The Knot.com recommends brides and grooms ask these questions when interviewing prospective planners or coordinators. I’ve answer the questions here.
Strongly consider handing the planning baton to a wedding consultant if a) neither you nor your families have time to plan your wedding; b) neither you nor your families have any desire to plan your wedding; c) you’re planning a wedding out of town; or d) you simply prefer — and can afford — professional help. They’ll do the legwork, hire vendors, negotiate contracts, and may even cut you some money-saving deals.
1. Will the consultant commit to your budget and not push you in the direction of things you simply can’t afford?
Absolutely, I will respect your budget and will work hard to keep your costs in line. Though it is very common for couples to under estimate how much they will spend planning their wedding. Often one element is overlooked initially. With that in mind, plan to spend at least 15% more than your original budget.
2. Will the consultant devise a master plan mapping out all the little details, from announcement to zebra-striped décor?
Yes, I will build you a very specific day of timeline that often includes activities on the days leading up to your wedding. We will review it and then I will make sure all the vendors have a copy of this to make sure everyone is on the same page and ensuring that all of your expectations are fulfilled. I love carrying out original ideas for décor and as long as you can convince me of the significance of a zebra to you and your fiancé, let’s do it!
3. Can the consultant name the best and most original locations in your area (that would be suitable to your wedding size, style, and budget)?
In New York, we are fortunate to have a surplus of amazing venues and I am lucky to have planned events at a wide variety of beautiful, interesting, original and different locations in New York. I have worked at hotels, private clubs, castles, loft spaces, homes, backyards and restaurants. Selecting an appropriate venue is one of the most important initial decisions. It sets the stage for your wedding. I will make recommendation based on venues I am familiar with or search specifically for a venue that fits your wedding, personality and budget perfectly.
There are interesting, special and unique venues all over the world. Should your event be a hometown celebration or a destination wedding, I’d welcome the opportunity to find you a great place to host the festivities.
4. Is the consultant familiar with the best florists, photographers, caterers, bands, and DJs in your price range? Can she explain their strong points to you briefly?
The list of preferred vendors I have built is excellent. I have selected a few vendors in each category; they are all remarkably talented, professional and trustworthy. They have different styles and personalities, I’d love to walk you through the list and tell you a little bit about each vendor.
5. Can the consultant score you some discounts with any vendors?
I will do my best to negotiate the best rates for the services delivered. The vendors I work with are excellent and depending on the day and time of year of your wedding, discounts may be extended.
6. Will the consultant read over the vendor contracts for you? What are some common traps to look out for?
I always ask for copies of all vendor contracts. I like to review all the specifics and the terms offered, payments schedules, arrival times, date, attire, number people attending, what they will need, etc. Having access to this information, first hand better prepares me to do my job and assures that you get the services you want.
7. Can the consultant create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process — vendors, members of the wedding party, bride/groom, and families — what to do and when to do it? How will she/he make sure that everyone sticks to the schedule?
I do create a very detailed timeline; it is distributed to vendors a few days before your wedding. I will confirm receipt of this with the vendors in advance. We will review this with you venue/caterer in person. I will be at the rehearsal to talk to your family and bridal party and I will follow up with everyone on the day of so everyone knows when they need to be where. I am in constant communication with venue manager, catering manager, band director or DJ and will remind individuals of speeches and other events in advance.
8. Will the consultant handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing?
I am happy to be as involved in your wedding planning as you’d like me to be. I love beautiful paper! I have wonderful vendors who design and print beautiful, creative and original invitations. I would love to go to the meetings with you and weigh in on your decisions as necessary.
9. Can the consultant counsel you on etiquette matters and alert you to hot trends on the wedding horizon?
Of course, you can run anything by me, and if I don’t have the answer for you on the spot, I’ll tap into my resources and find the answer. While hot trends are not as important as what you really want for your wedding, I am thrilled to introduce you to fresh wedding planning ideas. Implementing new and original elements into the process makes my already great job even more enjoyable. I never want to plan the same wedding twice!
10. Will the consultant coordinate delivery, arrival, and setup times with photographer, florist, musicians, caterer/banquet manager, et al?
Yes, yes and yes. I confirm with all vendors by telephone on the week of your wedding and my day of schedule is very specific noting vendor arrivals and deliveries.
11. For the day of the wedding, will the consultant be willing to oversee the entire event by supervising vendors, troubleshooting emergencies, and soothing nerves? Can she share any anecdotes that required performing above and beyond the call of duty?
Things will undoubtedly come up, but my team will be prepared on the day of to put out fires or smooth out any situations, should they arise. We are equipped with the necessary tools to hide straps, freshen breath, calm nerves, entertain children, affix runners, …you get the idea. Personally, I have lent/given bridesmaids the earrings (from my ears), tampons and hairspray. I have changed diapers, held dresses while brides go to the bathroom, and cut off guests who have had enough to drink.
12. Will the consultant be willing to step in as your advocate, conveying your visions and desires to vendors when you don’t feel up to the task?
Yes, that’s a key element of my job, especially on the day of your wedding or those days leading up to your wedding. Some people find it difficult to communicate their ideas to the vendors or don’t want to risk hurting their feelings when they don’t like a concept or design. Let me be the bad cop, so to speak. I have a relationship with the vendors and can explain what you like and what you’d like even more. We all want you to have the day you have envisioned. The more feedback the vendors and I have, the greater the chance we have at achieving this successfully.
13. Will the consultant help plan and book your honeymoon?
I’d be happy to! I recently added two gorgeous and informational travel books to my collection, The Leading Hotels of the World Every Quest Has a Beginning www.lhw.com, and Valerie Wilson’s World The Top Hotels and Resorts. I encourage clients to peruse these for inspiration.