In the wedding industry (particularly in the Manitoba market), the period of October to March corresponding with the Christmas/Valentine’s holidays are BIG for bookings. I’ve gone into many reasons WHY to hire a wedding planner but in the early stages of your search, it’s important to have a list of what to look for in the same way you’d have checklists for your DJ, a photographer or a florist.  Here is my recommended list of considerations as you search for your wedding planner:

Personality.  I rank this top of the list because I think personality is so important.  A personality ‘fit’ is why I prefer to meet with clients in person before they book so we can get a sense of each other’s thoughts, feelings and priorities in the wedding planning process.  Since a planner will have knowledge and exposure to sensitive situations it is so important you feel comfortable in their care.  Are they outgoing? Do you feel like they will act as an advocate for you on your wedding day?  Are they passionate about the success of your event and exceeding your guests expectations?  Read their body language and trust your gut – how bad do they want to work with you?

Qualifications.  These days, almost anyone can pick up a clipboard, appoint themselves a wedding planner and post it all over social media but when looking at potential wedding planners it is important to ask why they chose this career path and how they consider themselves qualified to handle your wedding.  There are a number of higher education related certificates that vary from region to region but no minimum requirement to enter in the industry.  In Canada, Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC) is THE regulating body for wedding planners.  Ask your planner if they are certified through WPIC.

Experience. I get it, everyone needs to start somewhere but experience with local weddings has HUGE value when selecting a wedding planner.  It is easy to say “I’m a planner” but how long and where have they worked? Local experience is of utmost importance (and a primary reason I am hired since many couples live and work in other parts of Canada and abroad). Ask questions like how long have you been planning?  When did you start your business?  How many weddings have you done? Have you worked for other event planners or event planning companies before starting your business and if so, how long before you started your business?

Contingency Planning.  What I find so remarkable (and inspiring) about this industry is how small (yet mighty) each vendor’s business really is.  Even the largest décor companies that seem huge are often made up of a few family members pulling together to execute gorgeous events.  Since a wedding planner’s job is to constantly check, confirm and plan for B, C, D scenarios, ask your planner: what is their plan if something happens to them in the weeks and days leading up to your wedding?  Their response will give you a glimpse as to how they utilize the resources around them and how they operate their business.

Flexibility.  This can be interpreted in a lot of ways but mainly I’d prompt you to think about the “flow” of your wedding timeline and how open the planner is to your wedding vision.  You might think this would be an obvious ‘yes’ but when I first started working for other planners, I found they were quite rigid about what is permitted or what ‘should’ happen in the timeline and when it should happen.  Now, more than ever anything goes on a wedding day and your wedding planner should be able to guide you in the timeline planning but also encourage alternate ideas and embrace your vision no matter how unique it might seem.

Capacity.  How many weddings does your planner do each year? On average, 20 – 25 weddings are the maximum before requiring full time staff but that depends on a number of factors including the scope of each client.  How many full time or part time staff does your wedding planner have? Will your wedding planner be the point of contact in planning and the day? Does your wedding planner book more than one wedding per day (Never assume they only book one wedding per day, always ASK!)

Reviews.  As an important final check. Go on the old google machine (at a minimum) and see what others are saying about your prospective wedding planner.  If you can’t find anything online, that gives you some answers about experience.  Also don’t be scared to ask them for recommendations from former brides.  When it comes to your wedding you owe it to yourself to do some research and feel 100% confident in your decision.

I hope you will consider me as you search for your wedding planner.  Email alli@allimae.com to set up your complimentary inquiry meeting!