You’re looking to hire a wedding planner? That’s great! Maybe your venue requires one or you knew you wanted one from the start. Regardless of the reasoning, we’re (obviously) team wedding planner for your sake.
We’ve found a lot of the wedding planner interview questions on popular wedding planning sites to be outdated, bad, and ineffective at getting the information you need to make an informed decision. Additionally, they don’t tell you what to look for in an answer. To be honest, we wonder if ghost writers unconnected to the wedding industry form the questions on those sites. We don’t doubt it!
As experienced wedding planners, we feel a duty to help couples across the world connect with the perfect planning partners for their weddings. Not only have we provided you with effective questions to ask, but we’ve also made some notes on things to look for in their answers as well as red flags. Trust us – the red flags aren’t what you think!
Their Business Practices
What are your business hours? Do you have set times or days when you hold meetings?
Most wedding planners have set business hours or days of the week reserved for meetings. If the planner you are interviewing has set times they’ll meet, we suggest making sure those times are compatible with when you’re available. If your prospective planner can only meet weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with no night availability, but you work until 5:00 p.m. at a demanding job away from a desk, then that planner might not be your best fit.
What is your preferred form of communication? What is the best way to reach you?
While most wedding planners prefer email as the primary form of communication, other wedding planners communicate exclusively via phone calls or virtual workspaces like Honeybook. There’s not much to note here; it’s just a good thing to know moving forward!
Can you share an example of a time that you dealt with a day-of unexpected issue?
Get to know them and how they work under stress! You want your planner to tackle challenges the moment they arrive.
Can you give us an example of a time you dealt with bad weather (if your wedding is outside)?
A good wedding planner is also an amateur meteorologist. We stalk weather websites, look at rain patterns, and come up with bad weather plans B through Z. We’ll even suggest that you bury the bourbon. Make sure bad weather is something your planner has dealt with in the past appropriately!
What is the deposit amount to book you? When is the balance due? Are you able to do a payment plan?
While many planners require roughly 25% upon booking, there are some variations. It’s good to ask during your consultation versus being surprised with your first invoice.
What forms of payment do you accept? Are there any added fees to pay with a credit card?
Once again, this is something that’s good to know. At Amber Justine Events, we don’t charge a fee to pay with a credit card, but that’s not the case with all wedding planners.
What is the booking process? What happens right after booking?
Is there a contract? When will you get your first invoice? Will you have a meeting after booking? The next steps are important!
How many weddings will your company do in a weekend? How many weddings in a month?
You’re looking for your wedding planner to have some sort of cap to the weddings they’ll do in a weekend and/or month. It is a red flag if they don’t cap the amount of weddings they will book. If they max out all of their lead planners in one weekend, what happens if one (or more) of those planners gets sick or has an emergency? Who will step in as the lead planner if the company is completely booked out? More on this below!
Will our lead planner have more than one wedding in a weekend? Will they do our wedding on Friday and a different wedding on Saturday?
The answer to this question depends on the couple’s comfort level. Some lead planners can work two weddings in one weekend and successfully orchestrate them both. However, that means that they might not be at your ceremony rehearsal. Likewise, some couples find comfort in knowing that their lead planner is focused exclusively on them the entire weekend.
How many lead planners do you have on the team, if applicable? When will I know who my lead planner is for our wedding day?
Oftentimes, larger wedding companies with multiple lead planners will assign a lead planner closer to your wedding date. In an ideal world, that planner is with you for at least the final couple of months. Not having a straightforward answer to this question is a red flag. For example, the closest out we’ll assign a lead planner is 90 days from your wedding date. Before that point, our owner is along with you for the planning process. That being said, we normally know who will be your lead planner by your consultation.
What happens if our lead planner falls ill or has an emergency on our wedding day?
Ideally, your wedding planning company always has other experienced lead planners that aren’t on the schedule for that weekend in the event that something like this occurs. You’ll want the answer to this question!
Their Package Inclusions
Can you start communicating with them immediately or does communication not begin until “X” months out from your wedding date? When do you begin working together regularly?
Some wedding planning companies don’t start service until “X” number of weeks or months out from your wedding date. This works well for some couples! We prefer to work together from booking onward (even for our Event Management package), but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to work with a planner.
How many pre-wedding meetings are included at each package level? What do couples typically use those meetings for while planning?
While you can find this information in the brochure, it’s good to have the wedding planner expand upon the types of meetings and how couples typically use those meetings. For example, all of our packages include meetings between booking and the final months. Most of our couples use them for tastings, rental selection meetings, one-off site visits, or power planning hours.
Will you join us at our final venue walkthrough?
This is critical! No matter the package level, it’s a good idea to have your planner attend your final venue walkthrough. Bonus points for planners that will help schedule it, share the date with your other vendors, and get a basic timeline to those vendors before the meeting.
Will you run the ceremony rehearsal and/or work with our place of worship to make the ceremony a success?
It would be rare to find a planner that won’t conduct your ceremony rehearsal, as needed. We recommended asking only if you don’t see it in their brochure.
What is involved day-of? Will you set out and pack up décor?
