So you want to hire a wedding consultant!
A wedding consultant can save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in planning your dream wedding. Finding an excellent consultant in your area can be a daunting task, but once you find her, you'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that your wedding is in capable, professional hands.
A professional wedding consultant helps you plan, organize and orchestrate your wedding and reception so that you can forget about the details and really enjoy the months leading up to your big day. She becomes not only your planner but your advocate - running interference with vendors, negotiating contracts and protecting your interests.
To make sure you are hiring someone who will work well with you and for you, keep these successful hiring secrets in mind:
1. It's not always about being the biggest. Look for "hidden treasures" :
Many wedding planners who advertise with splashy ads are reputable, professional experts, but there are also some who prefer to get there business by word of mouth only. Have you attended a beautiful wedding recently that was flawlessly executed? Ask around - if a wedding planner was behind it, request their card or phone number.
2. Vendor referrals are vital :
If a wedding consultant is happy to give you referrals from happy brides, but balks at giving you the names of vendors she works with, don't use her. A truly great wedding consultant should be more than willing to give you the names of at least four vendors she works with on a regular basis. Call them and ask about their relationship - do they work well together? Is she clear with her instructions and does she get the orders for her weddings in on time? Are there a lot of last minute problems or is she one of their favorite consultants? Would they recommend her? Trust us, the relationship with the vendors matters!
3. Does the consultant have a back-up in the event of an emergency?
If your consultant is sick or injured on your big day, you don't want to discover that she's asked her inexperienced cousin to step in. Make sure she has a trained assistant or associate who will not already be scheduled for another event that same day and time.
4. What budget ranges does the consultant work with?
Do not allow any wedding consultant to be evasive on this issue! Some will say, "I will work with almost any budget within reason." Translated, this could mean she will try to talk you into something more than you can afford down the line. Be very clear on what you are willing to spend and demand that she be very clear on what is included in her fee. Ask for a cost break-down in writing. What is included in her fees? Are periodic updates included? How many meetings with you and how often? Does it include her presence at the rehearsal, ceremony and reception? For how long?
5. A written contract is a must :
This is so basic that there is nothing to elaborate on, except that if there are any changes made over time, you must insist that they be added to the contract in writing and signed and dated by both parties.
6. A good wedding consultant should belong to a professional organization :
Ask which organizations she belongs to. Two that are very good include The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants and The Association of Bridal Consultants. You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints about the consultant.
7. Consider the consultant's personality :
You will be spending a lot of time working with this person over the coming months! If you feel comfortable with her and know that she sees your vision for your wedding, you will get fabulous results and love your wedding. However, if you have the feeling that she is trying to push you toward something more in line with her vision for your wedding, don't give in because she is the "expert." It is your wedding! Pass the pushy consultant by and find one who fits your own dreams!
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