Time, as they say, is money; and that’s never more true than when it comes to planning your wedding. Hiring a professional wedding planner can certainly help to make the process easier and more efficient (and can relieve much of the stress that comes with planning a big wedding), but it comes at a price.
Most wedding planners charge hourly consultation fees, which can quickly add up over a few weeks, or months, of planning meetings. Some professional wedding planners may charge up front for their services, but they will typically limit the number of meetings and consultations you can take before charging additional fees for anything above and beyond what the initial contract allows.
So, if you are hiring a professional wedding planner it is important to use your consultation time wisely; not only to get the most out of your wedding planner’s time, but also to get the most out of what can be a very substantial financial investment. Here are some simple tips to help you keep meetings with your wedding planner productive, so you can reap the full benefits of their service without breaking the bank.
It is vital that you come prepared to all meeting with your wedding planner. Take notes during all consultations, and be sure to have them handy for all meeting or conference calls. If you’ve been assigned any tasks, or have been asked to make any major decisions, between meetings make sure to attend to them before the next consultation. Remember, your wedding planner can’t do their job if you don’t do yours, so be sure to handle your share of the work in a timely manner, and come prepared to all consultations. Your time, as well as that of your wedding planner, is valuable – don’t waste it.
Plan for your consultations, and make notes between meetings. Any questions or concerns you and your partner have should be noted, so that you can bring them to your wedding planner’s attention when you meet. If you have an idea for the wedding cake, or a preferred entertainer, jot it down so that you can discuss it with your wedding planner during your next consultation. Try to avoid calling your wedding planner with each and every idea that comes to mind. You’ll only exhaust your wedding planner and rack up a higher bill for their services.
Keep the Meetings Manageable
When you’re planning a wedding, everyone you know will want to get involved and offer their sage advice. However, there is a time and place for everything, and not everyone in your life needs to come to meetings with your wedding planner. Keep participants to a minimum, ideally just you and your partner. Yes, your mother-in-law to be will have opinions to offer, and your best friends will have suggestions to make; but they can be discussed on your time. Bringing too many people into a meeting or consultation will only slow things down and confuse the process.
Don’t Waffle During Consultations
Ultimately, you and your partner are responsible for all of the final decisions concerning your wedding and reception. But you don’t have to make them on the spot, and it’s a waste of time to discuss them during consultations. If your wedding planner asks you for a decision on something, and you are unsure, table the discussion for later after you and your partner have had time to consider the issue. Don’t waste time hashing it out during a costly hourly consultation or conference call.
Good Manners Cost Nothing
Planning a wedding, even with the help of a professional wedding planner, can be stressful and tempers can flare up from time to time. However, it is always bad form to argue during a consultation. It will embarrass you and your wedding planner, and will cost you a great deal of money in the bargain. Keep calm, and leave the heated discussions for another time.
Finally, if you are unprepared for a meeting with your wedding planner (perhaps you haven’t attended to your assigned tasks or you still haven’t decided on flower arrangements or a catering menu), don’t be afraid to cancel the meeting. If the meeting can’t be productive, it is a waste of both time and money. Keep in mind some wedding planners may demand prior notice of a cancellation, typically 24 to 48 hours, so plan ahead. It’s also worth noting that some professional wedding planners may charge a fee for canceled consultations, so read your contract carefully.
Employing a professional wedding planner definitely has its advantages. A good wedding planner can help you make the difficult decisions that come with planning a wedding, and can be an invaluable guide to finding the best wedding vendors and venues, ensuring that your big day is perfect in every way. But professional wedding planners don’t come cheap, and it is important to use their time (and yours) wisely so that you can get the most out of their services as well as your investment.