Weddings are time-consuming affairs. First, you need your budget in place, your decor inspiration all pinned up on the board and loads of new ideas to set the right benchmark for a wedding in your friend's circle. But mostly, you need a planner to set the tone right. But how does one really find the right person? If you found someone through hundreds of reccos, then how do you really know he/she is the right fit for you?
Photography: Stories By Joseph Radhik
Trust us, there are awesome ones that have great Pinterest pages, but can be really unprofessional when you most need them. And there are those who are dying to rip you off for a few thousands by offering you sub-standard stuff. There are also ones that really understand you spiel and give you a beautiful wedding in less. Caution, my love is what you need to exercise. We got you a simple mandate - ask these 13 questions and that'll help you pin the right one down so he/she can save you time, stress and also, someone who will give you the wedding of your dreams.
1. Are you more of a co-ordination person or are you more of a decor person?
There are two types of planners out there. The ones who are decorator turned planners- who do logistics along with decor but their primary focus is still on aesthetic. The others are the ones who handle the logistics and planning but outsource the decor. Depending on what is more important to you- choose one accordingly. In most likelihood atleast one of these teams will be outsourced.
2. Have you planned weddings before of someone from my background?
A lot of Indian wedding planning is about rituals which differ not just from state to state, but literally from caste to caste. Someone adept with Telugu weddings wont be clueless about all the elements surrounding it.
3. What is the cost of the average wedding you plan?
You know, we all know how in India people like to drag on the monies till the end and then spring a googly on you. Be upfront about the budget and tell the planner you can only go till a certain amount. No, at any point, you are not crossing over your budget. In any case, there will be miscellaneous costs and extras, you don't want to keep widening it before hand. But be clear about two things: one, if the planner is expensive, and if you really really want them, then ask them to do a small bit for the wedding and lower your costs. two, your wedding planner cost can ideally be from 10%- 20% of the wedding cost. Don't exceed it! Also, what about their costs - is it a flat fee? Are there overhead costs? Get everything in writing!
4. What is your USP?
It's a simple question but it can really give you an insight into the people you are getting into an association with. You may be a quirky couple, but if your planner does mostly big, royal weddings he wouldn't understand why you want a hangover kit on your cocktail. Kapisch?
5. What has been the most amazing/ unique wedding you have planned?
Get details on ideas executed, themes done and what made it unique. It also helps get an idea of the planners clientele and their own aesthetic
6. How many weddings have they planned?
Experience counts for something. And that also means, less rookie mistakes. Simply choose someone who knows their business in and out. Ask them to show you their last wedding so you get to see the aesthetics and ideas.
7. What kind of services do they offer?
Hah, we all know a friend who got a kickass planner and realised that she paid the hotel extra for the flowers and other extras when it could have easily been included in the planner fee. A detailed view of what they offer with a break-up for each item is ideal. Do they do only one day planning if you want? Can you pick and choose from their services so your costs can come down? Pat down their services so you're clear. After we give them our budget, will they provide us with a breakdown of how the money is going to be allocated? Ask!
Devika Narain and Company
8. Have you worked in my location and site before?
Wedding planning is all about location and the things you can do to it. So get a planner who is familiar with the space. Someone who won't ask you a million questions about plug points and backdrops and windows. Also if your planner has planned weddings at the same site, she or he will have a better understanding of rules, regulations and vendors permitted to work
9. What's your contingency plan for bad weather?
If they don't have a plan B right on top of their head, they're definitely not the right ones for you. They need a backup for everything. They need to know what solutions work for each and every problem. If they are blabbering and are bullshitting - you'll know. Ask them if they ever had a wedding disaster and how they handled it. Their answer will seal the deal for you!
10. Details, details. How many meetings will we have? How many days do they need? How fast can things be done? Are we communicating on e-mail or phone?
You need to first know your communication process. Meetings, e-mails, skype chats....you need to know if they are on board with your planning and your periodic checking. It's obvious you are hands-on so you need them to be all hands on deck. You don't want your calls to be put on hold, your e-mails not replied, your skype invites, ignored. Plan out a calendar and you need someone who is enthusiastic about that. Also, most important, will they keep your ideas and things safe without using them up in another wedding the second you leave the meeting. Whether its Pinterest, email, or Whatsapp make sure you develop a working relationship where easy communication is possible. We highly recommend checking out planners Pinterest boards and inviting them to your own.
11. Hiring other professional for the wedding, like florists or tailors - are they rigid about using their own vendors or are they ok if you can get in people you like?
Of course, planning is their business but you may love the wedding planner more if they used your florist cousin for the wedding or a tailor you know will deliver. Though, it might seem slim, you can use people you like too and your planner should be open about these rules. Put them out before-hand so you know who to include and how to include them into your planning.
12. How many people from your team will be present?
Even some of the most luxurious planners may have really small teams, or on the other side lots of team members and interns which are unnecessary. Depending on your gathering size there needs to be atleast 2-3 senior members present from the team .
13. Which venues can you get us a good deal at?
Many planners have tie ups with venues to give some pretty unbeatable rates. Don't forget to ask their venue list and also cross check with the venue if their rates are indeed the best ones around.
Bonus: Keep this information ready and do a few background checks
1. What's my budget? How far am I willing to go?
2. What are my dates and my potential dates?
3. Moodboards + pinterest ideas + friends reccos
4. Number of guests and the kind of guests
5. Small tid-bits and specific things you need at the wedding right away
6. Crawl through the website of the planner and ask your FB friends and people in the same industry for refs
Have a question you think we definitely need to ask a wedding planner? Tell us in the comments section!