Over the years, wedding planners have offered lots of different services, from day-of coordination to partial planning. Many people don’t realize that different wedding planners provide various services that can happen at different stages of your wedding planning, so it’s essential to know just what you are getting when you hire a planner.
What are YOU looking for in a wedding planner, and what kinds of questions should you ask?
Your planner will be working with you for a while (depending on where you are in the wedding planning process), sometimes even up to two years. And no matter if you’ve planned a dinner party, bridal show, or even a non-profit event, you might quickly find that wedding planning is a whole different world.
This is a day that is not only one of the biggest days of your life, but it’s also one of the ones that is a significant investment. Add in some family dynamics, and things can get even more difficult. The person you choose needs to be someone who has the experience to get you over the finish line and be someone you enjoy working with.
The four main stages of wedding planning
The planning component is the overall strategy for the entire planning process. We give our clients a calendar of different benchmarks they can expect. Clients often think this is a sprint because they are so excited, but in truth, we need to start with the beginning before we can plan the middle and the end. Here are some things you need to be advised on.
- Budget: Line by line spreadsheet that is specific to your budget goals. This will give you an idea of what you are spending with each important vendor, such as venues, photographers, florists, etc.
- Facilitating meetings with your vendors and your planning team. The usual flow is: choose your date, your venue, your photographer or videographer, your caterer, and then entertainment like DJ, Band, or ceremony musicians.
- Your planner can then help you navigate contracts with those vendors and make suggestions to keep you on budget.
Some planners specialize in design, so if that’s important to you, then be sure to look for planners that state that’s part of their services. Most planners will have a hand in design, some more than others.
All planners help with the planning process when it comes to logistics. Even if it’s helping plan the guest experience, how transportation happens, and the seating chart, that is considered an element of design.
However, we go further, and we are very involved in the overall look at the aesthetic of the day. Our clients can expect to have a heavily detailed and comprehensive design deck so you can clearly see the vision that is planned for your day.
This will influence all your vendors- from your florist, your cake designer, and even your photography. This typically happens about 5-6 months out from your wedding when you’ve made your decisions on what you like, and you’ve really refined your wedding day vision.
A design deck includes:
- Reflections of the mood and day, not just copy-pasted images
- Your full color palette
- The tactile experience
- The floor plan of the venue
- Drawings or renderings of every part of your day- from the tablescape to the floral
Once this important deck is finalized, it goes to all your vendors, so we are on the same page, and you can start making budgetary decisions. Beware of planners who will not show you direct costs from your vendors; you deserve to know where your dollars are going!
Once you have decided on your vendors and paid your deposits, it’s time to go into production mode! This is when things really start moving, and your creative team members start to work together to make your dream a reality.
This typically happens 30-90 days before your wedding when things are finalized. Your design is moving forward, and your planner can help you make all the last-minute refinements to the day and the overall flow of the day.
Here’s where we start moving forward to begin executing the timeline, working directly with your vendors to make sure the load in of all the things they are bringing to do their jobs runs smoothly. Happy vendors are ones that can get in quickly with no fuss!
Depending on the scope of your wedding, some planners may start this the day before. If you have a tent, flooring, or a large floral installation, this may happen on an entirely different day than the wedding day. Your planner should be there to make sure this happens without you worrying about it.
Beyond that, there’s also planning on who needs to be where and when on the actual day, such as scheduling hair and makeup, and deciding where and when photos should be started. A planner should be able to help you make all those crucial decisions, so you know things will run smoothly.
The event management part is especially important for your photographer. About a month out, we will want to speak to them to be sure they have enough time to capture all those important photos you’ve hired them for.
All of these aspects of planning your wedding will ultimately enable you to relax and really enjoy the full extent of your wedding planning- including the last days and weeks prior to your day.
And with us at Ruby & Pearl Events, our ultimate goal is to be the wedding planner who will make sure that you can enjoy being the guest of honor and have a beautiful, stress-free wedding day!