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Hiring a Wedding Planner

Hiring a wedding planner may just be the best decision you make. They not only provide ideas and recommendations but can alleviate a lot of wedding day stress. Before hiring someone, make sure to interview them thoroughly. You’ll want to find out how many weddings they’ve done and check references (previous clients and vendors). Second, discuss your wedding planner’s payment structure. Typically they charge either a percentage of the total budget (15-20%) or a flat fee. I recommend going with a percentage of the budget, sometimes flat fees only cover a certain amount of time dedicated to your wedding details. 

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Feb 9, 2011 10:35 am
 Posted by  Posh Able Paula

This is great advice for anyone planning a wedding. As an Orlando event planner, we offer a percentage of total budget (as you mention). But we also find that when folks come to us, they are at different parts in the planning process (some already have a venue, dress, invites), in this case we look at each event individually and often times quote of a flat dollar amount. We also offer payment plans! This is new for us, but so far..the ladies love it.

Feb 15, 2011 01:59 am
 Posted by  EliseMasterBridalConsultant

Charging a percentage of a client's wedding budget is not the best way to charge. Are you entitled to a percentage of the cost of the dress? How do you get a percentage of the rings, the honeymoon or the donation to the church or pastor? What if the couple has to cut the budget or guest list - do you reduce your fee? Or are you only charging for a percentage of the services you assist with? If the bride overspends her budget, do you deserve to get paid more? Let's face it, you work just as hard on a budget wedding as a high budget wedding, and percentage pricing actually discriminates against budget brides/weddings. Get real and charge for your work either by flat fee or hourly. While not illegal, The Association of Bridal Consultants does not recommend percentage pricing, and most professional wedding consultants do not charge by a percentage of the wedding budget.

Feb 15, 2011 06:54 am
 Posted by  JoieDeVieEvents

I would have to disagree with part of your blog post as well. At the initial consultation most planners find out what the brides specific needs are and tailor their services to fit that need. As Elise mentioned above, I work equally as hard on an average budget wedding as I would on a budget with a few extra dollars to spend. A percentage structure is not necessarily the best option.

In addition to the advice you've given above, here is what I would add to your list:
1. Is the person you are hiring growing in their knowledge on an annual basis? In other words, how are they keeping up with the ever changing trends in the wedding industry. An accountant, doctor, engineer or any other profession attend continuing education to keep up with changes...what does the planner do? Reading a blog doesn't suffice as education. We have annual trade shows, seminars and workshops all over the country to help us be a better planner for you. What was the last one they attended?

2. How are they investing in their professional growth? What national organizations are they a part of (ISES, NACE, ABC, ACPWC, ETC.)? In other words, this is not a hobby for them. They are truly interested and invested in giving you the best service and they have a national governing body providing them with ethics and standards to adhere to.

3. Check with the good old Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against them.

At the end of the day, the planner is providing more than ideas, recommendations and alleviating stress. They also provide knowledge, expertise and help you focus to find the balance between your budget and your vision.

Feb 15, 2011 09:53 am
 Posted by  elisa | weditorial

Elise makes excellent points about the inherent challenges of percentage-based pricing. And JoieDeVieEvents' recommendations are also well stated.

One point I would like to make about "pricing" is that an experienced planner is better able to estimate the time it will take to accomplish each client's requests and/or requirements, and will charge accordingly.

At the initial consultation, we get to know the client(s) and ask specific questions to help us identify their needs. We carefully consider their answers before formulating a proposal for services designed to to meet their needs and expectations. Oftentimes, we need to anticipate their needs, because they may not be knowledgeable about everything that is entailed.

While our proposal may seem to be a bit higher in some cases, I firmly believe it's because the proposal provides realistic compensation for the time and services of an experienced wedding professional. In other words, if we say we can do it in eight hours, we say that based on experience. If we say we need 3 people on site, we say that based on experience (and they will be qualified coordinators and assistants, not just additional bodies).

More than ever in the past, today's bride needs to arm herself with information so that she can properly select a planner who will be worth the investment.

Consider the following:
- What level of experience are you looking for? Are you looking for a planner who has done 3 weddings more than you? How about twelve? Perhaps you would prefer fifty?
- Can the planner quantify their experience with pictures from their events?
- Does the planner's contract specify the services that will be provided and performed for the quoted price?
- Does the planner have a discernible reputation? (If they have been established for any period of time, you will be able to determine if they are well respected or not.)

Ultimately, you are looking for both style and substance at a price you can afford.

Apr 19, 2012 03:15 am
 Posted by  mike

Great idea so thanks for share with me.

Jan 16, 2013 02:33 pm
 Posted by  chikanbarn

I think this is the idea's for wedding planner.

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You've got the groom. You've got the ring. Now all you need is some direction. The Bridal Blog is the bride's guide to planning the wedding of her dreams. From the latest in gowns and accessories to honeymoons, décor, and more, The Bridal Blog brings brides the most up-to-date information on everything bridal in Orlando.


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