Alright newly engaged brides and grooms of Arkansas, you’ve taken some time to bask in your joy and have fully embraced being called a fiance. This means it’s time to set a date and choose a wedding planner.
There are several key factors you will want to consider in choosing your planner, but before we cover those, let’s talk about why you need a planner in the first place. Planners are basically the general contractor in the building of your wedding. They have a hand in every part of your day and know how to pull it together in a way that will make you swoon. It isn’t just the set up and tear down of the event (although, trust me, your friends and family LOVE this part) it’s the creation of an event that truly reflects your tastes and personal love story.
Few couples have planned weddings before, this means they can’t know all of the vendors (or venues) that are available to them. Planners do this all of the time, this means you get to take advantage of years of professional relationships they have fostered. They know who is doing the style of work you love at the highest level within your budget. This knowledge is invaluable to you as a couple when creating the perfect event.
Once you know you want (NEED) a planner, my number one tip is to USE THEM! Find them as early on in the process as possible. You may think you know exactly where you want to get married and who you want to hire as the vendors, that’s great! But why not be open to a planner who might show you options you never imagined before you sign on the dotted line with your original picks. Obviously planners can be an asset to you at any point in the process, but given my druthers, I’d like to meet you before any major decisions have been made.
Ok, you’re engaged, you have a date and you want to hire a planner before you go further, but how? Finding a planner can be truly overwhelming as in the past few years it seems new planning companies pop up everywhere with lovely websites and promises to make your day amazing. Don’t worry, there are several ways to narrow down the field to your top planner candidates.
The internet is your friend – use sites like Weddings in Arkansas, StyleMePretty.com, and WeddingWire.com to find your planner candidates. Sites like these have vendor sections, spend an evening relaxing with a glass of wine going through all of the local planner’s websites. There will immediately be some that you connect with. Their aesthetic will speak to you in one way or another. Sites like Wedding Wire also give you access to customer reviews, actually read these. Don’t just look at the star rating, see what clients have to say, do they gush and go on and on about their experience or do they just seem generally satisfied? This is your wedding planner, you are going to be spending A LOT of time with them, you want them going above and beyond.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices with the help of these websites, look further into each company. Your ideal planner should have experience in this industry, generally the more the better. There are times a fresh, new planner can be great, but as a rule you want someone who has been doing this for years, not months. Something I feel is really important is to find a planner who does this full time. Planning weddings is my life, at my company we spend a full work week dealing with vendors, helping clients and doing wedding related office work. We spend hours pouring over wedding blogs and we travel to industry conferences to stay up on the latest trends. Often, hobby planners (non full-time planners) are not going to be able to spend an entire weekday taking you around to multiple vendors and venues and like any other industry, many wedding vendors want to meet during business hours.
At this point, you should be down to a couple of planners you are interested in. Email them (often through their websites) and ask for a general idea of their services and rates. Make sure each planner is able to provide you with the specific services you are wanting. (Do you want them to design the decor as well as create your timeline? If so make sure you have someone who designs as well as coordinates.) Can they meet with you on your schedule? Many brides are full time students or work long hours, make sure you are going to be able to work with you during the hours you are available.
The last step, which is truly the most important, is to start talking with each planner (if you still have multiple candidates) and see how you mesh. Personality compatibility is incredibly important in this business. You need to feel comfortable with your planner. They will become one of the most important people to you during this time in your life, you need to like them! Email, call, set up a consultation (most planners will offer a free consultation) and just talk! As planners, we love weddings and are always excited to talk about a new one, we want to make you feel as confident as possible when making this decision and you can’t do that if you don’t chat a while. If you find a planner you truly click with and discover they are booked on your day or that they aren’t in your budget range don’t be afraid to ask them for a referral. We are happy to guide you to a planner who works similarly to the way we do, we want you to have a terrific day!
If you follow these steps, you should be well on your way to having the ideal planner for your day. One thing to keep in mind, not every planner is perfect for every couple. Your best friend may have loved her planner, but if you call and just don’t feel a connection, listen to that instinct and keep looking! This is your day, find the company that works for you! Happy Planning!
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