Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Caveat emptor: Tips when hiring a wedding or event planner

photo by Veer

"Experience: That most brutal of teachers.
But you learn, by God do you learn." - C.S. Lewis

When you are considering hiring a wedding or event planner, especially in today's economy when every penny counts more than ever, you should be especially wise when making that important hiring decision. Anyone can "hang up a shingle", create a fancy website, print business cards and call themselves a planner.... but without education, industry knowledge, a good reputation, and most importantly verifiable EXPERIENCE, they may not be able to fulfill your expectations. And sadly, you will pay the price.

In all Weddings and Events, there are no 'do overs'. You get one chance to get it right, and the team you have in your corner can truly make or break your special day. You wouldn't hire a Doctor or a Lawyer without checking their credentials and you should shop the same way when hiring a wedding or event planner.

So, when considering hiring that planner, here are some tips from Good Taste Events:

  • Look for photos of their actual work (not stock photography) on their website. If they have experience, they will share it with you. If they seem reluctant to provide photographs, make a note of it. No actual event photos = red flag.
  • In addition to actual photos, verify their work. 99% of satisfied clients are more than happy to provide a reference to their wedding and event planner. They will tell you candidly what went right, what went wrong, and if they would hire this planner again. Ask to see their photos as well! No references = red flag.
  • Ask about any certifications your planner has and when they received such education. Are they affiliated with any national associations? You can call and check on their membership status. Absolutely no certification or associations? Yep. Red flag.
  • Inquire about their strengths and weaknesses. How will they handle unforeseen circumstances that may occur during your special day? Get some examples of situations they have dealt with in the past. An honest, experienced planner should definitely have some stories to share! Nothing ever gone wrong (ha!) = red flag.
  • What is their reputation in the industry? Have they been published in magazines or books, interviewed by other industry professionals, taught classes or given speeches or lectures? Again, this is information that is easily verifiable and can tell you much about their true experience. No one has ever heard of them? = red flag.
  • Avoid hiring a planner simply for their "cheery" personality. While it's imperative that your planner have characteristics that you value and a personality you will enjoy working with, it is also just as important that they have the experience that will make your event planning a joy. Many professionals have worked in various aspects of the hospitality industry for years before opening their own business. Does a new college graduate have the years of experience you are looking for? That's your call.
Whatever you decide, protect your choice by taking the time to check out who you may hire. Your event will definitely be an experience. Make it a good one.

1 comment:

Brian said...

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