The top four characteristics are vital to when evaluating wedding planners.
1. Expertise: This can be gained through formal education combined with internships, work experience, continued training and experience. An expert will know the ins/out of the industry with confidence and knowledge to truly manage your event will a higher level of responsibility.
2. Professionalism: How do they present themselves? Do they have well designed collateral materials starting with their website, business card and presentation packets? Do they lead you through a well organized interview during the consultation? Do they present themselves in a way which reflects a high level of manners and care for what they do? Do they respond to your emails in a timely manner and/or arrive at your meetings on time? All this will be a true sign of what you can expect.
3. Personality Fit: While you may not need your wedding planner to be your best friend, you do need her/him to be someone whom you feel comfortable discussing your hopes and dreams for your wedding. You will share many hours together as the two of you plan your wedding.
4. Artistic Talent: This is absolutely necessary for your event to reflect your style in a cohesive way. Your wedding planner has to have the talent and skills to pull your ideas together. He/she will be the one who can visualize the details and make it a reality. Their level of design talent can simply be evaluated by reviewing their work from previous weddings and client references. This in many cases can be displayed through their website, blog, and Facebook.
You will not be happy if one of these four vital pieces are missing. Your wedding planner must have the expertise to handle your wedding; otherwise you will be one of his/her train wrecks. Ask for references, if he/she does not provide you with any than this most certainly is a red flag indicating that they are brand new to the industry. You are risking the possibility of being one of their guinea pigs. Ask to see examples of their previous weddings which they designed. Anyone can say they're an expert, but does their work reflect it?!
They must be professional in the way they deal with you, your family, guests, and fellow vendors. A lack in professionalism can likely cause very unbeneficial situations. Or worse, additional stress on the wedding day. One of the best ways to determine this is through their prompt communication, how detailed is their contract, what tools will they use in planning your wedding and consider their marketing materials which they provided during your consultation. Do they write a blog? This is an ideal way to gain insight into your planner's personality, level of experience, expertise and style.
Last but not least, there must be a personality connection. As a bride communicating to her wedding planner you must feel like they hear and understand your needs, style and personality. If you feel like you are being rushed or pushed then you most likely will feel this way throughout the entire planning process. This does not mean that you're wedding planner has to become your best friend, however, you should feel comfortable to openly discuss anything related to your wedding and know they "get" you.
With these three blog posts you should be able to go out and find the right planner for you to guide you through these exhilarating times. One word of caution; wedding planners offering deals, promotions, sales, etc. are frequently the same wedding planners having a hard time keeping their business afloat. What price do you put on the success and beauty of your wedding? This is not the time or the place to be bargain shopping. Find a planner who is good at what they do, has a good work ethic, and loves every bit of their job and you will be set. Remember, cost is temporary, regret is forever.
I wish you the absolute best on your search for the best wedding planner for you!
(Photo Credit: Morgan Lynn Photography, Stacey E Photography & Pink Posh)