So, you were recently engaged (congratulations!) and you’re just starting to dive into the process of planning a wedding. While this can be an extremely exciting time for any couple, you’ll likely find that it can also be overwhelming and stressful. From picking out a venue to hiring vendors and every little detail in between, planning a wedding can easily consume your life and eat away at your free time, if you’re not careful.
For this reason, many couples make the decision early on to budget for an event manager (also known as a wedding planner).
Why Do You Need an Event Manager?
Whether you’re planning a total DIY wedding or are holding your special day at an all-inclusive venue, you can benefit from having an event manager’s assistance. For the complete DIY wedding, an event manager can assist with everything from helping you come up with designs to suit your "vision" and setting up all your decor on the big day to coordinating with all your individual vendors and helping to prevent crises.
Even if you’re holding your wedding at an all-inclusive venue, a day-of event manager can help ensure that you stick to your timeline and that you don’t have to lift a finger on your big day. All in all, an event manager is a great way to make sure that you truly get to enjoy every second of your wedding, rather than having to worry about the flow of the timeline or the little details.
Must-Ask Questions Before Hiring
As you shop around for an event manager, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of options available to you. It’s not uncommon for major metropolitan areas to have dozens or even hundreds of planners competing for your business. The best way to select the right event manager for your needs is to narrow down your options to just a few and schedule either a face-to-face or telephone interview with your top picks.
During your interview, asking the following questions should help you to ultimately make the right decision.
What’s Included? What Costs Extra?
Many couples will have a strict budget that is allocated for their event manager, so it may be helpful to start by making sure the planner can work with your budget. Specifically, you’ll want to find out what’s included in the package being offered to you, as well as what would cost extra. Some possible services you may need as part of your planning package include:
- Communicating with vendors
- Set-up and tear-down of decorations
- Greeting guests and helping them find their seats
- Lining up the bridal party for the processional
- Developing a timeline and adhering to it on the day-of
- Issuing final payments and gratuities to vendors
How Many Weddings Have You Done?
Finding an event manager who is experienced is a must, especially if your wedding will have a lot of moving parts. Ideally, you’ll want to find an event manager who has done at least a dozen weddings and who does it as a full-time job, rather than a "side gig." Furthermore, if you can find a wedding planner in your budget who went to school for event management and is certified, this is an added bonus!
Have You Worked With Our Venue?
If you’ve already booked your wedding venue, it’s a huge plus to find an event manager who has coordinated events at your venue in the past. This means that they’ll be familiar with your venue contacts and the layout of the space. If they have never done a wedding there before, it would be helpful if they at least are familiar with the location or if they’d be willing to meet with you at the venue before signing a contract.
What’s the Biggest Crisis You’ve Helped Overcome?
Finding out the types of obstacles a wedding planner has helped couples overcome is a great way to gauge their true experience and get a better idea of how resourceful they are in moments of crisis. For example, maybe your planner once made an emergency trip to a local florist and put together a last minute, DIY bouquet for a bride who forgot hers in the limo.
Other Important Considerations
In addition to the planner’s answers to the above questions, there are a couple other considerations worth keeping in mind as you decide which event manager is best for your needs.
Online Reviews From Other Couples
Any reputable planner these days should have some sort of online presence, as well as customer reviews. Take the time to read the planner’s ratings from past brides and grooms. Specifically, be on the lookout for consistent negative reviews or "red flags," such as several reviews complaining about the event manager being difficult to get a hold of.
Last but not least, remember to go with your gut when it comes to choosing a wedding planner. Often times, from a face-to-face meeting or even a phone call, you can get a good idea of whether or not you and that person would be a good fit. If the planner doesn’t seem to understand the vision you have for your wedding or doesn’t seem as excited about it as you are, then it may be time to look elsewhere. Ultimately, it’s important to find an event manager who not only knows how to coordinate an event so that it goes flawlessly, but who "clicks" with you and your partner. After all, you’re likely going to be working with this person throughout the entire course of your engagement, and the last thing you want is to be stuck with someone you don’t get along with.
Selecting an event manager for your big day is not an easy task, and it will take some time to find the right person for the job. Still, when you make the right decision, you’ll find the money you put towards an event manager is some of the best money you’ll spend for your big day.