There are a few things to consider before hiring a wedding planner to plan your day.
1. Determine what level of help you want
Do you want to have someone help you plan the entire event or just help you pull things together at the end? Most wedding planners offer a variety of services, ranging from help as you begin planning your day including theme development and the basics of the event all the way up to helping you plan everything from beginning to end.
A popular option for brides is to hire a wedding planner for day-of services only. This typically means the planner comes in to help with the rehearsal and the wedding day itself. Brides should definitely consider hiring someone to coordinate the day-of activities even if you have done all of the planning for your wedding yourself. By doing so, you will ensure that your mom, sister, maid of honor, etc. can actually enjoy the day and spend time with you instead of stressing over whether or not the cake has been delivered, the DJ has shown up, or the candles are lit. A wedding planner can take all the stress off of you and your family so they can be actively engaged the wedding itself.
2. Where to look for a wedding planner
It is a good idea to start looking for a planner by considering weddings you have attended in the past (especially ones that you loved) and ask if they used a planner. You can also consult national organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants or the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants to find planners in your area.
A great resource in the Dayton area is the Dayton Bridal Connection. This is a one-stop shop for a lot of your wedding needs. Not only can you meet some of the wedding planners in the area, you can also talk with some of the top professionals in the areas of cakes, flowers, photography, etc. The Dayton Wedding Connection is located near the Woodman exit of US 35 and they have FREE bridal events throughout the year. You can find a list of upcoming events on their website. Brides should take advantage of this and other bridal shows in the area. There are typically 2-3 each year that are held at the Dayton Convention Center and/or the Dayton Marriott.
3. Setup interviews with wedding planners
Once you have found a few planners that appeal to you. Take a look at their websites and view their past weddings, look for testimonials from previous clients or vendors, etc. Then try to pick 2-3 planners and schedule interviews with them. You have to choose a planner that you like and can connect with since this will be the person acting on your behalf to plan your special day.
When scheduling the interview, make sure to ask if they are available on your wedding date (if you already know your date). Many wedding planners book dates anywhere from 6 months to 2 years in advance, so double check this before you actually setup a meeting.
4. Interviewing a wedding planner
You should go into this interview much like you would a professional interview (although this is typically a lot more fun to do). I primarily mean that you should have a variety of questions ready to ask each planner. They will have questions for you as well, because they want to make sure the eventual relationship will be a good one. Typical questions you may want to ask a planner include: (1) How much do they charge for their services? (2) What is included in the packages they offer? (3) How many people will actually be working at the event (is it just one person or is their a team of people)? (4) Do they have any special training, certifications, etc.?
You should also feel free to ask other questions. If you have a special situation (i.e. ethnic wedding, children in the ceremony, destination weddings, etc.), you can ask if they have dealt with something like what you are planning to do. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
5. Pick the wedding planner that is right for you
Ultimately you should select a consultant that you have a good rapport with and you feel can turn your dream into a reality. In the end, the relationship is all about trust, so make sure you feel comfortable with the planner you choose. You should also make sure to sign a contract stating when and how much you will pay for the services that you are hiring the planner to do.