If you're even considering hiring a wedding planner, you should give yourself a million high fives. Wedding planners are like genius creative problem solvers, personal hype people, and if you're working with an Offbeat Wed vendor, inclusive, accepting, and fun! In fact, we asked Offbeat Wed wedding planners “What questions do you wish prospective clients would ask?,” and these wedding pros gave us the insider scoop!
Grab a pen! These are all the questions to ask a wedding planner:
Ask about their availability
- Are you available for this wedding date? Nothing sucks more than vibing with a great wedding planner only to discover they aren't available for your date!
- How far in advance should I book your services?
- What is your availability for in-person meetings and consultations?
Ask about their services and packages
Yes, you should ask this even if it's listed on the website because it won't necessarily be one-size-fits-all. The services and packages might change or be custom fit depending on if you're having an 200 person celebration, an intimate microwedding, or any additional special requests. This also might affect if you need full-service planning, partial planning, or day-of coordination.
Ask questions related to logistics
When does the planner arrive the day of and when do they leave? Are they there all day, or does an assistant stay until the end?Merida Alexander, Events by Merida
- What is the amount of expected involvement?
- How do you handle wedding day logistics, such as set-up, timeline management, and coordination with vendors?
- Can you provide a detailed timeline and checklist of tasks leading up to the wedding?
- Will you assist with tracking and managing the budget, and how do you handle changes to the budget?
- How do you handle guest list management, RSVP tracking, and seating arrangements?
- Will you assist with coordinating transportation and accommodations for guests?
- Can you assist with obtaining any necessary permits or licenses for the wedding?
- How do you handle security and insurance for the wedding?
- Do you have a team of assistants who will be present on the day of the wedding?
- What is your process for communicating with me throughout the planning process, and how often will we meet or have phone calls?
- How do you handle design and decor?
- Have you worked at this venue before?
Saskia Winter of Mooi Weddings says this is a great question, especially if you're planning a wedding at a nontraditional wedding venue.
What is something that couples that plan weddings at this venue don't think about? What is the biggest thing they miss? The question is great because there are actually a lot of things couples don't think about that are unique to this venue! It prompted great conversation.Saskia Winter, Mooi Weddings
Ask about their experience in planning weddings
This is a fruitful and fun question to ask a wedding planner because not only will you get to learn about their experience, but you'll get to see their personality shine! It's personable way to break the ice and really see if you can vibe with your wedding planner.
I always start off initial consults by asking couples about themselves individually and the story of how they met and fell in love. I love it when they ask me about myself too! I always share a bit anyway, but we're going to be spending a LOT of time together – I like my clients to know why I care about doing a good job for them, and also what they're getting themselves into by inviting my weird self into their lives.Emily Berg, Emily Berg Weddings
Another way to see if you and a prospective wedding planner will vibe is to check out their work and point out things you liked.
Talk to me about what you liked about their [my] work. Sidebar: It’s not me fishing for compliments. I want to make sure I’m a good match. If a prospective planner’s weddings look very similar to each other, and you have a different vision in mind, ask them if they’ve done something like what you’re thinking. They may have photos that they’re not using for marketing.Merida Alexander, Events by Merida
Finally, Erica Casner shares the biggest key to figuring out how to work with a wedding planner:
More importantly, find someone who you get along with. You are going to spend so much time creating your wedding experience with this individual and you should enjoy the person you are going to be working with. Don't be afraid to tell a potential planner what you want and what you DON'T want. I wish more couples would tell me that.Erica Casner, One 15 Events
Ask how they handle vendor selection, negotiations, and contracts
- Who handles booking?
- Do you have preferred vendors that you work with, and will you coordinate with them?
- Do you have relationships with local vendors that can help us get the best deals?
Ask if they can accomodate any special requests or unique aspects of the wedding
Can you provide any additional services or recommendations for (insert special request here)?
This is an important question to ask a wedding planner if you want things like a specific theme, cultural traditions incorporated into the wedding, sensory-friendly weddings, a need for quiet rooms, etc.
Ask what they do to adapt for neurodivergent clients/family members. Let us know as much as you are able- if your sibling has major anxiety, we can prepare ahead of time to try and make things easier for them.Merida Alexander, Events By Merida
Ask how they handle unexpected changes or emergencies on the wedding day
What is your policy on cancellations or changes to the wedding date or plans?
Merida Alexander of Events by Merida suggests:
Ask them about the weirdest crisis they’ve had to deal with. You will usually hear a story that will make you laugh in its absurdity, and you will know they keep their head on.Events By Merida
Ask about MONEY STUFF $$$
- Can you work within our budget?
- How do you typically handle budget concerns or unexpected expenses?
- What are your fees and payment policies?
- Do you require a deposit or payment upfront?
- What services are included in the fee?
- What is your policy on cancellations and refunds?
Emily Berg says she appreciates it when clients ask her this important question:
What my rates are, especially if you're asking me to travel – which I'm ALWAYS up for! Most (especially non-Midwestern) couples are pleasantly surprised that it's more cost effective to hire us, even with travel costs, than agencies based in larger cities on the coasts.Emily Berg, Emily Berg Weddings
These are questions to ask your wedding planner after you book:
Ask about their contracts
Emily Berg says she loves when she gets questions about her contract because that means they've read it!
There's really important information in there about hiring extra staff, what I do and don't do (wild animals, bodily fluids) and other things they need to know so we can work well together. It's way more uncomfortable when I have to explain why I won't do something, or have to charge extra, after months of working together when I outlined it clearly from the start.Emily Berg, Emily Berg Weddings
And finally, ask what NOT to do
It's actually helpful if they ask what they shouldn't do yet. There are some things that I have a pretty specific process for or that I prefer to steer them towards (or away from), and things will actually go more smoothly if they just wait until we start working together instead of haphazardly completing random tasks other people tell them they should be doing.Emily Berg, Emily Berg Weddings
Now that you know what questions to ask a wedding planner…
How do you even begin to find a wedding coordinator or a wedding planner?
Offbeat Wed vendor Erica Casner of One 15 Events says:
When looking for a planner, ask your friends, family and co-workers who they used. It's easier than trying to sort through all the listings that google might give you. If you have booked any other vendors, ask them who they have worked with and liked. It is so much easier to crowd source vs. putting your faith in Google.Erica Casner, One 15 Events
Pro tip for how to find a wedding planner
For wedding planners or wedding coordinators who vibe with nontraditional weddings (we're talking wedding pros who wholeheartedly embrace LGBTQ+, multicultural, BIPOC, neurodivergence, and people with disabilities) you can skip the Google headache and hop over to our vetted Offbeat Wed Vendor Guide. We only work with vendors who champion our values of diversity, acceptance, and inclusion!