What does a Wedding Planner do, anyway?
Hiring the right Wedding (Planner) Professional is critical to planning your dream wedding…
(this alone can be quite stressful)
- How does one find the right match?
- How do you know whom to trust?
- Where do you go for advice
Well first of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed,
frustrated or confused.
It’s not like you plan a wedding every day, right?
This is all brand new to you, so be patient with yourself and pace yourself….
Here are a few tips to finding the right WEDDING PROFESSIONAL for you;
Do Your Homework. You’ll get much more out of a meeting or conversation with a
wedding professional if you do a little background homework first.
- Spend some time on the internet or talking to friends who’ve recently been
- Find out the average prices in your area and what services are available.
- Get an idea of what you like and don’t like.
- Wedding websites and chat rooms can be a great resource.
- This way when you meet with a wedding professional you’ll be able to ask
better questions and have an idea of what to look out for.
Meet With Them. An in person meeting is the best way to interview a potential wedding
planner. It lets you get the full experience of their personality, style and professionalism.
If that’s not possible, have a phone conversation.
Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions! Make sure you get clear, specific answers
to your questions. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask them to clarify. Keep
asking questions until you completely understand.
If the wedding planner has a problem with you asking questions, they probably aren’t the
one for you. The best wedding professionals are patient, understanding and take the time to
help you make the best choices for your wedding.
Listen. Don’t just hear the words they say, really listen. Watch the vendor’s body
- Are they confident and comfortable with their response?
- Do they look and sound nervous?
- Do you get a “funny feeling” about them?
Take all the sights, sounds and feelings into account along with their responses; if your gut
tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
Check References. Portfolios are hand-picked to show off the best work, but they may not
represent the “average” wedding performance. Videos are edited for the optimum
presentation. However, real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake;
- Call up both client and professional references.
- Ask questions and use those listening skills.
- Even if they give a rave review, you’ll often be able to “read between the lines”
if there were any issues or problems.
- Ask around and search the internet for reviews.
- Check the Better Business Bureau for any outstanding complaints against the
- Weigh all of this information into your choices.
The following are MUST ASK QUESTIONS to ask your potential Wedding Professional:
How many weddings do you do per year?
How much experience do you have?
These are extremely important questions. Ideally, your wedding professional should have ample
experience specifically with weddings. Not only will they be more skilled in their craft, this also
makes them a valuable source of information and ensures that your wedding day goes smoothly.
How much do you cost?
Price is often relative, especially when you factor in experience, reputation and expert skill.
Generally, the most talented professionals have a higher price tag because they are worth it.
How much is the Initial Payment?
What specifically is included in that cost?
Because packages often vary, it’s likely that you won’t be able to compare one vendor exactly to
the next without doing a little figuring. The lowest cost isn’t necessarily the best deal; some higher
quotes include services that you have to pay extra for in other packages. Make sure you take this
What happens if I cancel?
What happens if you cancel?
Find out if your Initial Payment is refundable under any conditions. Does the wedding professional have a backup plan if something happens to them?
Do you use a contract?
If the answer is No, RUN! A contract is designed to protect both you and the wedding professional. Don’t settle for a verbal agreement that won’t hold up in court.
Are there any additional fees?
Taxes, service charges and travel fees can add up quickly. Make sure you understand exactly what
is included and if there are any other fees you’ll have to pay. This should be clearly defined in your
Do you carry Liability Insurance?
The answer you’re looking for here is Yes. This protects you in case an unfortunate accident
should occur on your wedding day. It’s also a sign that this is a reputable business; since most “fly
by night” operations don’t invest in insurance. If chosen wisely, with the right wedding vendors
you get expert help and advice…for free!
GO TO PERSON:
Don’t forget your Wedding Professional is going to be your go-to person. From answering your
wedding etiquette questions to vendor contract negotiations, this team will design, coordinate
and manage your day down to the smallest detail, saving you time, hassle and headaches. The full service wedding package normally includes:
- Initial consulting to discuss your vision and expectations.
- Developing your signature style based on your personality as a couple.
- Establishing and maximizing your budget, with ongoing tracking of all expenses.
- Creating a calendar, so it’s easy to stay up-to-day.
