal liability and professional indemnity insurance?
- What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel?
- Will you create a detailed wedding-day timeline for everyone to follow?
- How many people on your staff will be at the wedding?
- What time will you and your team arrive on the wedding day?
- How long will you stay?
- How do you handle post-wedding breakdown and clean up?
For more wedding-planning resources, check out our in-depth guides: