When it comes to wedding planning, there are so many details to consider that I can’t think of a better investment than a wedding planner! There is so much pressure and stress involved in coordinating all of the details of a wedding that I am always amazed that not only the bride and her family survive the process, but the engagement itself! (I’ve been watching too much ‘Bridezilla.’)
It is critical that your wedding planner not only be well-qualified, experienced, and have verifiable references (which you should verify), but that he or she also have the type of personality that you can get along with. Remember that this relationship will necessitate a lot of interaction and that the atmosphere will be intense at times!
It may be worth your time to meet with potential wedding planners two or three times to observe the dynamics between your two personalities. You should also call them several times to see how easy it is to reach them and how they respond when you call without an appointment. Create an excuse to call if necessary.
When interviewing wedding planners, make sure this person or group has the appropriate level of assertiveness. You want them to ‘take charge’ in negotiations on your behalf and be able to compel vendors and other third parties to provide you with what you require; at the same time, they must remember that YOU, not her/him, are ultimately in charge. No prima donnas please!
This means, for example, that you reserve the right (within reason) to change your mind about any issue that has not been written in stone (e.g., reservations or fees paid); thus, you will want the wedding planner to compile a list of options or bids and consult with you before making any commitments on your behalf.
This also means that you can disagree with their assessment of a specific third-party vendor, venue, design, or whatever, and they will respectfully defer to your wishes. Of course, you’ll be respectful to your wedding planner, and hopefully, you’ll be able to give them enough leeway to do their job.
You should also make certain that your wedding planner is easily accessible to you. This does not simply imply that they have a cell phone with answering services, but that they also have a pager; perhaps even a couple of different ways for you to reach them during normal business hours, at a moment’s notice (this can be critical in the last few days before the wedding).
All of these issues should be agreed upon in writing before you sign any contracts with your wedding planner. You should also ensure that your wedding planner understands that you require all agreements made on your behalf to be legally binding. Documentation should include clauses stating what legal recourse you would have if the wedding planner or any of the third parties with whom they contract on your behalf fail to meet agreed-upon specifications.