At minimum, your planner should assist with décor set up, communicate with vendors as the lead contact, distribute personal florals, cue the ceremony, and pack out your décor.
Do you have assistants? How many members of your team will work our wedding day?
Here is your next red flag. Unless you are having an intimate fête with very few guests or vendors, your wedding planner needs assistants. One assistant will work, but two or more is better. Why do they need assistants? Well, if your planner is dealing with unpredictable emergencies (broken bridesmaid dress, florist didn’t show, father of the groom forgot to grab bar mixers, etc.), then who is setting out your décor? Their assistant(s). Every wedding planner needs assistants. That’s a hill we’re willing to die on!
What other options can I add to a package that aren’t included?
Do they offer rehearsal dinner planning? RSVP management? Can they drop off your welcome bags to the blocked hotels? It’s always good to go through your other options!
Do you bring an emergency kit to weddings? What are some of the most popular items in the kit?
A professional planner goes to no wedding without their emergency kit. For fun, ask what items get used the most. The answer might surprise you! For us, it’s bobby pins, safety pins, invisible cord, floral scissors, lighters, tissues, glass cleaner sheets, sticky dots, and adhesive to stick wax candles into glass pillars.
Do you have any rentals we can borrow? If so, can you give us some examples of those rentals?
Not all planners have rentals, but some do have secret stashes. We sure do!
Their Industry Relationships
Have you worked at our venue previously? If not, will you meet with the venue coordinator and tour the venue prior to your wedding day?
Does a planner have had to work at your venue previously to make your day a success? Absolutely not. A true professional can be placed anywhere and make magic. That being said, it’s worth asking if they’ll visit your venue prior to your final walkthrough (if distance isn’t an issue).
What vendors do you typically work with on wedding days? Have you worked with “X” vendor that we’ve hired?
Social media allows us to view the answer to this question before we ask it! Frequent any wedding planner’s Instagram and you’ll see similar names pop up a few times. That being said, it’s good to hear it straight from that wedding planner. Also, you can ask about any vendors you’ve already hired, but aren’t sure if they’ve worked with yet.
Do you offer any discounts with vendors in our area?
While we can’t advise asking for discounts from all your vendors, we do know that wedding planners carry some perks. Oftentimes, wedding planners have discount codes for vendor they work with frequently or national companies such as Minted or SuitShop.
How long have you been in the wedding business? Did you work with another planner before starting your own business?
Hands-on experience is the key to everything in the wedding industry. It would be next to impossible to hop into a wedding as the lead contact without prior experience. If your planner mentions planning other events, but is evasive about working weddings, that is a red flag. Additionally, planning your own wedding is not the same as the behind-the-scenes of a wedding day (we’ve done both). We want you to hire new wedding planners and give them a chance, but we highly recommend making sure they’ve worked under another planner before starting their own business.
Are you a licensed business? Do you renew your license each year?
This is a big one! This entire section is filled with red flags. Maybe they filed as a business one year, but forgot to renew the next. Worse, maybe they never filed at all. What does that mean for you? For one, that business can be forced to shut down if they are found out, which means you no longer have a wedding planner. Second, it’s ethically wrong. Sure, they might cost less because they aren’t paying taxes, but that sort of ethical mishandling is a testament to potential larger issues with how they run their business.
Do you have general liability insurance? Can you provide our venue a copy of your certificate of insurance, if asked?
We find that more venues are requiring all vendors to carry general liability insurance. This is a great thing for everyone involved: couples, vendors, and venues. In fact, we’re willing to move vendors without general liability insurance to red flag status. It might seem silly to ask about insurance, but you’ll never regret it if something happens on your wedding day.
Upon booking, do you provide a contract for all parties to sign?
If a wedding planner tells you they don’t do contracts, you need to run. This is a major red flag. Without a contract, you have little to use as evidence if something goes wrong. For example, let’s say you verbally agree that a planner will show up to your wedding day. What happens if they don’t show? There’s not a ton you can do without a written agreement. At the end of the day, contracts act to protect both the couple and the wedding planner.
What are your terms for cancellations and/or postponements? What happens if one of us is placed on military deployment (if applicable)?
Depending on your jobs or other life factors, there is always the potential to need to postpone. It’s good to know a wedding planner’s terms before you get the contract!
Before you schedule that consultation, we’d like to share the biggest red flag of them all: pricing. You might feel like you won the lottery when you inquire with a wedding planner and their pricing is significantly less than other planners in the area. We urge you to take a closer look. Compare their packages with other wedding planners’ packages, look at their reviews, and ask them the above questions. We guarantee something is amiss! Perhaps they aren’t a licensed business that pays taxes. Maybe they don’t have any assistants; or worse (and illegal), they don’t pay their assistants because they are “interns” despite not earning college credit for their time. We’ve heard too many wedding day horror stories and don’t want the same for you!
As our final note, we don’t recommend that you look at reviews exclusively when making vendor booking decisions. There is some sneaky business going on out there in the industry! Should you avoid reviews? Absolutely not. However, look at them with a degree of skepticism. We’ve seen it all, including vendors putting it in their contracts that you aren’t allowed to leave anything other than a five-star review. For the final time, that is a red flag.
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