Wedding planning and coordination lies between “fun” and “torture”. Some signs getting professional help may serve you better than attempting to plan the wedding yourself are:
- Details are not your cup of tea
- You don’t know what you don’t know
- You are running short of planning time
- The thought of wedding planning makes you feel stressed or overwhelmed
- You want someone else to take the lead role of guiding you in your plans
- You spend too much time on Pinterest and can’t seem to translate your ideas into a vision not to mention execute them
- Your want your bridal party to largely remain as the bridal party, without the pressure of ensuring your plans run smoothly on their shoulder
Based on the above, you may decide you need professional help. But what kind of help do you exactly need? While the term “Wedding Planner” or “Wedding Coordinator” may sound pretty self-explanatory, there really is more to it than what you can seemingly understand from these terms. There are many layers to what they do and you will really thank yourself by ensuring you get the right kind of help from the start.
Here’s how you can begin the thought process of hiring a wedding planner or wedding coordinator.
- Identify What Help You Require Exactly
- How to Start the Process?
- Start Reaching Out and Gathering Information
- Look at Their Inclusions
- Other Factors to Note
Identify What Help You Require Exactly
After you’ve established that you and your partner will need help with the wedding plans, continue the conversation to determine what you both require exactly and what it would entail. Here are some things you should consider:
Time Available for Wedding Planning
How much time are you both willing to set aside to work on the wedding plans together? This would include things like sourcing for vendors, working out on logistics and guest lists, building the wedding concept, shopping for wedding essentials, communicating with both your parents etc.
How much are you both willing to set aside to get professional help? Depending on the scope of service required, the price range for a planner and coordinator can defer quite a bit. Your budget will determine the range of help you can get.
What are your wedding priorities? Is it to have a less stressful time planning for the wedding? Or is it to ensure smooth logistics on the wedding day? Is it to have a Pinterest-worthy wedding? Or is it to let everyone in the bridal party have fun on the wedding day? Identify what’s most important to you.
Once you’ve all these conversations and a direction, you can easily identify what you require the most. As planners and coordinators have different job scopes, knowing what you need will make the process of securing the right help a lot more easier. If you’re unsure about the differences in their roles, this article lists down all you need to know.
How to Start the Process?
After you’ve identified what help you need, start searching for different wedding planners and coordinators. Theoretically speaking, what one planner or coordinator is able to do, the others will also be able to! Yet, they all differ in terms of their style, creativity, experience level and approach. Check out their portfolio to see if they resonate with what you want for your wedding.
Start Reaching Out and Gathering Information
After shortlisting the planners or coordinators that speak to you, approach them for more information. Different companies have different packages, job scope and price ranges so it will be useful to compare what you’re signing up for. Provide basic facts about your wedding when you reach out to them. This would mean sharing with them your wedding date(s), venue(s) and any other things that are key to help them understand what you’re looking for. This way they can get back to you in the most efficient and effective way.
Look at Their Inclusions
Some things to consider are:
How They Charge
Some planners or coordinators charge by a fixed service fee, while some charge by a percentage of your wedding expenses or guest capacity. Understanding their service fee structure will help you understand how much you’re expected to fork out.
For Wedding Planners, Check the Level of Service That Is Provided
Planners typically provide “Full Planning” services but what is covered will differ from planner to planner depending on their expertise. For example, ask if they help with producing the wedding concept or if an external vendor will be hired for this. Or ask if they help with sourcing for wedding venues or even planning for rehearsal dinners. If you don’t know what to ask, inquire instead if there is anything that is not covered under their “Full Planning” service that you will need to handle on your own.
For Wedding Coordinators, Check the Extent of Their Service
If you’re intending to leave execution of the wedding plans to a coordinator, ask him/her at which stage of the wedding planning would they come on board. Some coordinators come in as early as three months before the wedding while others may only enter the scene a month before the actual day. This will help you determine when you should get all your plans sorted by. Also ask what other aspects of the wedding planning they will help with besides wedding day coordination. For instance, some may also help with wedding rehearsals.
Other Factors to Note
Here are some criteria or common decision factors couples may want to consider when getting a planner or coordinator.
Limit of Hours of Meeting and Actual Day Coordination
Some planners may have a limit on the hours of meeting they have with each couple and/or a limit to the number of hours or latest timing for actual day coordination. According to your wedding plans or preferred planning style, this may be an important factor to consider.How many people on their team
Understanding their team size is good for you to consider how wide their job scope is going to be. It also ensures if there is always going to be someone else to take over in the event one person in the planning team is unavailable. On the wedding day, there may be limits to how much an individual planner can help you as compared to a team where they may be able to cover more grounds. If you’re looking at a simple affair, an individual or smaller team may be more suitable for you.
Their Level of Experience
Like all careers, the more experience one has, the more they understand and know how to manage situations and plans. Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law applies to everything and everyone so having a planner or coordinator with extensive experience to manage the wedding day for you may be your best insurance plan.
Venues That They Are Familiar With
A planner or coordinator who is familiar with your wedding venue may make the planning process easier. They understand the ins and outs of the venue’s package inclusion, what can be negotiated and how to manage the different aspects of planning and logistics. They also have a better understanding of the pros and cons of each venue and will be able to advise and suggest the best flow and experience for your guests.
You don’t want to be caught off-guard by any unexpected expenditure so always ask if there is any other additional cost that you should be aware of. Most planners and coordinators will be upfront with you on this aspect.
Communication is key. Understanding how your planner or coordinator communicates will give you a better idea of what to expect throughout the planning process. This will reduce the chances of misunderstanding and misalignment of expectations.
What kind of language do they speak? This may be important for you if you have family or guests whose first language is not English. Weddings are after all personal events, so having a planner or coordinator who can converse with your family or bridal party will minimise frustration and confusion on the wedding day.
We hope this lets you have a better understanding of what to consider when hiring a planner or coordinator. If you’re still unsure if you need one, here’s our thoughts on why they might be the best investment, especially in a pandemic.
Feature image – Photo courtesy of Unsplash