As you know, we always suggest hiring a wedding planner when prepping for your DC area wedding celebration! Although we have some of the best wedding planners in the DC area, we wouldn’t suggest hiring one if we didn’t really mean it. Hiring a planner can be helpful in so many different ways. It can help cut down on your own stress levels, which is fantastic, but most importantly, it can allow for you and all of your friends and family members to celebrate and have a good time without worrying about a thing. You are able to focus on spending this special time with those who matter most to you. What can be better than that? We know you’re wondering how to pick a wedding planner! Have no fear, we’re here to help.
We realize that you don’t always know where to start when you being the process. Because of this, we have compiled some advice from DC area wedding professionals to help you on how to pick a wedding planner!
How should I decide between the different company styles?
“Think about how the company’s brand and aesthetic matches with yours. There are planners who are experts at creating a super feminine, airy, elegant look while others are more modern, edgy and bold. Where do you envision your wedding taking place? Some planners are amazing with ballroom receptions, while others are pros with tented weddings, barns and vineyards. You should also love your planner’s personality, since you will be working together very closely over the course of a year or more!” – Sarah, Sarah Kazemburg Events
“Couples need to assess in which areas they can best use the expertise of a planner to find the best fit. If you need a planner’s design skills, then you need a planner who excels at design. If your needs are more in the logistics of the planning process and pulling your best event team together, then you should look for a planner who has excellent project management skills. I think finding the right match personality wise is important. How does the planner present him/herself at an in-person meeting and via online communication? Does it mesh with what you want out of your planner?” – Vicky, Event Accomplished
What are the different fee structures? What is the difference between commission based and a flat fee?
“Our pricing is set on a sliding scale based on the overall size of the wedding, planning services needed, and budget. We offer a variety of packages from Partial Planning to Full Wedding Weekend Planning; these depend on the needs and budget of the client. If you feel that you can not afford your dream planner’s full wedding planning packages, ask if they offer design or partial planning options. Each wedding offers a unique set of challenges and vendors, so we offer custom packages to ensure we are able to properly care for our clients. ” Tabitha, Roberts & Co Events
“I believe most planners in the DC area charge a flat fee vs. commission. However, there may be planners in DC and other markets that do the opposite. Ultimately, in setting pricing, we chose to do a flat fee to cover services rendered. We felt that we would probably be doing a similar amount of work for our planning clients, regardless of their overall budget. So rather than charging a percentage or commission based on budget, we charge a flat fee based on our level of work.” – Margo, Bright Occasions
Does a planners design aesthetic or portfolio really matter?
“I think the most important factor in hiring a wedding planner is if you like them and you trust them. These two things are a must. Don’t worry so much about their personal design aesthetic, or if they have worked at your venue before. Determine if you want to talk to this person a hundred or so times in the next 6-12 months. Also, make sure you trust them! If so, and you are comfortable with their fee structure, hire them! If not, don’t hire them!” – Janice, Bellwether Events
“A planners design aesthetic is important to consider when choosing who you want to work with. Couples should focus on the wedding aesthetic and style represented in a planners portfolios and social media posts. Most wedding planners curate their online presence to fall in line with the type of weddings that they excel at producing. If the wedding planner’s body of work within their website is more modern, edgy, or minimalist; they are likely not the best fit for a southern garden wedding. Also, couple’s should ensure that planners have more than just stylized photo shoots in their portfolio. While styled photo shoots are beautiful, they are not an indicator of the planner’s ability to succeed in planning your event. Look for multitudes of real weddings on the planners Facebook, Instagram, and website galleries to ensure they are seasoned in actual events.” – Tabitha, Roberts & Co Events
“I think design aesthetic and portfolio does matter to a degree. You shouldn’t choose a planner to copy another wedding they did. Alternatively, don’t discard a planner for not having exactly the wedding design of your dreams. However, it’s a great idea to get a sense of their style to see if it’s a fit with your own. If you are looking to do something more minimalistic, then a planner with really over the top designs may not be right for you.
On the other hand, if you want a very styled soiree with no detail left untouched, then you would probably connect with a planner whose work includes a lot of details. I feel personality and style are very important. While you don’t need to be best friends with your planner, you should feel comfortable working with them. And you should be on the same page when it comes to different style decisions. Ultimately, you should trust your planner to carry out your vision and manage your dream wedding day.” – Margo, Bright Occasions
“Yes, your planner’s design work should speak to you and make you feel confident they can execute your perfect wedding day!” – Sarah, Sarah Kazemburg Events
What questions should you ask your potential planner candidates?
How does the planning process and communication work?
What is the typical wedding budget you work with?
Do your services focus more on planning, logistics and organization or design and creative direction?
How do you select the vendors for our wedding?
What are you favorite types of weddings to plan?
How would you describe your design style?
What does a typical wedding day look like for you/us?
How far in advance do most clients book a planner?
“Most full planning clients book Bright Occasions between 10-14 months out from their wedding date. We will continue to book planning clients up to around 6 months out from their wedding. Coordination clients often book Bright Occasions for a month-of coordination service between 2-4 months out from their wedding. Since we take a limited number of weddings per weekend and month, we take coordination requests if available.” – Margo, Bright Occasions
“Full Planning: 1+ year out; Month-of/Event Management: 6 months out.” – Sarah, Sarah Kazemburg Events