Questions to Ask Your Wedding Planner Before You Book (And Why Customization Matters!)

Wedding planning can be a daunting prospect, and while a wedding planner is indispensable when it comes to booking a venue and picking all the right vendors for your day, there’s a task that comes before that: choosing the right wedding planner for you.

At White Dots Weddings we believe that customization is the key to making any wedding truly special. This day is for you and about you. We do everything we can to never let you forget that!

But with so many choices out there and so many different ways to work, choosing the right fit isn’t always straightforward. There are many questions you’ve already thought of asking, and many things a wedding planner is going to communicate to you when you first reach out but here are some more specific questions that you can ask a planner to ensure they’ll be creating a wedding plan for you:

1) What services do you offer, what’s your process like, how much support can I expect from you, and how present are you going to be during the planning?

Your first goal is to assess whether a planner’s services meet your needs. Some couples know exactly what they want, some couples have no idea, some have a theme but little else, others have one specific request but haven’t thought about any of the other things they must decide on for their wedding day — this all matters, depending on a planner’s approach. 

Finding a wedding planner who is able to adapt themselves to your ideas, already pre-existing plans or your lack thereof is going to make your life a lot easier.

You’ll want to know if they’ll support you all the way through, how communication will happen (especially relevant for destination weddings, where different time zones come into play as well), and how present you can expect them to be during the entire process. This will differ from couple to couple and from planner to planner — some couples want the full stress free experience, others want to be very hands-on with the planning!

Whether they can work with your budget and how their pricing structure works (whether they charge a percentage of the total or they have a flat fee) is another important question when it comes to figuring out how a planner’s services work.

If it’s relevant to what you want, this is also the perfect moment to ask whether a planner is available to help you with planning events outside of the big day, like a welcome cocktail the day before, or a day after brunch.

2) What do you require from us, how much input do we get during the creative part of the planning, and what tools do you use to create a personalized plan and design for us?

The planning process has to start somewhere, so it’s important to know just exactly what your planner needs from you. Beyond that, this is where customization really comes into play. Some couples love to be involved in the styling and design phases, but not everyone has a visual mind. Creating an early expectation of what’s your responsibility and what falls under the planner’s radar is a great way to be prepared from the get go and have no last minute surprises.

If being involved in certain parts of the process is important to you, you should be asking your planner how that works and in which ways you can participate, as well as when you can sit back, relax and let them handle it.

In a way, what you’re asking here is exactly how their process succeeds, what tools they use to keep you up to date and involve you, how you can be certain that progress is being made and that everything is kept within the necessary time frame. 

3) Do you have a list of trusted vendors and do you work with vendors outside that list?

It should come as no surprise that a lot of planners have a list of recommended vendors. There are reasons for this, especially when you’ve been in the industry for a long time. 

There are numerous factors that come into picking the right vendor. If a planner is recommending a vendor it often means that they’ve worked with them numerous times. With that comes the knowledge that not only can the vendor deliver the final product, but also that they are timely, communicative, flexible and trustworthy. 

There is very little worse for both a couple and a planner than to have to chase vendors for information, or question why something is late.

But of course, rapport has to be built somehow. If your planner has a list of vendors ready to go, that is a valuable resource, but it’s always important to ask if they are happy to find vendors that fit exactly what you need. 

4) Can you support us and find the right vendors to accommodate for a specific religious and/or cultural request? We have a very out of the box idea, can you help us make it a reality?

This question piggybacks onto the last one, but it’s one we find to be a key question in personalized planning. In the last year we have had weddings with no ceremonies, no flowers, no cake, we’ve had requests for go-go dancers, pinãtas, pre-ceremony cocktail hour, among so many other less-than-traditional ideas. 

It’s so easy to lose your way during the planning process and to forget what really matters to you. Your wedding day should be yours, with whatever that means to you. A particular schedule, a particular ritual, a particular song or moment may just make the whole day. This question is key to helping your planner understand who you are as a couple and how they can make your wedding about you.

This is specially relevant for destination weddings and when you come from a religious or cultural background different from the place you’re getting married — asking whether a planner can cater to your specific needs when it comes to a specific ritual or tradition can make it or break it.

5) Tell me about your logistics for the actual day of the wedding. What’s your protocol for emergencies, back-up options and Plan Bs?

This one is a really important one. It’s easy to think about the planning only when you start, but all this planning comes to fruit in one day only so you want to know how your planner works on the day of the wedding too! 

It’s paramount that you know how much support you’re getting on the day, if the planner offers day-of coordination, how many people are there in their team, and most importantly: what if something goes wrong?

No one likes to think about the worst, but when it comes to it, it’s better to be prepared than not. Make sure you are familiar with your planner’s protocol for in case of emergency. This could be a plan B for a day with bad weather, or something more serious, but a back-up option is something you should never go without.

6) What sets your process and approach apart?

Think of this question as saving the best for last. You’ve cleared all your worries. At this point you already have an idea on whether or not a planner is the right fit for you. So it all comes down to this final one. Whether it is through direct references and testimonials from other couples, or examples of your planner’s work on their website, instagram, blogs and magazines, this is the moment where you really want to know why you should choose them.

What’s important to you is personal and unique so this is the time to really listen to what your planner has to offer you and how they can support you in turning a dream into a reality.

At the end of the day, a first meeting with your planner is about way more than the questions. The answers to the queries above may help you get a feel for who the right planner is for you and if they can help bring your ideas to life in a way that suits you and your needs.

But most importantly, a first meeting is about getting to know your planner. In most cases, you will be working closely with them for over a year — sometimes even two! This has to be a person or team you feel you can trust, be honest with, and chat to easily. Someone you can come to with a change of heart, or a planning conundrum. A real connection will definitely make the whole planning process easier, and not feel like just another boring task!

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