While I think that every bride needs a planner, I KNOW that not every planner is right for every bride. Just as much as you wouldn't hire a photographer that you don't like, or a bakery without tasting their work, you shouldn't hire a planner without getting to know them. I don't many people that hire a planner on their first email, but just in case you are wondering how the process should go, here are a few tips from a wedding planner on hiring your planner. Good planners know better than to tell you what you want to hear, during the interview process but planners who just see you as "money" will tell you whatever they think you want them to say. So this will help in paying attention to little things.
How do they communicate?
If you are strictly an email girl and the wedding planner you are talking to, really only communicates on the phone, that's going to be an issue along the way. If don't enjoy technology and your planner insist on emails, the planning process is going to be difficult. If they can't even meet you on your terms to schedule a meeting, then you may want to reconsider.
How timely are they?
This is pretty easy, but sometimes overlooked. If your planner is late in returning calls, emails or meetings then you will need to be prepared for that during the planning process. If you are more of a laid back bride and a few minutes here and there don't bother you, then go for it, but if you schedule by the minute, this type of planner will not "fit" into your plans.
Where do they want to meet?
This isn't always easy for a planner. When you are busy, it is sometimes hard to travel an hour to meet with a potential client, given they haven't booked you yet. However, trying to meet you in the middle or giving you options is a better idea than if they insist on meeting you where they are located. I'll always meet with a potential client at her wedding site, since that really allows you to see more of their vision, which in turn will give you a really good idea of how your styles will work together.
When do they want to meet?
If you hire a planner that can only meet in the evenings or in the weekends, it usually means she has another job during the day. While this isn't usually an issue for planners, it does mean that she won't be available 24-7 for you. If you aren't in the search for a 24-7 planner, than this won't be an issue for you, but if you want someone dedicated solely to the planning of weddings, then you'll have to look elsewhere.
What did they wear?
Yup, even this will say something about your planner. While, I'm not implying that planners should be in gowns for all appointments, it isn't a good sign if your planner shows up in sweats or anything dirty/wrinkled. Beyond the obviously, your planners style will be expressed in how she dresses, so you should get a good idea of whether you'll have the same style in planning. If you aren't a cardigan and pearls kind of girl, then the planner who shows up in them, might not be the right fit for you.
What did they bring?
Do they have wedding magazines to give to you? Examples of their work to review with you? An example of a contract to show? A notebook to take notes? Showing up with nothing, is a bad sign that your planner isn't prepared. Showing up with poorly done materials or old/out of date items, is another bad sign.
Who do they recommend?
I have a HUGE issue with this one. If your planner immediately says to you "Oh, I have GREAT vendors that I love working with" when you tell her you need recommendations, then you should head out of that meeting. No planner should be able to recommend vendors to you until they get to know more about your style, budget, timeline, date and any other detail that would matter when hiring a vendor. It shouldn't matter who SHE likes to work with, it should matter who YOU would work well with. Of course you will want recommendations from your planner, and we all have them, but they shouldn't be able to give them to you until they know you and know more about your wedding.
How do they leave?
Did they tell you they would follow up? Did they insist you book on the spot? Did they give you documents to review at home? How they go is just as important as when they show up. Pay attention to these small details and you'll make a better choice on hiring a planner.
These details are small, but will give you a really good idea on how your planner is and how you'd like working with her/him. These details are small enough that they can't be "faked" typically. Anyone can "say" they've been in business for years and done hundreds of weddings but few can convey that level of experience in their meeting ability.
When all else fails, you can just email me and I'll let you know what I think about the planner you are about to hire.
Hope you all have a wonderful summer, post will be limited during wedding season but I thought now was a good time to give some information on hiring since I've seen lots of articles that, I wasn't sure, covered, all the details. Really, this one doesn't either, I could get more into the meeting and how it is run, but that's for another post!
Planners, if you aren't sure how you run your meetings or how you come across, ask a few friends to "pretend" to be brides and then give you feedback. You might be surprised at how good/bad people think you are in a wedding meeting. And, even if you think you are amazing during your potential client meetings, it doesn't hurt to hear that feedback from someone. I've even asked people to sit in and listen to meetings that I have with potential clients. There is no thing as too much constructive criticism, at least I don't think so.
Happy Planning and for most of you Happy Weddings for the 2010 Wedding season!!!!