Of the wedding planning I’ve done so far, picking a wedding planner has been one of my favorite parts! It’s really exciting to make such a big step forward in the wedding process and to bring someone into your life who is really passionate about making your big day everything and more. How could a girl not love this feeling!? Everyone, I mean everyone, kept telling me that picking a wedding planner is a huge decision because you work so closely with your planner during your engagement that you really want to click with them, become close with them, and walk away after the wedding as friends. I feel really great about my decision! So, this week’s wedding spotlight – Wedding Wednesday: Picking a Wedding Planner…
At 26, I definitely have some friends who are married but I’m also definitely on the early side of my friends getting engaged. The question my girlfriends keep asking me is, “how did you know where to start to find a planner you love?” Well, I pulled from a lot of sources. Some people pick their planner before their venue but I flip flopped that order because I knew where I wanted to get married and because I really had to act fast to get a Saturday date in Charleston (it’s such a popular wedding spot right now!). You can read more about that experience here. I had narrowed down my wedding venue to two places so I used information from those venues to help me with my wedding planner search. One of the venues actually gave me an organized list of planners they like to work with/who know the venue well. The other venue didn’t provide me with a list but the woman who works there did answer all my questions and gave me plenty of recommendations through the countless conversations we had leading up to me picking my venue. So, there’s source one and two. Source three was my girlfriend from college who also got married in Charleston. She loved her experience with her wedding planner so I leaned on her for advice too. Source four was one of my sister’s best friends. My sister went to College of Charleston and her girlfriend still lives and works in Charleston in the wedding industry so she gave me a very curated list based on all of her experiences. Source five was my mom and her Charleston knowledge from attending events around town. As you can imagine, I had a long list of potential wedding planners.
My dad always taught me to gain all the information I can in order to make the most well informed decision so that’s exactly what I did. I took the information from my first four sources and cross-referenced it with my mom’s knowledge of planners and event planning companies. Then, my mom and I made a list of the planners that overlapped on multiple lists while also paying special attention to the information from my two girlfriends (gotta trust them the most!). I finalized on a list of seven planners to move forward with in the picking process.
Now, the interviewing process… I loved this part! I emailed each planner expressing my interest in working with them and my interest in speaking with them more about my wedding. I then scheduled a conference call with each planner and my mom. So, my mom and I had seven of these conversations but they were honestly so fun! The planners ask you lots of questions about you and your relationship and lots of logistical questions about what you want for your wedding and budget etc. The planners that instantly stood out to me were the ones that really asked me about my relationship with Edwin and expressed their interest in having our personalities, as a couple, shine through in the wedding. I also loved the planners that were very down to earth and talked to me about how it will be the best party of my life but that the important thing is our actual marriage and not the party. Finally, I really liked the planners that loved the aspects of weddings that I love like the paper and invitations.
In the beginning, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to pick a planner over the phone because they were all so great. I was going through this process right at the end of my school year so I couldn’t leave my classroom to fly to Charleston to interview them in person. After all seven interviews, it became clear that I was really gravitating toward three. When I reflected on it, I narrowed the list down to two wedding planners. Then, in my gut, I knew there was one that was the just right planner for me. Every planner was wonderful but my conversations with my chosen planner just stood out to me above the others and my mom agreed.
It was a huge relief to settle on a wedding planner because I now feel like I can move forward with some of the actual planning, which has me very excited! My mom has met my planner in person and now I’m SO excited to too! Edwin and I are going to Charleston in August to meet her and do some initial planning… can’t wait!!
Overall, My tips for picking your own wedding planner:
1. Do your research and ask around to those you trust: look on wedding blogs (Southern Weddings, Style Me Pretty, 100 Layer Cake, Carats and Cake, Martha Stewart Weddings), ask your venues (if you pick your venue first) for their favorite planners, ask girls you know who have already gotten married, and simply good wedding planners in your city.
2. Compile a list of wedding planners: pick planners whose aesthetics, websites, and Instagram accounts you like and include any planners recommended to you by people you trust.
3. Email each planner: contact them to make sure they are available on your wedding date (or around the time of year you’d like to get married if you don’t have your venue/date yet) and to set up a phone interview.
4. Phone Interview each planners: conference call the planners with your mom (and fiancé if they are interested in joining the conversations) to get a feel for them and make sure you click.
5. Narrow down your wedding planner list: shorten your list down to 2-3 planners to follow-up with via phone or to meet in person (if you can) if you can’t settle on a planner yet.
6. Pick your planner and drink a glass of champagne (!): go with your gut! I was told I would know in my heart which planner to choose and I did. It’s very personal so pick the planner that is absolutely right for you and then celebrate! Now, all the planning fun begins!
Thanks for following along with our wedding planning so far and for reading my Wedding Wednesday: Picking a Wedding Planner post! I hope you’re enjoying these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them! More Wedding Wednesday posts here: we’re engaged, picking a venue, and how Edwin and I met. xx