It’s engagement season (apparently!) – vendors in our industry have a swell in inquiries at the turn of the New Year. The holidays are a busy time for popping the question.
As couples shop for a planner or coordinator, here are a few questions to ask each candidate:
1. How long have you been doing this? If the planner is relatively new, they still may have lots of experience working for a few other planners, and/or have related experience (like TV or film production, project management, or catering).
2. What type of venues do you usually work? This is a top question to ask if you are getting married in a more complicated space – like a private estate, state park, beach, or other outdoors, rustic space where everything needs to be brought in – from lighting to power to outside catering. There are all sorts of permitting and logistical issues that the inexperienced planner cannot foresee. Also, staffing and pre-production of these types of events is quite a bit more than a ‘typical’ planning or coordination service, so if the cost is too good to be true, they could be underestimating their production needs.
3. Is this your full time job? This is on a lot of ‘questions to ask planners” list, and I don’t necessarily think it’s a fair one. In this economy, I’d give a lot of leeway to planners and pros that have freelance and/or part time jobs to supplement their income while their business strengthens. An outstanding professional with flexible work hours can make the weekday walkthroughs, afternoon rehearsals, and return your calls and emails within a reasonable amount of time. Checking references may be the call here to ease your mind of their abilities to multitask.
4. Give me an example of how you ‘saved the day.’ It could be little things – like reminding a friend-officiant to sign the marriage license (!) – or realizing a few items were missing from the rental order. Or, for a full wedding planner, it could be an example where they saved the client hundreds to thousands of dollars in negotiation.
5. Why do you do this? Funnily enough, I’ve never been asked this, but I’ve started bringing it up. If you ask this question to a potential candidate, the answer may allow you to see into their personality far more deeply than just ‘talking shop.’ How your personalities click is important, and asking what their motivation is to do the work can be a great way to gain insight into what makes them tick.
As for us, we’re an open book – ask us anything! And if we’re not available on your date, we have awesome colleagues in the industry we happily refer to. Happy planning!