- Assistance in selecting, ordering and mailing invitations.
- Referring and scheduling appointments with vendors that meet your precise needs.
(from venue – caterer – photographer and more)
- Negotiating vendor contracts with your best interest in mind.
- Securing the hotel packages for out-of town guests.
- Review meetings with you and your groom, to put your mind at ease.
- Finding and securing the rehearsal dinner venue.
- Attending rehearsal, by lending support and assistance.
- Coordinating and orchestrating all wedding day activities.
- Taking care of all reception logistical details, from the floor plan to supervising table
setting, name card placement, flower arrangement, distribution of payments to
WEDDING COSTS (behind the contract)
When planning your wedding you likely will go to many vendors and part of that process is
receiving quotes for each chosen products and/or services. You ask yourself; Why is there so much variation in price points? Well, there are a million answers for that but I’ll try and breakdown the most common of them…
Would you work at your job for free? No. Well good… because no matter how much I love you and my career I can’t and won’t either. I have a family to feed, a roof to put over our heads, and a life to live. If you don’t pay my time (yes, labour) than I am essentially working for free and quite frankly… I can’t afford that.
Offices cost money. If your chosen vendor works from home that costs money as well. If we travel to you, to your vendors, go out on sourcing trips, or site visits. It’s ALL overhead. Overhead are the fixed costs associated with running our business that you, as the client, have to help pay in the long run…
RENTAL VS PURCHASE
Rental rates are most often cheaper than purchase price but can still be expensive depending on the product. Swarovski crystal is much more expensive than glass. Likewise different items cost different amounts. The longer a vendor owns said object the less valuable it becomes (as it builds wear and tear).
This one is tricky but for people, like myself, who are ‘creative’ our ‘product’ is our creativity. There is a dollar value associated with our time, our efforts, and our creativity for our clients. Inspiration boards, custom designed centerpieces, invitations, unique design, etc… all are
examples of the creative process. People are often confused or frustrated by paying for an ‘intangible’ item but in the end my ‘intangible’ creative brain evokes the emotion, creates the design, and sculpts your wedding into a work of art. What’s that worth to you?
TRUCKING & DELIVERY
Gas prices suck! There I said it! However, running a business means having the ability to travel and shipping costs, trucking costs, setup, teardown, etc… are all part of that. When gas/travel prices go up – often so does the quote in correlation to what we’re seeing in raising costs elsewhere.
QUALITY OF PRODUCT
You can (& some people do) have their weddings for next to no budget. Personally, I’m delighted they can do it! However, I know the sacrifices that they have to make in order to do that. Quality product does not come cheap. Let me explain … it rarely comes cheap. There are exceptions to every rule of course. If you want premium product be prepared to pay premium price.
REPUTATION & EXPERIENCE
Along with reputation and experience comes knowing your worth. Anyone with a solid reputation in their industry and the experience to back it up earns more. It’s like a corporate ladder for the self employed. When we start out, we probably did pro-bono or at-cost work, but that very quickly shows a very negative bottom line and doesn’t work. Those who want to get better in their Industry know that they have to produce outstanding work – consistently. This means attending conferences, tradeshows, seminars and yes, producing beautiful weddings ALL THE TIME.
SUPPLY & DEMAND
Those with great reputations & experiences levels are also the most sought after and thus demand drives pricing structures as well. Likewise, if I am a company of one or even two people and you sign with us you are guaranteeing my personal services thus making it impossible for anyone else to book my services for your date, this in turn makes me a solid commodity for the first who hires me for my services.
Now that you ‘KNOW’ where the costs come from doesn’t always make it easier to comprehend?
Isn’t knowing better than not knowing?
For nearly three decades, Daniela Caputo and her company Montreal Event Planner has been the go-to authority, because of her wealth of experience and expertise.
She has developed a reputation for professionalism in various aspects of planning, from client services and project management to marketing, event execution, negotiations and sourcing, putting her at the forefront of event planning in Montreal and beyond.
Daniela is regularly featured and interviewed in industry publications such as The Event Planner magazine. Given her expertise and reputable success, Daniela was invited to teach various courses on event planning at as well as speak for a number of school boards.
Daniela joined the WPIC team of Instructors in 2014.